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Choice between lodging in Darling Harbour and the Rocks

Choice between lodging in Darling Harbour and the Rocks

Nov 13th, 2003, 12:22 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 125
Choice between lodging in Darling Harbour and the Rocks

If you had your choice would you stay in the Darling Harbour area or the Rocks while in Sydney from Dec 30-Jan4th? Has anyone ever heard of the Medina Grand Harbourside?
2seeds is offline  
Nov 13th, 2003, 12:26 PM
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1/ the rocks
2/ The rocks
3/ The rocks
It would not matter what hotel you were thinking of in Darling Harbour. Darling Harbour is not a Harbour per se and does not have the views of the main harbour that you would want for NY Eve.
The only reason to stay in DH is if you are an avid gambler and need to be within walking distance of the Casino.
Nov 13th, 2003, 12:48 PM
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Where would you recommend to stay in the Rocks?
2seeds is offline  
Nov 13th, 2003, 01:01 PM
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Now that is a loaded question - that depends really on how much you want to spend AND where at that time of year you can get in.
Ideally I would stay at the Hyatt or at the Old Holiday Inn with a harbour view. BUT remember that you will be there for the New Years festivities which are BIG and up go the prices. If you still want a harbour view then the North shore Harbour View hotel is great as long as you have a harbour view and in fact is great value for money. Otherwise it is a difficult question because the best located hotel does not have airconditioning and that is a must ( just in case of hot weather)
Any hotel with a reasonable rate and a good harbour view in and around either Circular Quay and/or The Rocks would be great.
Make another posting asking for ALAN SHARMAN to answer as he is the master of the Sydney hotel information and is most up-to-date.
You will have a ball at that time of year as there is so much going on in and around that area. Lovely walks in the balmy evenings around Circular Quay and up to the Botanical Gardens too and some rather fantastic eating choices around the Rocks area - stay away from a dinner cruise as its a waste of money.
Nov 13th, 2003, 02:58 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 675
Just returned from four days in Sydney and stayed at Darling Harbour. It depends what you want to spend your time doing while you are there but we did find that our time was split between Darling Harbour& Circular Quay/Rocks area so staying at either location would have been fine for us. We found it to be a great location and would probably choose it again. Very easy to get around from too. As far as the Medina Grand Harbourside goes I can only tell you that it looked nice from the outside and is also well located. We stayed at the Medina Grand Treasury in Adelaide and it was truly a highlight as far as our accommodation went. If we had known about the Grand Harbourside before we left would definitely have stayed there. The Medina hotels are actually serviced apartments which is nice just for breakfasts or lunches if you don't want to eat out all the time. I think the Harbourside is 5 stars as well so don't think you can go wrong. Enjoy your trip!
starfish1 is offline  
Nov 13th, 2003, 03:27 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi, 2seeds!

Do you mean this COMING Dec 30th.... in five weeks? If so, you can just about forget any of the popular hotels around the Rocks -- if there was accommodation left in any of them, I fear that it would be similar to what one poster found last year -- the Park Hyatt had rooms for something a bit more than $AUD900 per night. Of course, if "2seeds" is the log-in name for Bill Gates, then go for it! Otherwise, I would be looking at the hotels that no-one knows about, and that are NOT tourist-type hotels where, as soon as you mention New Year's Eve, all the prices multiply by your age next year.

The very-best located, as Janese stated, is the Russell, but it's tiny and there's no view, until you step outside. Another great one that MIGHT still have a room is the Lord Nelson Brewery, but, once again, there's no view. You may well score a view at the Palisade, and, not being too particular about getting five-star service and colour-coordinated rooms when I go travelling, if it were me I wouldn't hesitate, as their rooms are around $AUD120 per night, which is pretty good for a room that looks at the Harbour Bridge (not from the ideal angle, however). Before you book it, however, check its website (I think its www.palisade.com) and see what you think of it -- it's old and funny and not at all grand. I hesitate to recommend it to tourists (except for backpackers) as I worry about getting hate mail when they find that it's the ugliest old building built in pre-1930 Sydney!

