In order for luxury hotels to craft positive customer experiences, they must first run a veritable gamut of challenges that represent standard expectations in that part of the industry. Bearing this in mind, the criteria for a successful budget or working hotel is more straightforward. While we at The Versatile Gent – namely, my editors Tom & James – tend to focus on the former, the latter is worthy of credit when it represents a competent value proposition.
Located toward the quieter end of Riley Street, The Cambridge Hotel represents an interesting intersection between competitive pricing and quality. The 173 room premises have been renovated since the hotel’s debut in the 1970’s. Handily, it is located a stone’s throw from the varied eateries either side of Crown & Commonwealth Street. Over the course of our stay – in order to make a late night session at Golden Age Cinema – it took less than 10 minutes to walk leisurely down to the venue. Compelling food destinations such as Tokyo Bird & Churburger are also not too far afield. At the fringe of the CBD, The Cambridge Hotel is an appropriate choice for business travelers who require convenient access to the city at a moment’s notice. Although the building does not house a gym for those patrons who err on the side of the daily workout, food & beverage options are covered in the guise of Baccomatto Osteria. Directly adjacent to the hotel’s main lobby, the restaurant specializes in a varied range of Italian cuisine including regional cheeses and seasonal wines. While we did not have the opportunity to review Baccomatto Osteria’s dinner service – as there are numerous acclaimed alternatives in nearby Darlinghurst – its proximity to the hotel gives it a competitive edge with guests who’ve had a long day out and about. Evidently, the most appealing qualities of The Cambridge Hotel are tied up in some way or another with its location. And while that is not a damning indictment of the quality of service, it does solidify its status as a conventional (albeit extremely competent) four star experience.
Despite the Cambridge Hotel’s excellent location and affordable pricing, a host of small problems emerged over the course of our stay. Taken together, these cumulative missteps will slow business travelers down and outright irritate those used to more glamorous hospitality. Nonsensical examples included the provision of facial amenities (by Urban Skincare Co) but no dental hygiene products, or wireless internet that was pay-gated while being advertised as complimentary. Such issues are objectively small ones, but when juxtaposed against hotels where such facilities are par for the course, serve to illustrate that our stay felt more akin to time in an upscale serviced apartment. Another interesting feature involved spontaneous guest calls from the lobby. These room calls, usually in the form of a short telephone conversation, functioned as a sort of rapid customer feedback survey whereby we were able to raise any issues we’d had with our stay. Although this added a novel dimension to our time at The Cambridge Hotel, it remains to be seen whether this sort of sudden check-up has any practical benefit on a guest wide basis. Usually guests notify hotel management when they require something that is not provided, and these calls run the risk of becoming irritating for individuals who do not wish to be disturbed.
For executive travelers with their claws firmly in the “company expenses” purse, The Cambridge Hotel is unlikely to hold your attention. However, for the more casual (but no less urbane) patron who spends the majority of their time out and about this represents a well rounded choice of accommodation. Minor (admittedly workable) problems are present, but it is extremely difficult to argue with how well situated the hotel is to some of the most interesting activities in New South Wales’ capital. Needless to say, I did not spend a large amount of time at base during our stay and am therefore inclined to recommend The Cambridge Hotel to travelers who have a packed working schedule. Alternatively, if you’re down in Sydney for some raucous weekend partying, you could definitely also do a lot worse.
The Cambridge Hotel Sydney is located at 212 Riley Steet, Surry Hills NSW 2010
For bookings, contact them at [email protected]