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Pullman Sydney Hyde Park

February 3, 2020

OK, so the Pullman Sydney is trying to update itself from the ’70s, but apparently this is all being done on a budget.  Time to spend some money you guys.  Here’s a list:

  • HVAC that works when it is above 80 degrees outside
  • Updated furniture for ALL guestrooms
  • A place to shower on arrival from flying across the world (that is not associated with a swimming pool or a gym)
  • Three working elevators

One of us staying here this visit got stuck in an elevator for 7 minutes.  Another waited 29 minutes for an elevator down.  A third ended up going up in a service elevator and walking down 21 stories to meet us in the lobby.  Elevator tech?  This is a solved problem.  Spend some money.

While we’re at it, lets talk about having rooms of the right category properly assigned.  The front desk, though super nice, was also super clueless and did not pay attention to instructions.  As a result, night one was spent in 1515, the proper kind of room on a non-updated floor.  No really, the decor needs work.  Here is 1515.

Ye olde ’70s color scheme

 

A not very clean couch that is orange. Nope.

 

Purple

 

 

After a set of progressively silly room swaps and 24 hours, room 1915 (which had, you guessed it, broken HVAC) became available.  The room category is right, and there is an updated much more hip color scheme.

Here is what 1915 looks like.

Brown

 

 

Much nicer

Some apology fruit was provided along with a note.

Apologies.

The shower in 1915 is still a hot tub based thing that is amusing.  The one in 1915 is better than the one in 1515.

As far as NPS is concerned, the Pullman has worn out its pretty clear warnings.  No more stays here. Ding. Finito. Basta.

On the other hand, it is Sydney.  So that’s good.  That means aquariums and maritime museumsArt and cocktails.  And great food.  Sydney is a fun city to visit.

95 degrees is too hot for this poor hotel

 

There was a boat race.

 

A visit to the rocks and the MCA was a blast on a Sunday.

Lunar new year

 

El Presidente at Old Maid’s Place

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We’ll all have one please

 

Pisco sour

Dinner at Bibo was really delicious with great wine pairings and delightful company.  An after dinner drink at Shady Pines?  Not so much.

 

The Palisades is a very hip and fun place for dinner.  Cocktails at Door Knock are top notch.

We’re demoting the Pullman from a low three showerheads to two showerheads. We believe that is below the threshold.

 

 

 

Imagine an isolated beach situated between two cliffs that tower over the shore on either side—coarsely sandy with waves big enough to hear and small enough to swim in. Then imagine a cottage surrounded by flowers and succulent plants perched over the common restaurant, pool, bar, and beach. Perfectly isolated from the other cottages. Put all of these imaginary things on an uncharacteristically green Granada.

Laluna Beach Grenada

That’s laluna.

We arrived well after dark having just learned lesson one about Grenada. Don’t rent a car, just get drivers and/or taxis.

Cottage 10 abuts cottage 9 where Eli stayed, and is the best cottage in the collection.

The shower was remarkable even by NPS standards. Outside and open to the elements but under a roof. Two square windows look out over the ocean.

We would go just for the shower.

Porch on a blustery morning

Then there was lesson two, which is bring cash. The ATM situation is suboptimal with Scotiabank leading the lameness charge. Dollars come in handy. Bring some.

About the only thing to fix about Laluna would be the restaurant and bar. The restaurant is staffed with great, attentive people, and is a good place for a hearty breakfast before diving, but there are far better places for lunch and for dinner just a short distance away. Likewise, Urban behind the bar is a fine fellow and a decent steel drum player to boot, but he needs a better ingredient set to make drinks with. That said, Urban was willing to adjust and learn some classics with special touches.

The breakfast view at laluna can’t be beat

A quick review of dinner targets reveals that BB’s Crabshack is by far the most authentic and delicious restaurant around. Goat stew and shrimp curry with rum punch? Yes.

Aquarium had the best high cuisine chef on the island with many dishes well past the workaday. Everyone complains about the service, but if you just light one of the cats on fire they will come right around.

The Beachhouse is by far the fanciest place and has the advantage of being a walk down the beach from Laluna, but it’s not as good food-wise as Aquarium even though the service is much better.

Coconut Beach restaurant is workaday. Its location right on the beach is nice, but not really worthy of a night out.

A margarita from

For lunch, umbrellas suited us just fine in our wet bathing suits and sandy feet fresh off the dive boat. Get the hot dog and remind them how easy it is to make a proper margarita with cointreau!

Native Spirit Dive Shop

We came to dive, and so we did. Two tank dives every day from Sunday to Wednesday. Native Spirit is fantastic with a friendly staff, attentive (and still fun) dive masters, very nice equipment, and great knowledge of the area. While in town, Eli was advanced open water diver certified and we carried out one deep 125 foot dive on the wreck of the Bianca C.

Coconut Beach from the dive shop

All in all the diving water was less clear than what we have experienced elsewhere with many more fish and fewer other creatures. We did see some gigantic lobsters lurking under the wreck of the Veronica (which also has a hidden air pocket 30 feet down). Drift diving and reef diving were enjoyable, but the wrecks were the most memorable. The underwater sculpture garden was worth a visit as well.

Rahel and Adrian are the dive shop proprietors and very nice people indeed.

Dive boat (super fast)

Coconut Beach from the dive shop

On our non-diving day (one day before flying) we went for a hike up Quaqua, the mountain in the middle of Grenada. The hike was great.

Hiking Quaqua

We also took a drive up to visit River Antoine’s Rivers Rum distillery (which actually makes Rhum Agricole just for the record). The drive was a great way to see more of the island, and the distillery itself is worth a look.

River’s Distillery is worth a visit

Five showerheads in an outdoor shower overlooking the ocean on a balmy morning for Laluna. Go!