If you’re an eco-conscious traveller who likes to indulge in 5-star luxury sans the guilt, BLUE Sydney should be added to your must-stay list. Set on the waterfront in Woolloomoolloo, the hotel sits within an impressive Heritage Listed structure that cleverly unites its history as a wool and wheat-storage facility with its new role as an upmarket, multi-purpose venue.
Boasting spectacular views of the Harbour foreshore, city skyline and Royal Botanic Gardens, BLUE Sydney is a member of the globally renowned Taj Hotel group. The boutique hotel features 100 hotel rooms, the buzzy Water Bar and a business centre. There are five high-end restaurants on the adjoining promenade and 300 residences incorporated into the imposing structure – Russell Crowe and John Laws both live here.
I’m delighted to be calling this historic location home for a night. My partner and I love the industrial aesthetic and the fact that we can wine, dine, take a waterfront walk and sleep all in the one location. Our relaxing view across the shimmering water to the lights of Kings Cross is a wonderful bonus.
We also appreciate our chat with Tony, one of BLUE’s friendly concierges. On the way up to our ‘Deluxe Double Pier View’ room he gives us a quick history lesson. We learn that the 410-metre structure was completed in 1915 and is the longest timbered-piled wharf in the world. And, after being operational up until the 1970s, the site was derelict and empty by 1980.
Thankfully a state government decision to demolish the wharf in the 1990s was blocked by locals and unions, who imposed a ‘Green Ban’ (whereby strike action is conducted for environmental or conservationist purposes).
These days the wharf is not only beautifully preserved and teeming with life, but BLUE Sydney is widely acknowledged as being a good eco citizen. The hotel is the first accommodation provider in Sydney to hold gold certification with EarthCheck – a five-year process under a program designed for businesses wanting to directly address sustainability and climate change.
Naved Shaikh, the hotel’s Chief Engineer, doubles up as EarthCheck Program Co-ordinator. He ensures ongoing environmental performance and related staff training, identifies environmental risks and monitors all implemented environmental and social sustainability measures.
So, how does this translate to tangibles? Along with all of the usual eco suspects in the lovely guestrooms – CFL lights, low-flow showerheads, 100% recycled toilet paper and dual-flush toilets – BLUE Sydney has installed L.E.D lights in the pool, café and bar areas, uses Ecolab products for cleaning and pest control, utilises an eco-friendly laundry service, favours a fresh breeze over air-conditioning when possible, and participates in Earth Hour.
The hotel is also 100% smoke-free – guests caught puffing or discarding butts on the premises will have a hefty $300 added to their bill. This is one place where it’s ultra-hip to be square.
For more information, visit www.tajhotels.com/sydney.