You have to love a city hotel that treats its littlest guests like VIPs or, as is the case with the Holiday Inn Potts Point, VICs – very important campers! We’re on a staycation in the city as a treat for the kids before they return to school, and we decided to do things a little differently this time on a Kids Glamp Out at Holiday Inn Potts Point.
The fun family package has seen the clever folks at Holiday Inn deck out our second-floor room with its own epic in-room campsite, complete with cushion-filled teepee, twinkling lights and a starry sky, care of a super cool night light.
But the camping fun doesn’t stop there. There are also card games set up on portable camping tables, snuggly blankets, a telescope to scan the city skyline, a fun plastic fishing set for that authentic faux wilderness vibe, and loads of little extras like activity packs.
Not to mention a chilled bottle of champagne waiting for Mama and Papa Eats World. Now this is my style of camping. Completely wilderness free and not a speck of dirt or creepy crawly in sight. Not to mention two comfy twin queen beds with a menu of pillows. Yeah, I could get used to “roughing it” like this.
I’m not the only one that is impressed, the kids stopping only to jump all over the furniture in signature new hotel room style, before diving straight into the teepee, squealing as they do that this is the most awesome surprise ever. It’s all about the little things, and Holiday Inn Potts Point has delivered so many little things that it’s turned into a really big deal for Raffles and Sugarpuff.
There are also little things that appeal to the big kids too, like the hotel’s convenient location directly alongside Kings Cross Station. Though the Kids Glamp Out at Holiday Inn Potts Point package comes with secure undercover parking, which we take advantage of because, well, we’re nothing if not lazy, even when we’re off for a “wild” night of camping, urban style.
The afternoon is still young so we drag the kids kicking and screaming from their campsite to take a stroll around the neighbourhood which, despite still being home to some rather adult entertainment, has definitely reinvented itself in the years since I may or may not have gotten rip-roaringly drunk in some of its salubrious (read seedy) drinking establishments.
On this Saturday afternoon it is pleasantly quiet, and we spot a surprising number of families out and about enjoying the al fresco dining at its many cafes and restaurants. The kids just love the street art and installations. Both are mesmerised by the iconic El Alamein Fountain on Macleay Street, a modernist structure that Sugarpuff insists is a giant dandelion flower.
It is in fact a memorial to the fallen in the Battle of El Alamein in World War II and I assume any resemblance to dandelions is entirely coincidental.
Next to the fountain is another enormous installation, Angled Wheels of Fortune, which doubles nicely as a throne for Raffles.
We grab coffees and meander our way through a small local market that’s sharing the square, rubbing shoulders and ankles with a surprising number of parents with prams.
The kids are eager to get back to “the wild”, so we head back to the Holiday Inn Potts Point, stopping only for Raffles to get his angel on.
And to admire several awesome pieces of Street Art along the way.
They retire happily to their campsite to play round after round of UNO.
Before turning the bathtub into a canoe, which Raffles “rows” while Sugarpuff throws a fishing line over the side to catch some of those plastic fish.
Soon enough it is time for dinner so we head downstairs to indulge ourselves at stylish Sirocco Restaurant.
The restaurant offers a choice of indoor or alfresco dining on the pretty terrace and a classic international bistro menu. We start with a plate of crispy salt and pepper calamari with chilli sea salt, which is tender and delicious.
For mains, Sugarpuff gobbles one of the restaurant’s fabulous burgers while the rest of us share a deluxe platter of grilled Atlantic salmon, chargrilled scotch fillet and barbecue blasted pork ribs with paw paw salad.
Dessert is something really special. A honey panacotta with fresh berry compote and caramelised fig ice cream, made with honey gathered from the bee hives located on the hotel’s own rooftop and seriously delicious.
Best of all for families staying at the hotel, especially ones with walking stomachs like Raffles, kids aged 12 and under eat for free when dining with a paying adult.
We take time over our wonderful meal, the kids excited to see a pack of the Holiday Inn’s awesome Chatterbox Conversation Cards, which have us nattering away happily for ages and ages.
Back in our room the kids announce they’re sleeping in their teepee tonight, despite the two perfectly comfortable beds in our room. True to their word they both dive in, legs protruding from under the canopy, and they fall into a deep happy sleep under faux stars.
Mr Eats World and I enjoy an extremely comfortable night, completely free of the usual small critters that inevitably crawl into our beds, and wake up full of bounce and ready for a big buffet breakfast back on the terrace at Sirocco, where we enjoy eggs and French toast, cooked to order, along with the usual buffet treats and games with the kids.
With its prime location close to the CBD and many of the city’s biggest and most beautiful attractions, museums and galleries, we decide to indulge the kids in a little cultural edification at the Art Gallery of NSW.
And by edification, I mean the kids loudly pointing out bums and boobs in some of the more classical pieces. Don’t get me wrong, the gallery is home to some incredible artworks and the kids loved them as much as I did. Indeed, my arty daughter was particularly enthused by some of the Modernand Indigenous pieces.
But still, bottoms and boobs elicited suitably infantile giggles, so art appreciation may have to relegated to a work in progress.
After our gallery gallivanting we return to the wild, or at least to the great green expanse of the Royal Botanic Gardens. We spread out a picnic blanket and devour cheese, pate and French bread that we’d earlier hunted and gathered at a supermarket located right across the road from the hotel.
As if they hadn’t already done enough, the Holiday Inn Potts Point’s lovely staff, on hearing of our picnic plans, help us out with cutlery and condiments, scoring the hotel even more brownie points from this family of impressed and intrepid glampers.
Disclosure: The Eats World were guests of Holiday Inn Potts Point but all opinions, art appreciation and infantile giggling are our own