Just booked my return flight on American Airlines for both my daughter and I LAX-SYD for 4 days over Thanksgiving ($737 per person and hope for my upgrades to come through).
I read in the past 2 days someone had made suggestions for Sydney hotels. Please let me know your thoughts and why you would recommend a particular hotel as I seem to recall one offered views of the harbor bridge and Opera House. Thanks! Phil
I also am planning a trip there. I would be interested in what everyone has to say. I am debating between the Pier One Sidney Harbour and the Sydney Harbour Marriott. Leaning towards Pier One because of the uniqueness of it. But would love some first hand knowledge to help assist in decision making. Thanks for posing this question!
702rugbyref, you'll hopefully get some better feedback than what I'm about to give, having never stayed at either one, but I am pretty familiar with Sydney's CBD and it's harbour. Both properties look very nice, and I bet you will likely have a very good stay at either. Don't know if you planning on hiring a car, but both properties have stupendous parking fees and the parking at Circular Quay Marriott is very limited.
For the Autograph property, it looks like the PROS are: proximity to the water and what would appear to have a greater chance of being upgraded to a water/harbour bridge view, and it's pretty close to The Rocks, which is a cool little historical locale, whereas the CONS are that you will have a good .7 mile walk just to Circular Quay and back each day (unless you employ taxis), which is where the beginning of all of the action is. Now if you have good legs, perhaps you won't find that to be a negative.
For the Circular Quay Marriott, the PROS are: you are right in the thick of the action, with a maybe view of the Opera House. Can't think of any CONS, to be honest. Depends on what kind of stay you're looking for. Sydney is urbane, but with lots of water, so if you stay at Circular Quay, there is still lots of opportunity to be near water, with the harbour, it's ferries and of course the beaches. Sydney is an incredible walking city with many wonderful things to see and do.
Have fun! I'm jealous.
Thanks very much. I was there in 2003 but stayed in Gosford so use to drive or train into Sydney daily. I was planning on renting a car and saw the parking fees are crazy! I may look into Hilton and see what they have to offer as well. Very expensive there I see. I looked at both properties on line and may use points to offset. Only 3 nights with my youngest daughter.
Greetings from Sydney, Australia!
As someone who has stayed at both properties, and frequents both for meetings and leisure, I would suggest the Pier One- Autograph Collection.
Pier one is only a short walk to Circular Quay, it is along the harbour foreshore and certainly worth it. No, there is no executive lounge, but the restaurant is outstanding- considered a real standout in Sydney. The hotel is close to an arts precinct, and the views are quite good. Has a great bar, and the property itself is remanent of an older Sydney- albeit with the mod cons. If you're an elite, they will look after you well.
The Marriott Hotel is in a good location, however the views aren't always great. There is currently no restaurant- this was supposed to reopen in January, however the haven't even started the refurb work as yet. The bar is a bit dark, but otherwise good. There is a second bar at the back of the property, and this is frequented by many local professionals who's offices are nearby after work.
There is an executive lounge, and it is pretty good. By far the best in Australia, and would beat any exec lounge in the US I have visited in a Marriott or a JW property.
If I had my choice, I would opt for Pier One.. Given the time of year you are coming, it the location is ideal.
Hope this helps!
beaug, great stuff. I too am thinking (and esp after reading your comments) that the Autograph would be the more enjoyable property, but was just considering that for such a short visit, the convenience of the location of the Marriott would be helpful for time management, and also considering that perhaps not a lot of time would be spent in the hotel. The foreshore harbour trails are lovely for walking, though if I only had 3-4 days, I'd be on a ferry to Watson's Bay and The Gap and the like, Manly Beach, etc. Do you know the best way to get to Bondi, Tamerama and Bronte without a car? It looks like you can take the rail to Bondi Junction on the eastern suburbs line, but then what? Close enough to walk?
702rugbyref, there is a wonderful trail between Bondi and Bronte with gorgeous scenery.
