Australia's favourite food blogger Not Quite Nigella, aka Lorraine Elliott, enjoys a scenic harbourside stay at Sydney's Sebel Pier One.
Oprah Winfrey once said that when she first started to make money the first thing she wanted to buy was towels. Big, fluffy luxurious towels – as opposed to small, threadbare ones.
I must admit that I do have a small list of things that I will buy if I ever hit it rich, and one of them in an egg-shaped bath. Now that I’ve spent a night at one of the Harbourside Balcony suites at Sydney’s Sebel Pier One, perhaps a 12-headed shower and a harbour view will find their way onto the list too.
The Sebel Pier One is located in Sydney’s historic Rocks district. The rooms take advantage of the waterfront harbour-side location, with floor-to-ceiling windows, neutral chic furnishings, Australian and French ornamental art and a luxurious feel to them.
The seven harbour-view balcony suites are enormous at 62 square metres and all are architecturally designed so that guests can drink up the panoramic harbour view. And what a view it is, with the Harbour Bridge so close it feels as though your fingers could brush the metal railings.
In front of the hotel is Luna Park, which descends into luminescence as dark falls. Just below, the water laps at the dock.
There are plenty of chairs and day beds on the private wooden deck, angled just so that you can gaze out onto the water, and even though the colder months are upon us, it’s still seasonable enough to sit outside in the afternoon sun and listen to the bustle of the city contrasting with the splashing of the waves and the occasional train making its way across the bridge, or a ferry chugging past.
Sunset is particularly stunning from here, but nightfall is no runner up, with the sparkling lights casting reflections on the water.
The suite is broken up into three rooms. The rightmost is the lounge, or sitting room, with a large flat-screen television, iPod dock, day bed and table. A credenza hides the mini-bar and contains soft drink priced at $4 and Pickwick’s tea.
A marble-topped wet bar has a generously stocked Nespresso machine and a tempting complimentary jar with a Willy Wonka-esque message saying, “Help yourself to a treat.”
In the bedroom, a king-sized bed sits facing the view and a hidden television rises up or down at the press of a button. The bed sheets are soft and there are four regular pillows, two European pillows and a soft quilt.
I have to admit that a good bathroom always impresses, but this is possibly the biggest sell here. Amenities are by Appelles Apothecary, who produce a great range of organic products with delicious, real fragrances in scents like lemongrass, comfrey, rosemary and eucalyptus.
The amenity drawer is one of the more impressively stocked I’ve seen, with a bath bomb, bath salts, bath caviar, shaving kits, vanity kits, shower caps and toothbrushes.
The enormous bathroom has two sinks and an egg bath, and the windows slide open so that you can bathe and listen to everything going by.
And then you get to the shower. That’s when things really get a bit rock star: it’s a 12-head shower. Yes, things like this really exist. And to quote Sidra from Seinfeld: “Yes, they’re real, and they’re spectacular!”
I hopped into the shower and turned on two of the sets, totalling eight heads. Turning one slightly cooler than the other offers a really lovely sensation.
There are a couple of drawbacks with the hotel – one is that there is no in-house spa. The nearest one is about 10 minutes’ walk away, so it’s not insurmountable but perhaps not ideal for those who like to drift upstairs after a treatment.
Also, the wi-fi signal is quite weak from my room.