Ask a concierge: Sydney

Expert tips for business travelers to Sydney.

At Swissôtel Sydney, David McLean has been serving as the hotel’s concierge for five years. He keeps up to date on the activities in the hotel and around Sydney so he always has readily available recommendations for guests. 

What should business travelers have on hand when heading to your city?
Bring a swimsuit or a pair of board shorts, as we have some of the most stunning surf beaches, such as Bondi and Manly beaches, right on our doorstep. If you are an avid golfer, make sure to bring your clubs. Sydney has some of the world’s best golf courses located within half an hour from the city.

What are your top restaurant recommendations for a business lunch or dinner?
JPB, on Level 8 of Swissôtel Sydney (68 Market St., Sydney 2000 NSW, Ph: 61-2-9238-8888) is a really good spot for a business dinner. Our new chef Thomas Heinrich’s culinary focus is on locally sourced and seasonally inspired ingredients. The Cut Bar & Grill (16 Argyle St., The Rocks NSW 2000, Ph: 61-2-9259-5695) serves premium cuts of Australian meat alongside the freshest local seafood. Located above the main dining room is the Private Room, an ideal space for any event. Their service is truly impeccable. Café Sydney (5th floor, Customs House, Alfred Street, Circular Quay, Ph: 61-2-9251-8683) serve up flavors associated with a harbor city: chilled crustaceans, oysters freshly shucked to order, grilled ocean fish and quality cuts of meat. With its spectacular harbor backdrop amid the majesty of Circular Quay, Cafe Sydney is one of the centerpieces of Sydney dining.

What’s something that surprises guests about your city hotel?
Definitely it’s our hotel lobby. The hotel has a discreet entrance on the ground level and often people are surprised to find that our lobby on Level 8 is quite grand. The luxurious space is flooded with natural daylight and—especially when we have beautiful weather—it sets the tone for the rest of the stay.

If business travelers only have a few hours for leisure, what must they see?
I would recommend taking a leisurely walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens and a must-visit is Mrs. Macquaries Chair, where you’re able to admire Sydney Harbor at its finest. It gives a spectacular view of the Sydney Opera House with the Sydney Harbor Bridge in the background. From there, walk around to Sydney Opera House and Circular Quay and then hop on a ferry that will take you under the Sydney Harbor Bridge and pass by Luna Park before arriving at Darling Harbor. Once you’re there, you’ll be spoilt for choice as you explore some of Sydney’s finest restaurants and shopping. From Darling Harbor, it’s a very short walk back to the hotel.

What’s the best option for outdoor exercise?
Jogging or walking would be the best option. A great route to consider from our hotel is to jog or walk to the beautiful Hyde Park, around to the Royal Botanic Gardens and along the harbor right underneath the Sydney Harbor Bridge and then back to the hotel. We have a jogging map with three routes ranging from 5 kilometers to 10 kilometers. Hiring a bicycle is also a great option.

Business know-how

Top tips for getting business right in Sydney:

Tip 1: Greetings can be casual and relaxed with a handshake and smile. While some locals may say, “G’day” or “G’day, mate”, this may sound patronizing from a foreigner. A simple “Hello” or “Hello, how are you?” suffices.

Tip 2:  In Sydney and Melbourne, business dress code is conservative where men wear dark colored business suits and women in a smart dress or business suit. However, in tropical area such as Brisbane, some company cultures allow men to wear shirts and board shorts.

Tip 3: Utilize your hotel’s facilities and services to their fullest potential, from pre-arrival and during your stay. Concierge teams can organize limousine transfers from the airport, confirm restaurant reservations and assist with your travel itineraries.

 David Mclean


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