Up for some fancy snack and tickle
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.
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