It's all about the harbour - a long weekend in Sydney

bpeteb

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Maggie one weekend, Sydney the next.

Queensland had consecutive long weekends this year - Anzac Day then May Day. We'd decided on north for the first and south for the second.

Flights booked with my Amex travel credit.

I bagged a great price at the InterContinental, a hotel I'd stayed at years ago. Refundable room and breakfast for less than IHG rate for room only. The were undergoing renovations so the booking came with an email warning from the hotel letting us know that there would potentially be construction noise during our stay. We weren't planning on being in our room during the day so we weren't concerned.

Two weeks out I received an email from Agoda thanking me for my booking cancellation. Wtf?

I called the hotel to ask if they knew anything about the cancellation but they referred me to Agoda. After eventually finding a number to call and sitting on the phone for way too long I gave up and sent an email. I received a response next morning advising that they had actually cancelled the booking as the hotel did not have rooms available on the dates we'd booked. Late that afternoon we received an email from the hotel. They had intended to first contact us directly to advise they would not be reopening until the week after our stay and then cancel the booking but they could see Agoda had beaten them to it.

Where to stay... We went round and round in circles and eventually decided to splurge (for us) and stay at a hotel we'd both seen many times from the water and thought 'maybe one day' - Pier One in Walsh Bay. Sydney Harbour Hotel with Views | Pier One Sydney Harbour

Qantas was offering a package that came with major bonus points under their luxury deals promo. It was $699 for two nights in a water view room with a $100 f&b credit and a bottle of wine. Water View Room - Pier One Sydney Harbour

We booked an early flight down to Sydney, late flight back home, to make the most of the long weekend. The J lounge was quieter than it had been the weekend before. Flight was pretty much full with my shadow not sticking.

Airport trains are such a rip off. Brisbane's is a shocker but at least it's a train that either terminates or originates there. The stop at the airport for Sydney trains is just a stop on a regular service. $19 each to Circular Quay. Even for two it's more than the cost of a ride share. No traffic though.

On the train ride in I decided to look at harbour cruises. We'd booked dinner both nights but nothing else. Decided on Clearview three hour lunch cruise and added the bev package that included spirits as well as beer and wine. Clearview Glassboat Lunch Cruise

Who knows if they are ever full price ($120+$45) but we thought at $120 each total it was a decent price.

Weather was beautiful when we arrived

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and it was an easy 15 minute walk from the station around to the hotel.

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Bags dropped off, package confirmed, we headed around the waterfront walk to Darling Harbour.

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bpeteb

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Clearview is a big boat that is licensed to carry 280 people

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there was less than 30 of us on board so social distancing was never a problem

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Food was served at the table and it was better than we expected. It had read well on the menu but the translation often goes astray

ENTRÉE PLATTER
(served to the table, shared between 2)
Smoked salmon & prawn ceviche | Vegetable samosas | Herb & garlic bread

MAIN COURSES
(Served to the table by roving waiters)

Grilled fish with provencal tomatoes and olives
Mediterranean style oven grilled fish with tomatoes and olives

Spice rubbed roast chicken
Oven roasted with broccolini + baby carrots + chimichurri

Orecchiette al limone (v)
Orecchiette with rocket, semi-sundried tomatoes, lemon, garlic, chilli & parmesan
Classic beef stroganoff
Sauteed strips of beef sirloin in a traditional creamy mushroom sauce
Served to the table in bowls
Chef’s seasonal salad
Roasted root vegetables - Served with balsamic maple glaze

DESSERT
(individual serve to the table)
Chef’s deconstructed eton mess

HOUSE SPIRITS
House Vodka, Gin, Whiskey, Brandy with Mixers (Only singles)

BEERS
Crown Lager
Pure Blonde
Coopers Premium Light

WINES & SPARKLING
Hardy’s Brut Reserve
Bubbly texture and rich fruit flavours & toasty character
Angus Moscato
Hot pink sparkling with exotic mix of lychee, musk and spice
The Riddle Sauvignon Blanc
Vibrant tropical fruit flavours, passionfruit lift, green apple crunch, crisp & refreshing
The Riddle Shiraz Cabernet
Rich blackcurrant and raspberry fruit flavours with savoury notes & pepper spice


Love the descriptions of the wine!!!

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and we definitely drank our $45 worth with two glasses of bubbles gone before we even left the dock!

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and out onto the harbour we went and we had a fantastic time. Sydney Harbour is without a doubt the most beautiful harbour in the world. San Francisco is beautiful but huge, Vancouver the same. Sydney is just glorious. And it was

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Pier One below the bridge. We'll be staying there soon...

