Where is the Radisson Blu Plaza Sydney:
The Radisson Blu is in O’Connell Street, and also backs on to Pitt Street with its unusual shape – which is similar to the Flatiron Building in New York.
The Radisson has a brilliant back story. It was once the home of John Fairfax & Sons, publishers of the oldest surviving newspaper in Australia – the Sydney Morning Herald. The building dates back to 1856 and started off as three storeys in a handsome coat of stone. It was extended between 1922 and 1929 to be nine storeys, with its lovely cupola making it look a little taller. Fairfax used to load the papers onto horse-drawn carriages in the old days, clip clopping off around the city to drop off the all-important newspapers. From 1956 – 1997 Fairfax shared the building with the former Bank of New South Wales (now Westpac), with the last edition of the Herald put to bed on 21 December, 1955.The building underwent further changes between 2000 and 2010 as it transformed into the Radisson Plaza Hotel Sydney, a boutique five-star hotel owned by the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. The property was rebranded as a Radisson Blu in 2010, and has just finished a major, $12million redesign. The stunning refurbishment has seen the sleek, modern look not forgetting its newspaper past – with the hallways and public spaces showcasing historic photos from the Fairfax collection.
Rooms and Interiors
The 336 guest rooms and 28 suites are impeccably presented, boasting new silk fabrics, colour schemes of metal blue and chrome, and bursts of colour through cushions and lounges. We stay in a Business Class Room on the 10th floor and I just love the wallpaper, which tricks the eyes into believing it has a corrugated iron shape. I just had to touch it to believe it was flat. It gives a life to the walls, rather than a flat white or beige paint job. The bed is divine, and although the city streets are just outside, there is no street noise to interrupt the in-house movie, or later, our sleep. There was a choice of pillows and we could have requested different pillows from the pillow menu if necessary. Guests on this floor have access to the Business Lounge, which also has the exquisite cupola.
The marble bathroom is generous is size, with a deep bathtub, large shower and decent sized vanity. I really like the bathroom amenities – the conditioner and shampoo are great. Surprisingly, that is not always the case and I have learned from experience to take my own conditioner. Happily – it stayed in the bag this time.
The Radisson Blu has a wonderful bar – the Fax Bar, and you can choose to sit at the bar or in one of many comfy chairs dotted in twos or fours around tables. Breakfast is in the Lady Fairfax Room – one of three heritage rooms that hark back to the Fairfax days. One of the highlights of our stay was the High Tea, had in the Fax Bar in two high-backed seats by the window. The hotel has created several different High Tea options, the most recent being the Distiller’s High Tea. The Archie Rose Distilling Co – the first working distillery in Sydney since 1853 – provides the spirits, which are served with the different tiers of tasty treats.
We could have opted for Champagne, sparkling wine, tea or coffee but went for a glass or two of wine. We loved the citrus tart, the spinach and ricotta roll, the chicken curry puff, the scones with jam and clotted cream, the dainty sandwiches, the Belgian chocolate slice, spiced cake and the smoked salmon on toast. We saved the best till last – two exquisite looking salted caramel swans. My husband was devouring all the salmon so while he wasn’t watching I ate his swan as well.
A friend recently did the children’s high tea – also a spectacular hit.
For dinner, Bentley Restaurant and Bar is downstairs and has been a huge hit since relocating into the Radisson Blu space. Unfortunately, it was closed the night we were there (Sunday), so we chose to nibble on some of the lovely options in the Business Lounge. We really didn’t have any room for a big dinner anyway, having luxuriated over the High Tea mid afternoon.
The hotel has a gym health club with a lovely 15-metre pool, steam room and the usual equipment – which we probably should have used to work off some of that High Tea. A new spa has opened as well – the Tanatcha Spa – and we couldn’t resist trying it out. Tanatcha – the owner – offers a range of massages, body treatments, facials and body packages. We booked a 30-minute back massage and within two seconds it was obvious Tanatcha knew her stuff. Her nimble fingers immediately found the tight spots that always come from spending two long at the computer, and deftly smoothed and worked and cajoled and strong-armed the knots into submission. It was really good and I highly recommend her to anyone who is staying at the property or working nearby.
The Spa. The High Tea and have a drink in the cupola in the Business Lounge. Choose the Traditional High Tea with tea or coffee, the Sparkling with a glass of sparkling wine, the Champagne High Tea with a glass of Moet & Chandon, the Celebration High Tea which includes a two-hour beverage package or the Distiller’s High Tea, with the wonderful Archie Rose Gin.
What I Loved:
I loved strolling down the hallways looking at the historic photographs of the building and its surrounds back in the day. The snapshot of Sydney life back then is mesmerising. This hotel might be modern in every other way but this doffing of the hat to its past is a masterstroke. I also love the Papinelle pyjamas that have been created just for the Radisson Blu. The beautiful blue silk PJs for women and the pima cotton for men are so comfortable. The pj’s are available to guests to stay multiple times a year, and for certain special packages.
Radisson Blu Plaza Sydney
27 O’Connell Street, Sydney, 2000
Phone: (02) 82140000