Sydney is a magical city. Its modern city skyline, picturesque bridges, and famous amphitheater only begin to frame out the wonder of this city.
We looked forward to the conveniences of the “first world” that Australia had to offer after spending nearly two years in developing countries in Southeast Asia. But even our high expectations were exceeded when we got there.
Being from Connecticut our best reference to a big city is New York City, and Sydney had all the same charm of a historic city, but a lot less dilapidation. For a good-sized city, Sydney was sparkling clean, car traffic flowed steadily, and healthy people bustled through impeccably kept parks and sidewalks.
We stayed in the old city area called The Rocks which offered all the enchantment of The Village in New York where quintessential brick buildings and brownstones danced on the bay, sidewalks were lined with trees, attractive classic street lamps and outdoor cafes and pubs that were teeming with activity. Cobblestones streets lined the way as we walked for hours exploring the quaint area.
Right in the middle of this picturesque setting was our hotel – Holiday Inn Old Sydney. It was several tiers more attractive than your average Holiday Inn. The lobby was huge and cavernous but inviting. A perpetual fire crackled in the pub fireplace and people relaxed on the couches with their laptops.
Our two connecting rooms had wonderfully comfortable beds and pillows, huge TVs, fridges, complimentary coffee and tea, bath robes, and beautiful views of the city. The staff was also very helpful with directions and in letting us check in early. Parking was available free of charge and a convenience store was located next to the hotel.
For amenities there’s a heated rooftop pool with sweeping views, a fitness center, a business center, a full restaurant, a pub for happy hour, room service, and much more -- but still offered affordable pricing. The one issue was the fact that Internet was through a third party and quite expensive but that is quite common for Australia. (they are starting to offer free wifi to loyalty members next month)
The hotel was a short walk to many restaurants and shops, but most importantly, to the jetty where the ferries were located. This was ultra-convenient when we ventured to the Taronga Zoo. It also happens to be where the Opera house is and a train station for easy access to the entire city.
One of the more unique aspects to the hotel, particularly for parents, is the fact that children eat and stay for free, a welcome benefit in a city known for its high costs. 18 and under stay free while 12 and under can eat free with an adult in any of the restaurants in the hotel. This coupled with the well appointed rooms, low cost, great walking neighborhood, and amazing pool views really sets Holiday Inn apart from the others when it comes to where to stay in Sydney with a family!