The Tank Stream Hotel, Sydney
In the heart of the city, just a block from Martin Place between the Pitt Street Mall and Circular Quay, making it a short walk from city highlights such as the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Botanic Gardens and the historic Rocks precinct.
The hotel is named after the Tank Stream – a key water source for the region during its settlement, and for the local Gadigal Aborigines for a long time before that (see Stepping Out below). Originally built in the '60s as an office building, the Tank Stream has been redeveloped to add modern floors of glass and steel to the top of the concrete building. Opened last year, the hotel features 280 rooms across its 10 floors.
The room is fairly standard, with bright birchwood finishings on the desk, doors and columns. The light colours help keep the room bright, given the single window in one corner of the room is quite narrow. My room doesn't feel dark but I wonder what the effect is in rooms that are not north facing. The layout of my room, in the corner of the building, opens with a large space by the door, which to some degree feels like a wasted area as it's not being put to any use at present. At the same time, it helps give a feeling of space. There is significant storage space though I'm not particularly a fan of room designs that place a small desk directly under the wall-mounted television.
Wi-Fi is free, which is thankfully now becoming standard for most hotels. What is not standard are two additional freebies the hotel offers – a free minibar and free movies on demand. The former does not include alcoholic drinks, but there are soft drinks, juice and muesli bars available. The range of on-demand movies is quite extensive and features plenty of new releases. Oddly, there appears to be no clock or radio in the room, so your own alarm or a wake-up call is required.
The hotel restaurant, Le Petit Flot, is an unusual fusion – French and Japanese. The meat-heavy menu features pork belly, beef cutlets. I opt for a half rack of lamb and sauteed greens, both of which are delicious and simple. The room service menu offers a small selection of the restaurant meals, which come delivered in a bento-style box.
Breakfast is also served in the restaurant and offers the usual buffet options with eggs cooked to order.
The hotel has partnered with a local operator to provide walking tours of the historic Tank Stream and its importance in the establishment of the city. The two-hour tour takes in many of the key sights and institutions of the area, while offering an in-depth look at the lesser known aspects of the city's 230-year history. The route follows the trail of the Tank Stream itself, which is now beneath the city pavement, through narrow laneways and hidden streets. See golocaltours.com.au/i/tour/sydneys-hidden-little-laneways/
The Tank Stream isn't the prettiest building in town, but its central location, comfortable rooms and embracing of Sydney's history make it a good value option for visitors.
Rooms at the Tank Stream Hotel start from $179, including breakfast.
You couldn't ask for a more central location than this to explore the city on foot.
A weird quirk of design means I can hear my neighbour's television through the hole where my TV cables go.
The writer stayed as a guest of the Tank Stream.