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Pier One Sydney Harbour review: Harbour View Balcony Suite gets you close to the action

TIME : 2-26 17:44:39

Pier One Sydney Harbour review: Harbour View Balcony Suite gets you close to the action

DEFAULT Craig Platt

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  • Pier One Sydney Harbour is located right next to the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
    Pier One Sydney Harbour is located right next to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. 
  • Giving ferry commuters a thrill: bathe with the blinds open in the Harbour View Balcony Suite.
    Giving ferry commuters a thrill: bathe with the blinds open in the Harbour View Balcony Suite. 
  • The Harbour View Balcony Suite is one of the best on the property.
    The Harbour View Balcony Suite is one of the best on the property.  
  • The hotel's Gantry Restaurant and Bar offers a seasonal menu created by executive chef Joel Bickford.
    The hotel's Gantry Restaurant and Bar offers a seasonal menu created by executive chef Joel Bickford. 
  • The hotel's Gantry Bar.
    The hotel's Gantry Bar. 
  • Dining outdoors.
    Dining outdoors. 
  • More than a century old, the Pier One building began its life as a working cargo wharf and passenger transit point.
    More than a century old, the Pier One building began its life as a working cargo wharf and passenger transit point.  
  • There are 189 rooms, offering either views of the water or of the city skyline, including 18 suites.
    There are 189 rooms, offering either views of the water or of the city skyline, including 18 suites. 
  • Pier One offers one of the most beautiful locations in Sydney.
    Pier One offers one of the most beautiful locations in Sydney. 
  • Pier One offers one of the most beautiful locations in Sydney
    Pier One offers one of the most beautiful locations in Sydney 
  • A standard room at Pier One Sydney Harbour.
    A standard room at Pier One Sydney Harbour. 
  • Pier One offers one of the most beautiful locations in Sydney
    Pier One offers one of the most beautiful locations in Sydney 
  • The hotel's Gantry Restaurant and Bar offers a seasonal menu created by executive chef Joel Bickford.
    The hotel's Gantry Restaurant and Bar offers a seasonal menu created by executive chef Joel Bickford. 
  • The hotel's Gantry Restaurant and Bar offers a seasonal menu created by executive chef Joel Bickford.
    The hotel's Gantry Restaurant and Bar offers a seasonal menu created by executive chef Joel Bickford. 
  • More than a century old, the Pier One building began its life as a working cargo wharf and passenger transit point.
    More than a century old, the Pier One building began its life as a working cargo wharf and passenger transit point.  
  • The hotel's Gantry Restaurant and Bar offers a seasonal menu created by executive chef Joel Bickford.
    The hotel's Gantry Restaurant and Bar offers a seasonal menu created by executive chef Joel Bickford. 

Our rating

4 out of 5

The place

Pier One Sydney Harbour

The location

Pier One sits almost directly under the southern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Dawes Point, offering beautiful views of the harbour, the bridge and the lights of Luna Park on the other side of the city. The hotel hosts a party for New Year's Eve and you'd be hard pressed to get closer to the bridge fireworks than here (indeed, shortly after my arrival there is a fireworks display on the harbour just off my balcony, but I have no idea what it was for)

The space

More than a century old, the Pier One building began its life as a working cargo wharf and passenger transit point. Elements of these humble origins still remain, with ancient wooden timbers and ironwork shooting through the corridors and some rooms. There are 189 rooms, offering either views of the water or of the city skyline, including 18 suites. There is no gym or pool, but yoga and boxing classes are held on the pier.

The room

I stay in one of the best rooms in the property - a Harbour View Balcony Suite. The entryway features a toilet off to side, with a corridor splitting to take you to either the bathroom or the living area (both with harbour views) between them is the bedroom. The balcony runs the full length of the room, with access from the living room, bedroom and bathroom. Floor to ceiling windows mean the views can be enjoyed from the living room's chaise lounge, the bed or even the bath or shower. Generous sized bottles of the Appelles toiletries are included, a bonus as I typically find myself emptying those tiny bottles of body wash after just one or two showers. The shower itself in the suite is huge, with 12 shower heads, four of them on the walls for an all-over flow.

The bed is also a highlight and it's hard to resist getting out of it given the view of the sun sparkling on the water. The foot of the bed contains a retractable TV screen - another reason not to get up. Ferries and other water craft regularly pass by the room but privacy curtains ensure passengers can't see in. Strangely though, there is no privacy curtain in the bathroom, so you may end up giving commuters a thrill if you decide to bathe with the blinds open.

The only downside to this spectacular location is the noise from trains and traffic crossing the bridge, plus the occasional late-night party boat passing by, though neither are too bothersome to prevent sleeping.

The food

Revamped earlier this year, the hotel's Gantry Restaurant and Bar offers a seasonal menu created by executive chef Joel Bickford. The spring/summer menu dishes are listed only by their key ingredients (for example, my entree is listed simply as "crab - kohlrabi - salted cream", but this allows the friendly staff to discuss each in more detail. The seafood comes highly recommended so along with the crab entree I opt for a delicious crispy skin snapper with fennel and indulge in a dessert of lemon curd, 'violet' ice cream and honeycomb.

Stepping out

The waterfront is the most obvious attraction, but a new feature of this location is its proximity to the recently opened Bangaroo Reserve, which has given the public access to a part of the harbour previously closed off for more than 100 years. The natural amphitheatre offers wonderful views of the harbour and features walkways and bike paths, rock pools and a new cultural centre.

The verdict

Pier One offers one of the most beautiful locations in Sydney (it wasn't surprising to discover that Tourism Australia was filming its latest overseas advertisement at the hotel during my visit) and with the addition of the Gantry restaurant it offers a great location for a romantic escape or special occasion.

Essentials

A standard ('Heritage') room at Pier One Sydney starts from $299 per night. The Harbour View Balcony Suite is $1200 a night.

See https://www.pieronesydneyharbour.com.au