Australia Travel Guide

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Before and After: Shangri-La Sydney Renovates Horizon Club

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  Site Where: 176 Cumberland Street, Sydney, NSW, Australia, 2000
June 26, 2015 at 8:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

We love hotel renovations nearly just as much as we love new hotels. But what we really love about hotel renovations is seeing the transformation that happens when an old, tired and lackluster room gets a modern makeover and transforms into new, spiffed-up, stylish guest room. Or put more simply, we love comparing the Before and After.

When we looked inside the Royal Suite at the InterContinental Double Bay Sydney earlier this year, we said that many central business district hotels in the Australian city are all about the iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House views. That couldn’t be more true for Shangri-La Sydney, towering over the Rocks a few blocks away from Circular Quay.

All 565 rooms and suites have harbour views (though that classification includes Darling Harbour), but the best rooms in the house are part of the Horizon Club, the hotel’s club lounge floors. These have just been at the receiving end of an $8 million upgrade, covering both the lounge itself and the 90 rooms. Above and directly below the lounge as it was before, scroll down for the new look.

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Aloft to Make a 'Pitt' Stop in Sydney in 2016

Where: Sydney, Australia
June 25, 2015 at 5:41 PM | by | Comments (0)

Adaptive re-use in hotel design knows no bounds. And we love everything about that, as well as the news that Aloft is planning its Sydney debut as the Aloft Sydney Pitt Street, opening November 1, 2016.

Aloft will be moving into – and on top of - the Druids House, a former lighting factory dating to 1909, and from 1927 the Aussie home of popular fraternal society, the United Ancient Order of Druids. That should make for some interesting bar chatter.

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The Ritz-Carlton Melbourne Will be Australia's Highest Hotel

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  Site Where: 250 Spencer Street, Melbourne, Australia
April 27, 2015 at 9:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

At last, we said last month, Ritz-Carlton Hotels is returning to Australia. That was following the announcement of a new hotel in Perth, part of a mixed-use complex with the usual residences, retail spaces, and restaurants. If that was good news, here is more: a second Ritz-Carlton hotel will come to Melbourne, scooping up the title of highest hotel in Australia in the process.

Just as in the country’s far west, the hotel will be part of a mixed-use project called 250 Spencer Street, where the hotel will have 250 rooms between floor 64 and 77 in one of multiple towers (something tells us the Sofitel Melbourne, between floors 36 and 50 in a tower nearby, is not happy about this).

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Down Under, Tables Have Turned: This Hotel Brand in Australia Wants to Review YOU as a Guest

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  Site Where: Australia
April 8, 2015 at 12:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

For real. There is a brand of Aussie hotels who want to turn the tables and review YOUR stay and reward YOU for good behavior. Talk about opening a two-way street in the world of arm-chair critics that may or may not be rooted in truth —remember this?

From April 17 to May 31, Art Series Hotels in Victoria and South Australia are performing Reverse Reviews on their guests and plan on naming and shaming those that act like Lindsay Lohan after receiving their room key. Just like the rating sites, the hotel will have an opportunity to reward their guests with 1 to 5 stars.

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Rydges Sydney Airport Has Both the Good and Bad of (Airport) Hotels

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  Site Where: 8 Arrival Court, Mascot, NSW, Australia, 2020
March 12, 2015 at 9:00 AM | by | Comments (0)

We’ve just looked at the basic amenities and services an airport hotel should offer its guests, knowing there is many an airport where you can get a really decent stay, but a total stinker may still be yours to deal with.

Luckily we found a lot of the good of airport hotels during an overnight at Rydges Sydney Airport. We chose to stay at the Rydges (for a second time) mainly for its location, knowing we had an international flight the next morning. The address being Arrival Court should tell you that there is no need for something as bothersome as a shuttle; all you need to do is cross the street and you’re inside the international terminal.

No fusty or dated rooms either; there are 318 of them in total, and all feature modern furniture, clean white sheets on comfortable beds, and proper soundproofing.

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Inside the Royal Suite at the New InterContinental Sydney Double Bay

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  Site Where: Cross Street, Sydney, Australia
February 18, 2015 at 12:47 PM | by | Comment (1)

Back in November, InterContinental Hotels reopened the former Ritz-Carlton in Sydney’s Double Bay as its second property in the city, following a multi-year closure and renovation of the hotel. Many a hotel in the central business district, including the ‘other’ InterContinental, can give you the iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House views the city is famous for, but back in the day the likes of Madonna, Bill Clinton, and Princess Diana all opted to stay here instead. We wondered why, so we made the 15-minute cab ride to Double Bay and peeked inside the Royal Suite to find out.

Set on the hotel’s fifth floor, the Royal Suite is a one-bedroom suite with living room, study, bedroom, ensuite bathroom, powder room, dining room, pantry, and option for a connecting bedroom. The contemporary design really worked for us, with pale herringbone hardwood floors, white walls, and dark wood – but the real draw is in the direction of the light streaming in through the arched windows.

