The Langham, Sydney
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TravelPod Member ReviewsEtta Mae Inn Bed and Breakfast Takoma Park
It was a wonderful hote, that had great service. It is very close from the airport I took to Sydney.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
Historical Traveler Reviews Etta Mae Inn Bed and Breakfast Takoma Park
One of the greats...
I stayed at The Observatory twice last year and both times were wonderful experiences. How many hotels do you stay in where the key staff address you by your name when they see you in passing? This hotel is small, elegant and much like staying at a private club. The rooms are beautifully furnished with antiques and lovely accesories. The Japanese/French fusion restaurant is outstanding and the staff very friendly (and more than happy to talk to a lonely business traveller). Finally the hotels breakfast is the best, particularly the eggs benedict!
We just returned from a two week vacation to Australia. The last four nights of the trip were spent at the Observatory Hotel in Sydney. Our experience at this hotel was beyond "excellent". In every encounter the staff provided a high standard of service with a personalized touch. Without exception this level of service was provided throughout the hotel (concierge, reception, dining, bar, health club, housekeeping/laundry and the management). In most cases we were addressed by name without having to provide a room number to prompt the recognition. We found the Observatory to be the perfect alternative to the larger downtown hotels. It is a smaller hotel that provides comfort, personality and great proximity to the city sites.
It all started when we arrived. The concierge and his staff welcomed us and quickly transported our luggage to the reception area. Reception found our reservation for a city view suite and offered an upgrade to a water view suite. Since the room would not be available for 15 minutes we were asked if we would mind waiting and offered coffee or tea. Within minutes a server appeared with tea and an assortment of cookies. Within the 15 minutes we were advised that the room was ready and our baggage would be taken to the room and we could follow at our leisure. This experience exemplified the level of service and attention to detail that we enjoyed for the next four days.
Previous to our arrival we conversed with the concierge via email. With his help restaurants were selected and reservations were made. As an example, when we dined at Tetsuya the people at the restaurant knew we were from the Observatory. Tetsuya is fantastic in any case, but when we were seated in the more private dining room at the best table we felt that a reservation made by the Observatory might have made a difference.
Nice but Snooty
After hearing a lot of good reviews about this hotel, my husband and I booked a room (via a last minute website). This was supposed to be our last big spendup before moving interstate. When we got there we were treated contemptuosly by the check-in staff (presumably because we had left our gucci casual wear at home!). Our bags were taken to our room by a man who didn't smile or offer any conversation, so in return he stood waiting for a tip we didn't give him. The room was very nice, the bathroom was fantastic. I barely got an inch of sleep however as the bed was so soft that I sank into it and couldn't move. Our room actually had two single beds pushed together to make a double bed. Another disappointment was the view from our room - facing outwards on the street to look at the tennis court. I would never ever waste that amount of money to stay there again.
Another let down
I was somewhat surprised at This hotel - it's reputation is undeserved..........
Good points......Very polite and friendly staff (apart from 1 incident, below), great but very pricey breakfast; room was huge.
Not So Good Points..........
Very tacky furnishings, a miss match of styles; they are obviously going for the homely look, but is just not working. dirty carpet, tired looking furniture. missing light bulbs/globes in lamps. no tissues in bathroom, no hand towels on 1st night.
on my last day, I checked out in the morning and left my bag there to collect at 3pm which I did. I first went to the reception desk to give to them my luggage ticket, and one of the receptionists asked me straight away, " have you settled your account"? which I thought was not a neccesaary question to ask since as I had checked out and left luggage, then obviously I had settled the account, which was only $38.50 as I had prepaid via lastminute.com, which by the way, I have to say was an incredible rate of $250 per night
Classy but unpretentious
We were fortunate (like others it seems) to have our booking upgraded to a junior suite at no extra charge.
Like other reviewers we found the level of service excellent. From room service to dinner and breakfast staff were attentive, friendly and very helpful (without exception).
The hotel is classy but unpretentious and just a short stroll (10-15 minutes) away from Circular Quay (it was nice to be in a relatively quiet area but still be so close to the heart of this beautiful city).
I think we've been well and truly spoilt now and when we return to this great city i think it would be hard to find a more relaxing and charming hotel.
I'm more than happy to recommend it to other visitors
Superceded my expectations
Let the service speak for itself, the concierge greeted me at the door and took my luggage away without me even having to look them in the eye, I was given a complimentary upgrade to a suite without anyone even mentioning this. I was then personally taken up to my room and given a small tour of the facilities and greeted with complimentary strawberries with icing sugar. The room was spectacular, the bathroom unbelievable, the dual shower heads were fantastic, twin sinks and a gorgeous bath. Turn down service also was a nice touch, they even replaced the used towels with fresh towels, laid out my slippers on a small mat next to the bed. The staff were fantastic, dinner was of a good standard at the Galileo. Albeit a touch pricey but nonetheless good food.
Only let down was the accounts system, I was charged amounts that never turned up on my bill or double charged for items that were included in my package. However, all in all, my experience far superceded my expectations. Its a class above the rest of the other hotels I've stayed at in Sydney.
Overpriced and disappointing
Sadly, this hotel lives up to neither its price nor its reputation. We stayed for 2 nights recently on the basis that it was THE premier hotel in Sydney, and, incidentally, charged accordingly. How wrong it is to judge on this basis. I'll try and do my review in order.
Firstly, loose the attitude. Abrupt, rude and downright arrogant (interestingly, we felt this more from the female front desk staff than the male). You work in the hotel, you do not own it. If you have a problem with others able to afford to stay there when you cannot, then work somewhere else. This is the first impression that the guest gets and cast a pall on the remainder of our trip.
