NSW Travel Guide
Before and After / Hotel Renovations / Hotel Club Lounges / Shangri-La Hotels / Sydney Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Killer Views / → All Tags
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.
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.
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.
Hotel Reopenings / Hotel Renovations / Australia Hotels / Sydney Hotels / Hotel News / Langham Hotels / → All Tags
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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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.
We already knew that InterContinental planned to take over the former Ritz-Carlton in Sydney and turn it into the InterContinental Sydney Double Bay, but today, we've got a few snapshots of the renovated, InterContinentalized space and it looks very sleek.
This bay-side sanctuary half-way between the city center and iconic Bondi Beach will feature restored rare white marble, Parisian-style balconies, a nautical-themed gin bar and an open rooftop retreat. The hotel's design, done by Aussie firm, Bates Smart Architects, will feature a neutral palette, metallic finishings and splashes of pale blue and yellow tones with each room sporting soft blue, white and charcoal furnishings against framed dark timber elements. It's classic decor married with laid-back Aussie style and topped off with a sophisticated European aesthetic.
Almost two years after Sydney's iconic Observatory Hotel changed owners to become The Langham Sydney, the property will close its door to undergo a massive renovation to make the space a lot more, well, Langham.
The first day of renovations is scheduled for July 24. Over the next four months, all 96 guest rooms, the lobby, dining areas and the residential-style ballroom will see a bit more than a few new coats of paint. Spending around $30 million AUD, the hotel will install a new design element, to bring it more in-line with their other properties around the globe.
Each of the rooms will trade their stuffy, dated interior for a more modern, white-washed decor with herringbone hardwood-floors, modern furnishings and gold and teal accents marrying high-end luxe with colonial charm. Being one of the only hotels in Sydney to offer balconies in each room, guests will be able to enjoy the near perfect Sydney weather from the comfort of their own room.
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Who would have thought that a hotel located in one of Sydney's most stunning spots on The Rocks would need to embark beautification process? Well, the folks over at Pier One Sydney Harbour decided to pretty things up a bit after the ownership of the hotel changed hands.
Earlier this year, Pier One became part of Marriott's Autograph Collection and thus they decided to really wow their
Marriott Rewards members guests.
For the next 17 weeks, the hotel will be overhauling their lobby, dining and bar facilities to better fit in with their new brand. One thing that won't be changing is the 100-year old character of the building and the stunning views across Sydney Harbour. Originally built as a working cargo wharf and passenger transit facility, the hotel now offers a modern and contemporary stay steeped in history with some rooms offering the closest thing you can get to an overwater bungalow in an urban setting.
1888 Shakes Things Up With a "Cozy Industrial Vibe"
Focusing on being Instagram-worthy as it does (and handing out free nights if you have 10,000 followers or more), Sydney’s 1888 Hotel better be bringing it in the looks department. We showed you how to get the lobby (or yourself) into the frame, and are following up today with a closer look at how the rest of the hotel measures up.
1888’s Pyrmont location puts you just on the "other" side of Darling Harbour, to the west of Sydney’s CBD. A stroll across the pedestrian bridge will take you into the city’s core in 15 minutes, or you can take the scenic ferry route and sail underneath the Harbour Bridge before you dock at Circular Quay.
Getting to the hotel from the airport is easy enough: hop on the express train to the city’s Central Station and change to the monorail, get off at Convention Centre (you buy the monorail ticket on the train), enter the parking garage and take the lift up to the fourth floor, exit on the other side, and 1888 is right in front of you. The red brick building (formerly a wool-storage facility) certainly looked pretty against the backdrop of bright blue Sydney skies when we arrived.
We’ve come a long way from hotel staff wearing boxy, nondescript uniforms (hell, at some hotels you get to wear Lacroix Couture), but QT Sydney is taking things yet another step further: not only does staff have its stylish uniforms (by costume designer Janet Hine), an in-house stylist is on hand to get the look just so before starting work.
The result is – not surprisingly – some very well put together staff, like the blue-shirted Porters and red-wigged Directors of Chaos at the hotel’s entrance. Their job is getting you out of the hustle of Market Street, into the ornate downstairs gallery (the hotel combines the former Gowings Department Store and State Theatre), and up one floor to reception.
And you can get yourself easily in the picture: just step behind the frame (or ‘Selfie’ space as the hotel calls it) that hangs from one of the wooden beams in the lobby of this wool-storage facility turned hotel in Sydney's Pyrmont district, snap away, tag it #1888Hotel and it will appear on the screens near reception.
Since we know you’d much rather look at hotels than us, we’ll let the lobby itself have its close up, which has various seating areas (including a small restaurant section), a living tree, and a set of glass elevators that take you up through the four-story atrium to one of the 90 bedrooms.
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The landscape of Aussie hotels will be changed for the better this month when the newest brand of hotels opens its doors. If you're planning a trip down under and don't want to smash your piggy bank doing so, then remember this name: Atura Hotels.
The newest option comes to us from a group called Amalgamated Holding Limited, but you might know them better by the work they've been doing with QT Hotels and Rydges Hotels. But instead of resting on their laurels with the cool edginess of QT and the family-resort of Rydges, they've gone a created a new concept that will be appealing to business travelers and those that don't want to miss out on cool hotel design to save a few bucks. (Which is like, everyone everywhere.)
Atura's first property is already checking in guests in Sydney's inner-suburb of Blacktown. Aside from cool design, guests will get free in-room movies, coffee machines and a business center completely outfitted with iMacs. But if you'd rather stay connected on the go, there is free WiFi throughout the hotel and in every guestroom. If you've ever been to Australia, you know this is a big deal since hotels charge a pretty penny for some connectivity.