The Trusted Traveller has moved

Standard

The new and improved The Trusted Traveller website has been re-launched.

To continue reading all of my posts and follow my journey head over to

http://thetrustedtraveller.com/

If you are a subscriber or follower you will unfortunately need to subscribe again on my new site.

I really hope you join me.

Hotel Review: Rydges World Square, Sydney

Standard
Another year, another birthday. This year I decided to celebrate turning 31 by having a girls night out in the city and spend the night in a hotel to treat myself.
I started off the day getting my hair done which is something I rarely do. With all of my grey hairs covered up and my hair sleek and straight I jumped on the train into the city and made my way to my hotel for the night, Rydges World Square.

Hotel Entrance

The Rydges World Square is well located in the centre of the city close to Chinatown, Town Hall and the entertainment area on George Street. It is also just around the corner from where I was having drinks and dinner later on. So for me it was the ideal choice.
Entering the lobby I first notice the abundance of deep red coloured lounge seating in the large open space and the pillars covered in lovely cherry blossom wallpaper. It’s a nice touch and makes the area feel warm and inviting.
Hotel Lobby

Hotel Lobby

Approaching the check in desk I am greeted by a smiling receptionist who greets me politly and informs me that despite me being over an hour early for check in my room is ready.
The check in process is quick and before I know it I am heading to the lifts. You are required to use your key card to access the lifts and I found the little pouch they put my key cards in extremely difficult to get them out. I fiddled with them before getting in the lift and realising the cards don’t work. So back to the reception desk, where the receptionist apologised and promptly fixed the cards and escorted me to the lift to ensure I make it to my room this time. This to me is excellent customer service.
The room entrance way

The room entrance way

Once I’m in my room I dump my bag and explore the room. On the right of the entrance way is a double sliding door wardrobe with clothes hangers and a safe for valuables. No slippers or robe (slightly disappointed).
On the left of the entrance is the bathroom. What I liked most about it is the separate bathtub and shower. I have found this to be a very rare thing amongst newer hotels. Marble bench with sink and free toiletries (they went straight into my bag) below a large mirror. It’s clean and reasonably spacious.
Hotel Bathroom

Hotel Bathroom

Bathroom products at the hotel

Bathroom products at the hotel

The room itself consists of twin beds (my sister is staying with me for the night) with bedside tables and lamps, working desk and chair, a small lounge chair and small round table, a cabinet containing a bar fridge, crockery and kettle and on top, a large flat screen TV. There is also a bag rack big enough for a medium sized suitcase.
Sleeping area

Sleeping area

One of the single beds with a welcome information pack of the hotel

One of the single beds with a welcome information pack of the hotel

The walls are decorated with muted colour prints in wooden frames that match the furniture. There is a big wall to wall window and heavy dark block out blinds that came in very handy for my sleep in the next morning. The view is of the adjoining building but I wasn’t there for the view.
The seating area of the room

The seating area of the room

On the desk are items that you can purchase from the mini bar. There are your usual chocolates and chips but Rydges World Square have included a small box of popcorn, red and white stripped bags of sweets and some retro games, dominos and pick up sticks. These I think are nice touches and are as you would expect, slightly more expensive than if you purchased similar items elsewhere.
Mini Bar selection

Mini Bar selection

It’s a nice room that is clean, uncluttered and spacious enough for two people. My only gripe is the lack of lighting. Three lamps light the main part of the room which just isn’t enough light.
Some other features I noticed throughout the room were a selection of cable TV channels, mainly sports but also some music channels and the National Geographic channel, pay per view movies with a good selection of recent and classics, the room service menu consisting of traditional dishes such as steaks, burgers plus wood fired pizzas, pastas and a selection of desserts and drinks, a pillow menu and full length mirror. Apart from listening to a music channel while I worked in the afternoon I didn’t use any of these services.
Within the hotel there is a restaurant called Sphere serving three meals a day including an a la carte menu and buffet. I didn’t eat in the restaurant as I had other plans with friends.
I did however enjoy the bar. Square Bar is open to not just guests and is situated off the main lobby area. The large interior with dark lounge and booth seating and a small bar area in the corner is very cozy. There is also a terrace overlooking the central courtyard of World Square which is where I spent the later part of my night enjoying their nice selection of wines. They also have a diverse selection of local and international beers and spirits.
Square Bar interior