Secondly, one should not have to wait 15 mins on hold at 8.30pm to speak to someone for a wake up call (I hung up, tried again, waited 8 minutes - timed it!) and gave up and went downstairs. In front of me, an obviously angry gentlemen who had been overcharged - he had a printout (which was reluctantly given to him) and was going through it saying "I did not have this", "Overcharged", "not mine" - he also requested a wake up call and was told "You can call us for that" to which he responded, "I did, I waited, I gave up". Surprise surprise! I should note that we were also overcharged for amenities that we did not use. Hmm...do they work on an average that someone will not complain/notice and therefore make some more money??? Who knows.
Large, comfortable bed but decorated in hybrid Edwardian/Chinese/early 20th Australia, that is, a mess....prints on the walls which at first glance look good but on closer inspection, are chipped and quite ratty and cheap. Toilet did not stop running, powerpoint over basin loose (read: dangerous), stains on carpet, 2 towels (gave up on ringing for more based on experience above) - showers, however, were exceptional!! TV cabinet was the usual, however, the absence of any prices for the DVD's (cunningly worded in the room guide to suggest that you merely called to get one to use) was disappointing - $13.95. But wait, there's more: I think we have the new record for a mini-pack of Pringles (1/4 the size of a normal pack).....$11!!! There's a difference between room service prices and daylight robbery and this is the latter. $8 for half a grapefruit? $6 for an orange juice? What is worse, the hotel is located in the back of nowhere with beautiful City views to ex-housing commission terraces or, if you lookup, some trees but the Harbour views stare at the majesty of the wharves and industrial area (grab a map and you can see..the 'Harbour' as a tourist would imagine is actually on the other side of about 3 billion cubic feet of land). Therefore nowhere to eat unless you choose the Galileo (read reviews - most patrons were not that impressed) and the Globe Bar (actually surprisingly good value and beautiful surroundings).
See above - can recommend the GLobe Bar though!
Save your money - we only stayed there since a) obtained a massive discount on LastMinute and b) we needed to be close to a wedding venue - other than that, would have stayed in a CBD hotel with views of the Bridge, Opera House and actually in the city itself rather than the industrial fringe.
Horrendously overpriced (we later met a couple who paid $700 for the same room we got for $275) and seriously not worth it. Average condition upon closer inspection, disappointing staff and unacceptable service for the price (this promotes itself as the premier hotel in Sydney remember, and charges accordingly), I could not recommend this hotel.
Have seen better
This is an expensive hotel in a small quiet street 15 minutes walk from the harbour. Concierges were excellent and helpful, rest of staff not very good. Luxury room had excellent beds, was quiet, and bathroom superb apart from 3 lights whose bulbs were not replaced for three nights we were there. Showers are best I have ever had. Bedspread and upholstery had stains, walls had scratch marks, would be OK in cheaper hotel, but not at these prices. Complimentary breakfast buffet was bit of a shambles - only toast we could get was white bread, dishes running out were not filled. The 5 small strawberries on sugared dish to greet us summed up the hotel - ridiculous pretentiousness but not real attention to detail.
Classy, understated service
This is the place to stay in Sydney. The excellent location is within strolling distance to The Rocks' eateries, shops & bars, the Opera House, the ferry landings. Found the hotel & rooms beautifully appointed and the staff would do anything for you. Got a package that included breakfast buffet in the Galileo Restaurant which is excellent.
An Orient Express Hotel, it's well worth the pricey rates for those who want the best!
The BEST in Sydney
I had the good fortune not only to stay here, but to live a mere half block away for about four years. The "O" is a jewel. It's not the high-rise with the harbour views and such, it is just the best hotel in Sydney, in Australia, and maybe in the South Pacific.
TripAdvisor Reviews Etta Mae Inn Bed and Breakfast Takoma Park
Travel Blogs from Sydney
72/96 HOURS IN SYDNEY
Sydney is capital city of the state of New South Wales, and is the jewel city in the southern hemisphere crown with its beautiful opera house and Harbour Bridge.
It's a very walkable city, with the CBD stretching from Circular Quay in the north to Central Station in the south (around 40 …
... been a great stay for us, we've loved everything we seen, eaten and experienced here down under. It may have taken me 62 years for the first visit, but hopefully we'll return quickly for a more in-depth review of this amazing country.
I would like to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to two amazing people for opening their home and treating us with such hospitality. You are very special people.
Next stop - Hong Kong
This morning we awoke and had breakfast at the hotel before boarding the bus for our supposed 1 hour drive to the Blue Mountains. Although we were soon to find that there was a giant accident made our trip 3 hours. Once we arrived we had lunch straight away before taking the world's steepest elevated train into the valley. Then we had about a 2 hour wall through the valley. Then we took a gondola back to the top of the ...
This morning, we did some shopping for food at the Macquarie Park Centre - an enormous shopping centre with so much to see.
Planned to head back into the city to see more of the activities so decided to leave a bit later in the afternoon this time. So a walk through the cemetery to the station and back on the train.
Off at Wynyard, down to Circular Quay again where we watched the Carnival Spirit leave ...
... and not that far from the City centre (thus the popularity). The next day, Peter and Janet invited us to join them on a walk from the Spit to Manly stopping for a swim at Forty Baskets Beach, one of several nearby beaches. After my work was done, we got away to the Blue Mountains (these are actually hills not mountains) a national park located directly West of Sydney for a couple days. This area gets it name from the bluish hue the mountains have due to the gum ...