Pinnacle of understated luxury in Sydney, NSW

The Intercontinental chain of hotels is the luxury brand of the Intercontinental Hotels Group, a worldwide conglomerate featuring brands like Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Candlewood Suites with 540.000 guest rooms worldwide.

As Jamiroquai was playing a couple of gigs in Australia and for some reason didn't want to come to New Zealand, the best girlfriend and I decided to combine christmas shopping and the gig in Sydney's Centennial Park. As I wanted to be in a central spot in Sydney (last time we stayed in Coogee Beach: just a bit too far away from things), we decided to try out the Intercontinental, which does have a pretty good reputation in the Pacific. For some reason or the other I have one of these Ambassador cards, which automatically entitles you very nice rooms and access to their club lounges, which are exceptionally nice, so we booked a flight with that Ryanair of the South West Pacific, Jetstar, and zipped over to West-Island in a leisurely 2 1/2 hours.

After a horrendous 40 minutes taxi ride from the airport (never attempt that on a friday at 18:00), we finally made it into the serenity of the Interconti's lobby hall: Built around the restored old Treasury building, it mixes the classic antipodean neo-classicistic features of an old government building with the minimalistic design of a modern five star hotel. Our room was well laid out, with a breathtaking picture window overlooking Sydney harbour. Room service was discreete and swift, house keeping spotless.

The hotel features 3 in-house restaurants, various spas, a gym and a nice pool, but the most appealing feature of all is their club lounge on the 31st floor: Glass doors open onto a timber deck revealing a vista that stretches from the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the Pacific. Inside a nice and comfortable minimalist interior with discrete service, a dedicated concierge and complimentary breakfast and dinner drinks. Because I sprained my ankle dancing at the Jamiroquai gig I ended up staying there all sunday, relaxing in the sun, sipping bubbly.

So, if you ever make it down to this most entertaining of pacific cities, think about splashing out a bit.

You know it makes sense.

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