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bpeteb

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There's going to be a lot of harbour photos, interspersed with some food photos

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the only g rated photo of what we presume was a bucks party on board the Texas Lady. A lot of men dressed in white and a lot of ladies barely dressed in white

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an absolutely spectacular and gigantic yacht

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bpeteb

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more harbour, and food

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crazy people

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we just are not selfie people

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the Duyfken recreation 20210501_143809.jpg

Many years ago my dad worked for Peter Bracken at Kurnell. Peter built beautiful timber boats at a yard that holds a lot of my fondest childhood memories. As well as pleasure craft, they built boats for the water police and a couple of ferries for Charlie Rossman, including this one, the Royale.

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Charlie took the 'Bracken family' out on the harbour on Royale as a thank you. As a result of seeing both Royale, and another Bracken boat on the harbour (easy to identify) I searched online for a specific boat I remembered and stumbled across this site about Peter and his boats http://brackenboats.net/
 

bpeteb

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We walked up and around to Walsh Bay and came across the Palisade, very possibly our next Sydney stay Home Page - Landing Page

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so to Pier One and room 341. Weirdly the hallway reminded us both of being in a ship, even with the huge beams.

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The rooms on level two have sliding doors instead of fixed glass. If we stay again we'll request level two

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the minibar was extensive

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bpeteb

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By complete coincidence our travel buddy of many holidays abroad was also in Sydney. They'd seen me posting on instagram from the lunch cruise and called to tell us she was in town. She was coming in to have dinner at Darling Harbour so stopped by and had drinks with us.

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On the way out I asked again about the bottle of wine that had not arrived in the room during the afternoon. "Sorry, I'll organise that straight away".

Dinner was at Ventuno, located on Hickson Rd five minutes walk from the hotel, and very nice it was too Ventuno Pizzeria Birreria Enoteca

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bpeteb

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Of course the harbour is just as beautiful at night as day, maybe even more, and Pier One is in the perfect location to take advantage of it

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the obligatory 1 gazillion x zoom of the S21 :)

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the wine had again failed to appear...
 
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bpeteb

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The only plans for day two were a walk through The Rocks markets and a visit to Museum of Sydney

The view from bed wasn't bad but the window could do with a clean

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same goes with hall and lift carpets but I suppose that's what happens when you use dark carpet

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As we headed out I asked about the wine again (third time) as it hadn't turned up in the room the previous night. Lots of apologies. I asked if we had a choice of white or red and 'yes, of course' so I asked for red.

The harbour bridge is amazing and you'd have to be stark raving mad to climb it!

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If you go to The Rocks market have one of these lamb rolls. AMAZING!

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I wish we'd visited the Museum of Sydney Museum of Sydney three weeks earlier as we would have been able to see the Marion Burley Griffin exhibition. Lots on around the Burley Griffins at the moment including tours of some of the houses over at Castlecrag.

We've been to the museum before and really like it. Due to work being carried out (theme of our holiday) and exhibition spaces being set up it was half price - half price for half of a museum. We still enjoyed it.
 
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bpeteb

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Then we went for a walk around the Royal Botanical Gardens, a place I love and somewhere I visited lots as a kid with school.

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before deciding to go back to the hotel and make the most of that location by sitting out on the pier and having a few coughtails

Our room is pretty much above my head on the top level with the blind open and curtains closed

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bpeteb

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Dinner close by again, this time at Lotus Dumpling Bar Lotus Dumpling Bar in Walsh Bay | Open for Take Away & Delivery

On the way out I gave the wine a fourth try. I hate being sold something that doesn't turn up. I worked for Hyatt many years ago and we prided ourselves in going above and beyond. I said to who I'm guessing was the manager on duty that I shouldn't have to ask for something four times. Lots more apologies and I'll get that organised now...

Artwork start at the end of this post

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Loved Lotus Dumpling bar. We chose the nine course banquet and it was all excellent


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start of the artwork - a small red car crushed under a big grey rock

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in the room waiting for us was a half bottle of wine, the same wine as is in the mini bar. Seriously?

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Major

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About the only dish that didn't have chilli on it was the ice cream :)
 

drron

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Not surprised by the lack of service at Pier One.Stayed once as a plat.No upgrade and a street facing room.No welcome amenity.Had to valet park the car and always took an age to have it delivered.Unlikely to stay again even thugh the position is perfect.

The pictures of the Opera house under the bridge at night are spectacular.well done.
 
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bpeteb

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When we opened the curtains (the room has curtains and an electric block out blind) it was quite clear but within 15 minutes or so the fog had descended

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so we pulled clothes on and exited the building. Between us we took close to 130 pictures in the next hour or so. It was wonderful.

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bpeteb

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The disorganised and mediocre breakfast buffet was an eye watering $42 each!! With my 10% Bonvoy discount it was still what we think was an unreasonable $38. We should have just turned around when told there was no a la carte...

