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Sydney ~ The Shangri La: Subdued Elegance & Excellent Service

There are just some cities in the world where staying at a wonderful hotel plays such a major part of travel that the cost is secondary to the experience. In my opinion, Venice and New Orleans are but two of those cities and now I would also add Sydney to that list.

Through good luck, I found a booking site that offered an excellent price for the 5-star Shangri La Hotel located in The Rocks near Sydney's Harbor. The Shangri La's gleaming glasstower may share the skyline with other buildings nearby, but the similarity ends there. The subdued elegance of the lobby was inviting to be sure, but our room exceeded all my expectations for comfort after our extremely long flight.

The king-sized bed was wrapped in crisp white linens and a fluffy duvet. Colors of beige, gold, brown and gray on the walls and an excellent carpet in addition to the lovely furnishings provided a real haven of comfort. A small refrigerator and coffee & tea making facilities were very much appreciated.

As if the sleeping area wasn't wonderful enough, the marble bathroom with both shower and tub were elegance personified. All good quality toiletries you could wish for were provided along with large, fluffy towels and even in room sound system.

The Shangri La also offers several inviting venues for a meal or just drinks. All sleek and elegant, Altitudes Restaurant, Cafe Mix, Blue Bar on 36, and the Lobby Lounge are all top-notch. Unfortunately we didn't have a chance to try each and every one of these, but reviews give them all high marks. There is also a spa as well as small gift shop carrying products and souvenirs from Australia.

Transportation can be arranged for pick-up and drop-off at the airport if needed, but the cost is perhaps more than a regular taxi. If you are not overburdened by luggage, train & bus transportation is only a few blocks away at Circular Quay.

Although I've stayed at even more luxurious hotels, I'm not sure any of them could match the outstanding service provided at the Shangri La. From the moment we stepped inside til the morning we left 4 days later, the staff was superb in every respect. The bellman, the concierge, and the desk staff were friendly, efficient and so differential that they treated us like royalty!! Our every wish was their desire.

While at the Shangri La, there was an official foreign delegation staying at the hotel -- I believe this also speaks volumes for the Shangri La.

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Related to: Luxury Travel
  • Written August 27, 2012
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Quiet and comfortable sleeping area

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Cairns ~ Rydges Plaza Hotel: Cairns, Queensland ~ Great Location - Affordable

I seriously considered staying at a hostel while in Cairns to lower our accommodation costs while in Australia. Cairns has a plethora of hostels to accommodate a large contingent of young travelers who are traveling in Australia and make Cairns a long-term stopover-- often these young people are on a student work visa and hostels offer attractive prices and most seem to give vouchers for free dinners at an off-site restaurant/grill/bar.

In the end, I decided that having a private bathroom, air-conditioning, and quiet time and TV at night was worth the extra money, so I opted to book a modestly priced hotel instead. I found the Rydges Plaza Hotel through an online booking site which gave a good discount for non-refundable and/or "early bird" bookings. As the location of the Rydges Plaza Hotel was also roughly half way between the train station and the Esplanade, we thought it was just the ticket. So I booked and pre-paid for a room for 4 nights ---breakfast was not included.

The hotel has definitely seen better days. When we arrived, I asked for a room away from the street because reviews of the hotel had said that the club/youth hostel across the street was noisy at night. While there I heard another guest who was not so lucky complain of the noise. Our room was more than adequate, if not in need of a good update and new carpet. We had 2 queen beds, a small fridge, coffee/tea making facilities, plenty of clothes storage space, desk, large screen TV, air-con and a narrow balcony. I found my bed was really comfortable and I slept well. The bathroom was a decent size, but also needed an update. The shower was a little tricky when it came to getting the perfect water temperature and pressure. Clean towels were provided daily as well as soap, shampoo and conditioner as needed. The Lilo Bar & Restaurant was located on a lower level but we did not use it, or for that matter even take a look at it although I'm not sure why. Nor did not we use the pool or gym.

The front desk staff was very, very helpful in booking day trips for us, the cost of which was applied to our hotel bill. These we paid for in cash at check-out time. In the 60's inspired lobby, there were 2 computers for guests' use and internet time can be purchased. Underground parking can also be purchased.

