Apartment hotels are an excellent choice for business travellers on extended trips, or even road warriors who want a night in where they can get some washing done, veg out on the sofa in front of the TV and cook some real food for dinner.
I stopped for a single night before a flight at the Medina Executive Sydney Central, which is conveniently located right opposite Sydney Central station.
Location & Impressions
The Medina is perfect if you'll be flying into or out of Sydney, since it's just across the street from the station and the train to the airport. The station itself is a two minute walk, and then it's another five or so to get across the station to the airport train platforms.
On arrival, the helpful receptionist directed me up to my loft room on the top floor. (Room numbers don't start with the floor number, a little confusingly, so take a second look if you're jetlagged.)
Through the door and immediately on the left is the small but notably well-equipped kitchenette area. A fridge-freezer, oven and stovetop, dishwasher and sink are all present and worked well. Cutlery, crockery and cookware for four settings was in the cupboards, and was all I'd need for an extended stay of a few weeks.
The fridge contains a good selection of minibar options, including the welcome addition of a good-sized jug to chill tap water. It's a pity more hotels don't include that in their room outfitting.
Beyond the kitchen lay a four-person dining table, the large flat-screen TV, a two-and-a-half-seater sofa, an armchair and a desk, which was comfortable to work on. Sliding doors and a wall of windows led out onto a balcony overlooking Sydney Central station.
Upstairs was a comfortable and stylishly furnished King-sized bed in a mezzanine loft, with another TV and a small chair, with a large mirrored wardrobe that would easily have taken my large suitcase.
The bathroom contained a tub with shower over, some serviceable if inelegant toiletries, and the very useful washer and dryer (powder in a sachet from the mini-bar for around $7). The bathroom was a little dated with brown floor tiles and white wall tiles, especially considering the otherwise stylish furniture upstairs.
The desk was comfortable, with good task lighting and several accessible plugs. Natural light from the windows was abundant, making the room a good temporary workspace for visiting business travellers.
It's not really set up for anything but informal meetings, though, with the bathroom upstairs through the bedroom and the open floor plan. But the location is excellent, with public transport options obviously numerous with Sydney Central just next door.
Internet is available but is expensive -- $25 for the day through Rooms On Line. There's a weekly rate as well, but you're much better off getting a 3G modem, USB stick or wifi router. Speed was good, though: a very fast 12.77 Mbps on the download side, but under 1 Mbps upload speed.
There's no restaurant in the hotel, but there are three useful "cuisine courier" service menus on the fridge.
If you do want to go out, the location is very convenient for Chinatown.
Instead of venturing out on a cold, wet May evening, I chose a Chinese delivery service that was reasonably priced and tasty, but had I been staying longer than a single night I'd have picked up a few groceries and cooked for myself.
Note that the Australian Business Traveller review system requires a star rating; I've given it five stars for being very well-equipped and with good delivery options.
The downstairs area of the loft is very comfortable, with a sofa long enough to lie down on, a separate armchair and a nice big flat-screen TV.
The view wasn't amazing from downstairs, given it was blocked by some ornamental bits of the heritage building, but the night lights of the station through the large window upstairs were very enjoyable.
Noise was much less of a factor than I was expecting given that the station is right opposite, and what does filter through is definitely worth the tradeoff for a convenient location.
But more than anything, the feeling of being in a one-bedroom flat rather than a hotel room made all the difference to my stay, even for one night.
An excellent choice for business travellers arriving from the airport with business around the city, given its location. Comfortable, spacious and with everything you need to feel like home, I'd definitely stay here again.