Monday, October 6, 2008
The BOOT Recommends - The Observatory Hotel Sydney
I have just spent the loveliest of weekends away at the Observatory Hotel in Sydney. Located in Sydney's "historic" Rocks area, this Orient-Express hotel is one of Sydney's finest. [side bar - You have to put the word historic in quotes when describing the Rocks as it is embarrassing to say that for white Australia all you need is a 150 year old building and suddenly it is historic. The current Rocks is little more than a tourist trap shopping area, albeit with fantastic water views.] It is not often that I do reviews on the blog but when I am very impressed with a property I am drawn to write about this (happened earlier this year after I visited Luton Hoo). The Observatory is at the top end of luxury in Sydney without the "international" reputations of say the Harbour Shangri-la, Westin, Sheraton on the Park or Park Hyatt.
First to the decor and feel of the hotel. At the Observatory they have managed to deliver in the fit out and staff an unlikely balance between modern, relaxed and what I can best describe as traditional old Europe. The staff are attentive but not stuffy, the fit out is floral and "country club" in nature yet very modern in facilities and function. Rooms are of a fantastic size and very quiet despite the noisy city and harbour bridge being only metres away.
I liked little touches like a complementary car ride into the city (if needed), that they recorded the reason for my stay (10th anniversary) and congratulated me and the wife on arrival and the supplying hot chocolate and herbal tea options with the turn down service.
Two small areas of criticism. The Pool is a great size and the health club facilities impressive but the area is busy, full of people, noisy and peak times and therefore only relaxing out of hours. The Globe bar area is charming and relaxing, with very attentive staff. However breakfast service was a little tardy. I think more staff are required to make sure customers are not left waiting longer than is reasonable at $40 for the continental breakfast. But these small quibbles are only worthy of publication because of the lengths I had to go to find them. A great stay and now on my list of recommendations for high end leisure and business travel to Sydney.
Disclosure - my stay at the Observatory was on my own dime but I was granted an industry rate and upgrade.