Pre-kids, when the husband and I travelled, accommodation was just a state of mind. A room was simply a place to crash out in while waiting for day to come. Sometimes we’d start looking for a place after being spit out of the plane and passing through immigration at our destination. Now, with small children of our own, finding a place to lay our heads is serious business. Armed with a checklist, I scour hotel websites and review pages over and over again before typing in my credit card number. Location? Check. Easy access to transport options? Check. Extra bedding available? Check. Supermarket close by? Check. Room service available? Check. And it goes on. Here’s the short (but by no means exhausted) list of some family-friendly ones in Sydney.
For the budget-conscious
Bounce Hotel, a new budget hostel next to Central Station, has family rooms with ensuite bathrooms. There’s also a shared kitchen and an outdoor leisure area with BBQ, bean bags, and sun lounges. Be prepared for noise though, since you’ll be living with backpacker types.
For lower-cost convenience
The Mercure Sydney, located next to Central Station, is a solid three-star establishment for unfussy travellers. Stay in a Deluxe Privilege room, which has two double beds, a sofa seating area, and enough room to swing a kangaroo or two in.
For a room with a view
Try any of the harbour-view rooms at the ‘Four’ hotels – Four Seasons Sydney, or Four Points by Sheration. The former offers unparalleled vistas of the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, the latter boasts Darling Harbour views.
For a CBD experience
Smack in the centre of the CBD and shopping areas, the Grace Hotel Sydneyis housed in a restored art-deco building. The Premium Family Rooms, with one king-sized bed and either a single bed or a sofa bed, are tailored to suit a family of four.
For families with older kids
The new Park8 Hotelat the foot of Hyde Park has two-bedroom loft rooms (up a flight of stairs in the room), which can fit a family of four.
For families with younger kids
Two children under 18 stay and breakfast free at Novotel hotels, under the ‘Family & Novotel’ scheme. So make use of that to book a room at the Novotel on Darling Harbour, which is walking distance to kid-friendly attractions like the Sydney Aquarium, Sydney Wildlife World, the National Maritime Museum.
For the adventurous
Prefer something completely different? Try Cockatoo Island, which has refurbished holiday apartments and houses to fit the whole family. It’s easily accessible by ferry from Circular Quay, and a great break from the city’s hustle and bustle. You can even go Glamping (what a wonderful word!) – a luxury version of camping – or set up your own tent for a D-I-Y experience, sleep under the stars, and wake to superb views of Sydney Harbour.
For animal lovers
Get up close and personal with the animals at Sydney’s wildest sleepover. At Taronga Zoo’s Roar and Snore you’ll get to go on a night safari tour of the zoo, slumber in specially designed tents, wake up to a spectacular Sydney Harbour view and the roaring of lions or trumpeting of elephants, and go behind the scenes to find out how this zoo with a view operates. Roar and Snore takes place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening throughout the year. Children have to be at least five years old to participate. Check the website for upcoming dates, and to make bookings.
Sydney images courtesy of Sydney Accommodation