With the kids now in their teens, it’s no longer comfortable for the four of us to share a hotel room, so we started looking at apartment hotel options for a recent trip to Sydney, and that’s how we found the Fraser Suites. The suites are located in the heart of Sydney, next to the historical Town Hall, which we found was the perfect base for exploring the city in the short time we had.
We were impressed with the Fraser Suites from the minute we walked into the lobby (despite having a slightly embarrassing mishap with the revolving door). The lobby has soaring ceilings and is decorated with black marble, gigantic mirrors and a stunning rainfall chandelier.
We were thrilled to get a room on the 40th floor, and having two adjacent rooms behind one main door gave us both space and privacy (which the kids were just as happy about as we were). The kids had twin beds, their own bathroom and a kitchenette, while on our side, we also had a full lounge, dining area and full kitchen, including dishwasher, microwave and hotplates (which I had full intention of using, but of course, didn’t).
We also had our own spacious bathroom, and TVs in both the lounge room and bedroom (which we made a lot more use of than the kitchen).
But the highlight of both rooms was the view. The floor to ceiling windows (complete with comfy seat) revealed sweeping views over the city, including Darling Harbour and the Chinese Garden of Friendship.
Sitting with a coffee in the mornings watching the city come to life was definitely a highlight of our stay for me.
Our room included a full buffet breakfast both mornings, which had a good selection of cereals, fruits, pastries and hot dishes. One of my favourites was the chia puddings (my only complaint was they could’ve been a little bigger – I was forced to eat two!).
As with most five star properties, the Fraser Suites also featured a gym, indoor pool, spa and sauna, although on this visit, we had such a packed schedule that we took a look, but didn’t actually get to use them.
Around the hotel:
Chinese Garden of Friendship:
After spotting this from our room at the Fraser Suites, we decided to go and explore these gardens and it was well worth the small entry fee. The Gardens are a gift from the local Chinese Community and offer a lush green oasis in the heart of this busy city.
I was actually surprised by how much wildlife also visited the gardens, with lizards, dragonflies, birds and frogs all attracted by the greenery and water. There are several soothing waterfalls and lakes, which are designed according to the Chinese tradition of Feng Shui.
Walking out of the Chinese Garden, we headed past the water playground to the extensive activity playground, which offers pretty much anything kids could want to jump on, climb around or swing off.
We walked on to Darling Harbour, where we were treated to a street performance, before checking out the water features and little man made beach, complete with straw umbrellas.
From there, we pretty much dragged the kids all over the city, down to Circular Quay to see the monster cruise ship the Ovation of the Seas depart…
…then on to the ferry to pop across to Manly for the day…
The walk from the Quay back to Fraser Suites is about 20 minutes, and might not be suitable if you have smaller kids, but ours seemed to manage it without (too much) protesting.
On foot from the Fraser Suites, we headed to Sydney’s newest waterfront development of Barangaroo. While it still hasn’t got the buzz of other areas of the city, you can see its potential, and there are already some great dining options there. We chose Pho Mo, and were pretty impressed by how fresh the food was, particularly the rice paper rolls.
One of Sydney’s best known Thai restaurants, Home, is only a street away from the Fraser Suites. This modest, industrial restaurant doesn’t take bookings, you just walk up to the register at the door, put your name down and wait to be called. The wait didn’t bother us, because we found it really fascinating to watch the chefs through the big front window while they were busily at work.
The multi-level restaurant has small tables and what must be the tiniest water glasses I’ve ever seen (the poor waitresses have to constantly come around to fill them up). But the food is absolutely worth the wait. Big on spice (which kept the waitresses even busier filling up our water glasses), everything we ate here was full of flavour, delicious and fresh.
Lotus was another of our favourites, and there are two of them within easy walking distance of the Fraser Suites. We chose the one inside the Galeries hub (the other is at Barangaroo), and were impressed by the service as soon as we walked in the door. The food was also fantastic – without doubt some of the best modern Asian food I’ve ever had (it even rivals my favourite - Chin Chins in Melbourne). The vegetarian Sang Choy Bao was sensational, the dumplings were delicious and the hokkein noodles were heavenly. They also clearly made their own soy sauce, which was the best I’ve tasted, despite living in Asia for three years.
Overall, we found the Fraser Suites was the perfect base to visit all the places we’ve been before, plus make some great new discoveries, and we’d be happy to stay there again the next time we take the family to Sydney.
For more info, see: http://sydney.frasershospitality.com/en