Hotel Report: Sebel Pier One Sydney

by Fiona Harper

Sebel Pier One Sydney, Harbour View Balcony Suite

It’s not difficult to find the Sebel Pier One hotel upon arriving in downtown Sydney. Just look for that imposing bridge, otherwise known as the ‘Coathanger’, and you’ve found Pier One. If you’re looking to develop a close relationship with a Sydney icon you’ve come to the right place.

Being a rather blase traveller who relies on instinct rather than old-fashioned maps, I walked out of Circular Quay train station and found my way there via an interesting route through lane ways and sandstone stairwells. The historic Rocks area is one of those places that invites you to randomly wander as it has so many concealed secrets within a vibrant harbour-side setting.

Stepping inside the Sebel Pier One, look beyond the glass floor lobby and bar dotted with comfy couches and dazzling Sydney Harbour is on full display. Though my (newly renovated) Heritage King Room wasn’t equipped with a gorgeous bath like the one in the photo, nevertheless, it had a floor to ceiling wall of glass that provided endless fascination as boats whizzed hither and thither. I loved the shower too, which is glass-walled, though set well back into the room so that privacy is not an issue. I do enjoy a shower with a view!

Pier One has been a feature of Sydney Harbour since its construction in 1912. The Pier was used by P&O Cruises as a passenger terminal and cargo until 1977. From the late-70s to early-90s, The Pier continued to be a popular attraction and featured restaurants, amusement rides and retail outlets until it was restored and redeveloped into an innovative hotel which opened in 1999 as Sebel Pier One.

The hotel has unveiled seven of the city’s most spectacular over-water suites with peerless views of Australia’s most iconic landmarks including Luna Park, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, making them Sydney’s most sought-after waterfront suites.

Sebel Pier One hotel Sydney at dusk

Perched literally atop Sydney Harbour, the hotel’s seven new suites have been designed by internationally renowned firm Bates Smart Architects and include four Harbour View Balcony Suites which have direct access to private, expansive balconies with sweeping Sydney Harbour views. Oh, and of course, there is that bridge in all her ‘look at me’ glory hogging the limelight. The largest balcony measures an impressive 40sq meters which juts out over the Pier and makes for an ideal setting for private alfresco dining, sunset drinks or simply taking in the beauty of Sydney Harbour and watching the mega yachts sail past.

Designed for open-plan living, there is a seamless transition from the bedroom to the bathroom in all of the new suites, and all have an abundance of natural light due to the floor-to-ceiling wrap around windows and glass sliding doors. Each of the bathrooms have decadent, deep standalone bath tubs, twin rain showers with side jets, double brass bowl vanities and deluxe amenity kits from Appelles Apothecary.

From the hotel’s premier Harbour View Balcony Suite at the northern end of the Pier, guests will feel like they’re floating on water, particularly from the deep-set bathtub, which is the feature piece of a bathroom that overlooks the water and the imposing Sydney Harbour Bridge. For an iconic Sydney experience, there is no better suite in the city to enjoy the best Sydney has to offer.

All of the new suites feature king size beds, a marble topped wet bar with Nespresso coffee machine, marble topped working desk, two LED flat screen TVs – one of which rises from the bed base, Foxtel, iPod/iPad docking stations and WiFi internet access.

As well as the seven new suites, The Sebel Pier One Sydney has also finished renovating 22 new Waterside King and Heritage King rooms which now takes the hotel’s total room count to 189.

General Manager for The Sebel Pier One Sydney, Michael Sheridan, said “We’re very excited to be offering such a premium, waterfront product to the local and international market and being so close to the bridge and Opera House, we expect these new suites to sell out well in advance come festival time and New Year’s Eve.

“The new suites along with their expansive balconies will provide Sydneysiders and international guests with accommodation that offers an incredible sense of history and character, while still providing contemporary style and comfort.

“There is no other suite in the city that resonates ‘Sydney’ as much as the new balcony suites do, and we believe that they will be very popular with visitors who want to really experience Sydney while also enjoying a premier location for business and leisure.”

Located alongside the harbour, the hotel’s Front Restaurant & Bar offers alfresco dining on the Pier which is complemented by a modern Australian menu and extensive wine list. The hotel also has a newly renovated gymnasium with harbour views and is equipped with a full range of the latest exercise equipment and is available 24-hours a day. But if you’re a run-junkie like me, bypass the gym entirely and hit the pavement. There’s a fabulous running route around the harbour seawall, past the Opera House and through the Botanic Gardens in one direction or via Darling Harbour in the other.

With the hotel’s prime harbour frontage, guests can arrive by yacht or water taxi via the hotel’s private pontoon, which provides direct water access to nearby attractions including the Opera House, Luna Park and Taronga Zoo.

Boasting a fantastic position and a convenient location in the cultural heart of Walsh Bay and historic Rocks precinct, The Sebel Pier One Sydney is not only an iconic Sydney Harbour landmark, but a well placed, pioneering hotel offering guests a truly unique Sydney experience.

Verdict: Highly recommended (The writer paid her own way and checked in anonymously)

Rates start from $299 in a standard Heritage King room and $3000 for a Harbour View Suite. Check the website for specials.

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Travel Boating Lifestyle is managed by Fiona Harper