Also, love the food in Sydney. So many great restaurants and varying cuisine. Chain restaurants never caught on there, which is a good thing.
pluto77. In all honesty, the two properties aren't that far away from each other. You can see the Pier One Autograph Collection from the Marriott, and well, you can see the Marriott from most places in the downtown area. They're both in the same area, so it wouldn't matter too much.
Public transport in Sydney is plentiful. There is a mix of trains, ferries, buses and light rail. You can easily take a train to Bondi Junction, then jump on a bus down to Bondi Beach- or, just take a bus direct to Bondi Beach (route 333!); you can then walk to Bronte- it is a stunning walk.
You can access most things in Sydney, and surrounds on public transport. There is a single ticketing system used across all modes, so you just need to place some $$ on the card, and tap on/off.. Its pretty straight forward.
Hope it helps.
EXACTLY what I am looking for and thank you! My daughter who will be with me is 20 yrs old. I presume there is much to do in this vicinity for 3 days. Given I will have my daughter with me, would you still recommend the Pier One over Marriott? The restaurant issue is not that important for us as we will probably be eating out and about.
mrbmbrown, we are planning Sydney,and I priced out the bridge climb for our family of four. It would set us back $922 AUD total. Is it really worth it? Anyone?
Sydney really isn't THAT expensive, the greatest expense is likely your accomodation! Everything else can be done at minimal costs. You can get great food, drinks, see the sights on a budget.
Keep in mind, Sydney is a big city, it is developed just like any other western city- so the costs are going to be higher than say, Mexico or Asia. I would say though, for the things you do pay for, the quality is high, the foods are fresh, tasty and by far better than the average you would get in the states.
Also, with the exchange rate, you shouldn't do too bad, the AUD is sitting pretty low against the USD at the moment (and has been doing so all year). Don't buy cash in the US, buy it in Australia- it will cost you far less (and don't buy it at the airport)- there are many forex places in the downtown area. My suggestion is AmericanExpress Foreign Exchange- there are many sellers throughout Sydney, and the conversion is generally pretty good.
Ferries are probably the priciest of all public transport options in Sydney, however with an Opal card, once you hit either 8 trips, or $50 (whichever comes first) on any of the public transport mediums- everything thereafter is free. Also, all public transport (including the ferries) is capped at $2.50 on Sundays, so you can go anywhere and everywhere (even up to Newcastle and Gosford, and down the coast to Wollongong for just $2.50 on a Sunday).
There's also free buses in the downtown area (which is common in most major Australian cities).
Yes the Opal Card works for the airport train. Keep in mind that if you purchase one from a kiosk you will need a Chip + Pin credit card. The Chip + Signature credit cards will not work at the kiosk. However the Airport station does have a staffed ticket booth in addition to the kiosks.
Thanks. And they speak English in Australia, correct? J/K!! Maybe not but that's a whole other discussion. I think you mentioned to put an amount on the Card and recharge, correct? Am I able to use one card for both myself and my daughter or do we each need our own? Cheers Phil
No English in Australia, just Australian ...
Each person will need their own opal card- you load funds onto it when you get first get the card. Each journey you take you will "tap on" as you start, and then "tap off" as you finish- the cost is deducted from your balance.
Hint- If you have three or more people, don't take the train from the airport. The airport stations are privately operated on behalf of the state, and as such, there's a surcharge of around $15 on top of your fare, for using these stations (airport stations only- the rest dont have a surcharge). Depending on the time of day you arrive, just jump in a taxi to your hotel- it will work out considerably less with 3+ people.
beaug, thanks for the tips. I've heard there is a special language in Australia called "Strine". I'm afraid my only exposure to this strange new language has been Crocodile Dundee or Steve Irwin As I mentioned in an earlier post, I called Qantas awhile back, and the agent could not understand most of what I said. Apparently my Minnesota accent was completely undecipherable to her!
Haha.. 'strayan! We don't all sound like that! It's more of an accentuated accent, gets stronger as you go west ! But in the east, we're fairly neutral, well, in Sydney, Melbourne or Canberra at least.