Square Bar interior

When I had an afternoon drink, the bar was buzzing with workers who were winding down with a Friday afternoon drink with friends and colleagues. Later in the evening there was a DJ playing soft house music and a dozen or so tables of people chatting and laughing. Its a great atmosphere and for the city, the prices were very reasonable.
The staff were very friendly and there were plenty of them so we never waited more than a few minutes to get a drink. Later in the night they started offering table service which was a nice touch.
There is also a fitness centre located in the hotel for anyone wanting to continue with their exercise routine while on holiday (I didn’t).
My sleep during the night was good with no noise coming from the corridor or rooms adjoining. I found the bed quite soft which is ok for me sleeping but when I tried to sit up in bed to read it was too soft and uncomfortable to sustain for more than a few minutes.
Check out was just a simple, if not more so, as check in. The staff were very busy but still had smiles on their faces and greeted us politely and thanked us for staying with them.
Here are some shots of what I got up to while out and about in the city.
Unfortunately I got so carried away with catching up with my friends that I forgot to take photos of my night out.
Sydney Tower rising above Westfield

Sydney Tower rising above Westfield

Westfield Shopping Centre - Pitt St Mall

Westfield Shopping Centre – Pitt St Mall

Westfield, Castlereagh St Entrance

Westfield, Castlereagh St Entrance

Pitt St Mall

Pitt St Mall

Talented young buckets that I stumbled upon in Pitt St Mall

Talented young buskers that I stumbled upon in Pitt St Mall

Queen Victoria Building

Queen Victoria Building

Town Hall

Town Hall

Central Courtyard of World Square

Central Courtyard of World Square

Chinese Lanterns strung across the central courtyard of World Square

Chinese Lanterns strung across the central courtyard of World Square

How I Booked

I did a bit of research and struggled to find a decently priced rate due to Chinese New Year celebrations going on in town. I picked Rydges World Square because of the location and price and booked direct with them through their website.
By joining their Priority Guest Rewards program at the time of booking, I was able to benefit from 10% off the best available rate. The rewards program is free to join and you also benefit from 20% off meals and drinks, earn points for free nights, welcome drink, priority check in desk, 1pm check out and up to 50% off in room internet.

The Room & Rate

We stayed in a Deluxe King Room which I requested be in a twin configuration which was no hassle to the staff. After my 10% rewards discount the rate came to $217.00 for one nights accommodation. This was the cheapest 3-4 star hotel I could find in the city for this night.

Hotel Details

Rydges World Square – 389 Pitt St, Sydney, NSW, 2000 – Only a few minutes walk from Town Hall Station.

The Verdict

I would definitely recommend Rydges World Square to anyone after a place to sleep and spend a small to medium amount of time in. The location couldn’t be more perfect for exploring the city, there are enough facilities within to hotel to keep you happy and the customer service was among the best I have experienced in a hotel. I also loved the bar and will probably go there even if I am not staying in the hotel in future.
Next time I am looking for a reasonable priced place to stay in the city I won’t look past the Rydges World Square.

Over to you!

Have you stayed in the Rydges World Square or any other Rydges Hotel around the world? I would love to hear about your experiences.

Where in the world Wednesday

Standard

If your new to The Trusted Traveller, every Wednesday I test your travel knowledge with a picture and a cryptic paragraph about a destination or attraction from somewhere in the world for you to guess.

IMG_2411

Where in the world………..Located close to the border of Switzerland. A stroll through its old town will have you walking along side canals and passing century old buildings like Palais de l’Isle, the former residence of a 12th century Lord. No visit would be complete without a boat ride on the picturesque lake. Take a scenic cruise or row your own boat with the snow capped peaks of the French Alps in the background. And don’t forget to try the local speciality tartiflette.

Which town am I in?

Want to take a guess? Leave me a comment below or pop over to our Facebook or Twitter pages (links on the left) to take a guess. The answer will be revealed in the comments below and on social media tomorrow.

