Happy New Year! I am back from my trip to Australia. Life still feels a little surreal for me as I left a place at the height of summer and came back to a freezing Canadian winter. Looking back, I am very glad in my choice of hotel. Considering the frightful cost of the plane ticket, I did entertain, however briefly, the idea of staying at a hostel or backpackers hotel. However, the photos of dingy rooms and massive quantity of poor reviews put paid to that notion. I did check out www.airbnb.com as well with initial high hopes. Most of the listings were in residential areas outside of the CBD and I have the feeling that the property owners know that Sydney is a hot tourist destination and charge accordingly. I figured that for the same cost I could get a hotel room with breakfast included. My requirements were that the hotel be easily accessible to major attractions in Sydney's CBD., include breakfast and offer internet access. Because I was travelling on my own, I didn't want to waste time trying to figure out how to get to places and finding something for breakfast first thing in the morning, every morning. I used www.orbitz.com after trying a number of different travel websites. I have to say that it takes a few tries to become familiar with navigating these sites. Unless the hotel is actively advertising special features, they just don't show up or aren't readily recognizable on search results. So if you are feeling frustrated using these sites, be patient and take your time getting familiar with it. It was purely by chance that I clicked on the Sydney Boulevard Hotel (part of the Bayview Group of Hotels) and then clicked on their room options. It offers various room options involving size of bed, type of view and whether breakfast is included. There was no room option for just a double bed so I picked a room with 2 double beds. I was pleased to see that a breakfast buffet was included in the price of the room and free in-room wi fi access. My biggest bone of contention was that a lot of hotels charge for internet access and if they do offer "free" internet access, it is only in the hotel lobby and with a time constraint. The Sydney Boulevard Hotel is a few blocks outside of the CBD, so their rates are not as crazy sky high as the hotels right in the district but still within walking distance to must sees such as the Sydney Opera House.
There were lots of little touches in the room that showed that a fair amount of thought had been put into anticipating the needs of their guests. The room included an in-room personal safe, a full size iron and ironing board, bathrobe, mini fridge, alarm clock, large wall mounted TV and two luscious Australian wool blankets. I was so tempted to ask if I could buy one of the blankets. The iron and ironing board were much appreciated and put to good use. Even though I had rolled all of my clothes, several of them still ended up massively wrinkled. Tucked into a drawer was a tea and coffee station with a teapot and hot water kettle and a stack of biscuits.
I loved the bathroom with its modern above counter square sink. Notice the hair dryer on the wall.
I wasn't prepared to pay extra for a room with an "Emerald View" or a "Harbour View" but this view of the Northern portion of Sydney downtown was more than adequate.
I was half expecting a Continental breakfast offering so was really pleased to see a really extensive breakfast buffet. I didn't fly to the other side of the world to eat canned fruit but there was always fresh watermelon on offer and a rotating selection of fresh fruit such as oranges, kiwi, honeydew and cantaloupe.
On the other side was a line of chafing dishes with sausages, bacon, ham and eggs.
The best part of the buffet was the pancake machine! Yes, I need this for my kitchen.
A typical breakfast for me.
I do think that finding the right accommodation for your needs can make or break a vacation. Overall, I would say that I was really happy with my choice. Weirdly, even though I was satisfied with the hotel, being away from home made me appreciate it even more. One of the first things I said when I came home was, "This place isn't too shabby after all!" It may have had something to do with the fact that Monsieur had very thoughtfully vaccuumed and mopped before my arrival and a little something to do with the old saying "Distance makes the heart grown fonder." Yes, that is the Christmas tree which was still up when I came back but has since been removed to the compost pile.
I guess, at the end of the day, there's no place like home.
Note: This is not a sponsored post. Accommodations were paid for by me.
I am linking up with A Stroll Thru Life.