Girls on Tour – Birthday Weekend in the City of Sydney
I live in Sydney on the Northern beaches 15 minutes up the north side from Manly,a truly spectacular area to live with several beaches within a 10 minute drive or 20 minute walk. Also a gorgeous lake and many lovely scenic walks you can do. I’m always reluctant to leave this area as its truly peaceful and breath taking. We also don’t have a train line so I think this keeps it less busy than most of Sydney’s seaside locations. But I was out recently with my friends and my birthday was coming up, we had talked about going away for a weekend. The usual suggestions came up, Hunter Valley Wine tasting. ( I could feel the hangover headache at the thought) also possibly a weekend at a Blue Mountains health retreat (that seemed way too healthy and very cold at this time of year, well cold in Australian standards!). I was reluctant to do a 3-4 hour drive out of Sydney for just a weekend. My best friend Donna suggested why don’t we just stay in the city for a change. This lit a light bulb in my head as we rarely visit the city. Partially due to pure laziness and the love of where we live or if we want to go out dining and wining in the city we need to catch an expensive taxi drive home. I decided I would search for a special Hotel with total luxury and benefits for just one night of girls fun. We have all been hard working single mothers for a long time, myself now 16 years! So we thought it’s about time we started spoiling ourselves now our children are young adults.
I went home and jumped on the computer and checked out different city hotel options. It all seemed very expensive and basic rooms with nothing special thrown in. I remembered my Aunt had told me how every 2 months she goes into Town and stays at the Sheraton on the Park. She has some kind of Club member discount card. So I checked out the website and was a little confused with the specials offered. There was so many options. I read through and could see something about a Club members inclusions which allowed you to use the top floor Gym, Spa and Pool along with some kind of members lounge bar on the top floor. I wanted an Executive city view room that included this Club Member benefit. On clicking through, it appeared to cost at least $710 if you pre-paid and parking was $55 extra. I then saw a rate for $360 but couldn’t really understand why that rate, so I called reservations.
The girl who answered had a strong american/asian sounding voice, a bit hard to understand but I kept trying and said I saw an offer on the website for an executive city view room with Sheraton Club member benefits for $360 and as it was my birthday the following weekend I wanted to book that room for myself and a girlfriend to stay. The girl said that rate is only for SPG members, it’s normally $710. I was quite disappointed and told her how I was so keen to stay there but not at that price. She quickly said you can join the SPG (Starwoood Preferred Guest) it’s free to join then you will get that rate if you pre-pay today, which was the Sunday prior to my check in date. I was excited. ‘ Okay great I said, book me in!’
I quickly called my friends and told them I had booked a night at the Sheraton on the Park in the city. They both weren’t sure where it was located or what to expect but very keen to go. One friend was definite then the other confirmed during the week. As I only had booked a room with two single beds I had to call the Hotel and add another guests for a roll in bed to be brought in and also to include the Sheraton Club member benefits. All up we would only need to pay $410 and this included 24 hour parking which was fantastic.
We arrived on the Saturday at 1.30pm, check in wasn’t due until 3.00pm but we were keen to start the weekend and thought if we can’t check in early we can leave our bags there and go shopping. What a stunning foyer area.
We were greeted by a lovely smiling young lady at the concierge desk. I asked if by chance the room was ready early and she said yes it is and we have upgraded you to a King room with a city view on the 20th floor, she also validated my parking ticket and said you can leave your car there until midnight tomorrow evening. Well we all jumped for joy, how wonderful to be treated like this and with an upgrade as well! I had originally chosen a city view room as it was a fare bit cheaper and I thought a bit more affordable for all of us single mums. You can imagine the excitement. We have always spent every cent we could on raring our children and just getting by with the odd family holiday. This was our chance to enjoy some luxury. If there are any men reading this and have had younger girlfriends or wives that don’t appreciate a nice hotel, let me reassure you that a single mum who has had it tough will adore you for it. She will hardly contain her excitement and appreciation. It won’t be a guessing game to confirm if you did the right thing in opting for some luxury for a special occasion rather than a standard hotel and room for a night out in the city.
We unlocked the door and gasped in delight as we saw the room and the stunning view!
The room was outstanding and the bathroom was gorgeous too!! We jumped around the room and on the beds like school girls!
I couldn’t help but crack open the Chilled Champagne we had brought and jump on the beds.
We all took turns to pose at the window and take each other’s photos to post on Facebook so our family and friends could be green with envy! After downing the first bottle of Champagne we stripped off into our Bikinis and grabbed the luxury white robes and took off to check out the top floor Pool, Sauna, Steam and Spa!! We ran into the lift with no shoes on, only our enlarged white robes looking quite ridiculous but we just didn’t care!
We all forgot to press the Pool lift button and much to our horror the lift went to the ground floor reception!! Oh my we were all blushing bright red and giggling. The lift filled with hotel guests that were all politely looking straight ahead but we heard a few snorts escape as they tried to contain themselves at the sight of three middle aged women acting like lost schoolgirls! Finally we arrived at the top floor and almost tripped into the Pool/Gym reception. The poor young staff at the desk must have whispered under their breaths ‘oh my god we have some mental patients checked in for Pool therapy!
