Sunday, May 6, 2018

Shangri-La Sydney: How to spoil yourself on your birthday

Forget buying stuff that adds to clutter to your home. Book a staycation close to home and experience luxury for your birthday instead. Yes, as a Sydneysider I’ve seen our Harbour Bridge and Opera House many times before but have you ever just woken up to the sight of the Sydney trifecta of Sydney Harbour Bridge, Opera House and Sydney Harbour at sunrise or just watched peak hour traffic on the bridge at sunset when the sky transforms into a magical kaleidoscope? 

Having a birthday is a very good reason to book a stay at the Shangri-La Sydney positioned in the historic Rocks District, the contemporary hotel features 565 elegantly appointed guest rooms and suites, reflecting the vibrant hues of Sydney Harbour, and beyond. The Grand Harvour View room at Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney was definitely the highlight of my staycation. 

Since you’re not paying for airfare or spending a large amount of money on fuel, a staycation is a good excuse to spring for an indulgent experience that otherwise is too expensive, like book the Epi-Curious award winning fine dining experience at the Altitude Restaurant on Level 36. It truly is one elegant fine dining experience, with glittering night views of Sydney Harbour that are simply unrivalled. Of the five course degustation dinner, here were the highlights of the dishes for me at the Altitude Restaurant, and it's not only about the food.

An elegant French champagne to start, Veuve Clickquot Brut against against your dining partner's glass as you watch the city lights in Sydney Harbour.

Every dish was gastroart on a plate and there is also the option to go with wine pairing for every dish. Even the snacks were an elegant prawn cracker as a starter.

The first course was the Sydney Rock oysters with pickled cucumber and toasted sesame. There were four delicious fresh oysters, two Sydney Rock and two Pacific oysters and presentation, well see for yourself below. Exquisite!

For the third course, we tried two beautiful plates: the Hiramasa kingfish, SA with red wine braised octopus, capsicum puree, prosciutto and a Byron Bay Berkshire suckling pig with abalone, feijoa, brussel sprout kimchi, pear puree.

And the finale was my favourite: the Carrot Cake with chocolate soil, walnut snow, carrot ice cream, orange gel.

The hotel made me feel pampered with its luxe surroundings and doting service. One of the best things to do at the Shangri-La Sydney is to sleep in and leisurely enjoy the buffet breakfast at Café Mix where East meets Western food. Skip the bacon and eggs and try the congee, a traditional Chinese rice porridge and taro instead. It’s different, hearty and delicious. From time to time, Café Mix also puts on these wonderful food festivals showcasing the authentic flavours of Asian by seconding chefs for a week or so to takeover the kitchens in Sydney to serve up some of the most delicious flavours of Asia. 

Trip note summary of what to See.Taste.Do


Sunset from the Grand Harbour View review

Views from Level 36 Altitude Restaurant


Altitude Restaurant for dinner

Café Mix buffet breakfast where East meets West. Those who love the flavours of an Asian breakfast, they have congee.


Nothing is best if it’s a staycation and just enjoy the comfort of your hotel room

CHI, The Spa draws inspiration from ancient Asian healing and wellness philosophies to create a place of personal peace and the pool (although I didn’t try it this time, it looks wonderful and I would try it next time).

Additional useful tips 

If it’s a staycation and you are getting the train there and then walking, don’t pack too much as walking up from the station to the hotel is quite steep.

Don’t overschedule to do stuff. Just enjoy the hotel facilities.

Getting there

If this is a staycation, get off Circular Quay and walk up to the hotel. It’s not far but a little steep.

For bookings and further details, go to Shangri-La Sydney's website.

See.Taste.Do dined as a guest of at the Altitude Restaurant with room upgrade to the Grand Harbour View courtesy of the Shangri-La Sydney

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