You do know that this building was the original Grace Bros. store in Sydney? asks our hotel guide.
Umm, I didn’t but I can’t help smiling.
I’ve literally walked into shopping history. It feels comfortable. It feels like home.
As he continues to talk us through the hotel’s past, I can’t help imagine I’m wearing something like this:
And that I’m shopping for a new pair of gloves and a new hat …
Mrs Woog notices that I’ve gone all trance like and pokes me in the ribs just as they mention the word penthouse. I’m back as quick as they can whisk us up to the top floor.
We’re at The Grace Hotel in Sydney’s CBD and I’m in love. The hotel may have had me at the shopping part but I’m seriously loving the blend of old and new.
The Art Deco Building was based on the US Chicago Tribune building, its gothic tower creating quite the skyline for Sydney in its time. That tower, once decorative only, now forms part of the penthouse suite. While Mrs Woog is pacing out the room, trying to calculate how many of her friends she could fit in for a party next weekend, I’m wondering how I can move in. Permanently.
Now, the penthouse suite may not fall into everyone’s budget ($1000 a night for minimum three night stay) but the hotel’s Neo King rooms certainly come closer (from $280 per night). And it’s here that I lay my head later that night after too many champagnes by the harbour.
These rooms have been recently refurbished and include The Grace’s signature dreamy king bed as well as a host of eco-friendly features … energy-effecient lighting, water-saver showers and environmentally responsible body products. I’m VERY comfortable but when I return to The Grace (and return I will), this is the room I want to stay in:
Or, I’d settle for the Room1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 or 10 instead. Not fussy. They all look very swish. The 10Rooms concept at The Grace is all about offering hotel rooms that are all different … for travellers not after a matchy-matchy experience. Not only does the decor and room layout differ with each but you can choose everything from what pillows you’d like to the soap you’d like in the bathroom. They’ll add in an in-room espresso machine, iPod dock, free internet, late check-out, free in-room brekky … and more.
Now, the only danger I can forsee in checking into one of those rooms, is that I would not want to venture from the hotel. You see, dear reader, while The Grace is no longer the home of the department store that become Myer, it is JUST AROUND THE CORNER from Sydney’s newest shopping centre, Westfield Sydney.
After checking out and leaving my luggage with conceirge, I headed for a look myself. You know, just so I could pass on my knowledge to others. Purely research purposes. History and shopping and all that.
Well … I must have looked like one of those clowns in sideshow alley. Head moving slowly from side to side, mouth wide open, drool quite possibly forming.
And if your budget is a good one … so is Mulberry and Diane von Furstenberg. And it all links up with Myer and David Jones and Pitt Street Mall. Oh, even now my breath is shortening, just thinking about it. It is simply shopping heaven. I really did need a Bex and little lie down … if only I had another night at The Grace.
(Here’s a little video I put together. I was so in love with the restored decor and architecture of the building, I couldn’t resist. Look out for the original Grace Brothers signage on the stairs.)
*Nikki Parkinson was a guest at The Grace Hotel, Sydney, and www.lastminute.com.au. For details about last minute accommodation packages at The Grace, check out the packages available here. Weekends will generally be a cheaper. Which leaves more in the budget for shopping … just saying.