Talking of grand, however, another possibility that might still have a vacancy that doesn't require you to mortgage the farm is the Grand in Hunter St. Their rooms, normally around $AUD120 a night, increase by about $AUD10 per night in New Year week, so they can hardly be accused of profiteering. However, it's not quite by the water -- about a seven minute walk -- there are no harbour views, and you share a bath (still, with what you save on the Hyatt places, you could afford to buy out the three or four rooms around you to ensure you got a bath to yourself!)

Darling Harbour is not a place I would normally recommend -- I get annoyed when the hotels around there advertise their rooms as having "harbour views:, and lure unsuspecting tourists who expect, naturally enough, that this means views of beautiful blue SYDNEY harbour, and not the tawdry complex of freeway overpasses, convention centres, an Imax complex, and chain hotels, with a miserable strip of water running between them -- which is what Darling Harbour (surely an estuary, not a harbour) actually is. However, I will say that in the Christmas-New Year period there is a lot going on around there; they have their own fireworks on New Year's Eve, and there are all sorts of holiday activities in the walking areas around the Imax. It's not, by any means, a no-go area! I can't recommend any one hotel in that area -- they all look exactly alike to me, which is the usual US-chain rip-offs which I avoid at all costs whether I'm in Sydney, Australia, or Sydney, Nova Scotia, or anywhere in between. But I'm sure they are all very clean and comfortable if you don't mind throwing all your money at them. The Medina, I guess, is as good as any -- but if the location is where I think it is, then the word "Harbourside" is a bit of a fudge.

If your research turns up some vacancies for the Christmas-New Year week, I hope you will share these with this forum, as I think there would be a lot of readers who would like to know where to score a good room near the Bridge at that particular time of year. Good luck!
Alan is offline  
Nov 13th, 2003, 06:08 PM
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Hi Alan - agree with you about Darling "Estuary" - wish I'd had your expertise a couple of hours ago (I come from Sydney but have lived in Cairns for 10 years and am out-of touch with Sydney hotels). Had 4 Brit guests about to board plane in Cairns for Sydney when they decided it might be a good idea to re-confirm their Sydney accommodation (the main reason they're in Oz is for WRC in sydney) - hotel told them they had no record of booking - they had a confirmation from a world-wide booking site back in July. When they contacted the booking site they were told that their booking had been cancelled (no reason) and they'd been advised by email. they hadn't! About 20 frantic phone calls to Sydney - no room at any inn including even the Airport Hilton - finally managed to get them a room at a B&B in Parramatta! They feel they've been bumped from original hotel as they were quoted and accepted a good rate which has now escalated due to WRC. I've never re-confirmed a booking in my life, but I will now!
pat_woolford is offline  
Nov 14th, 2003, 03:10 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi, Pat!

That's a sobering story, and although I know we're getting close to Christmas and it's the season of goodwill, I am going to stay mean and suspicious for a few days yet and say that I bet I know the reason their reservation was cancelled.... someone on the booking site used the NON-World Cup rate, and then the hotel realised that it stood to lose a lot of money if it honoured the booking when there were hundreds of other people knocking at the door with fat wallets and anxious eyes. Why don't you do everyone on this forum a favour and "out" the hotel and the booking site? I know one thing.... it would have been one of the big-name chains, the kind of place where money doesn't just come first -- it comes in ALL the places.

This frantic and fruitless ringing around -- was that also to the various chains? These are always the first to fill, not because they're so good, but because they market their product with all the agents (using your money). On another posting tonight a travel agent has assured a tourist that Sydney is totally booked out because of the World Cup and that the nearest-in he can find a bed is Bankstown! Did anyone try the Criterion at Town Hall? Or the Coronation? Or the Palisade? Or the Grand in Hunter Street? Or Strawberry Hills Hotel? Or even the one at Lidcombe Station, or Whelan's at Strathfield? These are all a lot closer in than the B&B in Parramatta, and probably half the price. It would be fun to walk into a travel agent and bandy those names about, and watch his blank stare -- or maybe he'd say, "But you wouldn't want to stay THERE... it's not a 'name' hotel." And, of course, he's right... these are just simple and honest establishments who don't even feature on the booking sites. But I'll tell you this... I bet they don't summarily cancel someone's booking when they smell the colour of some other big-spender's money.

