Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Is this Sydney's chicest waterfront address?

Sometimes you want the city on your doorstep without the hassles of traffic noise, sirens and drunken pedestrians.

If you want Sydney on your doorstep with fine dining within a short stroll; a superb waterfront location and a chic but casual ambiance then BLUE Sydney, a Taj Hotel, will almost certainly fit the bill. 
BLUE Sydney, often selected as Sydney's finest boutique hotel and a member of the Leading Hotels of the World group, sits over the water on The Wharf, Woolloomooloo, a bustling luxury marina, entertainment and apartment complex favoured by the rich and influential that originally began life as a wool and cargo handling facility over 100 years ago.

Adjacent to the Royal Botanic Gardens and a 15-minute stroll from the CBD, BLUE has just 100 guest rooms on what was known as the Finger Wharf, including 36 beautiful loft suites with views over the yacht marina, Woolloomooloo Bay Village or Sydney Harbour foreshores. 

A clever design retains the charm of the historic wharf building while providing the latest in modern luxury accommodation. There are plenty of staff, too, a rarity in Sydney nowadays with a porter to meet you and valet park your car - and no queues at the check-in desk, although signage could do with some work.

The hotel says it places as much importance on service as it does on style and the guests enjoy goose-down pillows and duvets, classy bathroom amenities, a round-the-clock concierge, 24-hour room service (another luxury that is dying out elsewhere), a 17-metre indoor swimming pool, gym and direct access to some of the most popular drinking and dining spots on the marina including long-time favourite Otto Ristorante and award-winning WaterBar. 

There are charge-back arrangements to these and other local hotspots Manta, China Doll, Criniti’s, Kingsleys Steak & Crab House and Aki’s Indian Restaurant.

There are nine different room styles, ranging from entry-level after Rafter Rooms to Ultra Loft Suites with views of Sydney city skyline and the Botanical Gardens. All are stylish and funky (like the public areas), but most importantly spacious and comfortable.

This was my first stay at BLUE, although having spent time at sister hotel The Taj, Cape Town, I had high expectations and was not disappointed. It's good to know that good service is not yet a dying art. 
  
BLUE Hotel is at 6 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo. Phone (02) 9331 9000. Email: blue.sydney@tajhotels.com. www.tajhotels.com/sydney.

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