Sydney is a city you don’t want to just transit through. Out-of-town cruisers beginning or ending their cruises in Sydney would be nuts if they didn’t allow a few days at either end to explore this sparkling city that is consistently rated among the favorites by worldly travelers.
Cruise lines tend to park their guests within a stone’s throw of the OPT (Overseas Passenger Terminal), which is great but can be a bit pricey, especially if you want a few days extra in comfort.
The concept of serviced apartments has been with us a while and Sydney does these really well. Mantra has two within the city limits, with Mantra 2 Bond the closest for cruise passengers using the OPT. This also places the building smack in the middle of the shopping and dining precinct, so you’re never more than a 100 yards or so from great entertainment options.
As a serviced apartment building, dining options are limited and not on par with full-service hotels. During my visit, the lobby café was run as a concession and just fine for light meals and breakfast but I’m told the whole lobby is scheduled for a major makeover that will include an upgraded restaurant. These details will be added here when available.
Of course, the big advantage of serviced apartments is being able to make your own meals and Mantra 2 Bond provides a full kitchenette with cook top, oven, microwave, refrigerator and dishwasher.
One of the stand-out features of this hotel is the rooftop pool and BBQ area. While it’s not completely unobstructed, there’s a pretty fair view of the harbor that’s worth remembering if you’re in town for any of the fireworks events, NYE, Australia Day, etc. Beyond that, there’s a small gym and all other services like transfers, valet, childcare, etc are on demand with outsourced contractors.
There is a wide choice of room types available. I stayed in a smart studio but you can also opt for a one, two or three bedroom apartment, some with private balconies although most of these are the smaller “Juliet” type. Either way they’re all spacious with studios starting at 38sqm (about 400sqft) – about twice the size of regular pokey motel size room. The one bedders are 48sqm and the two bedders, 60sqm.
The apartment concept also gives you full in-room laundry with washing machine, dryer, ironing board and iron. Very handy if you’re at the end of your cruise and need to freshen your suitcase.
When I visited, a rolling refurbishment program was under way, so by early 2014 it is expected the last of the rooms will be upgraded from their original 1999 build trim.
The three-bedroom apartments are perfect for a larger group, family or couples even. While there are larger balconies and outdoor seating, you’d only want these for the extra space as most of the other facilities you’ll find in the smaller apartments. There are no butlers, included limo transfers or in-room spas, although the bathtub has those cool turbo jets.
As with all Sydney CBD properties, my advice is similar. Downtown Sydney can be a bit hectic for private and taxi traffic, especially during peak times. The hotel is located 850m (half a mile) from the OPT. A flat easy walk, but a bit messy with luggage.
From the airport you can catch a train [www.sydneytrains.info] (Fare: A$16.70pp) almost to the hotel itself without changing. Wynyard station is just 200 yards, although a party arriving at offpeak times may find a single cab more convenient for little extra money. Average cab fares should be around A$40 with surcharge and a small tip in favorable traffic.
As with most CBD hotels, car-parking is expensive for private or rental cars. Anywhere in the city is about A$50 for 24 hours.
At time of writing, Mantra 2 Bond Street was ranked #53 of 187 hotels in Sydney with a 4.0 rating and a 2013 Certificate of Excellence Award.
Hotel website: www.mantra2bondstreet.com.auGoogle Map link: http://goo.gl/maps/KAedJ
Cnr George St & Bond St
Sydney, NSW 2000