I had a late-night layover at Sydney Airport recently, and needed somewhere convenient to spend the night.
Since Emirates will be offering regional Australian business and first class passengers connecting to its early morning flight a free overnight at the Stamford Plaza Sydney Airport hotel, I thought it was a good time to review the place -- especially since it won best Airport Hotel in the Australia/Pacific region from Skytrax in 2011.
Location & Impressions
The hotel is just a few minutes (I paid $8 in a cab, but there's also a shuttle for $6) from Sydney Airport on O'Riordan Street. It's about 200m from the domestic side and a couple of kilometres from international.
The lobby is polished, but isn't opulent and feels somewhere between five to ten years old. It's blessedly quiet after a long trip, though, and friendly check-in staff had me checked in quickly, leaving bell staff to whisk me quickly upstairs to my room.
(I wish I'd paid more attention in the lift, though: only on one side does it explain that your room key needs to be inserted into the slot to activate the buttons.)
I stayed in a one-bedroom suite, which had one of the better suite layouts I've encountered for a business hotel.
You enter through the living room area, which also has the minibar and marble-topped bar area, a three-person table, small desk, sofa seating for three, and a large flatscreen TV.
To the left of the entryway is a separate bathroom, which means that if you need to fly into Sydney for meetings overnight, colleagues can come to the hotel and meet in the suite for a pre-meeting or debrief without everyone having to traipse through your bedroom to use the loo.
The furniture and fittings were a little old-fashioned: again, I'd estimate five to ten years old. But the two massive flatscreen televisions, iPod dock alarm clock, well-appointed bathroom and some of the softest towels I've ever found in a hotel show that the hotel isn't resting on its laurels.
In the bedroom, you'll find a very comfortable king-size bed opposite a chest of drawers with a massive TV, a luggage rack, and two armchairs for relaxing.
Through the bedroom is a large bathroom, with double sinks, bath and separate shower.
The room is well set up for a few hours of work in the evening, with a comfortable chair at a desk of reasonable height, but the desk is small and the ergonomics wouldn't work for a full day at the laptop.
But with a two-seater sofa and armchair, plus the three-person dining table, you can vary positions enough to make it comfortable.
There's a very sensible double power point right above the surface of the desk, though: extra points for that.
The wireless Internet connection was reasonable, with 2 Mbps download speed but a slow 0.12 Mbps upload speed. The daily rate is $29, which is about average for business hotels in Sydney. (Of course, Internet should be free in all hotels, or at least a reasonable fee rather than the best part of your monthly home Internet bill for a night's use.)
Since it was late and I was fairly tired, I opted for room service. Since I knew that the Stamford group is Singaporean, I decided to play to its strengths and went for curry puffs and wonton noodle soup -- both of which were absolutely outstanding. The noodle soup in particular was superb.
Breakfast is downstairs in the main restaurant, and had a wide selection of hot and cold food in a buffet. The sausages were some of the best I've tasted in a hotel.
The coffee -- out of a machine -- was only okay, though, and the main restaurant was a little poky. Natural light would have been a bonus.
With sofas and two enormous TVs, the room was perfect to relax in after a long day.
I was especially pleased to note that aircraft flying overhead were almost completely inaudible. With triple-glazing, it's like a car driving past at a distance, which is pretty impressive.
The large bath wasn't quite a swanky soaking tub, but was definitely big enough for a good bathe. Upmarket L'Occitane toiletries were the herby and citrusy Verbena scent, which works well for both men and women.
I wish I'd had more time at the Stamford at the airport (and in the summertime) to chill out by the large pool and use the gym, sauna and jacuzzi.
The hotel is a bit overdue for a renovation -- or at least a furniture change -- to bring it up to proper business class standard.
As it was, though, it's an good choice for a "sleep and go", and the suites would work well for informal meetings.
Our reporter was a guest of the Stamford Plaza Sydney Airport.