Review: Pier One, Sydney

An expert review of the Walsh Bay Suite at Pier One Sydney Harbour.

Suite

Perched on the harbour’s edge, the suite looks directly out over Walsh Bay. A daybed runs parallel to the windows, offering the perfect vantage point from which to soak up the sunlight. Due to the building’s heritage status, the suite retains many of its original Federation-style design elements and is fitted out in neutral tones of white and grey with blonde timber accents. There’s a large separate living room complete with lounge and dining table and the bathroom includes a deep tub. 

 

Locale

Pier One sits over the water at Walsh Bay in the historic Rocks district, right alongside the Harbour Bridge. A 10-minute walk from Circular Quay and less than two kilometres from the CBD, the hotel is close to the city’s main attractions, but removed from the noise and crowds of the city centre. Sydney Theatre Company, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Sydney Dance Company and the Museum of Contemporary Art are all within easy reach. 

 

Look & feel

This 189-room hotel occupies a heritage-listed building and is steeped in maritime history. It was originally built in 1912 as a shipping wharf, and today elements of its past – exposed wooden beams and steel framing – give the hotel a strong industrial feel. is is complemented by touches such as a zinc-clad bar and richly coloured velvet sofas to give the interiors a refined, contemporary finish. At ground level, a wall of glass opens out onto the pier, offering panoramic harbour views. 

 

Walsh Bay suite

Eat in

One of the highlights of my stay was the seven-course degustation at Pier One’s hatted restaurant The Gantry. Head chef Joel Bickford is creative in his use of surprising ingredients such as sea urchin, scallops and daikon, and the Wagyu beef with sunchokes was a particular favourite. Vegetarians are also well catered for, with a separate degustation menu featuring inventive dishes such as slow-cooked grains with mushroom and smoked prune. For a less formal dining option, head outside to the pier and sample some of the barbecued specialities served up at The Kerrigan, a food shack home to Pier One’s charcoal-burning grill and smokery. The breakfast buffet includes artisanal pastries, fresh berries and fruit, chia puddings, bottled juices and an open kitchen where your eggs are cooked to order. 

 

Treat yourself  

Aspire Fitness, the hotel’s gym, offers personal training and small group classes. Access to the gym is complimentary but classes and training incur a fee. There is no spa but in-room massages can be arranged through the concierge. 

 

Special touches

I was delighted to find a bottle of complimentary French sparkling wine waiting for me on arrival – one of the perks of booking directly with the hotel. I later discovered direct suite bookings also receive complimentary minibar snacks and beverages, WiFi and buffet breakfast. 

 

The hotel never fails to make the most of its enviable location. Hosting pop up events on the pier year round. This winter, Pier One created transparent igloo-shaped domes to keep guests warm while they sipped Mumm Champagne and watched the sun set over the harbour.

 

 

 

 

Illustration by Taylor Conacher

The Checklist

  • Free Wi-Fi
  • 24-hour reception & room service
  • Complimentary newspapers
  • 24-hour reception
  • Dry cleaning & laundry service Valet (A$50 per night)
  • Turndown service 

Stay here

Price: Suites from A$999 per night

pieronesydneyharbour.com.au

Upgrade

At 62 square metres, The Admiral Suite is equal in size to the Walsh Bay Suite. What sets it apart is its private deck and floor-to-ceiling windows that wrap around most of the room, offering expansive views of the Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Luna Park.

 

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