InterContinental Sydney

The entrance to the old Treasury building at the Intercontinental Sydney

The entrance to the old Treasury building at the Intercontinental Sydney

Having visited other InterContinental properties before, I had a fair idea of what to expect in terms of service and general amenities. What I had not experienced before was the ‘Club Lounge’ – and I must confess, I am a bit of a fan! And let me tell you, if you are going to indulge in the ‘Club’ experience, the InterContinental Sydney is the place to do it – the Lounge is on the 32nd floor of the building with unsurpassed views of the Harbour Bridge, Opera House and Botanic Gardens.

The main benefit of being in ‘the club’ is access to the Club lounge. Complimentary tea, coffee and snacks are available throughout the day, but any other drinks or light meals can be ordered and charged to your room. It’s the perfect spot for a bit of relaxation with a book and amazing views. Between 5-7pm there are complimentary canapés and drinks, which is a delightful way to enjoy the sunset, either from inside the panoramic lounge or on the balcony. Oh, and a large buffet breakfast is included, as well. And, then there is the complimentary wifi (which so many Australian hotels still insist on charging for). One couple I met in the lift swore by the ‘club experience’ – they “always go ‘club’”, they like the personal attention and feel they get excellent value for money. Being able to flop into a comfy armchair in the afternoon after a full morning of shopping and sightseeing, and have a cool drink appear within moments, while gazing at the gleaming white tiles that form those iconic sails, is certainly worth it!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The club experience is open to all and simple to access, just book a Club InterContinental rate online when making the online reservation. That gives you all the perks mentioned above. But for the exclusive suites, such as the Australia Suite, you will need more room on your credit card (and even more if you want to book it over New Year’s Eve!). We were fortunate in that this suite was empty on our visit, and with the help of Melanie (Executive Manager on duty) managed to check it out. The Australia Suite is larger than my three-bedroom house and far more luxurious! The views of the Opera House and Bridge were superlative, and they could be seen from a number of spaces in the accommodation; the 10-seater dining table, the lounge and the private outdoor terrace. The excessively large bedroom and bathroom had views of the Botanic Gardens and the Eastern Harbour, even the basin stood in the centre of the bathroom so you got a view when cleaning your teeth! The spacious walk in wardrobe had a separate entrance via which the luggage could be delivered. This was the third of the exterior entrances to the suite – the other two were the main entrance through the foyer, as well as the butler’s access, which entered directly into the kitchen. This is one special suite for its aspect, ambience and the care taken with all elements of how it was decorated – from the artwork to the floral arrangements.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

But for those of us who don’t have such elastic credit cards at our disposal, the King Club Eastern Harbour View room was an excellent choice. And I do so value a well-designed hotel room (which is much harder to find than one would think, even in high end accommodations). The design of this bathroom was perfect – it ticked every box in my book. Apart from all the obvious inclusions there was a well-placed soap holder in the shower/bath, a magnifying mirror (needed by more and more of us as we age and our eyesight dwindles!), plenty of bench space AND an additional narrow polished marble shelf running around the bench above the sink as a great perch for jewellery, glasses or whatever. A pleasant surprise was the frosted glass window opening into the main part of the room, allowing the guest in the bathroom to watch the TV or the view (or not, if you wanted privacy). Now, most high-end hotel rooms have some of these features, but rarely do they have all of them.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As for the rest of the room…the window seat provided a comfy spot to perch and watch the harbour and the gardens (there was a wedding taking place the afternoon we checked in); the desk had plenty of access to good light and power outlets; and the bed was as restful as expected with any number of pillow options to suit all neck statuses and comfort levels.

Even when not a temporary resident of the InterContinental Sydney, the Cortile in the sun-drenched atrium on the ground floor is a splendid spot to indulge in a high tea or a pre-dinner cocktail or champagne. For such an open, light-filled space, it is surprisingly intimate, with high backed chairs and booths creating little corners for people to chat in as well as watch the world go by. This area would have to be one of my favourite in the hotel, and I’ll be sure to return here even if only for a glass of champagne on my way to the theatre at the Opera House.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The high level of service at the InterContinental reflects its 5 star status, but this professional efficiency is balanced with the friendly manner and conversation of all team members. As we spent a fair amount of time in the Club Lounge (and who wouldn’t want to?), it was this crew that we spent the most time with, and we were very impressed with every member of the team. Even one poor server who was bumped and dropped a glass of red wine, splashing some on my companion, was wonderful – she immediately offered to whisk the shirt away to be dry-cleaned. She was charming and good-humoured, but completely apologetic (thank you, Charlotte, for your concern and problem solving skills!). Wasif ensured that all our needs were met on our visits, and Tom (the manager) was exceptional in his ability to remember guests’ names, retain an impressive amount of information about the hotel, and make perfect recommendations to guests, catering to their individual interests.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Check out was smooth and efficient. When I arrived to settle my account, two staff members were whisking people through the process, but as soon as a queue began to form the manager on duty appeared to ensure that no one was kept waiting. Even the return of the car from the valet was prompt. Every aspect of our stay was a delight, from the welcome gift of wine and macarons, to the Lounge staff leaving their chores to come and bid us farewell. One night was not a long enough stay at the InterContinental Sydney, but if that’s the only time you’ve got, make the most of it and “go club”!

Click on any image below to view as gallery

About bontaks

Nic is the the 'Bon' part of 'Bontaks.' Together we are Nic and John - two travel-addicted teachers who enjoy every opportunity to go places, meet people and experience life.

Leave a Reply