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klangner May 28th, 2004 07:29 AM

Old Sydney Holiday Inn or The Russell
Hi all! I have revised our choices a little based on feedback, so i was hoping for some more input...Hubby and I will be there in September. We are young marrieds, love to walk, shop, dine, drink wine, and want a great location (Rocks) for a great price. Not willing to splurge on this trip (200 USD or less), but are hoping to find a gem. Would normally be turned off by "Holiday Inn" but the reviews have made us look twice. Any suggestions or opinions on these two? Thanks!!

USNR May 28th, 2004 11:48 AM

My wife and I stayed four nights last month at the Old Sydney Holiday Inn -- and the name could not be farther from the truth.

What was once an old warehouse was gutted, the facade preserved, and the resulting space made into a giant atrium surrounded by lovely, quiet, and comfortable rooms with an excellent restaurant/breakfastroom on the first level overlooking the lobby/atrium. It is at 55 George St. and from its 8th floor swimming pool/rooftop, you can look directly at the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. It's a 5-minute walk to Circular Quay, etc., etc., etc. Bus stops directly in front of the hotel and the Sydney tourist information office is just across the street. We loved the place, its location, and its helpful staff. Incidentally, free internet e-mail service is yours in the lobby.

margo_oz May 28th, 2004 11:54 AM

Either are good locations for tourists. If you want to avoid the HI experience, go to the Russell, the more Australian of the two. No a/c - but in Sept that shouldn't be a problem. September is a wonderful time to be here.

prue May 28th, 2004 02:44 PM

The Russell has always been a favourite of this Forum and this month has a very positive review in the NRMA (Statewide Motoring Association) Magazine.

pat_woolford May 28th, 2004 04:46 PM

Actually, Margo, a room I saw in The Russell recently was air-conditioned. It was a rather strange looking arrangement - the owner/manager? told me that because of The Russell's heritage listing she can't install fixed airconditioning. This was a portable job which stays on the floor with a large plastic pipe outlet through a window. It wasn't switched on so don't know how noisy it may be.

Alan May 29th, 2004 05:16 AM

Kilangner, these two hotels are in the same street and within two minutes' walk of each other, so there's little point choosing on the basis of location -- rest assured that, either way, you are staying in the best location in Sydney. What it all boils down to is that the Holiday Inn is American, and the Russell is heritage Australian. So which experience are you after? The Russell's one major detractor on this site complained that the colour scheme was dull, the staff didn't snap to attention, and the lighting was indifferent. If this kind of thing is important to you, go for the Holiday Inn. However, if you've stayed in American hotels before and are as bored silly with their absolute sameness as I am (I can never remember which chain I've stayed in), and you want to see what Sydney looked like 140 years ago, then go for the Russell. An added incentive for this choice: since it's not all that popular with overseas guests who like to stay in a room exactly like the one they have on Main Street in their home town, it sometimes has unbelievable last-minute rates on; a couple of weeks ago, I swear I saw $AUD116 for a double room. That's getting down towards the price you'd pay for a motel room in the western suburbs.

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