Destination of the Week – Amsterdam

Standard

Check out our new Destination of the Week – Amsterdam, by clicking here.

The Canals

The Canals

Remember to visit The Trusted Traveller every week for a new Destination of the Week or Follow using the link in the left sidebar to have new posts delivered direct to your email.

Sunday’s Inspiration – 16 Feb, 2014

Standard

Tough working week ahead? Well here is something to get you though it and to keep you looking ahead to your goals and dreams.

All you've got to do is decide to go

Join me every Sunday night for a new quote and fight those 9-5 blues!

Do you have a favourite quote, travel related or otherwise? I would love to hear it. Share in the comments section below or join me on social media (links in the sidebar to the left) to start a conversation.

Berlin in Pictures

Standard

To cap off Berlin as our Destination of the Week check out this mosaic of some of my favourite shots taken while I was in Berlin.

Remember to visit The Trusted Traveller every Monday for a new Destination of the Week or subscribe on the left of this page to have new posts delivered direct to your email.

Fun Fact Friday #2

Standard
Want to know something weird, wonderful or interesting about this world we live in? Well, join me every Friday when I share with you a Fun Fact related to travel.

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty was a gift to the United States from the people of France in 1884.

Over to you.

What gift would you give to another country from your own?

Great Sporting Destinations

Standard

I’m not a massive sports nut. Apart from swimming, I haven’t played any other type of sport for over 10 years. I do however, like most Aussies, love watching it!

My favourite sport is definitely tennis and I follow along with how the Aussies are doing throughout the year and always try to get to a match over the summer in Sydney.

I’m also an Aussie Rules (AFL) fan, supporting the Sydney Swans. Mick is a die hard fan and during AFL sessions we have to organise our life around him catching the matches on the TV or seeing the occasional game live. I have never heard the end of it from Mick about organising two overseas trips that coincided with grand final weekends. Oops!

With Super Bowl on in the US last week I started reflecting on some of the great sporting events and venues I have been lucky enough to visit around the world over the past few years. This led me to thinking about the great sporting events around the world that I still haven’t gotten to but hope to someday soon.

So for all you sport mad travellers out there, here the sporting event I have managed to catch around the world so far and a few I am hoping to very soon.

Wimbledon

Wimbledon tickets can be pretty hard to get your hands on. You can register in the Public Ballot around December each year and hope it comes through. Join “The Queue” as they call it, outside the venue and hope to be one of the lucky ones who gets in. Then there is how I got my tickets. The day before play on Ticketmaster they release several hundred tickets to centre court and court no.3. I have been lucky enough on two occasions now to get these Ticketmaster tickets on centre court.

Being a massive tennis fan, walking into Wimbledon was a dream come true. I felt quite overwhelmed and even little teary entering through the gates into what is regarded the home of tennis.

Sitting on centre court for two days I got to watch all the big names in tennis, Federer, Nadal, Murray, Williams, Sharapova, Na and my personal favourite Lleyton Hewitt.  Despite my seats being up in the nose bleeds it was an incredible experience that I hope I can do again one day.

Baseball in NYC

When we decided to go to the US in 2012 one of the things we simply had to do was watch a Baseball game. I played a lot of Softball as a kid and although I don’t follow Baseball I really like it and understand the rules.

I would have loved to have seen a game at Yankee Stadium but unfortunately there wasn’t any being played during our sevens days in NYC. There was however a Mets game being played at Citi Field in Queens. After doing some research I found the best way to get tickets was direct through the Mets website.

We wanted the experience to be as stereotypical as possible including eating giant hot dogs purchased from the vendors walking the aisles, waving foam finger’s purchased from the merchandise stand and yelling “Charge” with the other revellers when the da da da da dada song played. And we did all of it!

We got to see a few home runs and sliders into the plate and of course our team, The Mets beat The Phillies giving us something the cheer about at the end of the game.

Sumo in Japan

When we decided to visit Japan last year, one of the first things we looked into was whether there were any Sumo matches being held in the cities we were visiting. Not only were we luckily enough to catch some Sumo in Tokyo it just happened to be the Grand Sumo Tournament held six times a year and it was Grand Final day!

