Sultry ... Sydney's Park8 Hotel's deluxe room.
"Ooooh I love the nightlife, I love to boogie ..." so the position of Park8 Hotel has me planning a weekend on the dance floor. On the corner of Park and Castlereagh streets, it's an easy walk, high heels n'all, from the city's nightspots; the throb of Kings Cross is a quick taxi ride away. I'm determined to use this city-centre stay for all its worth. En route to Park8, we indulge in a little window-shopping and linger in the Strand, Westfield Sydney and the Queen Victoria Building. By the time we arrive at the hotel, my mojo is ebbing.
Slipping through the discreet entry on Castlereagh Street, we find ourselves in a little lobby that doubles as a four-seater cafe. The welcome is warm and buzzy, momentarily reviving my footsore fatigue. We're handed over the swipe key to Room 504 and head up in the lift. A dimly lit corridor is lined with fine black-and-white photographs of Hyde Park, reminding me that it's only a block away - another feather in the cap of this location. Ours is a loft room with the living area and kitchenette on entry level and bedroom and bathroom upstairs. The sofa bed could come in handy if you're splitting the bill with friends.
It's an easy walk from the city's nightspots.
A sultry interior of charcoal-grey sofa, ruby-red rug, moss-green carpet and bronze velvet drapes spells sexy by lamplight but by day, it looks a little sombre. Our view is of a towering apartment block across the road so we're trusting Park8's reflective windows for privacy. From the loft level, we spy the autumnal treetops of Hyde Park. Our kitchen is spotless and decked out to cater for four but there are no chairs at the breakfast bench. If we were to take advantage of the dine-in service (ordered from a choice of nearby restaurants including Pendolino and Wagamama), we'd be balancing dinner on our knees.
The tiny Park8 cafe.
Stifling yawns, I kick off my shoes and flick through Time Out magazine. Just reading the lists of all that Sydney's city centre offers exhausts me. Luckily I didn't pack any gym gear, or my guilt may have forced me into using the complimentary access to the neighbouring Fitness First. That big bed upstairs is looking tempting but there's no way I'm going to waste my city break. I fill the deep corner tub in the smart black-and-white bathroom and have a reviving soak.
After a little pre-dinner channel surfing, we hit the pavement and head to Bambini Trust Wine Room for a very grown-up start to our evening. Our hearts sink as we find it closed for a private party. Luckily it was only two minutes' walk away so we turn on our heels and make for the hipper-than-hip Baxter Inn, a hop, skip and jump away. No dice. The queue trails along the cobblestones. Third-time lucky and still in the 'hood, we head for Zeta Bar in The Hilton where a margarita and White Rabbit beer set us back $30 (without a nut to nibble).
Appetites fuelled, we take a two-minute hike into The Galleries on George Street and find a seat on the sushi train at Sushi Hotaru. A delectable dinner of soft-shell crab hand rolls, barbecued scallops Nigiri and enough to fill two hungry diners comes to $25.90. All thoughts of a night out dancing are ditched. Instead, we head back to Park8, stopping by Sunny International (Shop 6, 250 Pitt Street) for a neck-and-shoulder massage.
Ten dollars later, I float out ready for a long night's sleep. The mattress is beyond comfortable and apart from a few sirens (to be expected in the centre of town), we sleep soundly. Breakfast at Park8 is like putting in your lunch order at the tuckshop. Phone in your choice the night before and a brown paper bag with your choice of Emma & Tom's juice, coffee, toast, wraps and banana bread arrives on time. It's quirky and fun and leaves us free to head out in perfect autumn weather.
We wander through Hyde Park and reacquaint ourselves with the Archibald Fountain. Onwards through The Domain and past the Art Gallery of NSW, our destination is Boy Charlton pool. That harbourside heaven doesn't disappoint and after our laps, we stroll back through the Botanic Gardens, light a candle in St Mary's and count our blessings that we call Sydney home.
Where 185 Castlereagh Street, Sydney city centre, (02) 9283 2488. 8hotels.com/sydney-hotels/park8-hotel.
Getting there Take a train or bus to Sydney's Town Hall station and walk three minutes east along Park Street to Castlereagh Street. Turn left and Park8 is one off the corner. Or call ahead to arrange parking at Hilton Secure Parking ($60 for 24 hours).
How much From $155 a night for a standard room, $245 for a deluxe and $275 a night for a one-bedroom loft room. No minimum stay except for special events such as New Year's Eve.
Style statement Edgy nightclub-esque design but with pared-back good looks.
Don't forget Your earplugs. Those sirens were a little annoying.
Perfect for A night on the tiles, a day in the park and hours in the shops.
Shame about The lighting in the room could have been better.
Kudos It's not about the view, it's all about the location: smack bang in the centre of town. And the service: a vibrant, youthful enthusiasm that's catchy.
Take the kids Sure — show them the city by day and night then bung them in the sofa bed with their own TV.