After flying 21 hours from Boston to Sydney and covering more than 10,000 miles in the air, when I arrived in Sydney I only had one thing on my mind and that was getting to my hotel. I wanted (needed?) a shower, clean clothes, and food. With bags in tow, I headed directly to my hotel, Pier One Sydney Harbour in Sydney, Australia.
Pier One Sydney Harbour is an Autograph Collection Hotel. What is the Autograph Collection? It is “an evolving ensemble of strikingly independent hotels. Exactly like nothing else, each destination has been selected for its quality, bold originality, rich character and uncommon details. From near to far, iconic to historic, the result is an array of properties that is nothing less than unique, nothing short of collectively exceptional.” Knowing that, I definitely wanted to stay at Pier One Sydney Harbour, especially after staying at another Autograph Collection Hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland, The Glasshouse Edinburgh, where I had a spectacular stay.
I’ve never denied it when I’ve been called stubborn and this day was no different. While I could’ve taken a cab from the airport or even from the Circular Quay Station, I opted instead to walk to the hotel. After all, it’s Sydney and I wanted to absorb every second of the view for as long as possible. The 1.1 km walk was supposed to take 14 minutes, but admittedly, I was tired, it was hot, and there were hills. It didn’t take longer than 20 minutes, but if I were to do it again, I’d most definitely take a cab.
Pier One Sydney Harbour is located in the heart of The Rocks with easy access to Sydney’s historic dining and entertainment area as well the CBD. Once you enter the hotel on Dickson Road, don’t go too far. The front desk is literally right inside the front door. In the first picture to the right you can see the concierge desk on the right hand side. The check in desk is in the same spot on the left side. It’s quite strange because I initially wanted to walk up the steps and I fully expected the front desk to be in the area where there is seating, but no – that’s not the case. Luckily, although we arrived early, we were able to check in and head straight to our room.
TSG Tip: During busy times, queues can form so if you need to get somewhere, plan appropriately as there isn’t much room in this area to stand. This is especially true around check out time.
While I didn’t eat in the restaurant, I did have a few drinks and some appetizers outside on my first afternoon in Sydney. We walked up to the bar inside and asked for a menu as none were out on the bar top or on the tables. After ordering a cheese plate and truffle fries and a few drinks, we then took a seat outside. Drinks were served without a cocktail napkin and no cutlery or napkins were provided until we asked for them.
But the highlight of the experience was the food. The cheese plate I have to say was incredible. The crackers were a nice variety, the fruit was delicious (loved the strawberries and dates!), and the cheese was some of the best I’ve ever had. But the big shocker was the honey, something I don’t normally eat at all. It was really, really good – like scary good! The truffle fries were incredibly addictive, being salty and delicious and a perfect pairing for a beverage or two while sitting outside. Food and drink is a little on the high side, so I did expect the drink to be a bit better than it was, which was mediocre and non-memorable as I can’t recall the name at all. The service, however, was something like the rest of the hotel, which was adequate, but lacking. It wasn’t bad, but it was a whole lot of people going through the motions and that’s about it. Normally I speak with everyone and remember their names, but there wasn’t anyone who did anything special enough to be remembered. They weren’t reserved or rude, but more indifferent.
ACCOMMODATIONS: With a wide choice of rooms and suites to choose from in this 169 room hotel, my stay in Sydney at Pier One Sydney Harbour was in a Waterside King room with Sydney Harbour views. Each room comes with a king size bed, ensuite bathroom, private in-room bar, tea and coffee making facilities, individually climate controlled air conditioning, an LED flat screen T, cotton bathrobe, duvet, in room safe, hairdryer, iron and ironing board, writing desk, and WiFi internet access. The ensuite bathroom features a marble vanity, stainless steel features, and mirrors. An adequate room in total, unfortunately it matched the overall anemic ambiance of the hotel.
View from the Room: While we couldn’t see Sydney Harbour Bridge from our room, to have a water view is still a special treat. The room had sliding glass doors that opened up to a Juliet balcony – a narrow balcony that you could walk out onto, but that’s about it. It would’ve been nice if it were a real balcony, but still much better than a window. In the pictures you can see boats on the water, which is probably normal for the harbour, but on Australia Day the harbour was filled with boats during this spectacular holiday.
Fitness Center: While the fitness center was small, it wasn’t a problem because no one was in there will we used it. One nice touch was the glass wall which gave a view of the water in front of the hotel. Overall, it was clean with a nice variety of equipment including a few treadmills, a bike, and an elliptical as well as weights, medicine balls, etc.
11 Hickson Road
Walsh Bay NSW 2000 Australia