Swiss-Grand Resort & Spa, Bondi Beach, Australia
Cnr Campbell Parade & Beach Rd. PO Box 219, Bondi Beach NSW 2026 AUSTRALIA Freecall: 1800 655 252 Phone: 61 2 9365 5666 Fax: 61 2 9365 5330 Web site: www.swissgrand.com.au
Perfectly positioned alongside Sydney's World famous Bondi Beach, the Swiss-Grand is a great hotel, packed with uniqueness and extras. At the hotel entrance we were greeted by a porter who took our bags and directed us to Reception. Entering the lobby for the first time was an experience to remember. The overly spacious lobby lounge, decked out with classic era furniture of days gone by gave way to a huge atrium surrounded by the hotel's 3 floors of accommodation. Check-in was handled promptly, and we then proceeded to take the car to the separately run car park on the other side of the building. The car park was easily accessable and was spacious and near to the lift. On arrival on the third floor, which is the first floor of rooms we moved down hallways decorated with prints of Bondi Beach in in the 1880s, 1900s, 1930s and 1940s. These maginificent prints in gold frames take you back to the very earliest days of this colossal beach. Our room, as all rooms are at the Swiss-Grand, was in fact a suite. The entrance took us into a lounge room with a sofa (which can convert to a bed) a TV, mini-bar, a small dining table and two chairs and a full length kitchen sink. There were no cooking facilities but it appeared the hotel could easily convert to apartment style studio accommodation simply by adding a microwave or small stove. In the centre of the suite was the bathroom, which was quite servicable but could be improved. The wash basin taps and the shower recess smacked of an economical construction. The shower panels were not sturdy. The shower rose emitted water as though there was a water saving device fitted and was quite sharp. The usual guest amentities were not provided. In their place was a large shampoo and conditioning lotion pack actually in the shower recess. This was a welcomed novelty as often the guest amentities provided are in very small bottles and are often very thick and a little hard to use. There was a three quarter size bath in the bathrooms, adequate bench space and plenty of lighting. In fact lighting throughout the suite, unlike many hotel rooms these days, was excellent. The next room was the bedroom which comprises two twin beds. There was no option given at reception, however this did not present a problem. The beds however were quite small, though relatively comfortable. The colour scheme of the soft furnishings was blue and gold, intended to match the colours of the sea. A reasonably substantial wardrobe was provided, two wide drawers and plenty of additional cupboard space and shelving. A second TV was provided, an in-room and even a bedroom wash-basin. A writing desk and chair was included with an Internet keyboard, which seemingly, for a charge, could be used in conjunction with the TV for Internet connection. You could also connect to the Net by dial-up, using the telephone hand-set which had a data port. There were in fact three telephones, one in the living room, one in the bathroom and one in the bedroom. The room booked through Metrostar.com was labelled a partial ocean view room and it was exactly that. There were views off to the side from an in-step balcony which was of a triangular shape, and because of the width could not be used other than for standing and looking out. There was no furniture on the balcony, nor was there any space for any. The rooms, freshly painted in primrose yellow and with the blue and gold bedspreads, drapes and upholstery were a terrific back-drop to the setting. Bondi Beach is just a few miles east of the city (Sydney) and is surrounded by sidewalk cafes, restaurants and specialty shops. The promenade alongside the beach is littered with tables and chairs serviced by the adjacent restaurants and eateries. The hotel itself has a garden restaurant, the Epic Brasserie, where we feasted on a sumptious buffet. The cost was $35 a head which was a little over the top. The variety was not stretched however. The salads and seafood appetisers were somewhat limited as were the main dishes, which consisted of a meat and fish offering and roast lamb. The desserts were also somewhat limiting and there was no fresh or whipped cream provided. The hotel also provided a buffet breakfast at around $20 a head, however we did not partake of this during our stay. The hotel also has a cocktail bar adjoining the main restaurant and on the lower floor there's the Blue Chip Bar and Gaming roon. This is open from 11am until late each dayand there is a Happy Hour every day from 4pm to 7pm. At this time "schooners" of beer (15 oz) are $2.80. Bands, local talents (Thursdays) and DJs provide entertainment on Thursdays through Saturdays. Parking at the hotel was included in our tariff, however when we went to take the car out we were told we needed our 'charge card' given to us at reception. Unforrtunately this wasn't told to us so it was back to our room from the car park to retrieve it. Other than that the parking was spacious and easy to access. On the Sunday morning we tried the outdoor spa on the roof however it was cold. Even after waiting for it to warm up the temperature remained the same. The 25 metre pool alongside was equally as cold so instead we made our way to the beach and an early surf. The weather was brilliant, warm for Winter and this added to the quality of the stay. The Swiss-Grand Hotel on Bondi Beach is a good standard 4 star hotel with excellent facilities. There is also a lower ground floor gym which is fully equipped. It is run separately and although some tariffs include the charge, some do not. The hotel is a wonderful way to experience Bondi Beach and to track it's history with it's walls-lined prints.