On a transit through Sydney, I stopped overnight at the Vibe Hotel Rushcutters which is out to the east of the CBD in Rushcutters Bay.
Arriving by cab from Sydney Airport, the fare was just under $50. It's probably not the best choice for an airport transfer -- consider the Vibe Hotel Sydney on Goulburn Street instead, which is just down from Sydney Central station. There isn't really a workable public transport option to get to the hotel if you have luggage.
Location & Impressions
On a dark, wet night, the lobby was welcoming and a little bit funky, and the check-in staff enthusiastic and cheery.
Vibe hotels are positioned just above the budget level, and the room design, furniture and furnishings reflected that.
In comparison, it felt like a slightly more stylish motel -- perfectly serviceable, but without the panache that the slick branding suggests.
I stayed in a Deluxe Suite, made up of two interconnecting rooms of the same size, one with a king size bed and one with a two-seater sofa that also converts into a pull-out bed. The cheapest room at the hotel -- which is half of the suite in size -- goes for $144-172 a night. Our suite would set you back between $234-266.
Unlocking the door into the room, a small entrance hallway had a bathroom on the left and a small closet (which wouldn't have fitted our luggage) on the right. The king-sized bed faced the window, looking out onto a wall with some planters, and a small flat-screen TV was in the corner.
Through the connecting door on the far side of the room is a long desk with workspace, an old CRT-style TV, the non-chilled part of the minibar offering, and the tea and (instant) coffee machine. A small round table comes with a chair, and there's another Scandinavian-style chair by the workspace.
There's a two-seater sofa with a side table as well, and then a second bathroom (identical to the first) and a larger closet, which did fit the suitcase.
The bathrooms were compact but had everything necessary, including a hairdryer and some generic toiletries. While water-saving shower heads can be excellent, the water pressure in this one resulted in needle-sharp thin streams.
Overall, the room decor was probably fun and funky five years ago, but the bright white paint and an unplanned-looking mixture of wood veneers, carpets and an old TV made the room look a little unloved.
The rooms aren't really set up for a full day of working, with a relatively uncomfortable chair and unergonomic workspace. Pulling the side table over to the sofa and working from there with the laptop was the best option for a couple of hours in the morning.
If you're intending to use the hotel as an informal meeting place for colleagues or contacts when in town, the suite would work for that: there's a separate door and a separate bathroom for the living/working area, and you can close off the interconnecting door to the bedroom. Alternatively, there are numerous little breakout areas in the lobby and in the restaurant.
Wireless Internet is available but expensive -- $25 for the day through Rooms On Line. It was speedy enough at 4 Mbps in the room, but slow downstairs in the lobby: 1.19 Mbps download speed (which isn't too shabby) but a glacial 0.1 Mbps upload.
So don't expect to email large files around quickly over breakfast, lunch or dinner.
I nipped downstairs to the Curve restaurant for a chicken parma for dinner, which was pretty good, although the server didn't really understand a request for salad dressing.
The wine list looked interesting, and punched above its weight for the Vibe's standard, and there were a few people enjoying the bar and covered terrace, even on a chilly May night.
Breakfast was a fairly standard hot and cold buffet: nothing stood out, but the food quality was pretty good. The coffee machine made reasonable coffee, thankfully, since the in-room options consisted only of instant.
Since I was only there for a single night, there wasn't a chance to check out the rooftop pool or the gym.
But the sofa was comfortable enough, although the old CRT television was a bit of a disappointment.
(Isn't it interesting how the pixels on a CRT seem very strange and dull now we're all used to flat-screens?)
In the key considerations for a business traveller's quick overnight stay, the bed was comfortable, although the shower wasn't great.
Overall, the hotel's branding promises slightly more style and pizzazz than the Vibe Rushcutters delivered, but it's a good pick for a single night's stay, especially if you need to be out on the eastern end of town.
But for several nights' stay, look around for options with more suitable rooms for a business trip in Sydney, including the hotel group's Adina and Medina apartment hotel chains.