It takes less than an hour after landing at Sydney Airport before I’m dispensing with travel grime in a glass-enclosed winter sun drenched rooftop swimming pool. It’s just the sort of arrival activity I need before getting down to business.
Sydney’s Central Station & Broadway area is undergoing a substantial urban renewal programme with new residential, commercial and educational buildings transforming the precinct that has southern George St at its heart. In keeping with the refurbishment phase, the area’s most prominent hotel, Mercure Sydney recently unveiled a multi-million dollar re-vamp.
The four-star hotel has completed a major renovation, with each of the hotel’s 517 rooms revealing a bright, contemporary new look. Think aubergine feature walls set against warm wood grain bedheads and loads of natural light pouring through ample windows. Bathrooms, while retaining the shower over bath (love it or loathe it) have done away with pesky shower/bath all in one tap combinations, ditched shower curtains for glass screens, added chic mirrors with backlighting, charcoal floor tiles and marble vanities. The only thing seemingly not replaced is the old fashioned hair dryer which remains bolted to the wall. There’s no surer indicator that the designer was male, most probably thinning on top.
The overall vibe is modern and fresh with just enough funk to keep the look contemporary and the feel relaxed. A highlight is the undercover rooftop swimming pool, sauna and gym, offering views of the city skyline and a birds eye view of the busy George St junction below. It’s a top spot to workout and watch the sun rise over city skyline or to observe the city coming to life post-dawn.
I stayed in a King Deluxe room on the 14th floor which was a fabulous corner room with a semi-circle bank of north and east facing glass. It’s a spacious room that allows in plenty of natural light and glorious winter sun in the early morning. Which is an important consideration as interior designers seem to have given lighting little thought. Bedside lamps, a desk lamp, floor lamp and a light over the minibar are the only lights in the room, leaving much of it in darkness. Which is terrific if you want to enjoy the nighttime city scape beyond the window. But not so fabulous if you want to be able to see your partner, particularly if he/she is wearing dark clothing. I’m travelling alone so it’s not an issue. But it could be next time I check in for a sultry Sydney sojourn.
I’m not thrilled with in-room wifi rates at $22 per day either. Thankfully I can avoid them as I travel with my own mobile broadband but international visitors rarely have this luxury. Apart from those two gripes, overall the Mercue Sydney gets a lot right. Placing a bright blue card on the bed asking ‘Are you Happy?’ is an effective method to generate guest feedback. And mostly I am.
Hotel General Manager, Greg Brady said “The transformation of the hotel comes at a time when the Central Station area of Sydney is undergoing a remarkable renaissance.
There is a remarkable energy in the area with new constructions such as the Frank Gehry building leading the way. There are new offices, restaurants and retail outlets opening all the time, and in the longer term, Central will once again become Sydney’s hub for a city tram service. The extensive refurbishment of the hotel is very well timed.”
Located in the south of Sydney’s CBD, by Railway Square, the hotel boasts one of the city’s most convenient locations, and is within easy walking distance of the city centre, Chinatown, Central Station, Capitol Theatre, and Darling Harbour.
Arriving from Sydney Airport it’s also super convenient with an express train service to Central Station taking around 20 minutes. Followed by a short walk across George St means you can be checked in well under an hour from landing. It’s a convenience well worth taking advantage of.
We love: Bathroom mirrors with inbuilt back lighting
We loathe: hefty in-room wifi rates
Fiona Harper was a guest of Mercure Sydney.