Grace Hotel Sydney Australia
8 / 10
Located in the centre of town: Circular Quay and The Sydney Opera House are a five-minute walk away. The QVB and Strand Arcade, historic buildings housing up-market shops, are minutes away on foot, as is the Town Hall for transport to all other areas of Sydney.
Style & character
Built in 1930 by The Grace Brothers, the architecture was heavily influenced by the Chicago Tribune tower and was for a time used as the Sydney headquarters of the U.S. armed forces during the Pacific War. Inside, the lobby is a hotbed of original Art Deco features, from the imposing chandeliers to the oversized club lounges and dark red leather furniture. The lobby’s other original features include marble walls, original-tiled floors, columns, soaring pressed-metal ceilings and dark wood-panelled lifts.
Service & facilities
7 / 10
Service is courteous if not entirely polished. There is a rooftop recreation centre complete with indoor heated pool, sauna and gym.
- Fitness centre
- Room service
6 / 10
The styling of the bedrooms is bland with executive-chic furnishings, charcoal upholstery, a small black and grey shag-pile rug and blinds in an unnecessary shade of orange.
I stayed in a junior suite, which was large and offered a small sitting area that included a desk, chaise lounge and small coffee table, plus a sprawling, firm king-sized bed with big pillows. I can’t help but wonder what the rooms were like before the 1997 refurbishment as there are no original features left, which is a shame. The bathroom in my suite, however, was superb – large and clean with an oversized tub and excellent amenities by Peter Morrissey.
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Food & drink
The dining room is only open for breakfast and lunch. Luckily, you are well placed for any number of restaurants for dinner, from fine-dining establishments in the north end of the city to noodle joints in Chinatown.
There are some hits and misses at breakfast; the highlights are the Asian-inspired offerings. Pork buns and noodles outshine the stalwarts – mushrooms, hash browns and eggs made to order. Don’t bother with coffee; it’s from a machine. Order tea and get yourself a proper coffee once you hit the streets; Sydney’s coffee is too good to settle for second-rate.