Lit up cherry blossom trees and vibrant washes of colour turned the 100-year old Woolloomooloo Wharf into a magical fairyland for the launch party of Ovolo Woolloomooloo last week. Alongside celebrity guests like Marcia and Deni Hines, and Jessica Mauboy, I wove my way through the clever interiors that have transformed the cavernous warehouse style-space into something surprisingly intimate, all without losing sight of those soaring ceiling heights.
As the lift zoomed up to Level 36 of the swanky Shangri-la and I set foot into the New York-inspired Blu Bar, I was greeted by the image of the man who designed the 2014 official Oscars cocktail giving a fellow bartender a bollocking over a mishap with a whipped cream canister.
Hotel restaurants are curious beasts; and while Abode has been cleverly located as a stylish, stand-alone restaurant, it is still very much part of the Parkroyal Darling Harbour. As you’d expect, the restaurant fulfils a role in providing accessible, comforting and familiar food to overnight stayers.
It’s high time someone was brave enough to have some fun with politicians. From Tony Abbott quotes about election campaigns being “budgie smuggler free zones” in the in-room guide; to crazy past'n'present Prime Minister wallpaper; to press pack paparazzi bursting from the lifts; this hotel takes a youthful, pop-art approach to reflecting its location in our nation’s capital.
At first the idea of a weekend away in Blacktown might sound somewhat counterintuitive, but bear with me. As you come off the barren M4 Western Motorway just before the Light Horse Interchange - incidentally the largest collection of flyovers in the Southern Hemisphere – you’ll drive along the scrubby edges of Prospect Reservoir… but ready yourself for a shock!
The Shangri-La Sydney has a young, hip pastry chef in Anna Polyviou. Not only is she good at her craft, she’s entertaining and charismatic in the (rather spacious) confines of her pastry kitchen.