Story and photos by Sharon King Hoge
488 George Street,
Sydney NSW, 2000
If "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones," as the saying goes, don't carry even so much as a pebble when you check into the glorious glass box that is the Hilton Sydney. The four lower public floors are a transparent showcase housing the reception desk, and upper public rooms in gleaming clear glass, a shimmering tower of transparency. And another maxim that applies to this stylish hotel is "location, location, location" for the hotel is poised right in the center of the city's busy shopping and business district with three handy entrances: one facing the classic Victorian market on main thoroughfare George Street, another on busy parallel Pitt Street, and a third on the handy passageway linking the two busy streets.
Greeted by bellmen at the central door, you're pointed across the polished marble lobby to an efficient check in desk beside a swirling multi-story statue which thrusts upstairs through the lobby. Your eyes follow its twists upward through to the restaurants and bars upstairs while across the way on the building next door ledges of plantings provide a green accent.
After receiving your key, you're sent up to a room that is compact, convenient and comfortable. Facing you on the far wall as you enter is a window with wonderful cityscape views. (compact comfortable room) Beside the king size bed, an efficient desk is "communications central" with plenty of outlets, a clock radio alarm with CD player, DVD player, electric controls to close the black-out window blinds. All switches are clearly labeled to avoid confusion, Cards on the desk tell you what band is playing in the Marble Bar downstairs and invite you to call the front desk if in need of a book to read yourself to sleep.
A comfortable green suede armchair is paired with a stool that can double as a storage surface, supplementing the luggage ledge located above three handy spacious drawers. A card beside the king size bed offers a choice of pillows including the "boomerang" for TV watchers and book readers and the "silent night" with a gusset for neck support. Smoked glass cabinet doors conceal the coffee machine and refrigerator. The closet is stocked with a safe, ironing board, slippers, and a roomy terry robe.
The bathroom is a design delight with a basin alcove which provides plenty of space for setting out your own cosmetics as well as the supply of Peter Thomas Roth amenities which is the chain's trademark brand. The space also handily accommodates a full tub and a shower with the unusual feature of handles on a side wall enabling you to turn it on and adjust the temperature without dousing yourself in the process.
Fitness facilities are provided next door in the Living Well Health Club, the largest hotel gym in Australia, outfitted with state of the art Precor machines, spaces for cardio and resistance training, a 25 meter swimming pool, and classrooms for 60 exercise sessions per week. (exercising in the health club) Since outside subscriptions are sold it's an opportunity to find yourself working out and mingling with local residents. The hotel rents bicycles for those who want to pedal around town or tour the spacious parks just a few blocks away.
Drawing inspiration from the origins of Greek mythology where it is said that Alyssum is a place where the gods go to rest, the Alysium Day Spa offers hot stone and body clay treatments based on authentic natural healing methods gathered from cultures around the globe. A special jet lag treatment with reviving oils and hydrating gels uplifts and rejuvenates after the long flights from overseas. Pierre Haddad Hair Management is a full service salon with state- of the-art treatments for thermal reconditioning and extensions in addition to simple cuts, color, blow dry. (space to relax in Alysium spa)
In addition to room service, there are many tempting nearby dining choices. The hotel recommends a list of favorites in the "Travel Guide" it provides, but there are excellent choices within the hotel itself. Breakfast, snacks and cocktails are served to Hilton Honors guests on the executive floor (Executive lounge) The Glass Brasserie is an Australian interpretation of the classic French eatery. In its internationally acclaimed interior created by New York designer Tony Chi the open plan "kitchen theater" serves menus based on the abundant choice of local produce and devised by noted chef Luke Mangan. Caffe Cino in the stylish glass lobby is a place to linger over the complimentary newspaper with a cup of cappuccino or flat white -- Australians take their coffee very seriously. Besides light lunches, afternoon tea, wine, the Caffe provides takeaway snacks and beverages.
For cocktails the hotel offers contrasting options. Tapas, oysters, and cheese are served in the Glass Wine Bar with 440 boutique wines in 3000 bottles spanning the entire length of the space. Zeta is described as a "progressive" cocktail bar, where a sophisticated local crowd comes to sample playful and cutting edge cocktails concocted by noted mixologist Grant Collins. -- the deconstructed Margarita comes bathed in a fog of dry ice and the "smoke and mirrors" includes an entire frozen pear. (deconstructed Margarita) With plush leather chairs, Moroccon-style nooks and an indoor/outdoor terrace with unique and breathtaking views of the charming clock on Victoria Market across the street -- it is literally a place for those who want to "rock around the clock." (Breathtaking view of Victorian market) Or there's the choice of the hotel's Marble Bar, a trip back in time Victorian bar vintage 1893 it's marble arches and elaborate carvings have been fastidiously reconstructed. A popular live music venue, it's a cozy and historic place to sip Pimm's Cups before departing back through the lobby into the shiny ultra modern era.
© June 2015 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.