I did a lot of research about where to get tickets as most of the official websites are in Japanese and being the Grand Final we didn’t want to risk trying to get tickets on the day and miss out. I ended up finding this website who specialise in Sumo ticket for English speaking people. They managed to get us some really good seats and post our tickets out to Australia.

A day at the Sumo is a whole day. Matches start at about 9am and the day finishes up at about 5pm. We spent a few hours in the later part of the day watching the best of the best battle against one another until the Grand Champion was crowned. Watching the sumo’s go through their rituals and intimidation techniques was quite something to behold. And just as interesting is watching the normally quite reserved Japanese people get so passionate about their sport and their favourite sumo’s.

It was another great experience that I think anyone with the opportunity to experience this interesting sport should go for it.

Cricket at Lord’s

The home of Cricket in the UK and one of the most historic sporting venues in the world. We go tickets and went along to a county T20 match a few year back while living in London. I would have loved to have seen an international match between the Aussies and the Poms but our budget doesn’t stretch far enough to be able to afford the notoriously expensive Ashes tickets.

The ground lived up to my expectations especially the beautiful (if you will allow me to use such a word to describe a sporting field) members pavilion. The atmosphere was electric and the crowd of family’s and die hard cricket fans were all supporting there team with passion and enthusiasm.

It was the perfect day out of beers and great mates enjoying cricket at one of the worlds best venues.

Rugby at Wembley

IMG_2891

While living in London I become very patriotic to my country and whenever there was a major sporting event involving an Aussie team you would either find me at a pub at 5am watching a live stream from across the world or on one occasion watching the Aussie Rugby League team play at Wembley Stadium.

It was a double header (four teams, two matches, one night) with the Aussies playing and beating England and the Kiwis playing and smashing Wales.

Decked out in our green and gold beanie’s and scarves, we drank beer, sang songs, booed the umpires and opposition and participated in one too many Mexican waves. It was a fun night out at one of the best sporting venues I have been in to date.

Now for the sporting events I’d still love to get to.

Soccer (or football depending on where your from)

Soccor

Although I am not much of a Soccer fan I have heard that the atmosphere at a Soccer match is second to none. When living in London we tried on many occasions to organise a group to head out to a match but it just never happened.

Hopefully one day, maybe in South America, I can catch a passionate game of Soccer.

Basketball in the US

Basketball

Basketball is another sport I have a slight connection to having played the less contact version of Netball most of my childhood. I find netball so boring to watch but have managed to catch the odd basketball game on the TV over the years and it looks so much more exciting.

When I travel to LA in the next few years I will be looking to go to an LA Lakers match for sure!

Ice Hockey in Canada

Hockey

Made famous in Canada, watching an Ice Hockey game would be an awesome experience to have on my trip to Canada in the next few years.

I want to see the guys slam each other against the barriers right in front of me, fighting to defend their hockey puck. It that a little cruel of me?

Tennis (yes more)

Tennis

Did I mention I love tennis.

High up on my bucket list is to visit all four tennis grand slams one day. Having already accomplished one, Wimbledon, I am yet to make it to the Australian, US and French Opens.

With the Australian Open being just a short flight away from me in Sydney I don’t know how this one has escaped me to date but hopefully I can get down to Melbourne in the next few years and tick this one off my list.

Over to you now. What great sporting events have you seen in your travels or which ones are you hoping to get to?

Like what you see? Share this blog with your friends on social media using the share button below or click the ‘Follow’ button in the left sidebar to have all my future posts delivered straight to your email.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.

Where in the world Wednesday

Standard

If your new to The Trusted Traveller, every Wednesday I test your travel knowledge with a picture and a cryptic paragraph about a destination or attraction from somewhere in the world for you to guess.

IMG_6593

Where in the world………..San Francesco Basilica named after St. Francis sits atop of this UNESCO World Heritage town. Affording incredible views of the Umbrian countryside, its steep cobblestone streets will have your legs in shape after a days sightseeing. Stop for a rest in one of the many Piazza’s around town with a delicious gelato.

Which town am I in?

Want to take a guess? Leave me a comment below or pop over to our Facebook or Twitter pages (links on the left) to take a guess. The answer will be revealed in the comments below and on social media tomorrow.