Hotel Review: Rydges World Square, Sydney

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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.

My bucket list: the next 5 years

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I really wanted to share with you my whole entire bucket list but really that would just involve me reciting all of the countries, cities and regions of the world. So instead let me present to you, from my bucket list, what I hope to see and do in the next five years or so.

I have tried to keep the list achievable as I have a tendency to over plan and think I can do more than I actually can.

Pacific Islands

I’m not sure yet if it will be Fiji, Vanuatu or the Cook Islands but later this year we are planning to have a week of rest and relaxation in the pacific. Mick is a bit of a lounge lizard and loves a good holiday of doing nothing every now and then and I love the sun, sand and sea so it’s a win for us both.

Vanuatu Sunset

Vanuatu Sunset

Think cocktails, laying on palm tree fringed beaches, swimming in crystal clear water and eating juicy tropical fruits and you will get the picture of what we plan to do during that week.

With the Pacific only a few hours flight from Sydney and great package deals always available this should be very achievable for us, both time and cash wise.

Have you been to one of these Pacific Islands? Which one should I visit and why?

New Zealand

We spent a bit of time in the North Island of NZ last year and loved it. Lucky for us we have great friends who live in Christchurch that we haven’t seen since living in London and are long due a catch up. So what better excuse than this to hop across to one of our favourite countries for a few days to visit them and hopefully score ourselves a free tour of the area (guys, if your reading, please???).

Christchurch

Christchurch

Not much of a plan here yet but we are super keen to get over there probably in the second half of this year for a long weekend and pack in some catch up time and a bit of sightseeing. It will be interesting to see the developments in Christchurch after the devastating earthquakes of a few years back as well as hopefully see some of the nearby countryside too.

Canada

The plan right now is that our next big trip will be to western Canada in the first half of 2015.

Starting in Vancouver I want to explore this city taking in sights such as the villages of the downtown area, Granville St and Gastown nightlife, get a great view of the city skyline from Granville Island, Grouse Mountain and the Capilano Suspension Bridge and take a day trip to Whistler on the Sea to Sky train.

Vancouver Skyline

Vancouver Skyline

From Vancouver its off to the Rockies on the Rocky Mountaineer (have I mentioned I love train journeys). Staying in Jasper and getting a taste of the mountain lifestyle we will then drive south on the Icefields Parkway checking out the Columbia Icefield and taking a ride on the Ice Explore out onto the Athabasca Glacier. Also stopping along the way to see lots of aqua coloured lakes and hopefully catching a glimpse of some of the famous Canadian wildlife. Depending on our budget, we will be spending a night in Lake Louise at the Fairmont Chateau before heading to Banff for more beautiful vistas of snow capped mountains.

Lake Louise

Lake Louise

We will then finish up in in the home of Stampede, Calgary, before flying home possible via San Francisco or Hawaii for a few days.

I have felt drawn to Canada for a few years now and had planned to visit there on our way home from living in London but unfortunately due to money issues it just never happened. But with plenty of time to save the cash this time I think it will defiantly be achievable.

Any tips on things to see and do while in Canada?

Australia

Now that we won’t going on as many big overseas trips as we have for the past four years it gives a great opportunity to explore our own backyard. I want to try to do some more short trips and weekends away when we have public holiday long weekends.

I have been lucky enough to explore quite a bit of Australia as a kid on family holidays. I’ve been to every major coastal region from far north Queensland, all the way around to Adelaide in South Australia and everywhere in between plus extensive travel throughout inland Victoria.

But with Australia being such a massive country there is still so much more to see. Here a few places that are top of my list that I hope to get to in the next five years.

The Red Centre

Surprisingly, I don’t think I know anyone who has been Uluru or Alice Springs before. Considering it is one of Australia’s biggest icons, it baffles me as to why a lot of Aussies aren’t interested in visiting them.

Sunset in the outback

Sunset in the outback

So I want to be the first of my friends and family to make the trip to the heart of our great country. There is so much more to see out there besides Uluru such as the rolling sand dunes of the Simpson Desert , the breathtaking Kings Canyon and the MacDonnell Ranges. Plenty to keep us busy for a long weekend.

Canberra

A lot of people are probably wondering why I just mentioned Canberra as a place I want to visit. It has a bit of a reputation in Australia as a pretty boring city. And I kind of have to agree to a certain point. But what it does have is lots of great events throughout the year that I always forget are on until they are just about finished.

The main one I want to visit is Floriade. If you haven’t guessed it from the name, Floriade showcases flowers and lots of them. Last year over one million flowers were on display in every colour, shape or form you can think of. And I want to see it, photograph it and enjoy it.

