Road Warrior

Road Warrior Tested: Radisson Blu Hotel Sydney


I've been in Australia for a couple of weeks, traveled across the country and have been spending most of my time staying with a friend. Being a hotel fanatic, however, I did book into a few and bring you a review of the Radisson Blu Sydney for this installment of "Road Warrior Tested."

Radisson Blu Sydney Room
Photo by Darren Booth for

Date/Duration of Stay: July 26, one night.

Room Type: I booked an Atrium Room for my stay, the lowest-category room type offered. But I was upgraded to a Premier Room at check-in for being a Gold member of the Club Carlson hotel loyalty program. A detailed description of the room is below.

Rate: I used 50,000 points from my Club Carlson hotel loyalty program account for this stay. The regular rate would have been $270 Australian dollars, or about $283 U.S. dollars.

Location:  Located in the central business district in the heart of downtown Sydney, the harbor (sorry, Aussies...harbour) was a short walk away, as well as other major city attractions. Wynyard or Circular Quay train stations are also very walkable distances.

Radisson Blu Syndey Exterior
Photo by Darren Booth for

Building: The Radisson Blu Sydney — formerly called the Radisson Plaza Hotel — is a historic Renaissance Pallazzo-styled 12-story building built between 1922 and 1929. Originally the home of local newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald, it became the Bank of New South Wales in 1956 until Radisson converted it into a hotel in 1998.

The building is classified by the National Trust of Australia and is protected by a Permanent Conservation Order under the New South Wales Heritage Act.

Room Details: I was booked into room 513 and was immediately impressed with its unique design and layout. The bathroom was a pace or two to the immediate right of the door when entering (description below). Walking around a column-of-sorts into the main part of the room, the extra tall ceilings made its semi-rectangular layout seem even more spacious.

It was definitely larger than your "standard" U.S. hotel room and it offered a huge amount of space on both sides of the king-sized bed. A lounge chair, lamp and small table were at the far end of the room. Across from that area was a flat-screen HD television sitting atop a compartment housing the well-stocked minibar along with other pull-out drawers filled with dishware and a coffee service tray.

The other side of the room featured a large glass-top desk, complete with complimentary wired or wireless Internet access, a telephone, lamp and a side table stocked with hotel letterhead and envelopes.

Of the two bedside tables, one opened up to reveal the in-room safe (large enough to house my 17-inch Apple MacBook Pro). The bed itself was incredibly comfortable.

Three large windows overlooked Pitt Street and had both darkening curtains and translucent, vertical drawstring shades.

Radisson Blu Sydney Bathroom
Photo by Darren Booth for

Bathroom: The long, rectangular bathroom featured a deep European bathtub separate from the marble shower. One side of the granite sink area offered plenty of room for all of my necessities. The other side (as shown left) housed the faucet taps, as well as shelves revealing shampoo, conditioner, lotion and body wash commonly found at most hotels. Bathrobes and slippers were available, and another set was in the large closet outside of the bathroom. As at most upscale hotels, a phone hung on the wall inside the bathroom.

Hotel Amenities: The Bistro Fax Restaurant and Bar on the lobby level features Australian cuisine with European influences for lunch and dinner, as well as a complete breakfast service. High tea is also available in the afternoon. In-room dining is offered 24-hours daily.

A health club and full-service spa is located on the Mezzanine level and features an indoor pool, sauna, steam room and fitness center. The business center is on the same level and included computer workstations, a printer and copier/fax.

An executive lounge is also present on the 10th floor, though I hadn't booked a room in that category, nor is access available to elite members of their loyalty program, unlike some other major hotel chains.

Service: Check-in and check-out were friendly, though nothing special. My elite status wasn't verbally acknowledged by the front desk staff (no big deal, but always nice when it happens). However, I did receive the room upgrade and in-room amenity of fruit and sparkling water per my normal benefits. Oddly, though, the morning newspaper wasn't at my door, but at most others down the hallway.

The concierge and doorman were incredibly friendly, helpful and always smiling. They were receptive to engage in conversation at every encounter, which you don't often find at some hotels.

Summary: It's a fantastic property and lives up to what I've experienced before, and expect, at the "Blu" brand of Radisson hotels.