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The Old Clare Hotel, Sydney - Design Hotel [Master Thread]

The Old Clare Hotel, Sydney - Design Hotel [Master Thread]

Old May 2, 16, 2:09 pm
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The Old Clare Hotel, Sydney - Design Hotel [Master Thread]

Hello, all. I wanted to see if anyone has stayed at the Old Clare Hotel in Sydney since it began participating in the SPG / Design Hotels partnership.

I currently have 5 nights at the Westin Sydney booked on points, but this looks like a really cool property. I won't need the late checkout, but losing the breakfast ammenity as well as the ability to use some SNAs is a bummer.

However, the location looks to be a lot better for restaurants and such. Would love to hear some thoughts from anyone who has stayed at the property on its location and overall experience.

Thanks
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Old May 2, 16, 6:13 pm
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I have not stayed at The Old Clare as I live seconds away from it but love the entire area now (yes I am a bit biased ). The area has undergone serious redevelopment (they spent a few billion $'s over the last five or so years making it all contemporary and friendly).

There are some excellent dining options at the hotel; Automata has just been ranked #6 in Australia in 2016 by Good Food Guide, Silver Eye is top class degustation restaurant (not yet been but am booked in) and Kensington Street Social, a more laid back but hip place to dine. Very good food there too. Now, seconds away from there is Kensington Street where there are more restaurants to consider (Mekong, is a new south east Asian influence - and then there's the dessert restaurant Koi, recently opened by one of the Australia's Masterchef contestants). There are much casual, cheaper but good food options like just adjacent is Spice Alley - a lane way of various types of Asian street food. Also, there is the Central Park shopping center for some limited shopping and shopping center food options. Plus there are some very good restaurants/cafes/galleries within 15-20 minute walking distance as well in Surry Hills and Chippendale as well. Chinatown is starts literally across the road.

Now, more about the general location. The Old Clare's located at the very southern end of the CBD - it would be a good 30 minute walk to the Westin Sydney. If it's your first time in Sydney for work or pleasure, then I would be slightly favoring you to stay at the Westin purely because it is smack bang right in the middle (you're on shopping street Pitt Street Mall and then within 20 minute walking radius of seeing Darling Harbour, Sydney Harbour, Circular Quay, Kings Cross, and southern parts of CBD). That said, if you have been here before, The Old Clare would be great choice as you will definitely feel like a local once you're around here and doing the non-tourist things

To sum it up I guess, it's almost two different worlds comparing the Westin's location against The Old Care. At the Westin you will instantly feel like you are in any large city surrounded by tall buildings, shops, office workers running around. If its your first time, then you will definitely feel like you're in Sydney if staying at the Westin. Whilst at The Old Care, its more laid back, casual and you'd probably feel like a local, rather than a tourist. It's just different but nothing wrong with that either, hope this helps
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Old May 2, 16, 6:27 pm
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Wow! Thanks so much for the very informative response.

My suspicions are confirmed.... that I have a very hard decision ahead of me. :O haha

I personally care virtually nothing about shopping while traveling, and other than a splurge here and there, I prefer to eat more affordable at casual / local kinds of places. I've been to so many big cities, and I feel like once you've seen a few, you've seen them all. I'm not much for touristy things, other than to see them, marvel, and move on. Experiencing culture in a city is why I love going to a new place.

If the Design Hotels collection honored the SNAs / breakfast benefits, or if the Old Clare were a cat. 4, this would be a no-brainier. But I feel as though the OC property is definitely more of what I'm looking for. I'll be traveling / staying solo in Sydney to meet with friends here and there, but in that sense, I suppose I don't really NEED a suite... (ha... status and points and miles have ruined me...)

I suppose I'll go with my gut and go with the Old Clare......... but maybe I'll wait until the SNA gets confirmed at the Westin just to see what I'm really comparing.... haha.
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Old May 2, 16, 7:00 pm
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Depends which time of year you will be coming as well because the Old Clare has a rooftop pool too that could sway your choice. There's a "hop on - hop off" tourist bus stop adjacent to OC so if you're inclined to do all your tourist'y things in one or two days, it's perfect. There's a few galleries walking distance to the Old Clare, I like the White Rabbit Gallery (http://www.whiterabbitcollection.org/), it's free and the themes change periodically. Also around Surry Hills there are regular boutique/small art gallery openings where you can view art and enjoy complimentary wines and hors doeuvors - you know where I go when I am thirsty . Either choice you won't go wrong, the Westin is a very nice (business) hotel.
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Old May 22, 16, 10:34 pm
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Very Enjoyable Stay - Hotels and Restaurants

We decided on the Old Clare for a past week end in Sydney which was to be pretty much around gastronomy.

We checked in in the evening and were given room 118. I was a bit apprehensive about the size of the room having stayed at many boutique/design hotels where laying the suitcase on the floor meant having to jump over it to get anywhere. The room was in fact very sizeable and comfortable. I like the industrial chic of the walls (see pictures). The bathroom amenities were interesting with a shower gel which is the colour of blood orange.

The hotel is very conveniently located 5 minutes away from the central station. We walked during our week end and had no problem going around without needing public transports. We went to Woolloomooloo, circular quay, darling harbour, the rocks, without needing to take the train.

The hotel itself is part of a complex that includes Spice Alley with a food street offering multiple Asian options stalls like you would find in Singapore. Chatting with the front desk, we learned that the hotel had seen a 25% jump in occupancy following its joining of the SPG program. Being very familiar with all the starwood options in Sydney (including the now Taj Blue which used to be a W), I was craving for something a bit interesting with character and a sense of place.

