The hotel is part of the Hilton chain's Curio Collection and it brings a hip edge to the family with plenty of foliage, botanical patterns and the green, healthy focus carried beyond the interiors and through to the food and drink. The location is Sussex Street in the CBD's west, on the edge of the Barangaroo precinct. Access is easy from the airport rail line with about a five-minute walk to the hotel from Wynyard Station. There's a relaxed, but accomplished feel about the place from reception to room, matched by capable, friendly staff and service.
The lobby and public areas have been designed around a central atrium, filled with light and greenery, branching off from this (forgive the pun) are bar, dining and reception areas. There's a modest gym on site and parking available nearby at a (significant) additional cost.
There are four room classes; Acacia, Banksia Deluxe, Waratah Premium and the King Barangaroo Suite, all with king-size beds or twin king singles. I was in a King Suite and it was excellent, with separate lounge and bedroom areas, good work space, plenty of storage and a big, comfortable bed. My views were of the neighbouring buildings across Sussex Street or an outdoor bar below, but that's probably fair enough in this part of town. The bathroom was excellent; as big as some hotel bedrooms, with a separate bath by the wall and a walk-in shower area.
The restaurant on site – Solander Dining – was named for a botanist who sailed with Captain Cook, Daniel Solander. The focus is on seasonal food, with most of the ingredients coming fresh from New South Wales. Breakfast is in the same place, with either a breakfast bar that includes fruit, cereals, pastries and smoothies, or eggs and omelettes cooked to order. Beyond the hotel, there's all the dining of the CBD and Darling Harbour within easy reach.
It's a few hundred metres to Barangaroo Wharf if you want to catch a ferry, or wander along a bit further and admire the brilliantly landscaped Barangaroo Reserve. The 75,000-plus plants in this foreshore park are all natives, selected to replicate what the headland might have been like before European settlement. As well as the burgeoning Barangaroo, the hotel is well-located for all the retail, dining, entertaining and cultural options of central Sydney or Darling Harbour.
Friendly, accomplished service in a part of Sydney that seems to improve by the month. Even though this one is most likely to appeal to business types with work nearby, it has great potential for a weekend getaway.
Rooms for two from $330, including breakfast. 65 Sussex Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000. Phone 02 8297 6500, see curiocollection3.hilton.com
HIGHLIGHT No minibar (they're so last century), but complimentary snacks, water bottles and capsule coffee.
LOWLIGHT The views from the rooms, but that's being picky; can't help having big buildings for neighbours.
Jim Darby was a guest of the West Hotel Sydney