Any trip to Sydney calls for time spent at the beach, and there's none more quintessential than Bondi's sweeping, golden curve. This is Australia's most famous strip of sand, as emblematic of Sydney as the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. The only catch is that unless you're in the market for a backpackers' bunkhouse, Bondi has always had a dearth of more stylish places to stay.
That all changed last year with the opening of Bondi 100. This upmarket holiday rental, set two blocks from the beach, combines the signature style of a design hotel with the comforts and convenience of living like a local. Bright and spacious throughout, it has three bedrooms decked out in simple, beach-house chic and a large living/entertaining space leading on to a wood-decked garden.
The residential location ensures a relaxed and laid-back air, but Bondi's bustling bars and restaurants are just around the corner. And since Bondi is the closest ocean beach to central Sydney, it's easy to get to all the city's other attractions, too.
You can tell this is a designer gem without even crossing the threshold. From the street, a flagstone path leads through the landscaped front yard to a solid metal gate into which the words "Bondi 100" have been punched in a stylish font.
Style statements abound inside, too, such as custom-made contemporary furnishings (from local interior design firm Robert Plumb) and neon accents. The linear, single-storey property features three bedrooms (including one en suite) and a second bathroom at the front of the house, while the back half is entirely devoted to an open-plan kitchen, living and dining space flowing into the suntrap garden. The light-filled, multifunctional main room has wooden floors and a two-tone colour scheme of charcoal grey and white with splashes of bold, bright colour.
Other nice touches include complimentary Wi-Fi and a barbecue for those essential Aussie cook-outs. There's also a fully equipped, galley-style kitchen, separate laundry and off-street parking, while baby furniture is available (at extra cost) for those travelling with infants.
Out and About
If Sydney is synonymous with sun-and-surf beach culture, then Bondi is its undisputed hub. The kilometre-long stretch of beach gets packed on sunny days, but take an early jog or dip and you'll have it almost to yourself. The swell here is perfect for body boarding, or notch things up and catch a wave with the locals. Let's Go Surfing (00 61 2 9365 1800; letsgosurfing.com.au) offers two-hour beginners' classes for A$99/£66pp.
If it's too rough to swim, head to Bondi Icebergs saltwater pool at the southern end of the beach (00 61 2 9130 4804; icebergs.com.au; A$5.50/£3.70pp). To the south of Bondi lies a scenic mix of rocky headlands and sandy coves linked by the Coast Walk footpath (walkingcoastalsydney.com.au), which starts behind Icebergs and continues for 6km or so to Coogee Beach. The most popular section, Bondi to Bronte, offers cliff-top lookouts and an ice-cream pit stop at Tamarama. Bronte rewards with a great strip of cafés, plus there's a bus back to Bondi.
Heading in the other direction, it's a 15-minute bus ride from Bondi to Watson's Bay. Here, grab an outside table at Doyles (00 61 2 9337 2007; doyles.com.au), a renowned seafood restaurant right on the waterfront, and soak up the sight of the high-rise city skyline reflecting in the waters of Sydney Harbour. Then catch a ferry (131500.com.au) from the adjacent dock to Circular Quay in central Sydney for the Harbour Bridge, Opera House and Botanical Gardens.
The Food and Drink
Bondi 100 comes with basic supplies of coffee, tea and fresh milk, plus a selection of takeaway menus from recommended nearby eateries. For further supplies, pop around the corner to Gould Street for healthy snacks and groceries at Earth Food Store (earthfoodstore.com.au) and opposite for fresh-baked sourdough bread at Sonoma Artisan Sourdough Bakers (sonoma.com.au). Fresh at Bondi at 144 Curlewis Street has vegetables, fruit and fresh juices, and there's standard supermarket fare at IGA next door.
One thing the Aussies do particularly well is brunch. Try The Shop (78 Curlewis Street; theshopbondi.com), a diminutive café/bar known for excellent coffee and breakfast treats. For a similar scene with sensational views, hillside Chapter One (34 Campbell Parade; chapter-one.com.au) looks out over the whole of Bondi.
Bondi 100, 100 Roscoe Street, Bondi, New South Wales, Australia (00 61 2 9316 9066; staybondi.com.au). A three-night midweek stay costs from A$1,350 (£900); sleeps six.