The staff were professional, informed, chirpy, friendly and courteous.
During our stay we tried the 3 restaurants that are part of the hotel, Silvereye, Automata and Kensington Street Social.

Silvereye which positions itself as the gastronomic restaurants was a bit of a disappointment after a fabulous meal at Six Penny (Stanmore, a few stops south from central on the train line). Too many courses left dinner begging to be spared. The tables adjoining ours were equally overwhelmed by the sheer quantity. Bite size it is but the interest vary greatly from one dish to another.

Automata was nice and trendy, a fixed menu that you cannot choose but was interesting and great tasting. The best food venue was without doubt Kensington Street Social - We loved our 'Social Dog', the Tongue and Cheeks croquettes, washed down with a couple of inventive cocktails.

We loved the hotel, the room, the restaurants, the food alley and would consider this as the default SPG base for a foodie week end in Sydney.
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Old May 23, 16, 6:13 am
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What is the brand of bathroom amenities? Can't seem to see clearly from the photo. Sorry. And, I assume that it is the standard bath gel, body lotion, shampoo, conditioner, and soap?

Just want to check if it is a known brand, since we have sensitive skin and get allergic to some products.

We are planning for a stay here in July.
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Old May 23, 16, 7:28 am
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Originally Posted by Fly Me To The Moon View Post
Just want to check if it is a known brand, since we have sensitive skin and get allergic to some products.
You are right, the standard bathroom amenities.
The brand is "Triumph & Disaster"
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Old May 24, 16, 7:02 am
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Originally Posted by JohnSIN View Post
You are right, the standard bathroom amenities.
The brand is "Triumph & Disaster"
Thanks. Haven't tried this one. Must bring our own, just in case.
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Old May 25, 16, 11:26 pm
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Originally Posted by JohnSIN View Post
You are right, the standard bathroom amenities.
The brand is "Triumph & Disaster"
John,

Read your post about your stay. You said you were also familiar with the other Sydney options. What would you recommend for one's first trip to Sydney?

It is worth forgoing the suite & lounge access at the Westin for the Old Clare?

I'm staying on points, btw.

Thanks
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Old May 26, 16, 12:25 am
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Originally Posted by joeypore View Post
John,

Read your post about your stay. You said you were also familiar with the other Sydney options. What would you recommend for one's first trip to Sydney?

It is worth forgoing the suite & lounge access at the Westin for the Old Clare?

I'm staying on points, btw.

Thanks

For your first stay, I would stay somewhere more central. Depends on lot on what you value, I think the Westin which is in the historical General Post Office building, you get a sense of something special. Second choice would be the Sheraton which is opposite the park. Both lounges are very nice and are more central to the places you are most likely to want to visit (botanical gardens, circular quay, the rocks, the Opera House...)

So my personal choice would be 1. Westin, 2. Sheraton. I have found the PLT recognition to be best at Four Points and they always give me a room overlooking Darlingharbour and whenever available a Suite.

There is an thread on the topic to help you make that choice.
Which Hotel in Sydney Master Thread
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Old May 26, 16, 1:09 am
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JohnSIN (or anyone else) how is the soundproofing at the Hotel? Whenever I have walked by, the Bar has appeared to be quite lively, just wondering if the noise makes it way up to the rooms?
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Old May 26, 16, 1:26 am
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Originally Posted by chad75 View Post
JohnSIN (or anyone else) how is the soundproofing at the Hotel? Whenever I have walked by, the Bar has appeared to be quite lively, just wondering if the noise makes it way up to the rooms?
Good question. Actually, the bar is not too much of a problem because the building where the rooms are located is separated by the entrance lobby, the lift shaft and the staircase. But the soundproofing might not be sufficient for light sleepers. We did hear a bit of noise in the middle of the night in the street below. I would imagine that the rooms facing spice alley would be noisier because there is significant foot traffic generated by the food stalls.
Our room was facing the buildings of student accommodations and it was very quiet most of the night except for one incident when someone started shouting. It did not wake me up but it did wake up my partner.
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Old May 27, 16, 1:55 am
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Originally Posted by JohnSIN View Post
Good question. Actually, the bar is not too much of a problem because the building where the rooms are located is separated by the entrance lobby, the lift shaft and the staircase. But the soundproofing might not be sufficient for light sleepers. We did hear a bit of noise in the middle of the night in the street below. I would imagine that the rooms facing spice alley would be noisier because there is significant foot traffic generated by the food stalls.
Our room was facing the buildings of student accommodations and it was very quiet most of the night except for one incident when someone started shouting. It did not wake me up but it did wake up my partner.
Helpful info - thank-you.
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Old Dec 5, 20, 11:10 pm
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Any recent stay experiences here. How's elite treatment, I assume no breakfast amenity for design hotels?
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Old Dec 6, 20, 1:34 am
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I stayed there last year. Phenomenal location and building. I stayed in a "Chippendale Loft" and would definitely visit again next time I'm in Sydney. It puts most Category 5 hotels in the US to shame and is an excellent use of your 35k free nights. It was too cold to use the rooftop pool but it looked OK for a quick dip. It's next door to a pretty big residential highrise. It didn't feel like a hotel at all. The only downside would be potential street noise. It's a long building with various dining on the first floor and adjacent to a small market. The bathroom was on point too, it was bigger than the bedroom.

I also stayed at the Sheraton next to the park. Great property, and I got a nice upgrade even though at the time I was just gold. The Westin at the old post office is at the top of my list for when I can visit again.
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