Ruth and I like old but well-kept hotels and motels. Of course, a new accommodation is fine too. We like to balance the old and the newer during travel. On our spring 2018 trip to Australia, we stayed in the worst hotel and motel of this year.
The Castlereagh in Sydney is described as a boutique hotel. That makes it sound both delightful and trendy. It is neither. In fact, I didn’t think I’d like it when we first entered the lobby. It had a great location downtown but seemed like it had seen better days. But then we met Armindo, and he turned my negative attitude into a kind of admiration despite our less-than-comfortable room. As the Front Office Manager, Armindo proudly insisted that we eventually take a tour of his hotel with him. We did this on the 2nd morning there.
The Castlereagh used to be tallest building in Sydney. When it was built in 1927, it was the first reinforced concrete building in this city. Because it was the home of the Masonic Recreation and Literary Club of New South Wales from its beginning, it was well designed. Its meeting, lounge, and dining rooms were its glory. They still are and it remains under the ownership and operation of the Masonic Club. Because of its interior ornateness, the Castlereagh hosts lots of weddings and social occasions. Its Level 4 restaurant is both French inspired and heritage listed. Its guest rooms, however, are rather dismal. The management is aware of this and promises that an extensive refurbishment is coming “as they are in most need of a complete makeover” according to a “heritage in the Heart of the Sydney CBD” handout that Armindo gave me.
The Hilltop in Broken Hill is a disreputable throwback to the dawn of moteling and appropriately named. After checking in, we went to our foul-smelling room. On the bed was a big bag of food. I took it the office and was informed that it had been delivered to the young man who had been staying in this room for the past week. Why it was still there remains a mystery. This accommodation was so bad that after 2 nights we moved to a different local motel. It was not much better.
If you go to Broken Hill, stay at the Ibis. If you go to Sydney, stay at the Castlereagh if the rooms have been redone as promised. You will love the location which is half a block from the fast train to Sydney’s international airport and close to many attractions.