Each Saturday morning my husband and I invariably ask each other the same question – “what should we do this weekend?” While various scenes of me enjoying a cocktail on the beach while being fanned by a giant palm, or going on an outrageous one woman shopping spree flood my head, reality soon sets in and I usually end up responding “I don’t know”. Inevitably we end up doing chores and taking the kids to the same park I’ve already been to ten times that week. So, you can imagine that, when I was asked to review the Mercure Sydney with the family, I jumped (or, as the case may be, vary carefully made my way through a lethal maze of lego pieces strewn across the floor) at the chance to play tourist in my own city for the weekend.
Where to stay:
For our weekend away we stayed at The Mercure Sydney. At the risk of sounding like a real estate agent I want to say “location location location”. It’s right near Central station which, you guessed it, meant we were central to everything.
It’s affordable and comfortable (when we asked my son what his favourite part of the weekend was he said “the hotel bed!”) so it ticks a lot of the boxes for a family holiday in Sydney. The Mercure also scored major mum points with me given it has a really cool indoor pool on the 14th floor with great views of the city. They also provided us with a neat set of colouring/activity packs which made my 2 year old think it was Christmas. I can also highly recommend their room service desert board.
Rooms start at $ 199 per room per night.
Getting Out & About:
Like I said before, the Mercure Sydney is located just above Central Station so it’s really easy to get around the city. During our stay though the weather was being particularly temperamental so we decided to not venture too far from the hotel.
The Chippendale area around Central Station in Sydney is full of memories for me of student life, sticky pub floors and junk food. But fast forward to the end of 2017 I look at the area with my “mum-lens” (you know the one – it’s like what the terminator sees on his robot screen except the frame is constantly assessing potential ways my toddler might maim himself and ways to keep him entertained). I was excited to find that the streets are now full of vibrant eateries, family friendly entertainment, and stylish shops where you can find everything from designer backpacks to the world’s best dumplings, making it a brilliant option for a weekend with the family either as a local staycation or for those who are from out of town.
The recently redeveloped Central Park area is part of the new wave of green design that means the building is covered in gorgeous greenery. Inside you’ll find some cool shops and plenty of places to eat. Check out the gift shop Pigeonhole on level 1…although I say “gift shop” with a word of warning because I did find it quite difficult to walk out without buying a little reward/gift for myself too. There is also a Woolies downstairs (good for last minute forgotten supplies), as well a a Daiso – the Japanese store that is a bit like a $2 shop and a great spot to grab cheap and fast toys/bribes for the kids. There is also a cinema which, while we couldn’t go to with our toddler and baby, we promised ourselves we would come back to to see a movie at some time. If the weather had been better it would have been nice to go do to Darling Harbour as well, but unfortunately by that time, the weather had really taken a turn for the worse. So we headed back to the hotel for dinner and more pool time (which suited the toddler just fine!).
Daddy Baby Backpack (yes it’s a baby bag for dad’s!) from Hip Cub
On Sunday morning after breakfast we decided to quickly check out the markets at central park and play a quick game of giant chess. We then walked up along George street past Timezone for a cheeky game of Daytona car racing and skee ball before heading to the Australian Museum. The Australian Museum should have been a great place for a bit of family fun only the toddler decided to have a meltdown because he was scared of the dinosaurs so we spent most of the time in the kids play area rather than seeing the exhibits. From what I did see, the museum is definitely worth a visit though.
Eating out with kids:
The Four Elements restaurant at The Mercure Sydney Hotel has a lot going for it. Unexpected, convenient and delicious, it is a great spot to grab dinner with the whole family without feeling like you have compromised on quality or your sanity. The portions are huge and great value for money and with lots of variety on the menu, there is something to please even the fussiest and smallest of eaters.
Other options right on your doorstep are Din Thai Fung (once described by world renowned chef Ken Hom as the makers of the “world’s tastiest dumpling”) and the Anita Gelato bar with it’s gorgeous patterned floors and huge selection of brightly coloured ice cream that will make even the biggest of kids weak at the knees.
I’d also highly recommend wandering around the brightly coloured area affectionally knowns as “Spice Alley” right behind The Old Claire Pub. It’s full of delicious fragrant Pan-Asian food stalls, and frequent pop-ups mean there’s always something new on. Buy a smorgasbord of options from a few vendors and then walk up and sit on the grass behind Central Park for a little Asian picnic.
Every school holidays in Four Elements Restaurant at the Mercure Sydney, kids between 4 – 12yrs eat for FREE (Up to 2 kids per booking) when dining with an adult in Four Elements for lunch or dinner. Reservations are Essential to book Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: (02) 9217 6708
Spice Alley is a cash-free zone so make sure you have your credit card with you.
If you’re anything like me, even if your kids are fairly good sleepers at home, the thought of a hotel stay brings an element of fear. Will their usual sleeping habits go out the window? Will we all end up like sleep deprived zombies during our holiday bliss?
In this blog post, we show that sweet dreams can be achieved and these top five tips will help you on your way to a night of solid slumber.
With thanks to The Mercure Sydney for hosting us.
Photography by Jade Warne aka Hipster Mum.