Sydney just keeps popping up as one of the world’s best cruise destinations, named by so many of the world’s authoritative travel media as the best place to cruise to and from in Australasia. It’s a big call, perhaps, but those who have traveled here get it.
Hence, Sydney is a city to savor, to stroll through the parks, gardens and museums, and shop, sun and surf.
As one of the world’s most dynamic and beautiful cities, Sydney continues to be a ‘marquee’ port and gateway to Australia, offering travellers an abundance of pre- and post-cruise ship options.
“From the best in art, culture, food, shopping and vibrant events, our city also provides for countless shore excursions to suit all tastes and budgets,” said Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase.
“With beautiful beaches so close to the city and national parks to explore, Sydney has something for everyone.”
Cruise lines typically disembark guests within a stone’s throw of the OPT (Overseas Passenger Terminal), and the hotels right on the wharf may be handy but can be a bit expensive, especially if you are planning a few days extra in comfort.
Just two blocks south of Circular Quay is the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney, one of the city’s leading five-star hotels which has just completed a major redesign – its first since 2000.
Reminiscent of New York’s famous Flatiron building and occupying a landmark position in the heart of Sydney on the corner of Pitt, Hunter and O’Connell streets, the Radisson Blu Hotel Sydney is housed within a stunning heritage-listed building dating back to 1856 – once home to the illustrious Fairfax media empire.
Located at the corner of Pitt and Hunter Streets, it’s an easy and pleasant walk to the major shopping and dining precinct, you’re never more than a 100 yards or so from great entertainment options. The hotel is also embraced by famous Sydney sites including The Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, historical Rocks area, Circular Quay and Botanical Gardens .
The premium dining establishment in the Radisson Blu Hotel Sydney is Bentley Restaurant + Bar. It’s sublet by the hotel, so wasn’t sampled by this writer during the stay, but it is where renowned chef Brent Savage seasons his local produce with native plant ingredients, including a delicious riberry sauce with kangaroo fillet. Bentley Restaurant + Bar was named ‘Best New Restaurant’ at The Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide Awards and earned two chef’s hats and a coveted wine glass.
It’s a premium restaurant, so don’t expect any nightly specials.
Breakfasts are held in the Lady Fairfax Room, just adjacent the reception. High teas are also a feature of this hotel, served in the convivial Fax Bar on lobby level. It’s also the place where gin lovers should ask for a martini made with the hotel’s special Archie Rose gin, distilled in Sydney.
Amenities at the hotel include the complimentary Health Club, located on the Mezzanine level, featuring a 15 yard indoor pool, spa, steam room and gymnasium. All in-house guests are welcome. The new Tanatcha Spa is also located on this level.
Inside the imposing cupola area of the building on Level 10 is the split level Business Class Lounge, an exclusive and secluded haven serving a deluxe buffet breakfast, refreshments throughout the day, evening drinks with canapés, Concierge services and express check-out. The Business Class Lounge, as you would expect, incurs an extra charge.
24 hour reception and concierge service delivers everything any five star hotel offers including dry cleaning, laundry and room service.
Valet Parking is available at A$45.00 per night – please let the concierge know if you require this
I think the hotel was trying to impress me with the super 53m2 corner Studio Spa Suite with oodles of space and newly refurbished in metallic and grey tones.
There’s a separate shower and an extra deep spa bath, included broadband and wireless Internet, 35+ channels on the big flat screen TV, including Free-To-Air, Foxtel, sport, radio and movie channels.
In all, there are seven room types available ranging from Atrium, Superior, Premier and Deluxe. Each room in these categories are 34m2, with the Deluxe featuring a king bed and full-length glass doors, which open onto a Juliet-style balcony.
Accessible rooms also available.
Located on the top two floors of the hotel are the one-bedroom Spa Suites with grey and blue decor and design elements like a Juliet-style balcony, a separate living room and a marble bathroom with an extra deep spa bath. In addition to king beds and full length glass doors, these suites also include access to the exclusive Business Class Lounge, mentioned previously. Lounge access is for up to two guests.
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$18.00pp) almost to the hotel itself without changing. Wynyard station is just 300 yards, although a party arriving at offpeak times or weekends 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, Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney was ranked #8 of 178 hotels in Sydney with a 4.5 rating and a Certificate of Excellence.
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