In Sydney, waking up to the sound of waves crashing at the beach is a luxury reserved for the rich, but at the harbourside hotel in Watsons Bay anyone willing to splash out on one of the waterfront rooms can enjoy a slice of that eastern suburbs life (even if it’s only for a day). The 31-room hotel was renovated in 2013, but its roots as a pitstop by the beach date back to the 19th century when it was called the Palace Hotel. Today, Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel caters for wedding parties, corporate away days and school reunions with equal class and revelry. Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel the pub is packed on weekends as Sydneysiders come to enjoy Sunday Sessions with buckets of tiger prawns and glasses of Hentley Farm riesling as the sun is setting. Though it’s a family-friendly restaurant and bar, there’s often music playing until late into the night, so pick a room facing away from the water if you want a quiet early night.
Here for the high life? Opt for the Grand Harbour Suite, which has floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the fairy-lit bar and the pine tree-lined Robertson Park. There are privacy shutters, but why waste the opportunity to see the city lights and Harbour Bridge from your white linen-wrapped king bed? The rooms are large enough to host tennis matches, and in our visit we barely had time to try out every sofa, wicker chair or decorative desk. But the star of the show is the the marble ensuite bathroom: the double basins, roomy shower cubicle and tub with a park view have smart design and elegant lavender and bergamot toiletries to make catching the commuting ferry a breeze. Though you’re only 20 minutes from Circular Quay, public transport requires planning – especially if your stay is during the week as ferries operate every three hours and not all of them accept Opal cards.
Time to kill? Make the most of the kingly spread of fruit, yoghurt, cereals and pastries in the complimentary continental breakfast served the Sunset Room then take your pick of the many outdoor activities available in the area. WATSSUP Watsons Bay Stand Up Paddling run sunrise, sunset and private lessons from $35pp in the bays right by the hotel, there are morning yoga sessions that take place in the park, and the hotel offers a bike hire package free to hotel guests.
Top tip: Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel is five minutes’ walk from the turquoise waters and golden sands of Camp Cove. Take a book, or your snorkel gear, and get to know the locals gathered by the beach kiosk. Or take a walk up to north head for Jurassic coastline views and yacht watching.
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1 Military Road, Watsons Bay