Michelle Hurley stays in a gorgeous Harbour View balcony suite

How big?

Boutique, with 189 unique rooms and suites, all with their own individual vantage points.

Room: A Harbour View balcony suite. The enormous balcony affords a bird's-eye view of Sydney Harbour, across to Milson's Point and Luna Park. This suite is the bomb, with generous living, two televisions, well-stocked mini-bar, plenty of room to hang your clothes, all decorated in light tones, nicely off-setting the industrial scaffolding that abounds.


Price: From AUD$1000 ($1,096) per night, room only.

Check-in experience: We arrived early, on our way to a lunch, so dropped the bags off with no delays. After lunch, we were welcomed with a glass of bubbles and chocolate-dipped strawberries, given the keycard to the room and we were in.

What's so good about this place? Tucked away in Walsh Bay — home to the Sydney Theatre Company, the Sydney Dance Company and other arts organisations — this is a beautiful heritage building, showcasing the hotel's industrial background: it was built more than 100 years ago as a working cargo wharf and passenger transit point and has been sympathetically renovated by leading architect Bates Smart. If your heart sinks at the thought of staying in a cookie-cutter corporate hotel, Pier One is the place for you.

And the bad? If you're terrified of dogs, you may want to think again: there are 10 pet-friendly rooms in the hotel, catering for animals up to 25kg. We saw no sign of Fido when we were there though.

What's in the neighbourhood? The aforementioned theatre and ballet companies. You are literally next to the Sydney Harbour Bridge (unlike the Auckland Harbour Bridge, you can walk and bike over it, and it offers some of the best free views in Sydney).

Food: We had breakfast at The Gantry, the one-hatted restaurant on the ground floor of the hotel. The food was standard buffet breakfast, but you'd be better off saving yourself for lunch or dinner when the executive chef, Joel Bickford, is behind the stove, as reports are that it's very good. If you have friends or family you want to entertain, consider booking one of the hotel's super-cool "igloos" that are dotted on the terrace outside the restaurant. You can hire them for three hours, with a minimum spend of $400 for a small igloo and $600 for large. With stylish seating, heating and those views, it makes for a uniquely Sydney experience. Also worth trying is The Kerrigan, a charcoal grill food "shack" (think a food truck that never leaves).

The bed: Super comfortable.

Bathroom: Gorgeous with a modern freestanding deep "egg" bath, massive vanity, retractable wall to the bedroom and a shower with four, count em, shower heads.

Toiletries: Appelles Apothecary & Lab: Luxurious, cruelty-free natural skin and hair care products designed in Sydney using fragrant essential oil blends and plant extracts.

Noise: It's a working harbour, so you do hear the sounds of boats and the Parramatta Ferry trundling by. Not unpleasant at all, I have to say, especially when your eyes are open.

Exercise facilities: A compact gym on the ground floor with weights, cycles and rowing machine.

Perfect for: A cheeky romantic getaway.

Would I return? You bet I would.


is at 11 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay, Sydney, Australia. Phone: +61 2 8298 9999.