Everything in life is subjective, I think you’ll agree! Whether it be one’s definition of beauty; what constitutes good music or art, or even good food. So, inevitably, the same principle must apply to other, more mundane things such as the type of accommodation one chooses when one travels abroad. I can live it up with the best of them when it comes to staying in opulent 5-star hotels such as Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons but usually given a choice, I always prefer to opt for a self-catering alternative — and for a number of reasons. The first one is obviously cost but I also like the wherewithal to rustle up a snack late at night without having to take out a second mortgage on the house in order to cover the cost of room service. It’s also handy if i want to catch up on some laundry or just have some more space to myself as your average, run-of-the-mill self catering unit will invariably be much larger than its hotel counterpart. Indeed, three or four years ago, I stayed in an amazing condominium in the Ramada in Dubai with commanding views over the nearby Burj Dubai and fountains which contained two bedrooms, three bathrooms, a utility room, full kitchen and living room complete with huge wraparound balcony, and all for just €130 per night!
More recently, I had occasion to spend three nights in Sydney, Australia and was looking for somewhere reasonably central in the Rocks area of the city as I was having problems with my Achilles tendon at the time and so couldn’t walk very much. After a bit of research (it’s amazing what a good travel agent can find!) came across a great property which is a member of the Accor Hotel chain, called Quay West Suites. I could not have asked for a better location. Sandwiched between the Shangri La on one side and the Four Seasons on the other, the Suites are located just a matter of four or five minutes walk from both the Rocks and Quays area of the city centre. My suite was a one-bedroomed apartment with an open plan kitchen and living room area, together with a separate bathroom. The kitchen contained a full cooker, microwave, washing machine, dishwasher and dryer and the building itself features a 24-hour reception and check-in area, just like any hotel. There is a small bar/restaurant area upstairs which I didn’t use and there are plenty of local shops and supermarkets located nearby where you can buy all the essentials like tea bags, bread, eggs, alcohol, cooked meats etc. Avoid the small supermarket that is located down one floor at the back of the building as the prices are quite expensive but adequate enough to cater for your needs when you first check-in — particularly if you arrive in late at night or are tired and don’t want to go exploring an unfamiliar downtown area in a big city!
It boasts an indoor rooftop swimming pool, jacuzzi and sauna and small gym and has spectacular views over the downtown harbour area that takes in both the Sydney bridge and Opera House. The photo that accompanies this blog post is actually taken from the pool area on the 22nd floor.