Smug and in love with Crowne Plaza Sydney Coogee Beach

Smug. That’s how it feels to stay at the Crowne Plaza Sydney Coogee Beach. There’s a slew of other words I could use – relaxed, refreshed, pampered, well-fed, and watered. The list goes on. But there’s a resounding smugness that permeates my two-night staycation from start to finish. I’m no more than 15 minutes drive from home, but boy oh boy am I smug. Here’s why:

Beach baby

Sydneysiders who live within walking distance of the beach are smug all summer. Midweek, the clock hits 5pm and they’re on the sand in minutes. Weekends, they saunter down without a care in the world. They’re not stuck in beach traffic like the rest of us. And for two glorious nights, I’m one of them. I send my last email from the balcony at 4.45pm and by 5pm I’m walking into the sea. The Crowne Plaza is literally across the road from Coogee Beach. I can see the sunbakers and swimmers from my balcony. And I’m one of them several times that weekend. It’s not a mission, it’s the simple act of walking outside, crossing the road, and voila. You can’t put a price on that kind of convenience on a Sydney summer day.

Chic sleeps

For Sydneysiders, this hotel has long been a little like a piece of Coogee’s ‘furniture’ – a reliable, constant presence that never let you down. We’ve all visited at one time or another, for a drink in the bar, or an overnight stay. Maybe even a stint in the maternity rooms. But thanks to a serious makeover, it’s back on the radar as a destination in its own right. We’re talking restyling of all 209 rooms, the lobby, the restaurants and the bar. It’s a new look for the Crowne Plaza and for Coogee. The revamp starts when you walk in the front door, where the long lobby is lit by globe pendant lamps which lead your eyes all the way down to the Shutters Bar, like a runway guiding you home. There’s a beach chic colour palette of white and cream, with pops of teal blue armchairs in the adjacent meeting spaces, but the vibe is a little Art Deco, a little Miami and maybe even a little Morocco. The rattan chairs in Shutters have me swooning.

Views for days

Surf’s up. Sun is out. Wedding Cake Island is peeking through the waves. I can see it all from the 180 degree view my balcony laps up. From the bed, with the doors thrown wide and the curtains pulled back, all I see is the sky and the sea and any lingering lockdown stress is no match for the smugness that settles in. The hotel’s u-shaped structure makes the most of the view, so whether you’re located in a front-on room like me or in one of the side wings, you won’t miss the action.

Parking

Ok, hear me out here. Perhaps even more smug than living by the beach, are those that live by the beach and have a car park. If you live in a beachside suburb without a car park, scoring an elusive street park on the weekend means you’re not moving your car unless there’s a statewide emergency. Those of us who have to drive to the beach well know the Russian roulette that the parking lottery becomes. The hotel’s underground parking is a beachside treat that knows no bounds. I don’t move my car during my two night stay, but I almost want to, just to drive in and out because I can. For guests, it’s a $35 flat fee for 24 hours.

Avocado on toast

It’s 9am on a Saturday morning and I’ve sauntered (ok I never saunter but my smugness did) straight inside Shutters Restaurant, immediately secured a table with a water view and minutes later am tucking into avocado on toast. When was the last time your brunch game went so smoothly? Shutters Restaurant and Bar normally serves lunch, drinks and dinner, along with breakfast, but temporarily post lockdown their attention is just on breakfast and they’ve made the most of the focus. The room is practically sparkling. As the name suggests, shutters line the indoor ‘terrace’, plush teal booths look straight out to sea and the ceiling is cleverly overlaid with Morrocan star-patterned panelling that transports me straight out of Sydney to somewhere much more exotic. The pastry chefs have almond croissants and pecan pastries on the go, with the healthy balance of bircher muesli, salmon, avocado wedges sprinkled with sesame seeds and eggs to order. There’s all the hot hotel breakfast classics but I’ve got my avo on toast and I’m happy.

Wine and dine

Test and learn was the name of the game at Estate, the hotel’s flagship restaurant that’s perched alongside the elevated sidewalk above Coogee Beach. It began life not too long ago as a ‘super venue’ with different themed zones and menus to match but they seem to have hit the winning formula with one menu that gives you a little taste of the lot. We start with heavily laden chicken mole tacos, 2 for $11, which might just be the best value meal you’ll find in Coogee, closely followed by a substantial serve of housemade guac and chips, that goes down a treat with a salt-rimmed margarita from the bar. Dip into the Cold menu for sashimi and Sydney Rock Oysters with a Margarita granita or try ‘Estate Prawn dogs’ from the Bite-Sized menu that are a hit at tables all around us. There’s plenty of seafood on the menu, with the likes of a Moreton Bay bug roll, grilled King Salmon or BBQ octopus to choose from. We make a beeline for the hearty glazed short rib, served with a cauliflower salsa and warm corn tortillas bone-in. It’s DIY tacos and there are no regrets. Save room for dessert – dark chocolate brownie with violet crumble ice cream is as decadent as it sounds.

Happy hour

Squeezing a drink in just before happy hour times out – now that’s cause for a serious case of smugness. You get plenty of chances to be smug because Estate and Shutters currently host Happy Hour every day. Mon- Fri 5-7pm, Sat – Sun 12-3pm. It’s a generous offering, with $8 pints and wines, plus $10 Mimosas. The specials don’t stop there, with the bars leaning into $10 Bloody Marys all Sunday, $12 Margs on Tequila Tuesday and a host of other specials on the What’s On page of the website.

Tunes

Estate’s outdoor lounge bar kicks on with DJs and live music Friday through to Sunday, with bean bags, an open air cinema screen and drinks served in an oh so trendy silver slipstream caravan. Stumbling upon the bar on a Saturday night is a little like finding a beach bar in Croatia.

Whether you want to bliss out on the beach, bask in the glow of ocean views from your balcony, or lap up a little wining and dining in style, put Crowne Plaza Sydney Coogee Beach is at the ready for smug staycationers.  

Lisa was the guest of Crowne Plaza Sydney Coogee Beach

Crowne Plaza Sydney Coogee Beach
242 Arden St, Coogee NSW
https://coogeebeach.crowneplaza.com/

About the author

Lisa used to use Sydney as a base to drop off souvenirs before heading off on the next adventure but these days she’s got her feet almost on the ground, with a desire to try every high tea in Sydney, and a cute cavoodle puppy at home. Travel writer, photographer and Kitchen Aid freak, she loves to eat, bake and write.

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