The final price for 4 nights, including the pre-paid, early bird discount and taxes, came to $446.24. This was more than I wished to pay for this quality of hotel, but it was affordable.

Every cloud has its silver lining, so please see the Rydges Plaza's silver lining below!!

The Rydges Plaza bills itself as a 4-star hotel which it definitely isn't. The hotel needs work as did our particular room. The sliding door to the balcony could not be locked.

The guest laundry had its problems. Of the two dryers in the guest laundry, one did not work and we were forced to go all the way down to the lobby to get our money back.

The housekeeping was merely adequate (some days worse) although it got better our last day there!

The Silver Lining ~ All that being said, when I stepped out onto our 8th floor balcony, to the right I could see palm trees and the Coral Sea!!!! Not only that, but in the other direction, you could see mountains from the Great Dividing Range!! The evening views of Cairns, with its twinkling lights and warm, tropical breeze was not only delightful but very memorable!!

All in all, this was not a bad place at all and I would stay here again.

  • Opinion of Price: less expensive than average
  • Written August 28, 2012
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Rydges Plaza - Very Comfortable Beds

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Yulara ~ Emu Walk Apartments by Voyages: Yulara ~ Close to Uluru, Spacious & Comfortable

If you wish to stay as close as possible to Uluru, it is most likely you will be staying at one of the several types of accommodations offered by Voyages Ayers Rock Resort in Yulara.

We chose to book 4 nights, including breakfast, at the Emu Walk Apartments for a number of reasons including location, amenities, and price. Our Apartment #314, on the second floor, was a spacious 1-bedroom apartment with separate living, dining and kitchen areas. The cozy, colorful bedroom held a queen-size bed, built-in closets and featured a nice window. The bathroom was good size and came with a good supply of towels and toiletries.

The living room was comfortable and proved to be a comfortable place to watch the beginning days of the 2012 London Olympic games on the flat-screen TV. The sliding glass door lead to our covered balcony at the rear of the apartment where we had a nice view of the natural vegetation & wildlife, and where we enjoyed reading and relaxing in the glorious afternoon sun.

The dining area would easily accommodate 6 people although there were only 2 of us. Having a kitchen gave us the option to fix meals as we chose. They provided major appliances, dishes, utensils, pots and pans as well as coffeemaker and toaster filled every need. My only wishes for the kitchen would have been for better lighting and a more inviting & cheery decor.

Although a buffet breakfast at the White Gums Restaurant was included in the price of our accommodations, we used the kitchen to prepare snacks, lunch and dinner. Groceries could be purchased at the nearby supermarket, and I also brought a few packaged food items with me. The only problem we had with the kitchen was, unfortunately, the ants!!

The apartments were serviced daily which actually means that clean towels and toiletries were provided, a small container of milk and sugar, and instant coffee & tea supplies were replenished, and garbage was removed. Since we didn't expect this service, this was an extra benefit!!

For summer stays, there was a large pool situated in a lovely area of the complex. But the best benefits of staying at any of the Voyager Ayers Rock Resorts complexes were the ease of booking activities involving Uluru and Kata Tjuta; that each and every plane that lands at the Connellen Airport is met by a free shuttle bus transferring you to the resort and the bus is also free to return you to the airport when you fly out. The resort also has a few free activities for its guests which are fun and interesting.

Check the website to obtain current pricing which is determined by the time of year you desire to stay there.

Our #314 Emu Walk Apartment was just extremely comfortable and a great place to come back to after our daily excursions. It felt like a home -- I felt as though I could have lived there. With a couple of shops, restaurants, post office and supermarket right nearby, there was a lot of convenience staying at Emu Walk Apartments versus some of the other accommodation complexes at the Voyages Ayers Rock Resort.

