A stay at the iconic Crowne Plaza Sydney Coogee Beach with kids ticks all the boxed for the ultimate Sydney family staycation.
A holiday is a holiday whether it’s a 12-hour flight or a 25-minute-drive from the CBD away, and to be honest after an accident that saw me unable to walk for the best part of six weeks and a pile up of deadlines, combined with moving house, the easy option held high appeal. Because as desperate as I was for an escape, I simply didn’t have the energy to haul myself and the kids too far. Of course, after months of lockdown I’m hankering for exotic adventures, but what I needed more than anything was a simple change of scenery, and one that was devoid of removalist cartons.
Which is how we found ourselves checking into to interconnecting Ocean View Rooms at the newly refurbed Crowne Plaza Sydney Coogee Beach, one of Sydney’s most iconic beachside hotels, and the perfect place for us to decompress.
While the beachside beauty has been wowing visitors to Coogee for a century, a multi-million-dollar refurbishment and seaside chic re-design has left her looking brand new, without skimping on the charm.
From the lobby to the rooms, everything has been refreshed and the effect is like a bubble of calm that melts away our stresses the moment we check in.
Our adjoining Superior Ocean Front rooms boast fresh new contemporary blue and white carpet and stunning photographic prints of the area. There’s a cloud like King bed in the main room and the kids have generously proportioned twin beds.
Both rooms have renovated bathrooms with rain showers, and plenty of space for us to relax. Both rooms have a balcony with sparkling ocean front views of Coogee Beach, but it is the enormous additional veranda on the main room, which boasts the corner position on the fifth floor, that takes us to holiday heaven.
Big enough to waltz on (we know, the kids busted out their best moves), there’s also a convenient table and chairs for those less inclined to dance and more inclined to enjoy a sunset cocktail.
We are more than content to simple enjoy the salty sea air and soak up the views from the privacy of our extremely comfy, and blessedly box and chaos free, rooms. At least until bellies start to rumble and the siren call of the airy ground-floor dining and entertainment precinct beckons.
Singing for our supper at Estate Coogee Beach
We’ve made a booking for dinner at the airy, atmospheric Estate Coogee Beach at 7.30pm, and with an hour to kill before that we decide to work up an appetite belting out a few tunes at the onsite Karaoke room. And by we, I mean Raff and Marlo, because I didn’t get a look in once they had a mic in their hands.
The karaoke room, which can be booked out by patrons based on a minimum spend on drinks and snacks, is fantastic.
It looks and sounds great and there’s an insane catalogue of karaoke tracks that has the kids cranking out pop to punk and everything in between.
Luckily for the other guests of the hotel, the room is 100% soundproof, so when we exit an hour later it’s to the happy hum of diners and a live guitarist.
Four-in-one fun at Estate Coogee
Rocking a west-coast beach club vibe, Estate is a four-in-one affair, made up of the aforementioned karaoke room, a funky outdoor terrace bar and bar (where you’ll order your drinks from a too-cool vintage Airstream trailer), a Taqueria and the elegant Estate Kitchen restaurant, where we dine.
Our meal is sublime, a mix of tapas style share plates, which we devour with intent. Our entrees – king sashimi with avocado, cucumber and lime and Hiromasa kingfish crudo and a moreish Moreton Bay big roll smothered in yuzu mayo – all shout summer by sea.
We follow these with a spicy selection of tacos, including a Baja Fish Taco stuffed with a generous pile of fried barramundi, charred pineapple relish and chipotle tartare that was so good we order seconds.
For mains I wrestle Raff for barbecued octopus smothered in mole negro and charred pineapple relish and we both fall in love with the yuzu apple sauce that topped some fantastically crispy pork belly.
Dinner finishes in spectacular, and sweet, style with a dessert of violet ice-cream dark chocolate brownie piled high with smoky nitro salted honeycomb.
Plates are scraped clean, and we leave promising to come back the following night to taste the rest of the menu.
Read Raff’s full review of Estate Coogee here.
Airy and atmospheric
We breakfast at Crowne Plaza Sydney Coogee Beach’s other onsite eatery, Shutters, which like the rest of the revamped hotel is airy and atmospheric.
The breakfast buffet has everything one could want from a hotel, wrapped up in a spectacularly light and bright package of ocean views and streaming sunlight. Marble tables, pastel velvet booths and swathes of beachy blue and green complete the stunning look.
Shutters also opens from 12 -10pm, for cocktails and modern cuisine inspired by the Mediterranean.
Something for everyone
We walk breakfast off with mandatory stroll along the beach enjoying a little of Coogee’s wonderfully relaxed and unpretentious atmosphere. Coogee, derived from the Dharug word ‘Koojay’, is the traditional land of the Bidjigal and Gadigal people, coastal dwelling people who relied on the ocean and surrounding bushland for food.
Today Coogee is best known for its beach, many alfresco cafés, beachside bars and funky boutiques, but there’s no shortage of things for families to see and do. Beyond the sand and sea, there are excellent walks and six reserves packed with playgrounds and plenty of space to run amok and toss a Frisbee around.
The South Coogee wetlands are an especially great place for kids to explore rock pools, go crabbing and get their adventure on away from the crowds. The six kilometres coast walk up to Bondi is a picturesque way to spend a few hours, and can be punctuated with five swimmable beaches along the way.
Coogee Beach itself is sheltered by craggy Wedding Cake Island and their are lifeguards on duty, which makes it an ideal beach for families. While we’d been hoping for a dip, the surf is post storm rough on this particular morning, so we take a dip in the gorgeous Wylie’s Ocean Baths (just a few minutes walk away) instead before head back to the hotel and straight into the pool for another few hours of water fun.
The heated outdoor pool is just one of the many reasons to love a stay at the Crowne Plaza Sydney Coogee Beach with kids.
Taking a late lunch break by the pool, the sudden appearance of a couple of goats, chickens, ducks and rabbits at a pop-up school holiday petting zoo the hotel has organised as part of their ongoing program of fun school twice daily school holiday activities has Sugarpuff in a flurry of feathered and fluffy farmyard action.
A break at the Crowne Plaza Sydney Coogee Beach with kids ticked every box and reminded us just how much beauty we have right on our doorstep. We left feeling just as relaxed, rejuvenated and reconnected as a break in a Bali resort. Just minus the flights and fuss.
In fact so perfect was our staycation, I can see us hitting repeat on the experience very soon.
Crowne Plaza Sydney Coogee Beach
242 Arden St, Coogee
PH: (02) 9315 7600