For some people a hotel is merely a place to sleep but for me a hotel is much more. We’ve stayed at a lot of hotels, especially in my days working in travel. In that time, I’ve noticed a change happening. It’s discreet and I’m sure hotels are hoping guests won’t actually notice. It’s the trend of the disappearing luxury. No doubt it is like everything else, it comes down to cost saving but the very reason a hotel stay is a treat for me is the little touches. I’m thrilled to say that the Radisson Blu Hotel continues to provide luxury, as well as great access, making our stay a wonderful one.
The little touches also make an impression on the kids. A welcoming smile, including them in conversation and a Kinder Surprise chocolate for each of them on arrival made an immediate impression at Radisson Blu.
Before I start raving about the luxuries I’ll get to the business of sharing all the important information about the room. For our stay we had two rooms. The boys, Hubby and BJ, stayed in the accessible room and the girls, AJ and myself, stayed in an Atrium room. We love it when we get to review the two room types in one stay because we know you all have such varying needs when you travel.
The décor in this room is the same as the standard room but with accessible features. Light switches are lowered and the bathroom is modified.
The accessible room has a queen bed with room to transfer on one side.
Many hotels I inspect only have one or two accessible rooms but Radisson Blu will have six when the hotel’s re-design is completed this year.
The bathroom has a wide sliding door to access the bright, spacious and generally well designed room. The toilet has room to transfer on one side.
The sink has space under it for a wheelchair user and there are lever taps throughout. Glasses and light switches are lowered.
The shower is spacious with a hand-held shower, shower bench and room to transfer from wheelchair to bench. I am all about the detail when it comes to hotel bathrooms and for the first time I found the flush button on the wall beside the toilet but slightly in front. I think this is a great place for the button, though I did find this one difficult to push.
The bathroom also provided a good space for BJ’s wheelchair to be stored out of the way overnight.
The light switches are easy to turn on and off but are on the small side. I was curious to see if BJ, who has limited fine motor skills, could manage it and he proved he was quite capable. Having a wicked sense of humour he showed this skill when Hubby was in the bathroom, much to Hubby’s dismay and BJ’s delight.
QUEEN BEDDED ROOM
As soon as I walked into the room I was taken by the open, spacious feel. Even with the four of us spending time in this room I didn’t feel cramped.
The room consists of two queen beds, a desk, a lounge and a flat screen tv.
The bathroom feels luxurious with a full size bath; I couldn’t touch the end when lying in it. Most hotels now have a shower over a bath which is functional but I like Radisson’s idea of a separate walk-in shower.
COMMON TO BOTH ROOMS
The rooms were decorated in a similar style. A mix of fresh modern decor with a slight old Hollywood feel with art deco lights and black and white prints from Sydney’s past.
Plump, luxurious white bath towels that envelope your whole body.
Lights and air conditioning controls beside the bed meaning control is at your fingertips.
A safe in the cupboard at a lower level.
GENERAL HOTEL ACCESS
The Radisson Blu building is a historic building therefore access has been installed in more recent times.
Valet staff quickly guided us inside to the lift which avoided the stairs at the entrance to the hotel. Hotel staff operate the lift but it is an efficient process. Once past this point access to the rooms is via the main lobby lift system used by all guests.
Valet parking is $45 (correct as at 23 January 2016)
We arrived at a busy time of day with lots of people checking in. The valet attendants were most helpful in assisting us. There is a dedicated drop off area in front of the hotel but it is on the street (not a pull in driveway) so for a wheelchair user driving to the hotel I would recommend waiting if necessary to get a park on the side of the hotel for unloading. I would be inclined to ring in advance to let staff know you will be arriving with a wheelchair.
Location isn’t only a consideration when buying real estate. A central location when staying in a city like Sydney is beneficial and choosing somewhere with level access is a bonus when you are travelling with a wheelchair. Radisson Blu is situated about half-way between Circular Quay (think access to ferries, the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House) and the main shopping district of Pitt Street Mall. We found it was an easy 10 minute stroll to either of these areas of the city. We thought it was amazing that the location was so central, yet the rooms were quiet.
We took advantage of staying in the city and the location of the hotel to see a show at the Sydney Opera House and visit Madame Tussauds. Exploring our city on a staycation was lots of fun.
At home I have a bowl of cereal on-the-go but when I stay in a hotel I like to take advantage of the buffet breakfast as an indulgence. Cooked to order omelettes are my weakness.
The buffet breakfast at the Radisson Blu was suited to visitors from many nations with a range of cereals, pastries, hot staples like bacon, scrambled eggs, cold meats and my favourite freshly made omelettes. There was freshly squeezed orange juice and I loved the addition of banana smoothie to the line-up of drink options.
BJ thoroughly approved of donuts being available at breakfast. He may or may not have indulged in two!
Freshly brewed tea, coffee and hot chocolate were made to order and brought to the table. Once again, a small detail but something that sets Radisson Blu apart from other hotels.
I mentioned at the beginning of this review that I like luxuries when I stay in a hotel. I love seeing attention to detail. Here are a few examples of the detail I liked at the hotel –
A chocolate and colouring book for children on arrival is a welcoming touch and a winner with kids.
A pillow menu in the room. I have issues with my neck and appreciate being able to choose a pillow to suit my needs.
Complimentary tea and coffee is fairly standard in hotels and some hotels provide a plain biscuit. At Radisson there were squeals of delight over Tim Tams (a favourite Australian biscuit) being offered with the complimentary tea and coffee provisions.
A light at the base of the bedside table which provides a good guiding light for anyone getting up at night or for children scared of the dark.
A hair dryer with a retractable cord (I know, a gadget but once again something a little different)
Plush, large bathroom towels.
Bathrobes to use while staying.
Good range of TV channels including some pay TV selections.
Reasonably priced casual in room dining options.
The kids were keen to take advantage of the pool and spa on our second day at the hotel. The pool area is accessed by a lift which staff operate when needed. I would love to see guests given the option of an access key on arrival so this could be done independently. The staff were more than happy to assist us but we do like to be as independent as possible.
BJ decided he would try out the steam room in his chair, indulged in the bubbles of the spa and did some exercise in the big pool. This isn’t a huge area but we were the only ones utilising it the day we visited. It received a thumbs up from all involved for temperature.
It is always interesting for me to see staff interacting with other guests. Obviously some know we are reviewing a property so although I appreciate their kindness and friendliness I like to observe how they interact with other guests. I loved eaves dropping on the restaurant supervisor chatting to a couple who were visiting from the UK. He was asking how their previous day had been and went far beyond general pleasantries. He was really keen to follow up on what they’d done and how they liked it. I know I’ll get a reputation for being a complete sticky beak but I think I’ve declared that previously. I also listened in as the chef chatted to a lady about her plans for the day. Travel is exciting for those doing it and it is lovely to see hotel staff embracing that and taking an interest in their guest’s plans.
As I mentioned at the start of this review, it’s the little things that set a hotel apart from the average and make it more of an experience rather than just a place to lay your head for the night.
We’d like to thank Radisson Blu Hotel Sydney for welcoming our family and hosting us for the purpose of reviewing the hotel for the website.
For more information about Radisson Blu Hotel Sydney head to their website.
Lindy doolan says
Thank you so much I going down that way and did not know wear to stay
Carlle horan says
I will keep this hotel in mind when planning our customers next sydney trip
Seana Smith says
Such a comprehensive review Julie, really enjoyed this. Am so glad to see things are improving for wheelchair users. I love a separate bath and shower too – a treat.