Our Famous History
The Sydney Boulevard, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Commanding fabulous views of the Sydney skyline and picturesque harbour, The Sydney Boulevard has three categories of exquisitely furnished 270 rooms including 6 large, luxurious suites, surrounded by all Sydney has to offer the world. The Central Business District, fashionable shopping districts, famous attractions and popular entertainment and social venues are a short walk or drive away. The Sydney Boulevard's central location makes it the perfect destination for business and leisure. Emerald Executive Guest rooms have been designed for the business traveler, while the Deluxe and Standard rooms provide every comfort for the curious leisure traveler.
The opening of The Sydney Boulevard in 1973 was hailed a milestone in history as it was the first major 5-star hotel in Sydney. Boasting a guest list of high profile celebrities, sports stars and politicians such Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, Sammy Davis Junior, Grace Jones, The Village People, Muhammed Ali, John McEnroe, Phil Collins and former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke. The Sydney Boulevard was the centre of the social life of Sydney with high demand for its restaurants and its nightclub, Williams with waiting lists on weekdays.
Mohammad Ali in 1979 at The Sydney Boulevard Hotel
Since its launch, The Sydney Boulevard was passed into the hands of KAH Australia Pty Ltd in 1993. A renovation soon followed in 1994 with restaurants, bars, guest rooms and lounges being brought back to life and bringing the hotel into a new era of its history.
The next few years were tumultuous on the international scene. The year 2000 brought the Olympics to Sydney, and The Sydney Boulevard played host to Olympic officials including the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics Committee and the 2004 Athens Olympics Committee. The Sydney Boulevard was put to the test in 1999 with the Asian Economic Crisis, in 2002 with the SARS epidemic and Iraqi war all of which impacted greatly on guest arrivals.
Despite these challenges The Sydney Boulevard has survived and is reviving itself as a popular and luxurious destination for Executives, Asian tourists and domestic travelers. The hotel continues to attract high profile guests as it did in its early years, and is a preferred destination and location for film shoots, music videos and fashion shoots.
The Sydney Boulevard claims stake to one of Sydney's treasured gems. Twenty Five asserts itself as one of Sydney's best Harbour View Venue. Offering spectacular views of Sydney Harbour the Opera House and the Royal Botanic Gardens, it is the perfect venue for weddings, to entertain important clients or hold a function with style, refinement and elegance. The cocktail bar is reminiscent of the glamour and sophistication of a bygone era. Retreat to the ambient atmosphere as you overlook the mesmerising lights of Sydney. For those who prefer more low-key dining before hitting the town for the night, The Vard Restaurant is the preferred choice.
Event organizers can take comfort from the fact that The Sydney Boulevard's experienced and dedicated Banquets Team has handled many international conferences and gala events in its fully-equipped rooms over the years, earning itself a prestigious reputation for managing events with class, professionalism and the highest levels of service. The hotel offers a variety of venues to suit every need - the pinnacle being the Grand Ballroom. Whether you are hosting a business meeting, conference, gala dinner or private party, The Sydney Boulevard can deliver an immaculately presented function. The hotel can cater for groups of up to 450 people, but if you require a venue with greater capacity, the Sydney Convention Centre is within walking distance of The Sydney Boulevard Hotel - another great advantage offered by its great location.
Kurt Russell, April 1979
There are many sights and events to see in the historic city of Sydney, all of which can be conveniently accessed from The Sydney Boulevard Hotel.
The first Europeans landed on Australian shores in 1770, 50,000 years after the Aborigines settled on the great island continent. There is evidence to suggest that the indigenous inhabitants came from Southeast Asia between 50,000 to 70,000 years ago, although new evidence suggests that it may have been up to 100,000 years earlier. The aboriginal civilization is quite unusual in that it passed down its traditions mainly through paintings and oral histories, about 3000 Eora people occupying the land where modern Sydney is located.
The French explorer, La Perouse, arrived first, and then the Englishman, James Cook, who sailed the Endeavour into Botany Bay. A little later, Governor Arthur Phillip arrived with the eleven boats of the First Fleet. The British boats did not have a reputable cargo, however. They brought convicts to form a penal colony. Governor Phillip did not consider Botany Bay suitable for settlement, however, so he rowed north and finding a suitable cove there, brought the First Fleet up on January 26th 1788.
For the next 60 years, the colony was to be the home of the convicts of British society. Among them were criminals, certainly, but there were also decent, hardy men who had been persecuted wrongly or just unwanted by the British. Together with the soldiers assigned to guard them, the prisoners tried their best to eke out a living in a land still harsh and new to them. Their knowledge of farming was based on European crops and not quite right for the drier and more arid Australian landscape. Several times the settlers nearly starved to death and had to abandon certain colonies.
