Thanks for stopping by to read about my quick trip to Sydney. It was a whirlwind. Here’s what I’ve covered so far and what I expect to cover:
- Which Lounge At SFO International Terminal?
- Qantas Business Class Review
- Public Transportation In Sydney
- Park Hyatt Sydney
- A Look Inside The Luxurious Suites At Park Hyatt Sydney
- Bridge Climb! Bucket List Item
- The Old Clare Hotel, Chippendale, A Member of Design Hotels (SPG Redemption)
- Qantas First And Business Class Lounges at Sydney Airport
- Qantas First Class On the A380 to DFW
One of the things that SPG has done a good job of in the past couple of years is to have periodic targeted promos that have some “buzz”. They’re generally pretty good and can found on your SPG Dashboard.
I was targeted for a promotion where I could earn 11,000 Starpoints if I stayed at all 11 brands in the SPG portfolio. Based on my travel patterns this year, I actually had a pretty good shot of nailing most of the 11 brands, so I decided to go for it. That involved finding a Design Hotels property, a new partnership SPG rolled out recently.
I saw the Old Clare listed on the SPG site as a Design Hotel and thought it would work perfectly. Normally I don’t “hotel hop” and I would have really enjoyed another night at the Park Hyatt Sydney during my short stay. But, I don’t like changing hotels when I travel with family and there just aren’t a lot of Design Hotels in the rest of my travel plans.
The hotel isn’t that far from the Park Hyatt Sydney but I hopped on the train to cut down the transit time. A short walk from the train station and I was there. Walking down the street I saw a tall building covered with green. It was an interesting looking building.
The Old Clare is, in a word, eclectic. It reminds me of the W chain in that they have some whacky elements, some whimsical elements, and a generally comfortable, clean room. The vibe in the lobby immediately gave me that feeling. The hotel is a joining of two older buildings in town and only has about 60 rooms. You can read a bit about the history of the property on their website.
I honestly don’t know if the antiques in the entry have significance to the property or are just “there”, but it’s very much a W vibe.
Check-in was efficient and a member of the front office team offered to walk me to my room. They recognized my SPG status and asked about a welcome amenity, so they seem to be keyed into the loyalty aspects of SPG.
The room was bright and clean, not overly huge. The ridiculously high ceilings helped contributed to a spacious feel. It reminded me of some of the quirky hotels in NYC. The bathroom is very much integrated into the room with the humongous glass freestanding shower. The upside of that design is the room really felt much bigger than if the bathroom had been walled off from the rest of the room. Downside? If you’re traveling with your kids and at all modest, that shower’s a bit of an issue.
The bed was very comfortable with a variety of colorful pillows. It made for a great night’s sleep. There was ample power and lighting controls for the room beside my bed. The curtains did a handy job blocking out all the light.
Just like W, the Old Clare pokes a bit of fun at standard hotel terms.
The desk was big and industrial, again that whacky, cheeky design element I think of when I think about the W chain. And, even though I’d opted for points as my amenity, the hotel was nice enough to leave me an invitation for a free drink in the hotel bar. I was completely wiped out and also had to get up early, so I didn’t get to take advantage of the drink or eat breakfast at the hotel.
The shower was sizable with great water pressure. More cheekiness with the shampoo and conditioner, etc.
The fitness center is small but given the number of rooms, it’s probably right-sized.
Summing Up The Old Clare Hotel
The Old Clare Hotel falls into Category 5 in the Starwood Preferred Guest program. That meant I needed to redeem 12,000 Starpoints for my one-night stay. Given that the rates were over $300 for my stay, I was happy to redeem Starpoints.
The hotel is a bit more than a 10-minute walk to Darling Harbour, a spot most visitors will want to experience. It’s also a 5-minute walk from a train station to get to other places in the city. While there’s not a ton of good restaurants nearby, it’s easy enough to get other places if you’re considering this hotel for a visit.
The hotel is newly renovated and the staff were all friendly. I found the room comfortable and well-appointed. I might not stay here with my kids (or I’d find out if they had rooms with a different shower arrangement) but I wouldn’t hesitate to stay here again.
Uh, well, I wouldn’t hesitate to stay here again if the Park Hyatt Sydney was sold out of award rooms. Yep!
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