Accor Group has the Mgallery by Sofitel. Marriott-Starwood has Tribute Portfolio and Design Hotels, Hyatt has The Unbound Collection. Hilton on the other hand, has Curio Collection by Hilton. While Mgallery is very well represented in the Asia Pacific, and the select few I have stayed in have been very good, these small, independent boutique hotels supported by the behemoths that are the big chains are somewhat rare in the Asia Pacific.
During my trip to Sydney earlier in 2018, I was curious on this new brand, and perfect timing too. Having just opened in December 2017, the West Hotel, a Curio Collection by Hilton got me, well, curious. This curious cat was well pleased by what he found.
Up and Coming
The West Hotel is located in Barangaroo, a new up and coming urban renewal district adjacent to King’s Street Wharf, Darling Harbour and the western side of Sydney’s Central Business District. With convenient access to the airport via the Airport Link at Wynyard Station, and a new pedestrian link and tunnel between Barangaroo and Wynyard Station towards Martin Place and the CBD, you will be hard pressed not to tap in to your curious side in exploring Sydney.
This medium-rise new build blends seamlessly with the office blocks, residences and hotels nearby, and despite it being next to the Eastern Distributor Expressway, it does not feel too crowded, busy or chaotic. Being next to the nightlife, restaurants and bars of trendy Barangaroo makes up for it if the peace and quiet needs a bit of social hustle and bustle.
Trendy without being Trend-ick
The one thing that does get to me about these fancy design-focused boutique hotels is how they the design brief is focused on the word ‘trending.’ While being hip and trendy and fancy is fun, it can at times feel overwhelming, too much and just all over the place (the one that starts with ‘S’ and ends with ‘O’ and is linked to S*****L, I am looking at you).
However, the West Hotel Sydney avoids this trap by toning down the trendiness while not sacrificing the hipness. The room is elegantly appointed, but with tasteful chrome finishings and details carefully tucked away but adding to the feel.
The public areas make full use of the limited space, with the bar feeling like a chilled oasis, the winter garden a good atrium centre-piece, the light dimmed just nice without being too dark and the colour scheme cool and muted.
I usually try and book a hotel with a pool. However, the West Hotel Sydney does not have a pool. At first I was a little bummed out by the lack of it, but the 24 hour access gym with good equipment made up for it and my need to get active. That, and Sydney’s beaches and rock pools are the perfect swimming facilities as it is!
Another feature which I love at the West Hotel Sydney is their hospitality room, a.k.a. freshen-up room, or as I like to call it, “I have a late flight but I need to shower before going to the airport” room. Unlike most other hotels where they ‘invite you to use the fitness facilities to freshen up,’ the West Hotel Sydney has a very spacious ‘powder room,’ just in case the late check-out does not cut it.
Lounge and Dine
The Solander Bar at the West Hotel Sydney is, to put it simply, chilled. It knows it cannot be the next fancy nightclub, so it becomes the next chilled cocktail bar with chilled house music on. Facing Sussex Street on the ground floor, watch the world go by over a nice little drink.
Or perhaps chill in the winter garden that opens out from the bar with your nice little drink and a little nibble from Solander Dining before an evening out on the town, a fancy dinner at King Street Wharf, or just because. A bit apt to wine and dine in a venue named after a botanist that somehow feels like a green house.
Readers will know my love affair with Sydney. Interestingly enough, I used to live down the road on Liverpool Street, and after that across the harbour in Pyrmont, and having to pass the neighbourhood the West Hotel is in. I can say, without a doubt, it is a funky little neighbourhood.
While the rest of the CBD is primarily a 9 to 5 spot, and gets quiet after office hours, adjoining Barangaroo, King Street Wharf and Darling Harbour are among the CDB’s entertainment hotspots. As Barangaroo continues to develop, with more space opening up as more urban development comes to completion, expect more entertainment life here, and little gems amidst this ‘fancy office park.’
And the Rooms?
The rooms are very well appointed and spacious, among the larger ones in the CBD. The double-glazed windows will make the Eastern Distributor Expressway next to you seem almost non-existent, as you see the traffic but do not hear it.
The bed is spacious and comfortable, with a cosy seating area in a corner, with an adequate work space. The wardrobe is open, could be better but the finishing and detail is really nice. Try and spot the bird as you hang your dress shirts.
The bathroom is adequate, with polished counter tops, tasteful mirror décor, good lighting and a very responsive rainforest shower. I want to say it is as generic as it comes, but it is a good middle ground between the otherwise bland standard hotel bathroom and over-the-top design-inspired throne of a toilet. The Bluetooth in-room sound system is an added plus, and very powerful!
If you want a smaller property in a quiet yet not too quiet part of Sydney that does not cost a ludicrous amount, be close to public transport and airport connections, and be within decent walking distance to the sights, sounds and smells of Sydney, I would put a hand up for the West Hotel Sydney. While it is not as close as the Four Seasons to the Royal Botanic Gardens for my morning run, the warm-up through Martin Place makes up for it!
Booking?: I booked online on the Hilton website. Look out for deals!
Address?: West Hotel Sydney, Curio Collection by Hilton,
65 Sussex Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia
Nearest Station: Wynyard Station
Peak Season?: Hard to say for a major destination like Sydney, but year end and late February-early March around Sydney Pride would definitely be packed
Jason is a world traveller and avid seeker of high perches, on a mission to capture the unique experiences that makes destinations iconic.