You're lucky that you actually were connected to Australia when you called Qantas! Depending on the time of day it could be New Zealand, Philippines, or Australia.
Hopefully you enjoy it when you come. Although I am overseas with my work at the moment, I'm not looking forward to the cold, rain and flooding when I return to Sydney tomorrow.
From a local...
I have completed the bridge climb whilst taking some clients (from the US) around Sydney, after a busy week of meetings. Would I do the bridge climb again? Probably not, it is really expensive, and you can get the same views from so many other places in Sydney (hint, check out the bar at the top of the Shangri-la hotel.. The view is stunning, or the Sydney Tower Eye (tallest building in Sydney). However, if you are only here once, and want to experience the thrill of being on top of a windy bridge on a beautiful Spring / Summer day, do it!
Alternatively, you can just walk over the bridge, and take a Ferry to Taronga Zoo or Manly, and check out Sydney from the water.. A lot cheaper.
beaug, thank you for your comments. I think we will just walk across and save our money for some GBR excursions. Any recommendations on those? We are staying at the Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas because we have some SPG points to burn, and it looks like it's right on the beach unlike the Marriott in Cairns.
I'm actually a bit jealous, I have never been to the Great Barrier Reef, been to Cairns plenty of times for work, but have never got to the reef... I have heard it is magical!
I've stayed at the Sheraton Mirage in Port Douglas, for an older property it is alright... Good choice, esp with the SPG points. I recently used up a chunk of my SPG points in Hiroshima in Japan at a fairly basic Sheraton... Made me appreciate the Marriotts!
Unfortunately there's only two (well... three if you believe marriott.com) Marriott properties in Queensland (the state) at the moment, Brisbane and the Gold Coast (Surfers Paradise), nothing up near Cairns or the GBR- I think Sharaton is your best bet up there.
It all seems odd. I am an Aussie, talking about Australia, sitting in a downtown LA hotel at the moment.
Stayed at both properties, Pier One is far better. Larger rooms, nicer views. They dont have an EL, but offer free Craft Beers in the evening in the lobby bar. If you need to get around, buy an OPAL card at the airport news-stand. Its like a prepaid transport card, which you can use on the trains and the buses. Getting a refund is fairly painful unless you plan to return sometime soon, so only reload for about 25-30 AUD per head. Should get you through the 4-5 days i guess. You can always reload if you're running low. Walking area around Pier One is really good with some great restaurants and easy access to boats to get you to Taronga Zoo etc. Marriott doesn't have too much of a view. You'd be lucky to catch a sliver of the Opera house from about a half mile away from the hotel upper windows.
I have booked my three nights at the AC Pier One hotel. Thank you for the advice. I presume the train from the airport takes me nearby? Would you happen to know the cost? The POINTS GUY had a fairly good article this past weekend on what to do in Sydney.
The Pier One hotel is about a 15minute walk from the Circular Quay Train Station while the Sydney Harbour Marriott is about a 2-3 minute walk. Last March I stayed one week at the Sydney Harbour Marriott for my honeymoon. I really like the location of the Marriott over the Pier One hotel as it was much closer to many attractions and also offered the lounge which really came in handy for a 7 night stay. But I agree with others that the Pier One hotel would likely provide more scenic views.
702rugbyref, how did you request the upgrades? Just hoping to get them or are you on a standby list and hoping to pay with points, or what? I was hoping to buy economy and use points to upgrade to SYD on UA, but about 99% of the flight put you on a wait list with no guarantee. Spouse will divorce me if we end up in economy!
702rugbyref, one more thing. Last time I checked, Sydney Harbour Marriott's CL was being remodeled, and they had a temp CL set up in a conference room. I'm guessing it will be done by Thanksgiving, and maybe it's even done already.
The executive lounge at the Sydney Harbour Marriott has finally finished being remodelled, and is open again.
The disappointing thing is, they haven't bothered to do anything with the slated lobby and restaurant upgrades- despite there being signage throughout the lobby that it was going to be completed in "early 2016"...