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Published June 9th 2015
Escape from real life to a 5 star hotel
I'm sure you've heard of the Shangri-La of literature - described as an earthly paradise, an idyllic hideaway or an imaginary place where life approaches perfection. While perfection is difficult to achieve in real-life, this hotel experience comes very close.
When I consider booking accommodation in a 5 star hotel, I expect luxury, a sense of space, fabulous facilities, attention to detail and excellent service. It has been my experience that not all 5 star hotels live up to these expectations, however the Shangri-La Sydney does deliver in each of these areas.
Located in Cumberland Street Sydney, the Shangri-La is perched at the southern end of the Harbour Bridge, close to the CBD and The Rocks. It is not much to look at from the outside, however the hotel more than makes up for its uninspiring exterior with its tasteful and luxurious interior and the panoramic views of Sydney Harbour on offer.
The Shangri-La is literally a stone's throw away from the historic cobblestone streets of The Rocks district. Within a five minute walk of the hotel there are numerous pubs and cafes, The Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre and Circular Quay to explore.
At the Shangri-La Sydney porters await your arrival under the porte-co•chère. The lobby is tastefully decorated and spacious but as our stay coincided with the VIVID festival we found it to be very crowded and busy at all times. The check in time for arrival is 3pm.
The hotel website boasts of "565 of the most spacious and luxurious guestrooms and suites among Sydney hotels" and I would have to agree with this statement. The guest rooms are large containing king sized beds, a large writing desk, a comfortable chair and coffee table and flat screen television. Other attractive inclusions are the full sized wardrobe with ample hanging space, iron and ironing board and free Wi-Fi.
Apart from the Opera House City View rooms, there are also Harbour Bridge or Darling Harbour View rooms to choose from.
While the bed was comfortable and spacious we found our pillows to be much too soft. However if you do need to change your pillows you can find a "pillow menu" on the Hotel Information channel accessible through the television.
When it comes to dining in the hotel there are a number of options to choose from. Café Mix is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers both a buffet and an à la carte menu.
The Lobby Lounge on the Ground Floor is a convenient and comfortable place for a coffee or a drink, before or after exploring the city, and is open all day. There is a Tapas menu in the evening or you can opt for a sweet treat from Executive Pastry Chef Anna Polyviou.
Altitude Restaurant (Image credit: Shangri-La Hotel Sydney)
Altitude Restaurant is located on Level 36 and is open for dinner only. The restaurant offers a fine dining experience and contemporary Australian cuisine whilst providing the ultimate Sydney Harbour view. During our stay we had other dinner plans so we did not try any of the restaurants in the hotel.
Blu Bar on Level 36 overlooks Darling Harbour. I had been looking forward to chilling out in this bar with a glass of wine and enjoying the fabulous views. However the bar was extremely busy, even in the afternoon, and I couldn't get near the windows for a look. We waited for around 20 minutes to order drinks at the bar but were not even close to being served before we decided to cut our losses and go elsewhere. As I mentioned earlier we were staying during the VIVID festival which probably accounts for the crowds. Nevertheless it was disappointing as it was not the experience I had been hoping for.
During our stay, for research purposes of course, we treated ourselves to a Room Service dessert. We chose the Chocolate Fondue for 2 from the room service menu. It was delivered quickly and we were not disappointed. The platter included marshmallows, honeycomb wedges, cinnamon churros, macaroons and fruit with a chocolate dipping sauce. It was delicious and more than enough, even for two.
Another facility offered at the Shangri-La Sydney is the Health Club with its indoor swimming pool, gymnasium, Jacuzzi and sundeck.
Or if it is a spa treatment you crave, the Shangri-La has an inhouse day spa called CHI. The spa offers massages and treatments based on authentic natural healing methods found in traditional well-being practices shared by many Asian cultures.
You can find the Spa menu here.
Unfortunately during our short stay we didn't have time to enjoy the CHI Spa or the indoor pool and gym.
The Shangri-La (on the right) lights up during VIVID
Rooms at the Shangri-La Sydney start from $295 per night.
To check availability or to make a reservation click here.
The check out time is 11am and there is an express check out service available which we found very convenient.
We enjoyed our stay at the Shangri-La Hotel Sydney and found the service to be excellent, with the staff professional and friendly. The guest room and public areas of the hotel were all well maintained and of a 5 star quality. While we were disappointed with the Blu Bar, the rest of the stay ran smoothly and the highlight was the amazing view from our room, where we could sit in comfort and enjoy the lights of VIVID without all the crowds. If you want an escape from the everyday, an idyllic hideaway or a 5 star luxury hotel experience, the Shangri-La Hotel Sydney is the perfect choice.