Tulips

Tulips

There is a little more too it than just fields of pretty flowers. You get the opportunity to wander through some of the most beautifully designed show gardens in the world. And then at night everything is illuminated while you enjoy live entertainment.

Hopefully this year will be my chance to get to Canberra for this event!

Great Ocean Road

While I have visited the Great Ocean Road a few times now, Mick hasn’t and I want to share it with him. It is one of my favourite places in Australia and somewhere I would be happy to go back to time and time again.

The Twelve (Seven) Apostles

The Twelve (Seven) Apostles

We will probably make it a bit of road trip from Melbourne down through Geelong stopping off at places like the famous Bells Beach, Apollo Bay, the Shipwreck Coast and of course the Twelve Apostles (there is only seven left).

Iceland

I’ve wanted to go to Iceland for some time now. And would have been there a year ago for my 30th birthday if we hadn’t have had to come home from London earlier than planned.

Although we are not likely to get there before 2016 I have the whole trip planned out in my head.

There is a small group tour I want to do with a company called Explore Worldwide. It incorporates all the major sights of the Golden Circle including Thingvellir National Park and Strokkur Geyser as well as attempting to spot the northern lights every night with an expert Astronomer who will take you to all the best spots and help you take the best photos.

Northern Lights

Northern Lights

As this is only a short tour and we will be travelling over 24 hours to get there we may as well spend a bit more time in Europe while we are there to make the trip worthwhile.

Spain

Spain is pretty high up there for me as I have managed to miss it despite travelling quite extensively through Europe over the past few years.

I love, I mean absolutely love, Spanish food and their chilled way of life so me and Spain are going to get along just fine.

Alhambra, Granada

Alhambra, Granada

Of course I want to visit all of the major cities. Barcelona to walk down Las Rumblas and see the unusual architecturural works of Gaudi throughout the city. Madrid, the capital city and also capital of culture in Spain. Take in the sights of Seville while indulging in the best tapas in the world (my mouth is watering just thinking about it). Granada and the ancient Moorish fortress of Alhambra. Relax on the beach in San Sebastián. And finally, the city of Valencia to take in their new modern structures and relax (again) on their coastline.

Have I missed any major city or region you think I should visit while in Spain?

Croatia

Now probably looking to 2017 and beyond, Croatia would be our next place to visit in Europe.

Just about everyone I met while living in London had either been to Croatia and loved it or was about to go (and have since told me they loved it). I love sun and I love islands so why not!!!!

The most common way of travelling around Croatia I think is staying on board a boat and island hopping. The problem I find with these trips is you spend minimal time on the islands in the towns and villages and a lot of time on the boat. You basically pull into a port in the afternoon, have a few hours to look around before sundown, party it up and then jump back on board the boat later that night and head straight to your next port. While this does sound like lots of fun this isn’t the way I want to see the islands.

Plitvice Lakes

Plitvice Lakes

I do plan to island hop, but instead of sleeping on a boat I want to stay on the islands and soak up the atmosphere during the day and night. Also I get super sea sick so sleeping on a boat makes me feel like I’m going to …………. you get the idea.

So during this island hopping I’d like to get to Dubrovnik, Split and then at least the islands of Hvar and Korcula before heading inland to the beautiful Plitvice Lakes and the capital Zagreb.

Have you visited Croatia? Which island did you love the most?

Slovenia

After Croatia, but in the same trip, I would like to head to Slovenia. I have a friend who just raves about the Country saying its the most beautiful place in all of Europe so I want to go and see what all the fuss is about.

Slovenian countryside

Slovenian countryside

I have seen a lot of pictures but haven’t done a huge amount of research yet on the country but I do know that I want to visit the capital Ljubljana (most difficult city to pronounce) and get out into the mountains and lakes around Bled.

Any suggestions on things to see and do in Slovenia?

USA

Looking probably way out to 2018 now will be a trip to the USA. Mick loves a thrill ride and I love to see the excitement on people’s faces enjoying the thrill rides while I mind everyone’s bags (I am such a chicken). So to keep him happy and add another major theme park to our list off been there done that, we plan to head to LA and Disneyland as well as a side trip to the city of sin, Las Vegas.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas

As this is so far in the future I have no plans at all for this one. I’m sure we will spend a few days in LA itself trying to spot a celeb. Probably a week of theme park hopping around Disney’s two parks and Universal Studios. And then a few days of gambling, watching shows and walking The Strip in Vegas.

Nothing says fun more than Disney and Vegas so that’s what we intend to do, have buckets full of fun!!!

Well that rounds out the next five years for us. Whether we manage to accomplish all of this or just some, I’m feeling super pumped and excited for the adventures that await us in the future. Now I just need to start saving!!!!

Do you have plans to travel over the coming years? Tell me about them.