Adina Apartment Hotel, Bondi Beach.
Julietta Jameson settles in like a local at Bondi Beach.
Toga Hotels' shiny new property at Bondi Beach is its 27th under the Adina label, housed in the controversial redevelopment of the old Hakoah Club site (and adjoining others) on Hall Street, a neighbourly stretch running west up from the water. Minutes by foot to the famous sands of Bondi and the bustle and booze of Campbell Parade, across the street from quirky Gertrude and Alice bookstore cafe and sundry other eateries, and just around the corner from the cool and chic boutiques of Gould Street - in short, smack in the middle of the Bondi Beach action.
Big project specialists Bates Smart Architects designed Boheme, a substantial mixed-use development with luxury residential atop. The apartment hotel is in the wide, straight lower levels, connecting with life below via balconies that front right onto the street. The urban beach house style is set from the get go, with a foyer full of natural wood and colours of the Pacific Ocean, the Bondi cliffs and sunrise. Scandi-style 1950s furnishings, bright cushions, and the glow and aroma of scented candles provide a happy, warm welcome. Corridors are painted a whimsical sky blue but once inside the rooms, the oceanic tones subside. The palette is largely neutral with clever splashes of bright tonality on cushions pulling the property together. Look out for fabulous Eugene Tan prints on the walls.
Off the lobby is a sunny courtyard with seating and an undercover (though still outdoor) pool and spa and within the complex is a decent gym. All suites other than studios have galley kitchens with a full-size fridge, oven, cooktop, microwave, kettle and dishwasher. They come fully equipped for cooking. There is also a laundry cupboard with washer and dryer.
There are 111 apartments including 46 studios, 56 one-bedroom, eight two-bedroom and one three-bedroom apartments. We stayed in a one-bedroom apartment and there were several touches about which we were delighted. The first was storage in the bathroom in the form of a couple of substantial drawers. It's a small thing but, when you stay in a lot of hotels, having nowhere to put your bits and bobs can start to get to you. The beds are big and super-comfy, and in the bigger spaces there's a TV in the bedroom as well as in the living area. The whole set-up is workable and relaxing. It flows. Hall Street can get a little noisy but the floor-to-ceiling glass at the front of the room and leading out to the balcony is effectively double-glazed. What it lacks in views it makes up for in real home-away-from-home comfort.
The street level retail at Boheme is yet to open so breakfast can be charged back from Cafe Bondi, or Skinny Dip, both a small hike away. That will change but, meantime, there are loads of restaurants nearby to choose from for dinner. We had fantastic green chicken curry across the street at Rice Pot, then on a dismal, rainy Sydney night, the perfect cosy trattoria experience at The Italian on nearby O'Brien Street. Paul, the owner, even gave us dessert on the house: a mandarin from his family's Griffith farm and a glass of amaretto.
Whatever you fancy, Bondi is not lacking for food.
WORTH STEPPING OUT FOR
That beach. And the Bondi to Bronte cliff walk.
A great way to live like a local in one of Sydney's most iconic suburbs.
HOW TO GET THERE
It's a 20-minute drive from Sydney's city centre, 30 minutes from Sydney Airport and, if coming by public transport, a 25-minute bus ride from Bondi Junction station.
69-73 Hall Street, Bondi Beach. Phone 9300 4800; see adinahotels.com.au.
Rates start from $199 for a studio apartment. There is an opening discount of 20 per cent until August 31. Hotel parking is $30 a day.
The writer stayed courtesy of Adina Apartment Hotel Bondi Beach.