Indications of these early years are still to be found in Sydney. East Sydney represents the more ‘civilized' portions of that society containing elaborate sandstone carved government buildings, houses of parliament and the old convict's barrack near Hyde Park.
The opposite side of Sydney, known today as The Rocks, however, was home to the lower and more unruly classes of the colony. The streets were crooked and the convicts' homes were built according to no plan while lusty sailors who'd spent months at sea, made up for their deprivations in the many public drinking houses. There are some fine buildings here, for all that. Governor Lachlan Macquarie actually planned to build a proper city but this man of vision was recalled to the home country for spending too much money on this project.
A chair was carved out of the solid rock ledge where his wife often sat to enjoy the panoramic view of the harbour. The historic seat, Mrs. Macquarie's Chair, stands at her favorite spot, which was also named in her honor. The view is still one of the best and Mrs. Macquarie's Point, east of the Opera House as the crow files, remains a popular vantage point for Sydney-siders and tourists photographing the harbour.
The march of progress could not be stopped, however. Whaling and wool brought a measure of economic relief and eventually, schools, churches, markets and shops sprang up alongside the former convict barracks. There was even a theatre and a library by the time the old country stopped deporting convicts in 1840. A couple of years later, the City of Sydney was established with a population of thirty thousand,.
In 1851, an even better reason for going Down Under arose. Gold was discovered! People from as far away as China started packing their bags and booking the first passage to the new continent. It was from this period that Australia's long association with the Chinese arose. The sudden influx of immigrants had to be housed as buildings mushroomed, many of them built with whatever came to hand. In fact, there was such a demand that building houses became a more certain way of making money than prospecting for gold. Fortunes were made, the nouveau tycoons celebrating their sudden wealth with such extravagance that there are still stories being told about the wild parties. They had money and they knew how to spend it - great Victorian piles were constantly going up to house a society that intended to acquire all the good things which symbolized European society.
Architectural additions of the Twentieth Century were more tasteful, which came with the formation of the federation occurred in 1901 - the Commonwealth of Australia being officially declared at Centennial Park. World War I devastated Europe but it sparked an economic boom for Sydney. It was the Great Depression of the 1930s that had a terrible impact. Over a third of the citizens were unemployed. By 1932, wool once again boosted the national economy and Sydney Harbour Bridge was built. The bad times over, Sydney is one of the most beautiful and cosmopolitan cities in the world today - a real traveller's delight especially if you are staying at The Boulevard.
The Australia Museum is your first stop if you want to understand something of what has gone into making a typical Australian. Exhibits showcase both the natural history as well as the cultural diversity of the country. Further away, the Sydney Museum has a fascinating and provocative display of colonial history while over at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, collections of Australian art include Australia's largest permanent exhibition of aboriginal art - the Yiribana Gallery. To discover how the original convict settlers lived, go straight to the Hyde Park Barracks Museum to discover how they lived, slept, ate and how they were punished.
After museums, a twenty minute stroll down scenic and refreshing Macquarie Street brings you to the Sydney Opera House at Circular Quay. Theatre, classical music, ballet, film and of course, opera are hosted here. For more contemporary artistic fare, there is also a side venue, The Studio, and free music on weekends. Grand as it may be, the Opera House is famous for its unusual architecture. The inspiration for the Jorn Utzon's unique design coming from palm fronds.. There is a craft market at the forecourt on Sundays and a myriad of cafés, bars and restaurants to enjoy the sunny Sydney weather.
Another famous icon the Sydney Harbour Bridge, affectionately nicknamed in Australia as "The Iron Coat Hanger". Linking Sydney to the North Shore, the bridge was opened in 1932 and represented one of the greatest engineering masterpieces of its time requiring 52,800 tonnes of steel. Its arch spans 503 metres, with the highest point being 134 metres above sea level. It is still the widest Longspan Bridge in the world. Today people can climb the Harbour Bridge to its highest point and experience the magic of sunrise and sunset with views and locations unlike any other in the world.
Darling Harbour is also a stone's throw away from The Sydney Boulevard. A popular recreation spot, Harbourside's mix of shops, retailers, entertainment outlets, restaurants, bars and convenience stores sell everything from Australia's unique black opals to aboriginal art, handcrafted glass, leather and flowers. More than 500 events are hosted there every year, with many of the outdoor daytime events being free of charge. The Darling Harbour Circus and Street Theatre and Jazz Festival count among the more prestigious ones, while the Waiter's Race and World's Longest Buffet, serve to illustrate the city's love of fun.
