IF YOU'RE going to put a marker in the sand, you want it to be big, bold and beautiful.
Parramatta in western Sydney is booming, with massive infrastructure, commercial and leisure projects planned, making this undoubtedly the major city in the west.
With the huge increase in development has come an increase in population – both permanent and transient – and hotel chains have been quick to realise the potential of the area. Some 700 new rooms are expected to come online in the next three years.
The Crown Group (not the casino chain) have beaten their rivals to the punch, opening SKYE Hotel Suites in Hunter Street, the first five-star property in Parramatta. The group acquired the site seven years ago, but it took them five years to get it built, largely due to the historical artefacts they uncovered in the digging process. These included a house from the 1840s, a convict hut, wheelwright’s workshop and the cellar of the old Wheat Sheaf Hotel.
SKYE Suites is described as a “vertical village” with the mixed development containing both residential units and 72 apartment-style suites. Traveltalk was invited to spend a night at the new hotel when it officially opened its doors this week.
Our one-bedroom suite on the fourth floor made great use of the space available, with priority given to the important things in life, i.e. the bed, and some great touches, such as the ‘laundry in a cupboard’ and an enclosed balcony offering views of the large lap pool below. The furniture and decor had a distinct Asian feel about them, no doubt due to the Japanese designer, with plenty of wood (and even a book about wood!) and interesting objet d’art. Being brand new, the carpets were still springy and everything was clean and fresh, with that unmistakeable ‘new hotel’ smell.
The kitchen was stocked with all the modern appliances you need for a home away from home, with a fridge/freezer, cooker, dishwasher and fancy coffee maker. The bathroom was small but perfectly adequate, although putting the only power point within the bathroom cabinet did stir some debate among fellow guests. Apart from the main lounge area, there was also a smaller room that could be used as a work space, or even a second bedroom for those staying with children.
Other niceties included the ability to choose the firmness of your mattress, an i-pad that let you order room service or find out information on local attractions, a state-of-the-art gymnasium, spa and sauna. There are also plans to open a rooftop bar on the 26th floor, serving cocktails and views.
On-site dining takes place at Husk & Vine, which takes its inspiration from the former hotel found on the site. Here, you’ll get delicious flatbreads and pides made in a custom Beech oven, large plates of meat made for sharing and boutique wines, all served up from the large open kitchen where you can watch chef Stephen Seckold and his team at work.
“Parramatta is a powerhouse for innovation and business and SKYE Hotel Suites will be a stand-out, luxury addition to Sydney’s up-and-coming west,” said Iwan Sunito, Chairman & Group Chief Executive Officer of Crown Group.
“It will also set the benchmark for future SKYE Hotels Suites openings in Sydney’s CBD in 2018 and Green Square in 2019.”
There’s no doubt SKYE Hotel Suites will prove hugely popular with the businessmen and leisure customers who will be flocking to Parramatta as the area continues to grow. The hotel expects to get a lot of business from sports fans coming to events at Sydney Olympic Park and the new 30,000 seat Parramatta Stadium when it opens in 2019.
As a marker in the sand, it seems the only way is up for this particular vertical village.