My global schedule often results in business trips to Sydney with a wide selection of quality deluxe-class hotels dotting the city. In addition to the Westin Sydney, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide has another five-star landmark hotel in the heart of the CBD.
Named best luxury accommodation in the 2011 NSW Tourism Awards, Sheraton on the Park combines classic art deco with contemporary into a stylish city hotel with views of the tree-lined Hyde Park.
It is an excellent location for accessing Australia's largest free Christmas concert, Woolworths' Carols in the Domain. Conveniently located in the retail and business district, I can be in and out of the trendy shopping malls of Westfield and David Jones during the sales periods.
A leisurely stroll along Elizabeth Street and I'm at the Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay and the Rocks for live entertainment and good feed. These and several other reasons make Sheraton on the Park one of my favourite bases for work and leisure especially during the Christmas season.
The first visual impact when you enter this stylish city hotel is the grand foyer entrance and the marriage of classic and contemporary décor with a selection of local and internationally sourced furniture, fittings and materials. This is the result of AUD40 million enhancements over the past 5 years to public areas, restaurants, spa and 48 luxury suites in order to keep this veteran property relevant to the evolving Sydney market.
Popular with business travellers and conference guests, the scene in the lobby may not be very different from the busy Elizabeth Street. Despite best attempts at front office and concierge the queues can get long at check-in and check-out times and the lines blurred at the SPG Platinum and Gold counter. These are the times when I welcome the private check-in and check-out at the Sheraton Club Lounge where at least I can wait with a drink or a small nibble.
Club Lounge / Image courtesy of Sheraton on the Park
Located on the 21st floor, the Club Lounge offers vista of the park, city and harbour while enjoying breakfast, drinks through the day, evening canapés and afternoon tea on weekends. In addition to these services, I must commend the team manning the Lounge for their efforts to meet all my demands including daily meeting arrangements, mails, transport and meals. It is my office and living room in Sydney.
Club Lounge / Image courtesy of Sheraton on the Park
For all in-house guests trying to connect with friends or home or a larger work space, the Link@Sheraton in the lobby offers complimentary wireless internet, computer docking stations, a communal lounge area with light refreshments, meals and reading materials 24 hours a day.
Hyde Park View Room / Image courtesy of Sheraton on the Park
All 557 rooms in Sheraton on the Park are styled with touches of art décor and contemporary, and come equipped with the modern comforts and state-of the-art amenities you would expect from a 5-star hotel including the signature Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Bed with its nine layers of plushness.
City View Room / Image courtesy of Sheraton on the Park
Starting from 40 sqm for the City Side and Hyde Park View rooms to 70 sqm for the Executive Suites, the rooms are generally larger than other city hotels, with ample living and wardrobe space for all the shopping bags.
Executive Suite / Image courtesy of Sheraton on the Park
Spacious residential-styled living in also available in the hotel with luxury suites sized between 80 sqm to 120 sqm. Private balconies with panoramic views over Sydney and Hyde Park are a feature of some of these refurbished suites including the 4 Deluxe Terrace Suites on the 18th floor. I look forward to the prospect of a luxurious romantic escapade in the city in the one and only 90 sqm Terrace Spa Suite on level 21.
Food & Beverage
Botanica Brasserie / Image courtesy of Sheraton on the Park
One of my favourite places and meals whenever I'm in Sydney is the seafood buffet at the Botanica Brasserie restaurant. It doesn't boast the largest spread in Sydney for AUD85 on a weekday evening but I'm a nibbler and enjoy the tight selection of quality oysters, prawns, bay bugs, yabbies, smoked salmon, sushi, salads, hot dishes, carvery station and deserts.
During the Christmas season, the long buffet bar that runs in the middle of the restaurant is covered with festive decorations and favourites like glazed leg of ham and roast beef appeared more frequently. The food quality and service levels are usually well maintained even during busy times with star waiters, friendly cooks and the occasional slip ups.
Conservatory Bar / Image courtesy of Sheraton on the Park
Located next to Botanica Brasserie is the Conservatory Bar, another favourite space for chilling out over a beer or cocktail in the comfy chairs or standing by the aquamarine glowing bar counter with friendly staff. Despite the name, there is nothing greenhouse-typical about the bar except for the uninterrupted views of Hyde Park from the terrace and the wealth of sunlight reaching in through the large windows. For privacy, there are some areas partitioned off by stylish high-backed banquettes.
The Gallery Tea Lounge on the ground floor with its stylish yet classic décor is a popular venue for quick lunches, business meetings over coffee and an afternoon tea buffet during the weekends with homemade cakes, sandwiches, salads, fruit and light snacks.
With 18 function and meetings, Sheraton on the Park is one of the city's largest conference hotels. It also features meeting suites that allow guests to conduct high definition video conference calls with life-size imagery. Having held two successful events in different spaces, the hotel is one of my office's preferred meetings venues in the city.
The pillarless Grand Ballroom with natural light is excellent for conferences and banquets of up to 900 people. The 'Times On The Park' room has a private foyer with abundant light and views over Hyde Park and St Mary's Cathedral for 70 to 180 persons.
There is also a large and completely secured event space in the basement with its own pre-function space ideal for all-in-one meetings, meals, refreshments and evening drinks. Small meetings are easily accommodated in 5 separate boardrooms on the 5th level which also features an outdoor terrace.
With its modern meeting facilities and professional banquet staff, it is no wonder that Sheraton on the park received the Australian Hotels Association (NSW) Awards for Excellence 2011 as the function venue of the Year. The hotel was also inducted into the Hall of Fame for 'Function Venue of the Year 2011' having won this award for 3 consecutive years in New South Wales, cementing the property's reputation for delivering high standards of quality, innovation and professionalism in meetings and events.