King Waratah Premium
- Great location for Barangaroo, Darling Harbour, and many financial offices
- The hotel's lovely atrium would be a great workspace, but closes during the day
- À la carte breakfast is complimentary for Hilton Honors Gold and Diamond members
Everybody knows the Hilton Sydney on George Street, but there's another 'Hilton' in Australia's business capital that shouldn't be overlooked.
West Hotel Sydney, part of Curio Collection by Hilton, offers a distinctly different experience from its CBD neighbour.
Here's a peek at what to expect, ahead of our review:
Editor's note: This stay took place prior to the latest COVID-19 travel restrictions and local lockdown, but highlights what travellers can expect when these are lifted.
Location & Impressions
West Hotel Sydney sits on Sussex Street – and its name implies, that's on the western side of the CBD.
This places it just blocks from Barangaroo and Darling Harbour (including King Street Wharf), and close to many corporate offices like American Express, MYOB, Telstra and Westpac.
It's also around two blocks from the Kent Street pathway at Wynyard Station (on arrival, use Exit 4 from Wynyard and follow the signs towards Clarence Street/Q-U, then to Kent Street).
First impressions of the hotel find a compact yet stylish lobby area, with plenty of natural light at first, and flowing through to more of a 'lounge' feel by the elevators.
Off the lobby also sits an indoor/outdoor atrium. This would be a great place to work and relax during the day, but it's unfortunately off-limits unless the adjacent restaurant is open.
Once upstairs, the view from our King Waratah Premium room isn't quite floor-to-ceiling, given the design of the hotel building.
However, you can spot the city zooming by on the streets below, and Darling Harbour in the distance.
It's a slim view, as of course, The West makes the most of its in-between location for those needing to be in the city, and those exploring that area westward – with both being just a short walk.
While the location won't suit everybody, it proved perfect for this stay: and with so many offices, restaurants, bars and even the Sydney Lyric (for Hamilton) not far on foot, there was no need for any transport between check-in and check-out, other than my own two feet.
As is standard of Hilton-affiliated hotels across Australia, a 1.5% surcharge applies to all credit card payments – which means you aren't charged more to use a more rewarding card like AMEX or Diners Club, versus the fee for Visa or Mastercard.
The room itself adopts a very modern style, with clean white and black lines, complemented by small bursts of colour, and contrasted with a patterned carpet.
Your suitcase sits out of the way as you settle in – and if you've had a long day, there's pod coffee and a selection of teas ready and waiting.
There's space to unpack, with drawers, hangers, shelves and a small closet, where an iron and ironing board are kept tucked away.
For any valuables, a large-sized safe is easily found, with space enough for laptops, headphones and the like.
While many hotels have done away with minibars, the fridge here is stocked daily, with the contents complimentary.
Move past the entryway, and your room provides a full-length mirror:
Beside that, a wall-mounted smart TV with Chromecast support:
In the far corner, a chair faces the TV with a footstool at the ready, with the bedside table doubling as a cocktail table.
Like the rest of the room, the bathroom is stylishly modern, with Hilton's signature robes ready and waiting.
The walk-in shower provides good water pressure, and a decent-sized ledge for your amenities.
Those provided by the hotel are Biology branded: an Australian company specialising in natural-formula hair and body products.
The bathroom also features an adjustable face mirror.
When there's work to be done, the in-room desk delivers adequate lighting and accessible power (outlets just below), with a padded chair.
That desk is noticeably smaller than you'd find in the rooms at Hilton Sydney over on George Street, but is enough for basic laptop use.
Elite Hilton Honors members will also observe that unlike Hilton Sydney, West Hotel doesn't have an Executive Lounge – although during our last stay, Hilton Sydney's true Executive Lounge was closed, replaced by evening canapes in Glass brasserie.
The hotel's on-site restaurant, Solander, opens daily for breakfast.
Service is à la carte, and those with full breakfast included in their reservation can avail of one cooked breakfast dish, plus two continental breakfast items, three side dishes, and juice, tea, or brewed coffee.
It's a generous policy that'll ensure you won't leave hungry, with a single cooked dish more than enough for this writer.
On the second day, those 'side' options came in handy, with hash browns mixing well with the tasty breakfast roll.
Hilton Honors Gold and Diamond members who receive free breakfast by way of their status can instead avail of two continental dishes, or can 'upgrade' to a hot dish like those above for $10 per day, which also unlocks three sides.
Barista-made coffee is an added extra in all cases, being $5 if you'd prefer that instead of the complimentary brew.
While Solander is closed for lunch, there's a bar menu available from Tuesday to Saturday evenings, and a broader dinner menu offered Thursdays to Saturdays.
The truffle fries are found on both menus, and they're scrumptious – covered in Parmesan cheese, and with truffle aioli on the side.
For something healthier when the restaurant menu is in full swing, the crispy skin salmon is delightful, served with grilled broccolini and finished with a meuniére sauce (that's brown butter, lemon, and finely-chopped parsley).
Solander also stocks a reasonable range of wines by the glass, along with multiple choices within each family of spirits (Beefeater, Monkey 47, Hendricks and Plymouth gins, for example), plus cocktails, mocktails, beer and cider.
While a quick walk to Barangaroo is highly recommended, if you're spending spare time on-property, there's a cosy gym with cardio equipment at the ready.
The long rectangular space continues in the other direction, with a pulley trainer, free weights, exercise balls, and more. It's smaller than many hotel gyms, but provided enough a workout.
If you'd rather put your feet up, don't forget about your access to Chromecast in the room.
Even when connected only to the hotel's free WiFi plan (capping speeds at 10Mbps up and down), the system worked flawlessly.
Chromecast isn't only for video, either – you can use it to play your favourite music from compatible apps via your own subscription.
For business travellers – particularly those in the financial sectors, given the offices nearby – West Hotel has much to offer.
Leisure guests won't be disappointed either, when considering the combination of the hotel's CBD location with its proximity to Darling Harbour, ferry services, and Barangaroo.
Hilton Honors members expecting extra features like an Executive Lounge, however, retain the option of Hilton Sydney.
Also read: Hilton Sydney hotel review
Chris Chamberlin stayed as a guest of West Hotel Sydney.