The Mercantile Hotel- Question

Sep 13th, 2004, 11:42 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 81
The Mercantile Hotel- Question

Back in August Alan posted a message about the Mercantile and we still have that message. Our question is-since we will be there Sunday through Wednesday nights,will this place be as rowdy as perhaps a weekend?Their types of rooms seem more to our liking than The Russell or Australian Heritage. However,am still waiting to hear from The Australian Heritage.

Many thanks,we appreciate your comments. It is very helpful.
646wyck is offline  
Sep 16th, 2004, 02:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,430
Hey, 646wyck, which hotel did you end up choosing? I walked past the Australian, and the Mercantile, and the Russell again this evening, and wondered if maybe you were right there in one of them!

I didn't reply to this thread earlier, because I didn't really have anything new to add to what I'd said already, but I really am anxious to know what you finally decided on! I can't think of ANYONE who's put quite the effort into choosing their hotel that you've put in here for the past three weeks (and on Frommers also); but I've quite lost track of WHICH Sunday to Wednesday you'll be coming!

If you end up at the Australian (and, cost-wise, it would probably get my vote, even though the Russell is nicer and the Mercantile more spectacularly-located), you will see, just near the sports centre across the road, the entrance to the Harbour Bridge walkway. You will, of course, take this walk -- the view from the bridge is terrific, and there are some nice places to sit and relax on the other side of the bridge, before grabbing a train at Milson's Point Station and returning to Circular Quay. However, I wanted to exhort you to take another walk as well, one that most people don't take.

In addition to the stairs leading up to the walkway, you will see a small tunnel leading to the other side of the bridge approach. Do walk through there, in the late afternoon -- as you come out on the other side, the character of Sydney changes abruptly, and it's like stepping back 150 years. The first thing you'll see is a magnificent Moreton Bay fig. Then you'll see a track on the left leading up to the Observatory, surrounded by parklands and more Moreton Bay figs, with some nice places to sit (including, I think, an old bandstand). That's Upper Fort Street. Heading straight along from the tunnel, you will come to a set of stone stairs on your right, going down. This is Lower Fort Street, and the first thing you'll see as you go down is the old Garrison Church, definitely worth a visit. Across the street is a row of great old houses from the 1860s, still used as residences. This is Miller's Point, and it's a nice place to stroll around. I love the divided road with the trees in the middle!

Head along Lower Fort Street past the Garrison Church and the two church halls, and you will see, across the road, one of the most amazing old hotels in Sydney: the Hero of Waterloo. Old sandstone walls, and an ambience like something out of Charles Dickens' London... you must stop there and have a drink.

Opposite the Hero of Waterloo is a laneway going to the left: I think it's called Ferry Lane. This is about 150 metres of old cobblestone street that has hardly changed since it was built, at the same time as the Hero of Waterloo. Take this lane, going past a park with some pleasant places to sit. After about 150 metres, the old cobblestones turn into 1990s sandstone "tiles", and you've come to the end of the lane. Turn right when you can't go farther, and there is a view of the Harbour Bridge that not everyone gets to see. I told you to do this in the late afternoon, when the sun is directly on that face of the bridge; in the morning, it's not nearly so impressive.

You can walk along that street, down Pottinger Street (you'll see the lights of Luna Park, across the harbour, just starting to come on; quite a history, that old place has -- a type of Coney Island), and (closing your eyes to the ugly road work going on there at the moment) walk under the Harbour Bridge at the water's edge, (as you re-enter the Rocks, the Mercantile Hotel is right there).

That walk won't take you much more than an hour, even with a few stops and that drink along the way, but you will get a lovely taste of Sydney as it used to be, and some pretty unique photos of the Bridge.
Maybe, if I'm in the area, I'll join you!

Have a very special holiday!
Alan is offline  
Sep 16th, 2004, 09:34 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 17
Alan, This adventure sounds different than what I usually hear. I am actually staying at the Mercantile the last week in October. I can't wait!!!! I am dividing my stay between there and the Sydney Harbor B&B just for the contrast.
ozziebound is offline  
Sep 17th, 2004, 03:41 AM
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Thanks Alan for the wonderful walk you outlined. We hope to take it sometime in June 2005. Planning is so much fun with all the valuable information provided here.

Barbara in CT
Barbara_in_CT is offline  
Sep 17th, 2004, 05:42 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 669
Alan has real credentials - I'm just a long term passer-thru. That area of the Rocks/old Sydney is just wonderful. I just wonder how many visitors find it for themselves.

And if they don't, why? It's such a small area - anyone with an ounce of curiosity would be drawn away from the tourist spots.

The park below Observatory Hill gives you one of the best views of the harbour.

And if you are going to stay in one of the old pubs - wonderful - we need to keep them alive else there will be no alternative to blandness, or seriously expensive.

I haven't forgotten hostels - just that they are not usually of interest on this board.

OP - enjoy - I'm sure you will.
alice13 is offline  
Sep 17th, 2004, 06:28 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 81
Yes.Alan,we have now made our arrangements at The Australian Heritage Hotel. We are so appreciative of all your help! The walk through The Rocks area sounds wonderful and I'm sure we will do it. And yes,we have been at this for a few weeks. Just wanted to make sure we did the right thing. It is a bonus for those of us who find this message board to connect with a "local". Thanks so much!
646wyck is offline  
Sep 18th, 2004, 05:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,430
Thanks for the kind words.... but I can appreciate what you say because, at another board, I am in exactly the same situation with the positions reversed. Trying to find accommodation in Mumbai, and coming back again and again to's forum with more and more questions, I stumbled upon one Mumbai-ite who actually went down and checked out some of the hotels and their rooms on my behalf, and then got back to me with recommendations. You have no idea how much "easier" I feel about taking on a strange destination like India knowing that there's someone there already "standing in my corner". I haven't even started my holiday yet, but already this guy has made all the difference. That's why I love forums like this.... people who love travelling can make life a little easier for other people who love travelling. Who needs travel agents (except, of course, for dear Melodie)?

Now, 626wyck, do let us know when you finally take up residence in the Australian, won't you? If it's between mid-October and mid-November, we are bound to miss each other (India calls), but otherwise, I might just call in and say hello, as I am obliged to go down that way every Thursday (my whole life is governed by where my two children have to be at any given time to fulfil their social obligations.... me, I have no obligations at all; I'm just the transport organiser.)

Alan is offline  
Sep 18th, 2004, 08:29 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 14
I just wanted to say thanks
I was having a hard time finding somewhere to stay in Sydney, at least somewhere I really liked. The Australian Heritage Hotel seems to be the best fit for me, so I've booked my room there. I never would've found it if I hadn't read all of the replys on Fodors.
I'll be there in just over a week, so I'll come back and tell you how it was
scaredy_cat is offline  
Sep 18th, 2004, 12:20 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2003
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Alan,we may well miss seeing you,as we don't arrive in Sydney until Nov.14 and will leave on the 18th. It would be nice to meet you and hope that might happen.
646wyck is offline  

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