We were we in for a surprise when we saw the pool, wow!! We had no idea it was with a view all around and an outdoor balcony. Totally stunning!
I was quick to jump in the pool even though it was middle of Sydney Winter but inside was nice and warmed to a perfect temperature in the pool and out.
The girls jumped into the heated Spa and wished they had more Champagne!! But it was only 3pm! We enjoyed the Spa then went in for a detox for the skin in the nice hot Steam room. Ah total bliss!
We went out on the balcony took some more photos then back to the room to get ready for the start of the Sheraton Club members lounge ‘Complimentary drinks and Canapes from 5pm – 7.30pm’. This was part of our special room inclusion that made me book. Of course we cracked open the second bottle of Champagne and ran around in our underwear applying make-up, feeling increasingly like school girls at a slumber party! After being serious hard working mums this was just what we needed! Then it was time for some more photos before heading off to the Club members lounge.
The view was stunning once again and the lounge area so inviting with different areas that you could sit. Lovers lounges in cosy corners and more open spaces for larger groups. We were once again greeted with enthusiasm as if we were royalty. Straight away we were asked what drinks we would like so we ordered more Champagne which almost appeared instantly. We were expecting just a couple of finger Canapes to come around and one drink, but no it was more like a large buffet of Canapes, cups of soup, hot nibbles, selection of cold meats, Oysters, Smoked Salmon, breads, crackers, cheeses, fruits, several different types of cakes and so on. It was a feast and you could just keep going back and filling your plates with whatever you desired. We tried to not look like we hadn’t eaten in a week but the display and taste sensations were too tempting so we over indulged. It was so decadent and not expected and the view was just exceptional. We stayed and enjoyed this array of delicious food and endless Champagne right up until 7.30pm when it needed to close. You can imagine we were reluctant to leave but I was insistent that as we were staying in the city we must go out and check out some new bars but go to bed like Nanas after too much Champagne!
Off out into the freezing Winter night we went. I was determined to find a new bar called The Baxter Inn. This was hard to find as it was in a back alley down some narrow steps in a basement with no signage at the front but thank god with google maps on the phone I found it after around 15 minutes of walking freezing our butts off. A bit of a hidden trendy gem that was of course gaining notoriety by the fact it was hard to find and once you did there was also at least a 15-30 minute wait in a long line to get in. Luckily they had a couple of heaters strategically placed outside so the patrons wouldn’t get too cold to wait. Once inside we could see and hear why it was so popular. It was all decked out eclectic style furniture and 20s themed objects filled the walls and loud 20s music pumped out making you feel like you should be doing the Charleston . The bar was something else, they specialized in possibly every imaginable Whisky and were known for their fantastic cocktails. Several barmen were dressed up and extremely friendly while they did their stuff for the crowded bar.
How fabulous that place was so we enjoyed a couple of cocktails. We were in fact impressed with how well we were keeping up with so many drinks consumed since we arrived at the Hotel at 1.30pm!! We could only put it down to the amount of food we devoured at the Sheraton club lounge. Normally I’ve had enough alcohol after three drinks. Anyhow we decided to set off into the night again to go down to King Street Wharf to see The Loft Bar
A very cool bar but after taking a couple of photos we realized it was after midnight and we really did feel a little bit over age for the crowd that started to pile in. We jumped in a Taxi back to the Hotel and just one more sneaky drink down in the Hotel bar which was also a lovely spot to relax. But after a few yawns it was time to crash.
Next morning it was my birthday!! I felt very special
We were too tired to swim so straight to the Sheraton Club members lounge again to have breakfast. We were told it would be a Continental breakfast, so not expecting much to eat. Once again totally in awe of the display and variety of food. We could help ourselves to as much as we needed. The buffet consisted of hot and cold food, fruits, breads, pastries, cheese, cereals and so on. So delicious and of course the view was breathtaking. We were so lucky with the weather. It was winter but the sky was clear and the sun was beaming down. The lounge has its own concierge so we checked when our check out time was as we were feeling weary from the late night of drinking. Again the staff were so professional and friendly he said we could have a late check out at no extra cost until 12 midday.
So more photos were taken and we enjoyed lazing around and reading the Newspapers over a second cup of coffee.
We were sad to leave our room but as we could leave the car until midnight and go shopping. It also happened to be Mid year City Sale time so it really couldn’t have been a more perfect day. We shopped until we were about to drop, it was nearing 5pm so we decided to pop into an old bar I hadn’t seen since my twenties called The Marble Bar. Surely it was time for one drink to round off the day!! We opted for a cocktail each and pizzas. It was just perfect after such a busy day shopping.
What a perfect fun weekend we had and can’t wait to go back and do it all again soon!! Make sure you check out the Sheraton on the Park if you are ever in the city of Sydney, you won’t regret it.