It was Saucer’s birthday a couple of weeks ago and for the longest time, I was thinking hard on what to get for him. I wanted it to be something different, something that we seldom do but also something that he would enjoy, of course. I came up with the idea of having a staycation in the city itself! Staying in the suburbs in Sydney about an hour’s drive away means that we seldom venture out to the city especially at night. Ever since Jared came along, we have never spent the night in the city to enjoy the vibrance and colourful night life of Sydney. So I went ahead and did my research and managed to get a really good deal on a hotel stay, smack in the city centre. I did this a few months ahead and had to keep it as a secret too! When the day came, I obviously couldn’t hide it much longer because Saucer saw me packing a luggage and he was the one driving. LOL!
The hotel that I booked was the Swissotel Sydney, right next to the Westfield shopping centre. It was our first time there and I have to say, I was very impressed! The entrance to the hotel was a bit dodgy because we had to take a lift from the ground floor to the 8th floor where the reception was, but other than that, we were pretty satisfied with the service. We arrived around 11am that day, and normal check-in time was 2pm. However, since we were already there, I thought maybe we could just try our luck to see if there were any rooms available. And sure enough, it was our lucky day! We were given our keys within minutes of checking in!
The room was a decent size but what matters most to Saucer is that the bed must be huge and comfortable. Therefore, one of the criteria during my hotel search was that the hotel must have a King size bed. Needless to say, someone was pretty pleased with the huge and comfy bed that was in our room. Loved that they displayed a customised welcome message on the TV screen too. I didn’t know about that or I would have asked them to put Saucer’s name there to surprise him.
According to the website, the Swiss Advantage King rooms were recently refurbished so it looked really new and the toilet was clean and modern too. I also requested for a baby cot (which ended up not being used *stares at Little J*) and it was set up very quickly after we checked in.
Another thing that I found impressive was the room also came with a Nespresso coffee machine with a few coffee pods too. Beats the normal coffee sachets anytime.
The look of him says it all. After settling down in the hotel for a bit, we walked out to the city to look for lunch. It’s such a different atmosphere walking in the city compared to the suburbs. Everyone was just bustling around, there were so many restaurants within walking distance and so many things to see. There were buskers outside of Westfield, there were booths giving out free samples of drinks and we even met a giant minion!
We had lunch at a nice Malaysian restaurant called Hawker (which deserves a separate post), and headed back to the hotel for Little J to nap. He had such a long nap on the comfy bed that I had to wake him up so that he didn’t continue sleeping through dinner! We still had some time before dinner so we went down to the heated pool for a dip. Little J was a little apprehensive at first but he soon warmed up to the idea of being inside the water, and was enjoying the jacuzzi thoroughly.
Later in the evening, we walked to the beautiful Darling Harbour for dinner. It was a Saturday night and we made the mistake of not making any reservations beforehand (because Saucer couldn’t decide what he wanted to eat). By the time we knew what he wanted (steak), most of the good restaurants were already full and the next seating was at 9pm! Obviously we couldn’t wait until 9pm for dinner, especially with a toddler around. Luckily, we managed to find another nice restaurant which had a 20 minute wait and great food too (another post on that!).
Walking around Darling Harbour at night relived our experience pre-baby. We saw groups of young people dressed to the nines going to pubs, young girls celebrating someone’s hen’s night and couples on romantic dates, and it somehow made us grateful that we were enjoying that life but with our precious boy now. I know Saucer had a great time because he said, “Let’s do this again next time!” at the end of the night, and I knew then, that I had indeed made the right choice of a surprise vacation.
The next day,we woke up to a gorgeous spread of buffet breakfast at the hotel. This was another criteria to make the hotel stay perfect for Saucer, because he was always telling me that he missed having breakfast buffets in hotels. In Sydney, most breakfast buffets are charged separately so we had never opted to pay for them since they almost always didn’t seem worth the price. However, with the deal that I found, the price for breakfast buffet included wasn’t too extravagant, and it meant a lot to me that the birthday boy got what he wanted! I didn’t manage to capture any pictures but the spread was pretty good with the standard bacon, sausages, baked beans, tomatoes, omelette station, toasts, lots of pastries, fried noodles, rice, congee, smoked salmon, cereal, muesli, fruits, cheese and lots more!
Before we left the city, we spent some time at the popular playground in Darling Harbour, where Saucer had lots of fun with Little J. They went up and down the giant slide multiple times, and also explored other parts of the park. As for me, I was contented with just sitting by the side and observing the bonding that was going on between the father and son, and sneaking a look at the happy hubby who was having the time of his life.
Overall, the staycation was an absolute success and even though many would prefer to have had the night out without any kids, we didn’t mind having Little J around at all. Most importantly, the birthday boy had a blast and that was all that mattered. Happy birthday my dear, and let’s celebrate for many many more years to come!