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Written August 28, 2012
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Cosy, comfortable and colorful bedroom

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  • Reviews: 1463

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Hotel Citigate Central Sydney: A 4½ star hotel

Hotel Citigate Central Sydney is an excellent 4½ star international class hotel located right in the heart of the city of Sydney. It has approximately 250 well furnished rooms spread over 10 floors. Among its sophisticated amenities and facilities are bars, lounge and restaurants, swimming pool, 24 hour reception, laundry services, hair dryer, mini bar, HD television, safe deposit box, secretaríal services, fax, foreign currency exchange, parking facilities, fully air-conditioned, non smoking rooms, high speed internet access, meeting and conference rooms, spa, health and fitness centre.

Its central location is its main unique quality. The services are impeccable. Staff are friendly. The hotel is located near the harbours, Central Business District and Chinatown with lots of shops and restaurants.

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Related to: Family Travel
  • Written March 14, 2010
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Hotel Citigate

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Hilton Sydney Hotel: Sydney ~ Good CBD Location

Returning directly from Uluru, we spent the last 2 nights of our stay back in Sydney before flying home. Rather than return to the Shangri La, I wanted to try a different hotel in a different part of Sydney. I chose the Hilton Sydney Hotel which is located in the Central Business District (CBD).

It's quite obvious that the Hilton is a popular businessman's hotel. During our stay, the lobby always bustled with men and women dressed in business attire. However, not all were hotel guests but people patronizing the coffee shop or just people having business meetings in the lobby. Perhaps because of this rushed atmosphere, the front desk staff was not exactly welcoming and instead were very matter of fact.

I booked a room with king bed, and paid an extra $22 per night to have breakfast included in the price. [This proved to be a good move because, as previously mentioned, food is expensive. The regular price of the full Australian buffet breakfast at the Hilton's "Glass Restaurant" was normally $42 pp; however, by having prepaid for the breakfast our cost amounted to only $11pp per day.]

Our room, which was located on the 24th floor, was ultra modern which is not my taste but I'm sure a lot of people would like it. There was a desk, chaise lounge for seating, coffee/tea making facilities, honor bar, and our choice of newspapers were delivered each morning. The bathroom was ultra modern as well though small, and came with a TV in the shower.

Our room had a view of the skyline of Sydney and with the surrounding buildings lit up at night it was quite nice.

For your dining pleasure, the Hilton has the very nice "Glass Breakfast/Glass Brasserie" Restaurant on the second level. But even more special are the Hilton's two bars: Zeta Bar and the historic Marble Bar. The bars are totally different from each other in style and ambiance and both worth a visit for drinks or a nightcap. Close to the lobby front door is the Caffe Cino which is extremely popular in the morning.

This large hotel has almost 600 rooms, conference space, a ballroom, spa which includes a pool and sauna, and beauty salon.

The Hilton Sydney Hotel is certainly head and shoulders above many hotels, but perhaps because it was so large and a businessman's hotel, it felt somewhat impersonal. I was concerned that upon check-out they would not furnish me with a zero balance statement.

The Glass Breakfast Restaurant was a nice place for breakfast as far as the cuisine offered, but it too was somewhat impersonal and the staff could have been more friendly and attentive.

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Written August 28, 2012
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Modern Room with King Bed

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  • hopang profile photo hopang
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New Esplanade Hotel, Perth: A basic hotel

Hotel New Esplanade is located at the Esplanade in the heart of Perth. It is a nine storey three star hotel with approximately 65 well-furnished rooms. The top floors of the hotel has commanding view of Swan River. Among its facilities are mini bar, colour television, fully air-conditioned in all rooms with bathrooms attached, IDD telephones and restaurants.

Conveniently located in the heart of the city with a commanding view of Swan River.

  • Opinion of Price: least expensive
  • Related to: Family Travel
  • Written February 8, 2009
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New Esplanade Hotel room

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  • Joenes profile photo Joenes
  • Reviews: 457

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Glenelg Beach Resort: Glenelg, Best Hostel in South Australia

I have been there 3 times now and it still rocks!
Clean,affordable,very close to the sea and just 10 minutes by historical tram to Adelaide.

Ocean a minute away, pooltables, perfect jukebox and great staff.
Great theme parties through the week and lots of live music!

