Spa Review: Sheraton at the Park, Sydney

May 7, 2007

After our hectic South African jaunt, Tamara and I needed a holiday. So we decided to spend a decadent day in a spa. I spent a good couple of hours researching our options. There are a large variety of day spas in Sydney – but not many have a swimming pool and Jacuzzi/sauna facilities attached to them. And I was after one looong relaxing day rather than a simple in-out of a treatment room. The best option, I soon discovered was to opt for a hotel which usually came with a gym and all the other health resort features.

Sheraton on the ParkIt wasn’t a good idea to book so late but I finally got us a reservation at the Sheraton on the Park (the park being Hyde Park). The staff were extremely accommodating here and they actually organised a therapist from another hotel so that Tam and I could have our treatments at the same time.

The hotel lobby is snazzy and the spa is housed high up on the 30-something floor. From reception, we were lead into the changing rooms which were secured via a combination door lock (a little bit cheap actually). The changing rooms were also not exactly dripping with opulence – they did have Molten Brown products (Big brownie points) and nice robes.

I was lead into a treatment room where I had the sea salt scrub – I was first massaged with coarse salt within an oil and then was taken back to the change room to shower. The final stage of the treatment was a luxurious coating of moisturiser. While the treatment was good, it just seemed to lack the cutting edge professionalism that I have encountered in other 5-star establishments.

Tam and I in our spa gownsMy next treatment – a 60-minute massage – took place in one of the most magnificent rooms. It had large bay windows which provided an uninterrupted view of Sydney harbour and the CBD – just looking out into the vista, I could feel my stresses melting away. The massage was outstanding – definitely one of the better ones I have had. I didn’t want it to end.

Pool at the SheratonAfter another quick shower, Tam and I relaxed by the large indoor pool (also great views) and I took a dip into the Jacuzzi (which was fantastic until my solitude was interrupted by a bouldering elderly man – I promptly got out).
We ordered sandwiches for lunch and this was served pool-side with plastic plates and cups (pretty practically, I guess). The serving was humungous and Tam and I could easily have shared the sarmi’s.

The whole day set us back just under $200 for both treatments and we came out floating and very chilled. I can’t wait for our next pampering visit.


Luxury at the Four Seasons Sydney

February 18, 2007

The Four Seasons Hotel Chain is renowned international as the luxury destination for many stars and political figures. The Four Seasons in Sydney is nestled in the Rocks a short walk from circular quay.

A friend of mine had won a voucher for a night’s stay at the hotel and I was the lucky one to go with.

Four Seasons Hotel
We were met at the front door of the hotel by the car park steward who removed our luggage and whisked off the car. Meanwhile, we had a quick check-in and then made our way up to our room. There wasn’t too much of a personal touch as far as accompanying us to our room or showing us around the hotel. The service had a brisk, business-like feel to it.

Our room emphasised the corporate feel of this hotel – browns, caramels and dark wood furniture in a more or less characterless room. Perfect for a good night sleep for a business person – not exactly suited for a romantic weekend away.

The Four Seasons View
The highlight without a doubt was the view from the room. I could have looked out the window the entire day – we had a unhindered view of the opera house, harbous bridge and the magnificent harbour which was dotted with yachts.

We did a self-tour of the hotel, stopping off at the spa where we made use of the gym. The spa equipped me with shorts, t-shirt, towel and earphones for the tv’s. Each treadmill had it’s own individual TV. However I kept on getting these irritating small static shocks in my ears everytime I plugged in my earphones. Grrr!!!

We then chilled out at the lovely pool and lounged in the jacuzzi (which was broken as the bubbles only last about 2 minutes at a time – one of the staff did come and apologise for this).

That night, we took a walk through the rocks to an Italian restaurant called Bel Mondo. The service here was excellent and the food and ambience was good. The dessert however was very disapointing (it was some chocolate tart thing which was more like  a stale cocoa cake).

We then topped off our night (literally) on the summit of the Shangri La hotel where we sipped on decadent chocolate cocktails and admired the city lights from the huge windows.

Brekki at 4 Seasons
The next morning, we went down for breakfast – which was an impressive buffet with a variety of yummy things. I had a mixture of cereal, fruit, some pancakes and English muffins.

Sadly we then checked out but spent the rest of the day on the Rose Bay ferry on a canoe. This was really lovely – although I was slightly threatened by the speed boats and humungous ferries that we shared the waterways with. Apparently, we had right of way as a canoe but I was still slightly dubious about the speeding vessels.

We canoed out to an island in the harbour (I think it’s called Seal Island or something like that) and then paddled back to shore.