Whenever I see a hotel on Trip Advisor with a strongly positive rating, lots of good reviews, and a handful of negatives, I must admit I wonder if people are just being a bit picky. But this experience has shown me that it is indeed possible to have a terrible stay in an otherwise well-regarded hotel. The only thing stopping me from giving it one star is that the location is absolutely brilliant- right on the doorstep of The Rocks and Circular Quay, within spitting distance of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. We had one Saturday to spend in Sydney, and the markets at the Rocks are a long-time favourite- in that respect, this hotel was ideal.
The staff at the hotel were also excellent- extremely courteous and helpful.
Besides those two positives, it was an awful stay for me- and interestingly, I can see that many of the poor/ terrible ratings were from people who stayed in similar circumstances to us- families using the rollaway beds in what I understand may be older rooms on the second floor.
I booked a room with a queen bed and two rollaway singles through Wotif- I was travelling with my mother, toddler and baby, and that configuration suited us perfectly. After an excellent check-in in the lovely lobby, we took the elevator up to our room, where we found it rather lacking in some ways. The paintwork was shabby in places, and there was a loud ventilator grille above the door that droned all night. I believe it was connected to the heating unit, so if we'd turned that off it probably would have been okay- except that the room was freezing, and with two small kids we didn't want it to get any colder. By the next morning, the temperature had finally come up to a warmer point.
There was only one rollaway bed rather than two, but the hotel had provided a separate baby cot as requested, so that was fine. There wouldn't have been room for two anyway- the rollaway was jammed right in the middle of the living area, between the sofas and the television, which prevented us from using that space to sit and talk or watch TV. It was a one bedroom apartment, so we hadn't expected a second room for the bed, but we hadn't expected things to be so tight.
The queen sized bed in the main bedroom was great, though there was no cover on the quilt (just a sheet wrapped around it), and my mother and daughter had a very good night's sleep in there. The bathroom facilities were also very good; the kitchen was okay.
It wasn't until I got the baby to sleep in the cot and everyone else in the apartment was sound asleep that I went to get in the rollaway bed, and discovered that it was absolutely unusable. It was rock solid with no give at all, and all of the rigid springs were protruding up through the top. With everyone in our room already asleep after a very long day and all the lights out, I couldn't call to complain and request a replacement, though the staff assured me the next morning that this would have been provided immediately (I'm sure it would have been, but circumstances just did not allow for me to do that, so I acknowledge that my own situation prevented me from seeing what kind of response the hotel would have had).
Instead, I tried folding extra blankets on top of the mattress, but it was still too hard to lie on without shoulder or back pain. I contemplated putting the blankets on the floor, then decided to sleep on the couch instead. The couch had a sag in the middle and wasn't comfortable, particularly with my knees hanging off the edge, but it was softer than the rollaway, and by that point it was the best I could do. I had a pretty terrible night's sleep, as you can imagine.
The next morning upon checking out, I complained about the bed. The staffer I spoke to was vaguely apologetic and mentioned that they were planning on refurbishing some of the rooms, and they knew some of the rollaway beds needed to be replaced. I would love to know, in that case, why on earth they are still being provided to customers who are paying good money for a place to sleep. I did not pay my tariff to sleep on a couch- if that was the quality of accommodation I was seeking, I could have paid significantly less money for it. I was not offered any kind of restitution for the bad experience.
Back to the positives- the staff happily organised for us to catch the shuttle bus to the airport for our afternoon flight, and were able to store our luggage for us for the whole time we were out. We had a lovely morning wandering around the Rocks, and were happy with the location and the service that allowed us to leave our bags for the day.
However, given the experience I had, I would not return to this hotel with my family for future stays. I would also not recommend it to people travelling with children or requesting the rollaway beds for any other reason- unless the management advise that they have replaced the existing ones with something a few shades softer than sheet metal.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Immerse yourself in Sydney's colourful past in The Rocks. Select from Rendezvous Stafford Hotel Sydney's unique offing of historic Terrace Houses, One bedroom apartments and spacious Studio Rooms. This 61 room boutique hotel is a hidden treasure, the Rendezvous Stafford Hotel Sydney is only moments from Circular Quay, the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Clarion Collection Sydney
- Sydney Clarion Collection
- Clarion Sydney