CHECK IT OUT INTERCONTINENTAL SYDNEY DOUBLE BAY
IF you fancy escaping the crush of downtown Sydney this summer the new InterContinental in harbourside Double Bay provides a five-star village atmosphere just 5km from the CBD.
Royal Hotels Australia has spent more than a year and almost $25 million breathing new life into the former Ritz Carlton building on Cross Street, streamlining the 140 guestrooms and suites, creating a glamorous rooftop pool and lounge complete with private cabanas and yacht-spangled water views, restoring the grand ballroom and adding an impressive Royal Suite with no less than four balconies (and a price tag of $5500 a night).
The hotel’s chequered history — it was abandoned after closing under the Stamford Plaza banner several years ago — is all but forgotten as its glory days, when the likes of Princess Diana and Madonna checked in, are now recalled.
Some of the more opulent of the Ritz Carlton’s 90s bling, including the Italian marble fireplaces, has been retained but otherwise the new hotel is all about sharp clean lines and contemporary fixtures.
Guestrooms, many with private balconies, are well proportioned, dressed in shades of cool grey, and all have views of either the village, harbour or internal French Provincial-style courtyard that forms part of the hotel’s Club lounge. DON’T MISS: An afternoon lazing by that Hollywood pool with its stunning harbour views. DINING IN: Executive chef Julien Pouteau heads the team in Stockroom, with its light and airy dining room and more casual pantry-style space with marble-topped chef’s tables, as well as the swanky Stillery gin bar and the rooftop poolside lounge. In Stockroom be sure to try the boiled egg with Yarra Valley caviar, spinach and bechamel bruschetta for breakfast. Otherwise the salmon with watercress mousseline and muntries or the saltbush lamb with zucchini flower chips and seaweed salt is recommended. There’s also a kosher kitchen. DINING OUT: Niji Restaurant & Bar (21 Bay Street) and Sciue Scieu (440 New South Head Road). ASK THE CONCIERGE: James Nobleza suggests packing your walking shoes and togs. Just a fiveminute stroll from the hotel you’ll find Blackburn Gardens, a beautifully restored green space, claiming spectacular views of Sydney Harbour. This leads to the family-friendly Redleaf Pool and Seven Shillings Beach. Other secret beaches along the harbour include Milk Beach and Parsley and Shark Bays. And there are plenty of spectacular walking tracks along the Rose Bay to Watsons Bay coastline. CHECKING IN: Opening rates from $390 including breakfast in Stockroom. More: intercontinental.com/doublebay. ALSO TRY: The Como Melbourne — MGallery Collection, South Yarra; Crosby Street Hotel, New York; The Hotel House Galatasaray, Istanbul.
CHRISTINE McCABE OPENING this year in downtown Singapore and incorporating several historic army buildings, the Philippe Starck-designed 654-room South Beach Hotel, represented by Preferred Hotels & Resorts, will include women’s-only floors and two lavish sky gardens • Also new in Singapore is the much smaller Hotel Clover, 33 Jalan Sultan, an 88-room boutique hotel situated in a row of historic shop houses in bustling Bugis; accommodation options include two-storey loft suites and rooms with private gardens • Rising above the city’s commercial heart and linked to the Ciputra Artpreneur Centre, Raffles Jakarta is scheduled to open in February with 173 hi-tech, luxury guestrooms and the group’s signature butler service; the hotel is offering a 25 per cent opening discount •Debuting soon, the family friendly Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa is offering special softopening rates from $102; children’s facilities will include a hi-tech games room, day spa with a mother-anddaughter treatment menu and prearrival emails to children to ask for their meal preferences • Jupiters Hotel & Casino on the Gold Coast has a glamorous new pool precinct that includes two private bungalows complete with outdoor spas, entertainment centres and, if you wish, the services of a spa therapist and personal chef; this Vegas-glam pool deck is part of a larger $345 million resort redevelopment.