If you fail to catch any of the events, quite difficult really, since a slow promenade along the waterfront often allows you to catch some sort of performance, there's the National Maritime Museum, The Power House Museum and the Sydney Aquarium with the world's largest movie screen, in addition to an indoor theme park. The harbour's latest addition, Cockle Bay, has a nautical design and hosts concerts on a floating stage at the Winter Concert Series. If you want to catch it, remember that winter is in the middle of the year Down Under.
When it comes time to blow a few dollars on souvenirs, the Queen Victoria Building is just ten minutes from The Boulevard. Built in 1898 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee, it began life as a shopping center and still serves the same purpose today. One of the more tasteful examples of Victorian architecture, it was restored in the 1980s and houses nearly two hundred designer label and specialty stores. The Queen Victoria Building extends for an entire block between the Town Hall and Market Street.
For more shopping in grand historical surroundings, head over to the Strand Arcade. Built in 1892, you'll find top local labels, jewelers, boutiques and beauty salons chockablock here. An even older shopping center, from 1877 and one of the very few still doing business under its original name, is David Jones. It had the city's first hydraulic lift and stocks a fine range of furniture and furnishings in addition to "a stock that embraces the everyday wants of mankind at large" in the founder's own words.
For more portable mementos of your Sydney holiday, you might want to pop in at one of Sydney's many markets. Paddy's Markets are the biggest and the best stop to sample one of the things that had put Australia on the international map. Fresh fruits and vegetables. And all at excellent prices that make it both a healthy as well as educational stop. For great seafood buys, you'll need to travel a bit to Blackwattle Bay where the Sydney Fish Markets are located. An eye-popping 65 tonnes of fresh fish, prawns, lobsters, squids and crayfish passes through every day.
For those who do not shop to the extreme, browsing around the many markets around the town is the way to go. Balmain Markets, Paddy's Markets, Market City and Fox Studios markets all offer the unusual trinkets at reasonable prices that make the best gifts for your friends and family back home. Australian women really love to keep busy. That's the only way to explain the number of venues selling high quality handicrafts. The Rocks Markets are a good source for these, together with other artsy pieces and collectibles. Another is the Bondi (pronounced bon-dye) Market where you'll also find more pre-loved clothing, electrical goods and hardware. Even if you're not looking to lug a great Australian barbecue set home, it's still worth a visit as the one of the world's most famous beaches is close by.
If you go to Australia, then you must go to the beach - a national pastime with all Australians. Sydney is simply surrounded by many, many beautiful beaches (a whopping total of 37) each with their own character. Australia is a land of surfers and no other beach in the Pacific is as associated with that lifestyle as much as Bondi Beach. You've probably seen it in one movie or another and this is your chance to say "Surf's up!" for real. Once you've been bitten by the surfing bug, you'll want to show off at Bronte, Coogee and Cronulla beaches, too.
If skimming the waves on a fiberglass board isn't your idea of a nice day by the sea, there are plenty of non-surfing beaches. Redleaf, Nielsen Park, Parsley Bay and Fairy Bower are close by The Sydney Boulevard.
But Sydney is not all about Beach, sightseeing and eating. Sydney is truly a cosmopolitan city. Many districts are dedicated to the world's races and religions; China, Middle East, Korea, European nations - Sydney is truly a microcosm of the world. Chinatown and the Spanish quarter, where you can experience authentic foods and traditions, are only a 15 minute walk from The Sydney Boulevard.
As mentioned, Sydney has a friendly association with the Chinese and its sister city is Guangzhou in China. Situated near Darling Harbour, Chinatown's distinctly oriental architecture, street lanterns and archways make it a showpiece of Sino-Australian culture. The ties with Guangzhou do not stop there, however. The Chinese city designed an extensive traditional garden specifically for Sydney. It is one of the few authentic public Chinese gardens outside of the former Celestial Kingdom, with features harking back to its designers' origins. Named the Garden of Friendship, there is a Dragon Wall symbolizing ties between the state of New South Wales where Sydney is located and Guangzhou, a water pavilion and a tea house serving Chinese tea and refreshments.
Culture and history, sun and sea come together for you when you are in Sydney. It does not matter if you are on a holiday, or negotiating the biggest business deal of your career, The Sydney Boulevard has all Sydney has to offer right on its doorstep and offers world-class hospitality. It is truly a place "Where guests become friends".