What’s so special?
This welcoming design hotel is an ideal retreat from the beige blandness of so many chain hotels. It’s also well-located in Sydney’s central business district.
How they rate it
“Bling meets vintage at this glamorous yet unintimidating design hotel,” says Yolanda Carslaw in The Daily Telegraph. “The hotel occupies two 1920s landmarks, the Gowings building (once a department store) and the State Theatre. It’s showy, arty and fun.” There are some fabulous quirky touches – the “elevator music changes according to the number of occupants (Just the Two of Us; Are You Lonesome Tonight?)”, and the spa is in a former barbershop, complete with original tiling and glass ceilings. The 200 rooms contain “excellent beds; bluestone or slate bathrooms; bright upholstery and sheepskin rugs… and a minibar containing games as well as drinks”.
The Gowings Bar and Grill “has decor as elegant as the clientele”, says Carslaw. “I couldn’t fault the whitebait fritters and yellowfin tuna with baby tomatoes.” The only minor irritation was the “fairly loud music”.
Doubles cost from A$420 (£255), on a room- only basis. Find out more at www.qtsydney.com.au, or call 00 61 2 8262 0000.
What’s so special?
For years Bondi Beach, Sydney’s surfers’ paradise, has been home to backpackers staying in hostel accommodation. But the arrival of Bondi 100 means that well-heeled travellers can now stay close to the beautiful beach without having to slum it. This is an upmarket holiday rental that allows you to live like a very stylish local.
How they rate it
This is a “designer gem”, says James Litston in The Independent. “Style statements abound, such as custom-made contemporary furnishings and neon accents.” There are three bedrooms (one en suite), a family bathroom and the back half is entirely devoted to an open-plan kitchen, living and dining space flowing into a suntrap garden. There are some “nice touches, including complimentary wi-fi and a barbecue for those essential Aussie cook-outs”.
The property comes with basic supplies and “a selection of takeaway menus from recommended nearby eateries”. There are plenty of good restaurants in the area, especially brunch venues. “Try The Shop (Theshopbondi.com), or Chapter One (Chapter-one.com.au).”
A three-night mid-week stay costs from A$1,350 (£900). The rental sleeps six. For more information visit Staybondi.com, or call 00 61 2 9316 9066.
Where to eat in Sydney
This “dressy spot” (pictured) is an ideal one to enjoy chef Matt Moran’s steamed pink snapper with caviar sauce, says Condé Nast Traveller magazine. “If you were any closer to the Opera House, you would be in it.” (See Ariarestaurant.com.)
Rockpool Bar & Grill
“Local legend Neil Perry has created a truly handsome steakhouse in this ornate corporate space,” says Mark Chipperfield in The Daily Telegraph. “Aged, grain-fed meat is grilled on giant wood-fired braziers.” The restaurant also has Sydney’s biggest wine list. (See Rockpool.com.)
“With killer harbour views and a chef [Peter Gilmore] who has put modern Australian cuisine on the map, Quay at Circular Quay is not to be missed,” says Condé Nast Traveller. Sample dishes include “mud crab with tomato sorbet and poached quail with prosciutto and shaved cuttlefish”, which are “enough to make most people swoon”. But be warned, “the wine list is ruinously expensive”. (See Quay.com.au.)
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