A breezy, seafront boutique hotel, QT Bondi is the art-filled home from home you need for a stay at the world’s favourite beach – and it’s just steps from the surf. Each room is like your own apartment, perfectly placed to retreat to for a preening pitstop before enjoying Bondi’s nightlife.
11am, but flexible, subject to availability and an extra charge. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £112.90 (AU$209), including tax at 10 per cent.
Breakfast is not available at the hotel.
The contents of the minibars go further than your average small tube of Pringles and alcoholic miniatures: guests can expect hipster-friendly old-fashioned games (dominoes, packs of cards) and beard-trimming kits, and helpful beach-ready additions such as flip-flops and waterproof phone covers, as well as the regular drinkable refreshments.
At the hotel
Bicycles to borrow and free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TVs, a Nespresso machine, air-conditioning, a minibar and Malin + Goetz bath products.
Our favourite rooms
For families and those staying a little longer, book an Atrium or Gould Suite, which are essentially one-bedroom apartments and more spacious than the other rooms. The King Deluxe rooms have a balcony, which faces the town rather than the beach.
There’s no pool, but the iconic Bondi Icebergs Club and its 1929 seawater pool are nearby.
Kaftans, coolboxes and your chicest bucket and spade.
Three of the QT Deluxe King rooms are suitable for wheelchair users.
Children of all ages are welcome. Baby cots can be added to rooms on request. Buggies, bicycles and highchairs can be borrowed.
There’s no restaurant at the hotel, but breakfast is on offer at the nearby Porch & Parlour, where the bill can be charged directly to your room. The breakfast menu includes the clean-eater’s dream Green Breaky Bowl, filled with all the superfoods you can fit on one plate (kale, quinoa, avocado, spinach…).
QT Bondi is named after the famous beach on which it’s located, with an enviable coastal setting close to all of the surf action.
Sydney’s international airport is a 40-minute drive from the hotel (www.sydneyairport.com.au). Expect taxi fares to be around the AU$50 mark. Qantas flies from London with stopover options in various cities, including Dubai and Hong Kong; the British Airways route goes via Singapore.
The airport train runs to Bondi Beach, via a change at Central Station; it’s then a short bus or car ride from Bondi Junction to the beach. The total journey time from the airport to the hotel is around 45 minutes.
There’s no car park at the hotel but valet parking can be arranged for $39 a day. The drive into the centre of Sydney will take around 25 minutes. Various international car-hire companies are represented at Sydney airport.
Worth getting out of bed for
Borrow a bike from the hotel and take to the famed golden beaches of this peninsula (Bondi, Bronte, Coogee and Clovelly) on two wheels; or complete the bracing Bondi to Coogee coastal walk on foot. Galeophobes afraid of going into the ocean for fear of any lurking fins should head to the Bondi Icebergs Club instead, where a seawater pool has been facilitating shark-free swims since 1929. And if the art in the hotel isn’t enough to hold your gaze, visit the Aquabumps gallery, the Bondi Art Lounge or, for indigenous art, the Coo-ee Aboriginal Art Gallery.
Bondi Hardware is a buzzy wine and cocktail bar with exposed brickwork that’s also great for dinner, thanks to the extensive menu of pizzas, sliders and sharing plates on offer. For experimental Middle Eastern food that’s almost too pretty to eat – and more brick walls – head to Sefa Kitchen on Bondi Road.
Porch & Parlour is the closest option to the hotel and serves breakfast daily from 7am. The menu champions seasonal local produce and caters to clean eaters as well as the calorie-blind. For an all-day diner, try Lox, Stock and Barrellon Glenayr Avenue, where you can choose from deli-favourite sandwiches by day, and fritto misto, sautéed chicken livers and seared mackerel by night.
I’ve spent the last 10 summers based around Bondi Beach in one form or another, so I immediately recognised the QT Bondi building as I pulled up to check in, and remember all the construction over the past few years.
On the Northern stretch of beach, the hotel forms part of a new-build complex which also encompasses a florists, men’s boutique store, poke bowl bar and a supermarket. Not a great start if you’re after a sense of character, culture or history. But you don’t come to Bondi Beach for any of those things; you come for the sunsets, the swimwear and the cafés, all of which are just a few flips and flops away.
The QT is set up somewhere between a serviced apartment and a boutique hotel which, on paper, sounds like something that has the potential to go horribly wrong. In practice, it manages to harness the very best of both worlds.
Checking in at the front desk doesn’t really feel like a hotel – there’s a desk and some art and, next thing you know, you’re up in your private chambers. But what the QT lacks in communal areas (no restaurant, gym, pool, shop), it immediately makes up for in the apartments themselves. I don’t think I’ve ever been faced with such a comprehensively thought-out hotel room. You name the amenity, they’ve thought of it – from umbrellas to shoe-horns; beach bags to dressing gowns; dishwashers to tumble-dryers; dominos to beard kits; champagne to coconut water… Frankly, it’s a little overwhelming.
I suppose, given the location, a gym and pool are entirely unnecessary, given that Bondi’s many outdoor exercise options are right outside (and the last thing it needs is a new place to get coffee and eggs). The front-desk staff were really helpful in pointing the way to the latest café openings, and tailoring dinner options to precise whims.
Besides which, suffering from restaurant fatigue (perhaps the most first-world problem ever), I opted to cook in my in-room kitchen on the second night, which worked out great given the supermarket was just downstairs. Nothing could make me feel more at home than whipping up spaghetti and salad as if I was in my own house.
The bathroom was stocked with appropriately hipster-friendly Malin + Goetz products, a generously-sized bathtub and a walk-in shower. I definitely found there was space in the apartment for everything: a decent table to work (and eat) from, a huge comfy sofa (which doubled as an afternoon bed when the jet lag kicked in), and even a sizeable fully furnished outdoor balcony area.
As a tech nerd, I was very happy to be able to pair my phone and laptop to Bluetooth speakers, and the (American-ly proportioned) TV. All very luxurious stuff, by the time you’ve sunken in to the gigantic squashy bed and are Netflixing and Spotifying yourself into oblivion.
The room’s decor, like the rest of the hotel, is a kind of Miami art deco, all fresh pastels and concentric circles. It works well, cleverly imbuing what could have been a soulless brand-new building with a sense of style and place.
But the real star of the show here is the location. Unless you’re extremely unlucky with the weather, you’ll be spending most of your Bondi time outdoors, so I found that I didn’t really end up using most of the goodies that my room with stocked with (not much need for dominos when the sun is setting over the world’s most famous beach outside). As well as the sea itself, there’s Iceberg’s (Bondi’s famous salt-water swimming pool, sauna, yoga studio and gym), and the epic coastal walk, with all its beach stops on the way.
Then there’s the shops and the restaurants, which are seemingly infinite in the area. I could list dozens of worthwhile places to eat, but to limit to some of my favourites, I’d recommend Lox, Stock & Barrel (for breakfast), North Bondi Fish and Milky Lane (for burgers). Maybe it’s the sun and sea, but all food and drink just tastes better here. We stocked up on craft beers from the ‘bottle-o’ and sat out on my balcony at sunset, watching the huge fruit-bats fly overhead – a quintessential Sydney experience.
Quibbles? Despite being right on the beach, there are somehow no ocean views – certainly not the end of the world, though. And slightly noisy air conditioning. That said, I was surprised how quiet the room was otherwise, even being in the middle of party central on a Saturday night.
Given the odd lack of quality accommodation options in the area (which tend to gravitate towards budget backpacker or bland and business-y), QT has quickly become my favourite place to stay on my favourite beach in the world.