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QT Sydney's Goodie Bag May Just Be the Best Thing About NYE Down Under

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  Site Where: 49 Market Street, Sydney, NSW, Australia, 2000
December 29, 2014 at 9:03 AM | by | Comments (0)

Sydney is one of the first places on the planet to ring in the New Year, and along with a stellar fireworks display over the Harbour Bridge, the folks over at QT Sydney want to make sure that you have everything you need to ring in 2015 in comfort. All guests who stay on 31 December will get this stonking goodie bag filled with items that range from sexy to sensible and everything in between.

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This Hotel is Already Using a Smartphone to Open the Hotel Room Door

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  Site Where: 72 Queen Street, Brisbane, Australia
December 10, 2014 at 6:43 PM | by | Comments (0)

Last month, Starwood Hotels officially began letting guests use their smartphones to open up hotel room doors at 10 select hotels via the SPG app. Shortly after we learned that, Hilton Hotels came out with their own announcement that mobile room keys could be used in four of their hotel brands as soon as this spring.

But in Australia, one hotel has been using smartphone keys for like, two months already.

The Next Hotel in Brisbane opened on October 14, with guests using their smartphones not only as room keys but also to control the room lights, change the TV and order room service. The keyless entry and other functions all operate through the NEXT Hotels Smart App.

Here's how using your phone as a room key works at the NEXT Hotel:

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The Langham Sydney, Formerly The Observatory, Has Unveiled Its Fresh New Look

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  Site Where: 89-113 Kent Street, Sydney, NSW, Australia, 2000
December 2, 2014 at 12:27 PM | by | Comment (1)

Well, today's the day (well, yesterday if you're in Sydney), that the public gets to truly see what a $30 million AUD renovation on a hotel looks like when The Langham Sydney reveals the fruits of their labor.

If you recall, the folks over at Langham acquired the iconic Observatory Hotel and operated it for a little while with the existing but fairly dated decor while they put time and thought into the full refurbishment. Now, we couldn't be happier they took their sweet time because the results are pretty amazing. Out went the dark wood paneling that was prevalent throughout and in came the light!

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Vibe Hotels in Australia is Grooving a Little Differently Now

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  Site Where: 32-24 Murchison Street, Marysville, Victoria, Australia, 3779
November 21, 2014 at 10:38 AM | by | Comments (0)

Australian hotel brand, Vibe Hotels, is tackling two things at once--expansion and rebranding--when they open their newest property next year, near the Yarra Ranges National Park, outside of Melbourne.

The new Vibe design is a far departure from the lime green and purple color scheme sported at other properties. Those dated hues are being traded for a more sophisticated and modern blue, which is more reflective of the local surroundings.

Tucked away near the Yarra Ranges National Park, this property will be a sub-alpine retreat that features local artwork and locally sourced seasonal produce in its new signature restaurant Radius Bar & Grill. Vibe's riverside location will also make for a perfect escape from the city, thanks to its jumping-off point at the state's pristine wilderness areas. Each of the 101 rooms will feature free WFi, modern design and even, local treats in the mini bar.

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One&Only Will Manage Wolgan Valley Australia for Emirates

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  Site Where: 2600 Wolgan Road, Wolgan Valley, NSW, Australia, 2970
November 11, 2014 at 8:55 AM | by | Comments (0)

Now that One&Only Hayman Island is up and running (the $80 million renovation wrapped up this summer), the brand is moving on to add another Australian property to its portfolio: it will manage Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa for owner Emirates from early next year.

Yes, that is Emirates as in the airline, with the hotel officially becoming Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley. A few hours’ drive northwest of Sydney, Wolgan Valley lies within the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, built around an 1832 Heritage Homestead. There are 40 freestanding suites, each with private pool and outdoor terrace.

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Calling All Hotel Kleptos: Would A Charge Sheet Like This Make You Think Twice?

Where: Australia
September 23, 2014 at 7:56 AM | by | Comments (4)

First things first: stealing from hotel rooms is wrong. Unless it’s the toiletries or the notepad-pen-pencil combo, you shouldn’t be doing that. You’re not an idiot, you already know that.

And yet many of you – 43 percent of Brits, or 35 percent of everyone according to two recent surveys – do. Ok, let’s be honest, many of us – I personally have filched a couple of towels in my time (NB: HotelChatter in no way condones this behavior and I’m not doing it to boast – just to say that the most honest people can go klepto in a hotel room).

To combat this, most hotels only go as far as those little labels on the bathrobes, letting you know how much they’ll sting you for if you nick them (or “if you wish to purchase them” as they so delicately word it). But a hotel group in Australia has gone one further: it’s drawn up a price list of the weirdest, yet most coveted, items, letting you know how much it’ll charge your credit card should you decide to take something.

The Desire menu at QT hotels lists the 14 most filchable objects, from the obvious (robe: $175; umbrella: $45) to the bizarre (coathanger: $10; bathroom glasses: $14).

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