By Rama Gaind
Whenever you visit Sydney, you are sure to have a memorable time with plenty of opportunity to participate in action-packed activities.
If you go in January, then one of the biggest attractions is the annual Sydney Festival.
What better way to savour the highlights and stay for a few days at the Swissôtel, a five-star deluxe hotel in Market Street, right in the heart of the central business district.
What’s more, it is located above one of Australia’s most iconic department stores and centrally positioned amongst Sydney’s prime tourist, shopping and entertainment districts including the newly-opened Westfield Sydney, Pitt Street Mall and Queen Victoria Building.
While views across the city are breathtaking from the higher floors, the welcoming service is efficient and personalised.
It is heartening to see staff go out of their way to be courteous!
The reception desk is a hive of activity: people constantly checking-in and out, others wanting answers to simple (even tedious) questions. The arrival area swells with numbers as airline crews register, but staff confidently go about welcoming them. Even those hovering are tended to within minutes. Those queues thinned out pretty quickly!
Swissôtel’s marketing and communications manager Maryam Awang certainly knows how to make a stay, albeit short, an enjoyable one. It’s the little things that make such a difference.
“We want our guests to have a memorable time during their stay … it’s all part of our hospitality services,” she said.
A case in point: ensuring that a hearty breakfast was sent up to my room in plenty of time to catch an early flight showed courteous regard.
Executive chef Justin Zammit created some delectable canapés including square cuts of watermelon with mint which was very refreshing, the prawns were a sure winner together with the oysters and those chocolate-dipped macaroons were oh, not so good for the waistline!
General manager Wayne Horbach must be commended for having such a considerate team.
Representing the essence of understated, contemporary living, guests are at the centre of both leisure and business activities at the Swissôtel in Market Street. Not far away is Myer, the department store (along with numerous other retailers) where a tight control has to be kept on the wallet!
Accommodation is comfortable with well-appointed rooms and suites (there are 359). Fashionable furnishings and uncluttered style will appeal to the discerning traveler, and the amenities are at a premium.
Luxury living is staying on one of the Executive Club floors feature on the top levels of 24 and 25 and enjoying the privileges. These include complimentary breakfast, evening cocktails and canapés in Club Lounge on Level 24, while enjoying the breathtaking views of the city skyline from the ‘top of the world’.
Along with personalised express check-out services, benefits also include daily newspapers. The room is neat and clean and the urge to relax is instantaneous.
Non-smoking and Swissôtel Kids Rooms are also available and if you prefer a caffeine shot or two, personal Nepresso coffee machines are in higher room categories.
There’s no doubting that fresh and innovative cuisine is full of flavour whether you relax at the Crossroads Bar over a selection of nibbles, light snacks and desserts and beverages or sample fine dining at Jpb Restaurant.
The hotel is the ideal venue for both corporate and social events with the conference and events facilities featuring the state-of-the-art technology.
There’s also easy access to the city’s transportation system. An underground walkway conveniently connects the hotel to Sydney’s railway hub – Town Hall station, whilst the monorail service is also just moments from the hotel.
The next visit to the Swissôtel Sydney must include time to try one of those pillows in the room billed as ones “you can dream on” and unwind at the Amrita Spa.
When you visit the ‘beautiful Harbour city’ in January, the Sydney Festival’s innumerable events will leave you in a quandary: how will you be able to pack everything into one weekend?
Be discerning, pick what you want to see, and don’t panic. Have a relaxing weekend.
Many soaked up the best Sydney had to offer with music and dance on a summer evening under the stars.
There was so much to enjoy outdoors and Symphony in The Domain was something different this year. Take pleasure in your favourite tunes from Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet before John Bell enacted scenes from the Shakespeare’s Henry V, accompanied by the Sydney Symphony and Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.
Festival Inside Out was Sydney Festival’s newest addition to its annual free outdoor program.
Two of Australia’s finest performing arts companies, the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Sydney Dance Company came together for a thrilling double bill.
Under the direction of assistant leader, Satu Vänskä, the Australian Chamber Orchestra performed a special Festival program created around Summer from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, before Sydney Dance Company took to the stage for an explosive performance of 6 Breaths, artistic director Rafael Bonachela’s stunningly athletic 2010 creation with music by Ezio Bosso.
In between, some of Western Sydney’s brightest young talents joined the Australian Chamber Orchestra in Thinking about Forever, a new composition by Matthew Hindson with choreography by Kay Armstrong. The work featured youMove Company, Parramatta String Players and Department of Education Dance Off! students.
Confirming itself as the Sydney summer live music destination, Beck’s Festival Bar once again served up eclectic sounds and cutting-edge music.
Enthusiasts made the most of summer and experience some of the world’s best bands and DJs over 14 balmy, star-lit nights at the historic Hyde Park Barracks Museum.
The Beck’s Video Project returned to animate the façade of the Hyde Park Barracks Museum with mesmeric scaled projections by New Zealand artist Michel Tuffery M.N.Z.M.
Physical theatre at its finest, Kneehigh Theatre’s take on Hans Christian Andersen’s wondertale The Red Shoes was well received. The list of entertainment highlights was endless.
January offered a fresh start, the turning of a page and optimism for the year ahead.
Can’t wait for January 2012 – and another innovative program of events!
Rama Gaind was a guest of Swissôtel Sydney.
68 Market Street, Sydney,
Tel +61 2 9238 8888
Fax +61 2 9238 8899