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Backpacking, Music, Beaches
  • Written March 18, 2004
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Gleneld Beach Resort

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  • Amelei profile photo Amelei
  • Reviews: 126

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GREAT WAY TO MEET PEOPLE AND TRAVEL: WWOOF-ING- THE CHEAP ALTERNATIVE

Willing Workers On Organic Farms australia

Anyone over the age of 17 can join WWOOF. WWOOF Australia members can be of any nationality - including Australian.

Working in exchange for food and accommodation is the basis of all WWOOFing. Time spent working varies according to the degree of self-sufficiency expected, how busy the host is at the time of your visit and other factors - but it should average out at about a half day's work for a full day's keep. 4 to 6 hours a day is fair exchange for a days full board and accommodation

WWOOFing gives you:
first hand experience of organic growing methods by helping your hosts

a chance to meet, talk, learn and exchange views with others in the organic movement
an opportunity to learn about life in the host country by living, and working, as family

Things you may be asked to do:

Sowing Compost making Gardening
Planting Wood cutting Child-minding
Weeding Mud-brick making Office work
Harvesting Fencing Typing
Milking Feeding Computer work
Building Packing

Some agents you can call in regards to WWOOF-ing

Glebe Village Backpackers 256 Glebe Point Road, Glebe, 2037 e-mail Web: www.workaustralia.com

BYRON BAY

Backpackers World Travel, Shop 5 Byron St, Byron Bay. 02-6685-8858

KATOOMBA

Flying Fox Backpackers, 190 Bathurst Rd, Katoomba 02-4782-4226 (5-8pm)

Katoomba Adventure Centre, 1 Katoomba St,Katoomba 02-4782-4009(9-5pm)

MULLUMBIMBY

The Bookshop, 39 Burringbar St,Mullumbimby. 02-6684-1413

NEWCASTLE

Backpackers, 44 Denison St, Hamilton. 02-4969-3436

  • Opinion of Price: N/A
  • Written January 9, 2005
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  • tropicrd profile photo tropicrd
  • Reviews: 270

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Cradle Mountain lodge: Cradle Mountains best lodge

The separate lodges are very comfortable and kept warm.
They have an entry to take off muddy or wet outer clothing before entering into the main rooms.
All meals are served in the main lodge--no cooking in rooms.
Each lodge has its own car parking space.

The lodge has its own walking tracks along bubbling creeks which adds to the atmosphere.
A transit coach will take you to Dove Lake.
The breakfasts and dinners at the lodge are excellent and they will cater for any special needs.
The fire places are kept going so when you enter the main lodge you are greeted with this warmth after a cold day out,sitting around the fire with a drink and chatting to other people is a part of the lodges character.

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Related to: Hiking and Walking, National/State Park, Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
  • Written May 30, 2009
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Cradle Mountain main lodge

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  • Reviews: 276

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Noah Lodge - Sydney: Sufficient for budget travellers

Airport shuttle bus stops here.

Next to trains - if you are a light sleeper or go to bed early this place probably isn't for you.

The neighbourhood is not the best and it is a long walk to metro, buses. For a single woman I suggest using a taxi to return late at night.

Nice people run it, very helpful and seriously concerned with your comfort. Good security.

Small rooms but who cares? Clean. Nice proprietors, friendly and helpful. Good internet connection. Free computers in the lobby area. Good breakfast. Vending machines (snack foods & drinks) in the lobby. Restaurant in evenings.

Rooms: *Good* bed. Hot coffee/tea maker and makings, small refigerator in the room. Plenty of good hot water in shower. Lift.

Full kitchen and barbecue facilities on the roof. Free for guests to use.

From the roof sitting area at night, you can see a wondrous view of the city with the bats flying over the Botanical Gardens, shining in the city's lights and reflecting it back. MAGIC!

Marvelous place to sit late at night !!

  • Opinion of Price: less expensive than average
  • Related to: Singles, Seniors, Budget Travel
  • Written January 22, 2007
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Sydney harbour view from Promanade


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  • Joenes profile photo Joenes
  • Reviews: 457

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Footprints Westend: Sydney, Footprints Westend

From this hostel all the major things are relatively closeby...the train station,darling harbour,circular quay and the rocks.

