While we may have spent the majority of the last two years craving overseas travel, there’s nothing like a mini vacation in Sydney. Whether you’re after luxury, comfort, something that doesn’t hurt the pocket or all-out glamour, you’re bound to find it in Sydney’s many stunning hotel offerings. If you need a break from home and a chance to rediscover the city and its many iconic corners, a heritage hotel in The Rocks would be your best bet. Soaked in history with proximity to the city’s harbour, quaint streets, excellent food offerings and art and culture galore, the neighbourhood perfectly captures the heart of the city.
If you’re after a moment of pause, you’ll want to check out the historic Harbour Rocks Hotel. Thanks to a gracious invitation by the hotel, I got to experience the hospitality up close. Located on the southern shore of Sydney Harbour, the hotel offers a nostalgic and intimate experience with spacious rooms and excellent service to boot.
Harbour Rocks Hotel Sydney
Built in 1887, the hotel is conveniently located just a short stroll from the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and the CBD. And while the sense of nostalgia is strong given its long history, the rooms are modern and comfortable enough to hold the fort. Tucked away on the peaceful Harrington Street, you’ll find an interesting juxtaposition of the old and new, both within the hotel and its surrounds. The rooms are spacious and airy with a calming monochromatic colour scheme and plenty of sunshine with accented cushions and throws adding a pop of colour to the decor. Upon entrance, you’ll be greeted by a library with pretty festoon lights and floral decor. A big highlight of the hotel is its convergence with a great French cafe and stellar Middle-Eastern restaurant.
Start your stay with a lovely breakfast at Creperie Suzette. Located right next to the hotel, the café offers a slice of France in a cosy corner of The Rocks. With a selection of savoury and sweet items to entice your taste buds and a quaint ambience, it’s the perfect way to kick-start the day. If you find yourself visiting when the sun is shining and the rains are at bay, the café offers outdoor seating for a lovely spot in the sun.
As for the menu, you’ll find a number of comfort food offerings. From the hearty Poule Pesto galette, complete with chicken pesto sun-dried tomato, parmesan, cheese and spinach to the classic cream cheese bagel, smashed avo with fried egg, croissants, muffins and brekkie bowls, there’s no shortage of options to pick from.
And if you prefer to start the day sweet, you’ll find lemon and sugar crepes along with a poached apple and cinnamon, nutella and more. The ones to try are the Crepes Suzette, with sublime orange marmalade and Grand Marnier and La Fraise which is chock full of strawberry, dark chocolate, walnuts and ice cream.
One of the very first things you’ll notice about the Harbour Rocks Hotel is its enviable location. Just a stone’s throw away is everything you’d need for a quintessential Sydney trip. For your fix of art and culture, head to the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia — a mere two-minute walk from the hotel. There’s also a plethora of food options to choose from with Circular Quay being right around the corner. There’s Italian, Mexican and Asian food offerings along with many others — you won’t have to worry about going hungry here.
The area is especially delightful for those who have a penchant for architecture and design. Lined along the CBD are a number of rich Art Deco buildings, stylish new designs, heritage establishments and vintage pubs.
The cherry on top of the cake came in the form of dinner at the hotel’s signature restaurant, Tayim. The classy Middle Eastern restaurant oozes style with a moody disposition and incredible food. Located inside a sandstone cavern, the restaurant and bar hidden away in a quaint corner of The Rocks brings some serious flair to the dining scene in the area.
On the menu are a number of delicious snacks, small plates and mains along with an extensive drinks menu. I highly recommend the decadent chicken shawarma skewer with tatbila, the cauliflower chips with sweet harissa and natural yoghurt and the chat potatoes which are packed with flavour. The grilled haloumi with guava sauce and dukkah was an absolute winner along with the rosewater malabi and ricotta knafeh for a sweet, sweet finish.
There is no better way to end your day than a walk around the harbour late at night. With the glittering skyline in full view and the Bridge and the Opera House magnificent under the moonlight, it’s a sight to behold. The Rocks itself transforms into a hive of activity with pubs and bars bringing the party to the precinct and hundreds of fairy lights adorning the trees and streets. If you’re feeling extra indulgent and want to take your staycation a step further, book yourself a harbour suite and be spoilt with uninhibited views of the harbour and the city skyline. The experience at the hotel and restaurant is made better thanks to their excellent staff who are a true credit to the establishment giving the hotel a truly warm and welcoming ambience throughout.
If you’ve been feeling overworked and burned out, this is a great way to recalibrate. If you want to treat a loved one to something special, a weekend away at the hotel promises to be a memorable time. It basically fits the bill for an ideal staycation in the city.
The Harbour Rocks Hotel offers a variety of rooms from Studio Suite to Harbour Suite. They are open for bookings now and you can reserve a spot here. Secret Sydney stayed as guests of Harbour Rocks Hotel as part of Destination NSW’s Feel New Campaign.