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The Gantry after breakfast service had finished

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bpeteb

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Very nice bathroom products

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and another couple from the hotel lobby/bar

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with that it was time to check out. The front desk person who had checked us in also checked us out. I'm guessing there might be an issue with applying the 10% discount correctly because they spent a long time applying the discount to each charge, then the $100 package credit after that. She was lovely and I have a feeling knew what had unfolded. Invoice to be emailed. Bags left with concierge and off we went to the National Maritime Museum.

Via the piers off Hickson Road and the Barangaroo parkland

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we're a bit keen on staying at the Palisade Hotel

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the change to the area is quite astonishing but equally as astonishing as how many beautiful old buildings have managed to survive



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I appreciate the difference identified in the correction...

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another shot of the Palisade Hotel

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bpeteb

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We've been to the maritime museum before but it was a long time ago. It's also pretty good value. We paid $33 each including the tour of the Onslow.

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HMAS Onslow torpedo tube

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Duyfken recreation tied-up but not able to be boarded :(

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the incredible Steam Yacht Ena Steam Yacht Ena - Australian National Maritime Museum

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quite decent fish and chips for lunch

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big and small lighthouses

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bpeteb

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my parents arrived in 1957. We three kids paid to have their names added to the wall of arrivals outside the museum. Took a picture to remind my sister that she was supposed to put her name with theirs when she submitted the paperwork...

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caught the ferry back around to Circular Quay. We were so lucky with the weather, and as it has since turned out what and where we visited

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I noticed this cruiser as we approached the harbour bridge. My dad worked for a boat builder at Kurnell called Peter Bracken in the early 70s. Initially I thought this looked like a Bracken but after zooming in I think it's a Halvorsen. It could also be a conversion of of one of the police boats that they built. It's missing a very distinctive triangular window that nearly all Bracken boats were built with. This lead me to search for another boat I knew dad had worked on and I stumbled onto this website http://brackenboats.net/

I made a couple of comments on the site about boats I recognised and remembered and the site owner contacted me and let me know Peter is still alive. 90, down at Mollymook. I took my laptop in when we visited dad today and showed him the website and some of the boat pictures. Even at 98 he could remember the names of people he worked with, the names of the boats and even things that had happened during construction. Amazing

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our room highlighted

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we decided against the train as it looked like a DiDi would be cheaper, and it was. The airport in Sydney seemed quieter than Brisbane. Plenty of space in the J lounge considering it was the end of a working day. Business travel is clearly down.

Bit of a blurry sunset from the lounge

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The flight was 'oversold' as per the announcement from the CSM as we were getting seated on the plane. It was certainly full. Another variation of the too hot pie in the box for 'dinner'. Chicken this time.

Decided to get a DiDi back from the airport home. Very little wait and about $10 cheaper.

I'm just a bit of an Instagrammer. On Wednesday I posted some pics of the hotel, the half bottle of wine, asked did a half bottle of wine = a bottle of wine, and said a perfect stay was marred by this strangeness. It wasn't just the half bottle, it was more having to ask for it for times.

I was contacted next day on instagram by the hotel with profuse apologies. Many words saying that it should not have happened and that they would be sending me a 'nice bottle of red' to make amends. I didn't comment to get a bottle of wine but I'll accept the gesture, if it ever arrives. I also mentioned that two days after departure I still didn't have my invoice.

Friday I received a call from the FOM with yet more apologies, this time about the invoice. Somehow they had copied the wrong email address from my Bonvoy profile. Oh dear...

Would we stay again? If the price is right we would. That location is just magical for two people who can't get enough of being on the water. The room we stayed in was beautiful. We'd just make sure we get what we pay for, and not have breakfast :)
 
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CaptainCurtis

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in the room waiting for us was a half bottle of wine, the same wine as is in the mini bar. Seriously?
That's incredibly poor, almost laughable.

I'm just a bit of an Instagrammer. On Wednesday I posted some pics of the hotel, the half bottle of wine, asked did a half bottle of wine = a bottle of wine, and said a perfect stay was marred by this strangeness. It wasn't just the half bottle, it was more having to ask for it for times.

I was contacted next day on instagram by the hotel with profuse apologies. Many words saying that it should not have happened and that they would be sending me a 'nice bottle of red' to make amends. I didn't comment to get a bottle of wine but I'll accept the gesture, if it ever arrives. I also mentioned that two days after departure I still didn't have my invoice.
Keep us updated on if anything arrives... they'll probably copy the wrong address from your profile. :oops:
 

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Not sure how I missed this TR - sounds lovely. It's a good thing there was a link the AFF gazette
 

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