A bed for the night in Sydney

Where is it?

Where is it?

This Sydney outpost of the hotel group Starwood opened in 2000 at which point it was the company's first venture outside the United States. It's housed in an old converted finger wharf (ie one that points out into the water) in the area known as Woolloomooloo. The wharf is so vast that it is home not only to the W hotel but also restaurants, offices and a glitzy apartment complex. The W's lobby, bar and café are all in a rather public thoroughfare (office workers walk past to get to their desks). This is not the place for people after privacy and quiet when they go for breakfast or a nightcap (especially not at the weekends when the cocktail bar is busy with after-work revellers).

Does it have a USP?

Attitude. People stay at a W hotel because they think the people who run them are hip, fun and easy-going. W does seem to have both wit and wisdom. It offers a Stay Proud and Loud package aimed at gay guests - W provides suitable in-room entertainment, such as a boxed set of Queer as Folk DVDs, and lets exhausted party queens check out late at 2pm. It even has a special deal for technophiles. And honeymoon packages.

Comfort factor?

In our fourth-floor suite - all in tasteful taupes and browns - we had a lounge with a superb snack and drinks bar and a bedroom with television, a DVD and CD player, and high-speed broadband internet access. The pillows and duvets are stuffed with goose down. The hotel also offers a Whatever/Whenever service (but they won't break the law for you).

What's in the bathroom?

Bath and separate shower, bountiful Aveda toiletries. Very modern deluxe.

I'm hungry

For breakfast and snacks there's the W Café, and for cocktails the Water Bar (oversized chairs, industrial chic), but for dinner the hotel suggests eateries in the wharf. These include a pizzeria, noodle bar, steak house and boulangerie. And, just outside the front door is a Sydney institution: Harry's pie stand - handy after a night on the tiles.

What are the people like?

Young couples, creative business types, funky holidaymakers - and people who wish they were.

Local interest

The W is in a very central location, next to the city's green lung, the Botanical Gardens. You are also just a short walk from the Opera House; the restaurant and shopping area known as The Rocks; and Circular Quay, from where you catch ferries to popular beaches such as Manly.

Access for all?

Sydney is hot on access issues and wheelchair users will have no problem at this property.

What's the damage?

The 104 rooms range from the more modest Z rooms to the Ultra Lofts (split-level luxury). Prices run from £190 to £600 a night.


The Wharf at Woolloomooloo, 6 Cowper Wharf Road, Sydney, 2011. Tel: 00 612 9331 9000. For more information, visit www.whotels.com.