The Westin Sydney – April 2013

When the opportunity to stay at the Westin comes up, you take it.

With family visiting from Melbourne, the question of where to stay comes up and as always my first recommendation is to stay at the Westin. I understand that the price point is more suited to business than leisure travelling, however securing a cheap deal on a long weekend feels like winning some kind of travel lotto. And with that, rooms are booked and the relaxing hideaway in the middle of the city begins. I can’t help but come along for the ride.

While most of my hotel experiences are focused on finding unique boutique hotels, small quirky places that make you feel special and appreciated as an individual, i must admit that sometimes i just love to fall into the hands of a giant chain that can take care of all your needs despite operating on a grand scale. The Westin always makes me feel this way. Yes, they are huge. Yes, they are almost always busy. But damn it, they know how to do hotels right.

The location cannot be beat – smack bang in the middle of the CBD, in a beautiful partially restored Post Office, it has to be one of my favourite buildings in the city. Offering a selection of restaurants and cafes on the lower level, this space is more than just a hotel and you could literally cover a lunch, a night out, and a hotel stay in one space. For the supremely lazy (like myself) I would be very happy to do so.

The rooms are instantly familiar despite the city location you are in. Normally something I would be turned off by, but the Westin manages to turn this into a comfy old friend trait, where you feel at ease immediately and know exactly what you are getting. The beds are indeed ‘heavenly’ as advertised, the size of the room is always impressive (of course certain cities will dictate smaller or larger rooms) and the bathroom spacious and decadent.

And as a beauty junkie, I often find that the quality of the toiletries on offer will always sway me (yes I am that vain) and the Westin gets a big tick from me. The smell of the body wash takes me back to my last Westin stay in Kuala Lumpur, with fond memories of starting our honeymoon adventure. I love that a simple scent can take me back on that path, despite actually being in my home city.

[For those playing at home, the best toiletries will always be at the Prince Hotel in Melbourne who used to offer an Aesop travel pack. I have a feeling this is no longer the case, but I wish they would bring it back!*]

A stay at the Westin is always a treat, and my home city break has only fuelled my desire to find a more interstate or international locations to try.

The Westin Sydney
1 Martin Pl
Sydney NSW 2000

* upon further research, the Prince now offers products from Swedish skincare brand Ren so all is not lost!

The oyster catcher, Jervis Bay – February 2013

I am not easily swayed away from hotels for a weekend away, but a little B&B in Husky took my interest and i couldn’t resist.

The Oyster Catcher is a small B&B in Huskisson near Jervis Bay, on the south coast of NSW. I say it is a small B&B as it technically only serves one set of guests at a time. ALERT – i may have found the perfect solution to the B&B conundrum. You see, i love hotels because even with small boutique properties there is a sense of anonimity. While a small hotel staff might remember your name ( love that ) i do not want to ‘mingle’ with any other hotel guests. Its not an area i am hoping to make life long friendships – i don’t even want to talk to people in line at the breakfast buffet. And B&B’s usually go against the grain – pulling you together in essentially what is someone else’s home, sitting in their kitchen like a tight knit family – except they are strangers. Nope, too uncomfortable, book me in at a giant hotel chain instead so i don’t have to talk to anyone.

The Oyster Catcher is basically two houses in one – one side is for the owner Sandra, and the other for one set of guests. rather than a bed and breakfast it is more like a mini house and breakfast. Spacious and airy, the property has one bedroom minimally furnished with the essentials, a hallway area with a mini fridge, large lounge and dining area and an oversized bathroom. The Croat comes out in me when I see multiple sets of Sheridan towels in the bathroom, it doesn’t take much to impress me – a few fluffy towels and i am yours. The large free standing bath makes for a decadent soak, with high windows that reveal the treetops outside so you feel close to nature, but closer to mod cons. Again, a perfect feature for me.

Things i love about the Oyster Catcher
– Our gracious host Sandra spoils you with a beautful breakfast spread of baked porridge, seasonal fruits, sourdough bread and local jams. I didn’t even realise there was a gap in my life in the form of Fig jam.
– Everything else. Seriously considering my options of early retirement to this amazing seaside spot.

Things i don’t love about the Oyster Catcher
– The rumoured resident Zelda (the miniature schnauzer) does not make an appearance during our stay, leaving this puppy advocate very disappointed.

The Oyster Catcher
4 Jervis St Huskisson NSW
http://www.oystercatcher.com.au

* note – since this review was written the Oyster Catcher has closed. Massive sad face!

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