Ask any international visitor what they know about Sydney, and you’re likely to hear the same few things pop up over and over again: the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and Bondi Beach. They’re all iconic tourist destinations that have helped define the Australian image.
But while there are literally dozens of hotels with postcard-perfect views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, Australia’s most famous beach has notoriously lacked a seriously good hotel. Now that’s all changed thanks to the arrival of one of Australia’s most fun hotel brands at Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach. QT Bondi, situated in the new Pacific development at the northern end of the beach, is the closest thing you can get to being a Bondi local for a few days.
Living la vida local
The worst kind of hotels make you feel like you could be anywhere in the world; the best ones are those that are intimately and explicitly linked to their environment, as though they couldn’t possibly exist anywhere else. QT Bondi is firmly in the latter category. Its existence makes perfect sense in Bondi; from the lobby installation by Australian-born London-based artist Shaun Gladwell, to the gelato-coloured decorative scheme, this is a physical interpretation of the bright beachside suburb.
The hotel isn’t imposing, with just 69 rooms, and rather than having an on-site bar or restaurant, QT instead chooses to integrate with the surrounding local businesses. You can grab Artificer coffee at the oh-so-hip Saturdays NYC store just under the hotel, eat a tasty brekkie at Drake down the road, or if you feel like a dip, it’s just a short stroll down the beach to Bondi Icebergs.
And, of course, there’s no hotel pool. Who needs a pool when you’ve got Australia’s most famous beach at your doorstep?
Listen to the experts
A rag-tag bunch of Bondi locals have been recruited by the chain to help you get the most of your time in Bondi. Whether it’s shopping, surfing, partying or chilling that you’re after, QT Bondi has someone to show you the ropes. Bondi Rescue’s Bruce ‘Hoppo’ Hopkins, foodie Guy Turland, fashion stylist Pip Edwards and Angus and Connie from Sneaky Sound System have all contributed suburb ‘to do’ guides for the hotel.
This means that you don’t need to aimlessly wander the streets working out where (or where not) to shop, eat, drink or surf. Instead, you can shortcut your way to the freshest local fish and chips or the secret spot of sand near Bondi that’s not overcrowded (and that’s no easy task, believe me). The rooms all have their own kitchenettes, and the fresh styling that’s becoming a trademark of all the QT Hotels is on display everywhere – from the corridors to the bathroom tiles.
The best part of it all? The next time an overseas or interstate friend tells you all they want to do when they come to Sydney is visit Bondi, you can finally tell them they’ve got somewhere to stay that’s worthy of one of Australia’s most coveted neighbourhoods.
(The writer stayed as a guest of QT Sydney. All photos: QT Bondi.)
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