With its sunny harbour locations, amazing food and spas to spoil you rotten, Sydney is an ideal location for a girls’ weekend away. The city is full of great shopping too, from the big-name brands at the Queen Victoria Building to the boutiques and local designers along Oxford Street in the inner-city suburb of Paddington.
Base yourself somewhere central like the Hilton Sydney on George Street (Hilton Hotel, 488 George St, Sydney; hiltonsydney.com.au), and start your first morning on a healthy note. Get your friends together and grab your running shoes (or take a stroll) on one of the world’s most beautiful city walking trails.
Starting at Hyde Park, head behind St Mary’s Cathedral and onto Art Gallery Road through the city green space that is the Domain.
When you see the imposing Art Gallery of New South Wales on your right, continue straight to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, that looks onto the sails of the Sydney Opera House and the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. Follow the curve of the harbour through the Royal Botanic Gardens. Your journey ends at Circular Quay where you have earned a coffee and some breakfast.
Take a front row seat at Sydney’s best breakfast spot to watch the glittering harbour by day, tucking into some burnt fig, cinnamon and almond muesli with fresh fruit from Opera Kitchen (Sydney Opera House forecourt; operakitchen.com.au) This popular Sydney spot is also perfect for lunch once you freshen up back at your hotel post walk around the harbour.
The food at Café Sydney (5th Floor, Customs House, 31 Alfred Street, Circular Quay; cafesydney.com) matches the views onto the quay and harbour beyond. Try a seafood platter with oysters, crabs, Moreton Bay bugs and marron, simply cooked and served on ice.
After an active morning, slow the pace a bit with a visit to the Alysium Day Spa (Hilton Hotel, 488 George St, Sydney; alysium.com.au). The name refers to the place in Greek mythology where the Gods went for a little r & r, so tap into your inner goddess and have one of the natural therapies on offer. Keep it simple with an hour-long Aromatherapy Massage or try a Coconut Salt Body Scrub, or book in for a group package to prepare for your big night out.
A night out in Sydney should start with cocktails at Zeta Bar (Hilton Sydney, 488 George St; zetabar.com.au) which has been at the forefront of cocktail creations in Sydney for years. A recent revamp has seen the cocktails draw inspiration from jet-setting founder Conrad Hilton and the international hotels he acquired, so you might have a pina colada from Hilton Caribe or a “Jungle Bird” from the Hilton Kuala Lumpur.
Continue your New York theme by having dinner at Luke Mangan’s glass brasserie (glassbrasserie.com.au) where the interiors are meant to reflect the urban grandeur of NYC, while Mangan’s menu is very Sydney with classic Sydney Rock oysters or pork cheek crusted in quinoa and wasabi and black garlic. The brasserie also has one of the largest wine collections in the Harbour City.
After dinner you can walk to some of Sydney’s best small bars from the wonderfully kitsch vibe at Grandma’s (275 Clarence St, Sydney; grandmasbarsydney.com.au), the vinyl-covered speakeasy that is Mojo Record Bar (73 York St, Sydney; mojorecordbar.com), or one of the first small bars to open in the CBD, Since I Left You (338 Kent St, Sydney; sinceileftyou.com.au) where the historic sandstone courtyard is the star.
After a good night’s rest it’s time to hit the shops with the Queen Victoria Building (QVB) right across the road from the Hilton Sydney. Here you will find designers like Alannah Hill, Coach and Lorna Jane. Wander down George Street to the department stores of Pitt Street Mall and the mega mall of Westfield Sydney.
Just a short cab ride away is the boutique shopping strip of Oxford Street Paddington where local designers have taken up residence in the historic terraces along this strip of road. Paddington is also well known for it’s small art galleries such as the Roslyn Oxley9 (8 Soudan Ln, Paddington; roslynoxley9.com.au) that has showcased local and international artists since the early ‘80s.
Finish the excursion with a rooftop beverage at the Royal Hotel (237 Glenmore Rd, Paddington; royalhotel.com.au). It’s a bit of a climb up the stairs but worth it for the view. And it’s a great place to toast to a weekend getaway with good friends.
Set on Sydney’s main artery of George Street in the CBD, the Hilton Sydney is opposite shopping landmark the Queen Victoria Building, minutes from Pitt Street Mall and right behind the grassy grounds of Hyde Park.
The hotel has great facilities like Luke Mangan’s glass brasserie and the Zeta Bar with a balcony overlooking the city. There is also the famous Marble Bar, an opulent basement bar with a rich history of keeping Sydney-siders dancing the night away.
Treat yourself to an indulgent weekend away in the city at the Hilton Sydney hotel.