Staying at the Shangri-La Sydney feels more like a cinematic experience than a night at a hotel. After taking the whizzy lift up to the 17th floor, I felt magnetically compelled to the window as soon as I opened the door to my Deluxe Grand Harbour View Room. I pretty much stayed there, like a plastic sucker holding up a car window sign, for the next 12 hours. Watching blue skies turn to purple, headlights head over the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House go to sleep and Sydney wake back up again.
All 563 rooms at the Shangri-La Hotel Sydney come with harbour views; you are guaranteed some form of watery scenic entertainment regardless of your room size. The Grand Harbour View rooms, however, come with exactly that – a grand harbour view. The Harbour Bridge seems to extend from the side of my bed, like I could slide straight off it and end up on the North Shore. The Opera House hides just to the right, she’s out of sight from the bed but pops into my eye line from the armchair instead. From the cushioned window seat, where I sit with my face pressed against the ceiling height glass, I can see the Bridge, Opera House, buildings, beaches and ocean beyond.
There’s a lot to my liking inside the room too. Levels 4 to 29 of the hotel were refurbished in 2011 and the décor still feels fresh. My Deluxe Room, which at 45 to 50 metres squared is one of the smallest in the hotel yet is the largest in its class in the city, feels generously sized. I appreciate that it has both a vanity desk and a working space, as well as the armchair, coffee table and king sized bed. The work space accepts international plugs and I get a lot of work done on the fast, reliable and – best of all free – Wi-Fi. (The Shangri-La was the first hotel to offer free Wi-Fi in the city and remains 1 of only 2 hotels that offer it for free today.)
There are hints of the Shangri-La’s Asian heritage in the room’s design – blossom on the carpet and golden birds in the bathroom – whilst the seamless service is another sign you are at a luxury property. Check-in is prompt and polite and the welcome treat of chocolates and fruit, which are left in every room, make you feel very welcomed indeed.
Whilst we’re at dinner the turn down team leave us slippers and water with a bookmark containing a Lost Horizon quote (the 1933 James Hilton novel which inspired the Shangri-La name). When it is time to sleep we find the bed as comfy as it looks, it really was a test tearing myself away from it at 6.30 to get a glimpse of sunrise. Of course, the view was worth it though. I delightedly take my snaps and then dive back under the duvet for a few more minutes of snooze.
At breakfast I spot some Asian dishes on the menu but the clientele are mostly Australians preparing for a day of sightseeing or meetings. There is a lot on the buffet to tempt my sweet tooth – pancakes, waffles, French toast, muffins, banana bread, pastries and donuts, to name a few! – but I am convinced to take the healthier option after seeing the muesli section. Home made bircher muesli sits next to freshly made fruit compotes, a selection of nuts and seeds and the hotel’s honey from its very own urban bees. The coffee was not so good but that’s because I am comparing it to some of the best roasters in Sydney (head down the road to the Fine Food Store on The Rocks and you’ll see what I mean!)
There are many reasons for me to head back to the Shangri-La. For the things I didn’t get to try – the spa, the Blu Bar, dinner by a team of award-winning chefs – but mainly for that view. For THE view of Sydney. I won’t be able to stay away.
Overnight accommodation and breakfast for 2 at Shangri-La Sydney starts from AUD 285 per night. For more information visit www.shangri-la.com.
I stayed at the hotel as part of my mission to find holiday braggies for Three mobile and tweeted them using my Feel At Home data package. Find out more in my weekly work diary, which I filmed at the hotel. All opinions are, of course, my own.