Sebel Sydney Martin Place review

The Sebel Sydney Martin Place is like a welcoming friend ready to envelop you when you arrive. Blink, and you’d miss the small sign and unassuming red brick building tucked away on Philip Street, just a short stroll from Hyde Park and Circular Quay.

But once you’re inside, it’s an instant feel of home away from home. Staff greet you with a warm welcome, and check-in is quick, so there’s more time to get holidaying. With a location like this, you won’t miss a beat.

Traveller: Kirstie Bedford
Room: 904
Address: 165 Phillip Street, Sydney 
Date: February 2024
Price range: $260 to $600
Best for couples, friends, business travel

Location

Jog to Hyde Park or the Royal Botanical Garden in minutes, and come sundown, put on some heels and wander down to Circular Quay for a night out. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle yet close enough to all the city sights, the location is king here.

Claim to fame

Besides newly minted rooms, it has to be the location. Walk in any direction, and you’ll be in for a treat. North is Circular Quay, East is the Royal Botanic Garden, south is Hyde Park, and west are the many restaurants that line Cockle Bay Wharf.  

The showstopper

While not on-site, a must-do when staying here is taking the short walk to the sister property, Novotel Sydney City Centre, where you’ll be treated to a culinary feast like no other at Birdie Bar and Brasserie. If you’re short on time, just go for the garlic bread. Believe me, you won’t regret it. This mouth-watering golden bun is like nothing you have ever tasted. Break into it; the smell alone will make you long for this simple dish after you leave. 

If you hang around (and believe me, it’s worth every moreish morsel), head chef John Lyons will come out for a chat. Initially from North England, he’s created dishes you’d expect in a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Birdie Bar and Brasserie © Sebel Sydney Martin Place

The room

All 86 rooms have undergone a multi-million-dollar renovation, including stylish furnishings like Italian marble kitchenettes and colourful carpets. The kitchenette has a desk, Nespresso machines, and caramel, hazelnut, and vanilla syrups are available for a barista-like experience. 

The bathroom is big enough for one, with a shower and plenty of room for two. It also features amenities by Australian-made Biology, whose products use locally sourced ingredients and recyclable materials.

In the mini-bar are local artisan products from the Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley region and ready-to-pour cocktails curated in Sydney.

Rooms have undergone a multi-million-dollar renovation © Sebel Sydney Martin Place

Staying in

While there’s no restaurant on-site, the hotel has partnered with local eateries Piccolo Me and Bastardo, so you order in and charge it to your room.

Stepping out

All of Sydney’s sights are within a short stroll, and when it’s time to dine, head to Birdie Bar and Brasserie. The restaurant’s design inspiration is the lorikeet bird, everywhere, from the wallpaper to the cocktails. Think ‘sulphur-crested cockatoo’, a mix of gin, lemon, meringue foam and shortbread crumble, and the ‘galah’, a combination of strawberry gin, guava liqueur and sparkling rose.

John Lyon’s fusion of British and modern Australian fare is arguably the best you’ll find in Sydney. Opt for the signature Fremantle octopus with koji and cucumber, and wagyu brisket with fermented black bean, cauliflower and Yorkshire pudding and finish with banana bread with burnt butter ice cream – with the option to add caviar.

John Lyon’s fusion of British and modern Australian fare © Sebel Sydney Martin Place

Before booking

There are always significant events happening in Sydney, and with a location like this, you’ll want to make your visit coincide with one.

If only

I could have someone ship me a larger size of clothes so I could dine at Birdie Bar and Brasserie more often.

I wish I could take it home

The bed. It’s cloud-like. Oh, and John Lyons. But that might be pushing the friendship.

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