Bondi is a real draw card for short term stays and accommodation are a dime a dozen. If unplanned, your experience can range from 'get me out of here,' to 'I'm in paradise.' I can testify to both during my last visit. Initially, I booked a venue right opposite the beach for a stay of under a week. Now, if you're anything like me and you appreciate the outdoors, you can fool yourself into thinking that wherever you decide to crash for the night is insignificant compared to the lure of striking side-walks or the shore's delightful vista of sea-loving creatures, whose fascination with fitness has created another attraction of its own; bondicandy – a term I've created with a chuckle to describe the Bondi body beauties who are locally magnetised in abundance.
It Pays to Research
I would have to agree with Jody Kimber's article on 'Sydney beaches;' that the beach is 'an ultimate escape.' Escape, however, was what I needed to do the moment I stepped into a burrow I had decided upon based on budget. Despite my host's best intentions, the standards were below par and I found myself busily leaving messages with other accommodation venues at 4:00am in the morning. Imagine my relief when owner and manager of Number 71, which is a charming guesthouse in Bondi, called back stating that there was a room available for the following two days. I wasted much time for lack of planning and research. Luckily, Number 71 was a gem. Click here for more advice regarding accommodation in Sydney.
Accommodation and Locale
I checked in at the inconvenient time of 6:30am and was greeted by Phylli Grey, a talented artist and former female tradie whose smile stretched wide with warmth and welcome. A Bondi resident since 1985, Phylli developed the concept for Number 71 through her travels to France, Italy and Spain where pension-style accommodation celebrates décor of a by-gone era. Phylli is an advocate of recyclable materials and has spent the last ten years painting, sculpting and landscaping using such materials. Number 71 is a monument to her work. You can discover more activities with recyclable materials here.
Green is gold as far as I'm concerned and the leafy environ creates a relaxing atmosphere. If you decide to take a walk in the garden you'll find original ceramic tile designs encompassing the property. The rooms have a patio for outdoor contemplation, books galore and artwork to inspire.
The most impressive room for me, however, was the bathroom. I spent a little longer than usual blow drying my hair and brushing my teeth in what seemed to me to be a different world. When you walk in, you'll feel like you are entering a cavern of creativity. The allure is that there are no straight lines anywhere, not even the taps.
In the dining room you can relax with a cup of tea and look forward to a scrumptious breakfast in the morning. Presently, Number 71 has an affiliation with a local organic café; About Life whose servings are ample and delicious. The catering may alter in the future to offer variety.
Another advantage for those relying on public transport is that Number 71 is just five minutes walk to the bus stop and ten minutes walk to the Bondi Junction train station. There, you can also catch a bus to take you to the beach and enjoy the numerous activities on offer including yoga, swimming, surfing, shopping and skating. If you think that this little town gets sleepy during winter, think again. Geraldine Massey talks about Bondi Winter Magic where you can skate on ice right by the beach and enjoy fashion, food, music and markets. Now that's my idea of heaven.
If you're on a budget, think carefully. A little extra spent on the right venue will leave you feeling like the trip was worthwhile. I paid $100 per night at Number 71. It included breakfast, an environment that felt like home and I also had great conversations with the other guests as well as Phylli. It's a great place to stay and as long as you're OK with man's best friend greeting you at the door, you'll feel like it was totally worthwhile.