The enduring beauty of living in Australia is that for every seasonal negative there is always a positive.
Take the mid-winter weather in Sydney, as it falls during the school holidays. Yes, it’s as cold as early July, but it’s also clear and calm, and when there’s sun and no wind, temperatures often reach the early 20s.
There’s no one around – so no long queues for coffee or tables at restaurants for lunch, or problems with parking or booking.
I was thinking this as I looked back at one of the world’s truly great beaches for one last wave: Manly. There’s a faint, fresh smell from the Norfolk pines that line the shore, and hardly a person around on this Tuesday evening.
You wouldn’t expect to find an empty pool in the middle of Manly (above).
The view from the beach view room is excellent
Certainly not in December.
I came here because I had no school holiday plans, and my kids love a little five-star luxury.
Half of Sydney seems to be in Europe for the winter of 2023, but I’ve completely missed the boat on reasonably priced plane tickets. So instead I decided to take up an offer to check into Acre’s newly-renovated Manly Pacific Hotel for a few nights.
It’s fair to say that my kids’ Aussie holiday experiences so far have been beach houses or campsites and caravan parks, so there was great excitement packing for this one.
‘We’re going to pretend we’re rich and prosperous,’ said one, handing me his suitcase before a half-hour rest on the other side of town.
Half of Sydney seems to be in Europe for the winter of 2023, but I’ve completely missed the boat on reasonably priced plane tickets. So instead I decided to take up an offer to visit the newly-renovated Manly Pacific Hotel in Acre for a few nights.
‘We’re going to pretend we’re rich and noble,’ said one, handing me his suitcase before half an hour on the other side of town.
We still packed the wetsuits, roller skates and scooters for any beach holiday, but also included some fancy clothes to eat and enjoy ‘mocktails’ at the hotel’s two restaurants, Tokyo Joe and Bistro Manly, at the stylish bar, 55 North. .
I was able to take the kids out to explore a lovely secluded Manly, but it was a struggle, as they could have happily stayed inside the hotel.
That’s because the once faded 213-room hotel in Manly Pacific has been given a complete overhaul for its central location on the promenade.
The rooms are clean and fresh, with modern decor from Coco Republic, which is apparently a pretty classy store.
Manly was deserted for the winter school holidays
Manly Pacific has beautiful new rooms (above).
The view from the ocean-view room is as good as you’ll find anywhere, but if you decide to save the cash and get a courtyard or corso view room, don’t worry, the hotel still has an incredible view for all guests. Rooftop There you’ll find a heated pool – we use it day and night – as well as Mediterranean-style sun lounges and an infra-red sauna.
The view from the rooftop is something to behold, not only over the beach, but all the way west to Centrepoint in the CBD.
Most of us Australians are relatively well-travelled and we’ve all been guilty of complaining to friends about the quality of hospitality services in this country compared to others, especially how much we pay for the privilege.
Tokyo Joe’s in Manly Pacific has fantastic food and service
Manly Pacific just underwent a $30 million renovation that was completed in January (above).
Why Manly Beach?
Manly was one of Australia’s first holiday destinations and still holds its own
The beach has both surf and bay, so it’s perfect for everything from surfing to snorkeling, paddle boarding and diving.
The famous ‘Corso’ – connecting the beach to Sydney Harbor – has many shops and restaurants.
If you want to swim comfortably in the winter, why not rent a wetsuit? They are available from Manly Surfboard Rentals for as little as $10
If you’re going to Sydney for work, why not stay in Manly? Just 20 minutes from Circular Quay on the Manly Fast Ferry.
The new bar, 55 North, has a great menu of ‘mocktails’ for kids and non-drinkers alike.
But in many of the Pacific, they couldn’t do enough to help. The kids’ favorite was Tokyo Joe’s Amelia, the funky Japanese restaurant on the ground floor.
But none of the staff could do enough to help you, from suggesting food at dinner to check-out solutions, without over-indulging you. This is another benefit of staying at a five-star hotel in Australia’s international city – the staff have to be good, or business guests will go elsewhere. You can’t say that about similar places in popular tourist towns outside of the big smoke.
Hotel rooms range from $325 to $1,000 a night — but that’s for a two-bedroom and bathroom suite where you can squeeze in two small families. Of course, there are specials, and the midweek winter school holidays aren’t really busy.
The most expensive room is the $2,000 Presidential Suite (of course!) which comes with an incredible terrace with room for dinner for eight. We didn’t stay there, but just looking at it made me think how fun it would be to host an adults-only dinner there sometime.
Yes, it’s pricey, but it’s much cheaper and stress-free than airfare anywhere, and close enough to home to guarantee a full table.
Manly Pacific was my first ‘staycation’. It certainly won’t be my last.
Visit the hotel’s website for bookings and special deals.
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