Oh, well, time to start thinking nice Christmassy thoughts. It's not easy, but I'll try!
Alan is offline  
Nov 14th, 2003, 03:16 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Just to make the point yet again, I just now had a look at Wotif.com.... specifically the Medina Grand. They have rooms available, but look at this: Friday Nov 21st, when the World Cup is on, the available rooms are $1000. On Monday 24th, when the fuss is all over, the rooms are $189. Of course, they will probably tell you that they have to pay staff overtime to work on Friday nights or Saturdays, or some similar specious excuse for legalised robbery. My opinion? Instead of "Medina Grand", that should read "Medina Greedy". Why would you give a place like this your business, when the Strawberry Hills Hotel has a sign outside offering rooms for $150 a WEEK?
Alan is offline  
Nov 14th, 2003, 10:54 AM
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One positive thought..

For RWC itself, Parramatta is probably a good choice. For anything else ot's a bit of a beast!

Twice this year I've had the experience of coming out of Olympic Park after a big football match, and queueing for ages for the train towards the city. Yet the trains going in the other direction, Lidcombe-Parramatta, were almost as frequent and almost empty. So, for coming and going to matches, Parra is good.

During the Olympics hotel prices were fixed, so that they didn't go through the roof. Apparently the International Rugby Board, or the ARU, couldn't manage to come to this arrangement. It's a pity! The city is alive, lots of fun, at present, but it seems ordinary people are being forced out by the costs.
margo_oz is offline  
Nov 15th, 2003, 07:30 AM
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I have stayed 3 times at Darling Harbor and I am NOT a gambler (previous post said this was one of the only reasons to stay there). I really LIKE staying there. I prefer the Novotel. I ask for harborview rooms ( and NO, it's not Sydney harbor view) but it is a lovely view of the small harbor at Darling and the Sydney city skyline.

I like the convenience of the skytrain and also the water taxis to circular quay being right there at Darling Harbor. If I want to go to the rocks area, it is easy transport. If I want to get to downtown Sydney for shopping, it is sooo easy to do.

I've also stayed in the rocks area, on my first trip to Sydney. I found that I didn't venture out much from that point (woman traveling alone) but am much more brave to venture out from Darling Harbor! Just my own experience.
simpsonc510 is offline  
Nov 16th, 2003, 06:04 PM
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Hi Alan - no didn't try hotel chains - guests were about to hop on a plane when they found there was no record of their booking. All I had on hand was a Frommers Guide to Australia and a B&B Book - no Sydney phone book and no time to check net. After 10 years of going troppo I could not remember some of the hotels you mentioned, or indeed know if they still exist or have changed names. Did ring hotel reservations desk at Sydney airport - to no avail. Tried many of the listed small hotels and B&B's in Sydney and Manly hoping for a cancellation - I did know that Homebush is reasonably handy to Parramatta and was lucky to get B&B for that night. Even the B&B could only take them for the first night - they had been booked from their bumped accommodation for 8 nights with a 3 night break in the middle. They're going to email me to tell me how they fared, but probably not until they return to UK - will also find out name of accommodation from where they were so rudely bumped.
pat_woolford is offline  
Nov 16th, 2003, 06:15 PM
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Me again - actually the Parramatta B&B looks lovely - AAAT 4 star rating and National Trust home and garden - and it was only $160 a night for a 4 person suite including full breakfast. Assume this was a "standby" rate as their advertised prices are a bit higher. It's called Harborne Bed & Breakfast.
pat_woolford is offline  

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