Up for some fancy snack and tickle

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel - Susan Kuro­sawa

CANNY guests ex­pect value-added pack­ages at ho­tels. Bed, bath and break­fast are barely enough: let’s add cham­pagne, choco­lates, park­ing and health club en­try, maybe a meal or two, a spa treat­ment or a cook­ing class.

Or in the case of the Syd­ney Hil­ton, per­haps some­thing in­volv­ing tick­lers and rose petals. This chic CBD ho­tel — un­recog­nis­able since its 2005 makeover— has en­listed the ser­vices of Madame Lash (Gre­tel Pin­niger) and Luke Man­gan to de­sign a Provo­ca­teur pack­age. The naughty mistress is in charge of se­duc­tion tips while ex­ec­u­tive chef Man­gan has cre­ated ‘‘ an aphro­disiac-in­spired de­gus­ta­tion plat­ter’’ for cou­ples who book the fun deal.

My part­ner and I re­ally just want some­where glam to sleep af­ter his birth­day din­ner at Glass, the Hil­ton Syd­ney’s fine din­ing space. We seem to have got our­selves en­tan­gled in some­thing much saucier.

Man­gan’s do­main is one of our favourite city restau­rants; ev­ery­thing about Glass works, from the dra­matic decor to the flaw­less ser­vice and fab food. For a ban­gup birth­day nosh, we could not have cho­sen bet­ter.

Back in the room, we both feel older than God. The Provo­ca­teur deal clearly is aimed at guests about the age of our adult chil­dren and their part­ners. The room is a for­est of flick­er­ing tea-lights (flat­ter­ing at any age, it has to be ad­mit­ted) and there are five se­duc­tion tips in hot red en­velopes and what I take to be a minifeather duster (it’s some kind of tick­ler, and not just for ribs).

The floor, furniture and oceanic bed are scat­tered with scar­let rose petals. There is a dice, which sug­gests an el­e­ment of risk, and a torch, which could be handy for me to find the door key, an ob­ject I rou­tinely lose in ho­tel rooms but which even­tu­ally turns up some­where com­pletely log­i­cal, such as inside the mini-bar.

Each se­duc­tion tip is pro­gres­sive and the en­velopes are num­bered so you’d have to hope you’re not with a bloke who goes straight to the one marked five.

I can’t re­ally imag­ine turn­ing down a chance to scoff Man­gan’s food but the plat­ter of morsels is too sub­stan­tial to tackle, save for those stan­dard-bear­ers of aphro­disi­acs, oys­ters on the shell. There are two types of lit­tle tarts filled with as­para­gus and moz­zarella, and crab and basil, plus choco­late truf­fles and vanilla brulee and, to add fur­ther fizz to pro­ceed­ings, a bot­tle of cham­pagne.

I’d be will­ing to share some of this with my chap but he’s al­ready in the tub, hap­pily watch­ing late-night sport on the bath­room television.

Yes, telly all but in the tub: it’s that kind of room, lux­u­ri­ously de­tailed, very swish in de­sign, snowy white beds with sink-into pil­lows. The room cat­e­gory is Re­lax­ation Suite and the pack­age’s turn-down ser­vice in­cludes a can­dle burner with es­sen­tial oils and guests’ choice of mood mu­sic. In our case it’s our favourite jazz di­vas, Bil­lie, Sarah and Ella, but you could take the Agent Provo­ca­teur deal to the max and fire up Barry White.

Hil­ton Syd­ney is an ex­cel­lent ho­tel and while I’m not con­vinced one needs tricks and feath­ers to make the most of a stay, many guests would find this fun pack­age provoca­tive in­deed. Don’t use the tick­ler for a spot of dust­ing at home, though; trust me, the sod­ding thing will fall to shreds.

Check­list

Hil­ton Syd­ney, 259 Pitt St, Syd­ney. (02) 9266 2000; www.hilton­syd­ney.com.au. Tar­iff: The Provo­ca­teur pack­age is $650 for two. Many other value-plus deals avail­able, from about $350 for two. Get­ting there: About 20 min­utes by car from Syd­ney air­port; mono­rail and Town Hall sta­tion nearby. Check­ing in: Cor­po­rate guests on week­days; large in­ter­na­tional clien­tele. Bed­time read­ing: ThePil­lowBook by Sei Shonagon. Step­ping out: City at­trac­tions on doorstep; a 10-min­utes walk to Cir­cu­lar Quay fer­ries and The Rocks. Brick­bats: Some gue­strooms are small­ish; lim­ited views from lower floors. Bou­quets: Great lo­ca­tion; help­ful staff; Man­gan’s stel­lar food; the 36th-floor ex­ec­u­tive lounge, with its host of ex­tras.

Lux­u­ri­ously de­tailed: A Re­lax­ation Suite at the Syd­ney Hil­ton, feather tick­ler not pic­tured

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