Don't expect too much from the rooms.They are very small but all I did there was sleep so no worries mate.
They have a great kitchen!

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Budget Travel, Backpacking
  • Written March 20, 2004
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Kitchen Footprints Westend


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  • filipdebont profile photo filipdebont
  • Reviews: 2829

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Macleay Apartments: Our first nights in Australia

Our first stop in Australia was Sydney; we stayed in Macleay Apartments, which was located in Potts Point.

The room was clean and had a small kitchen.

There was breakfast in the Hotel, but the man behind the desk advised to go across the street (reason: cheaper), and there was also a supermarket a few steps away, where you could buy fresh bread and rolls. There was a hot water machine and coffee and thee in the room.

Via the Botanical garden it was a 20 minutes walk towards the city centre (= near the Opera house), so that was not so bad, but . . . in the evening this Botanical garden closes at 17.00 (5 pm), and then you must walk all around it, and that is a bit further (especially in the dark, and if it is the first time, and you have to look on your city map in order to find the right direction).

In the same street there were plenty of restaurants and bars.

And for the lonely men, there was also kind of a red light district with bars and shops (and ladies who were dressed to light for this time of the year . . . . lol)

Prices: (see website)

STANDBY RATE
From $125 per room, per night - District View.
From $140 per room, per night - Harbour, City View

Car Parking $11.00 per night week nights and $15.00 per night weekends.

(Exchange rate : 100 AUS$ = +/- 60 Euro or +/- 75 US$)

Quiet room (at the side of the building), the front rooms were more noisy because of the traffic (and the early truck collecting the garbage bins)

3.5 Star Studio appartments with cooking facilities, harbour / city views (from the top floors), 2 km to the city, 10 km to the airport, close to all public transport, 24h reception, security and parking.

Plenty of restaurants nearby.

  • Opinion of Price: N/A
  • Related to: Road Trip
  • Written August 17, 2006
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the room with twin beds

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  • Paul2001 profile photo Paul2001
  • Reviews: 1800

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The Citerion Hotel: Historic budget hotel in Rockhampton

If you want a decent place to stay that will not set you back too much while in Rockhampton, then try the Citerion Hotel. The hotel required some renovations when I was put up on my tour of Queensland, I do understand that these have been made. The Citerion is the site of the first hotel ever established in Rockhampton, that being the Bush Inn back in 1857. The hotel has an excellent pub. Perhaps the reason that I split from my tour group was because I was the only one who chosed to patronize it.

I was actually more pleased with the pub and restaurant than the accommodations within the hotel itself. Inspite of that the hotel had a certain old world charm about it.

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Written October 12, 2004
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The Citerion Hotel in Rockhampton


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  • unaS profile photo unaS
  • Reviews: 276

2 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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Swagman's Rest - Alice Springs: Good budget place

Chose it for the name :->)

Nice quiet, green neighbourhood.

Large rooms. I had reserved a single - got a 2 room flat with full kitchen, lounge, separate bedroom.

Security here very poor. Could see where the room was previously broken into - bent frame of screen in bedroom and marks of where it was "jimmied". Signs everywhere about locking doors and windows.

Nice people but felt uncomfortable - didn't sleep well.

Galahs all over the place! Beautiful.
Pool.
Self-contained motel units spread out nicely over a largish area.

  • Opinion of Price: less expensive than average
  • Related to: Family Travel, Budget Travel
  • Written January 22, 2007
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Galah - common as pigeons in Alice!


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  • unaS profile photo unaS
  • Reviews: 276

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Ayers Rock Resort: Expensive - for tourists only

This is a small centre for a group of hotels with various prices for anyone that wants to overnight close to Ayers Rock (Uluru). It is the only facility in the area other than a public camping grounds, which also belongs to the same people. I chose the least expensive of the available hotels - not cheap!

Reserved a single, got a large room with a double bed and a bunk bed. Obviously a family room.

Decent inexpensive food bars if you don't mind junk food. Good restaurants at the more expensive hotels. Whole area quite small - easy to walk from the center to any of the hotels.

Not recommended but is the only place to stay - although you do have a choice of price range and facilities.

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Written January 22, 2007
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Uluru

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