The glass of bubbles offered on arrival mirrors the sparkling harbour view that dominates the lobby and bar, the water so close you could cast a fishing line while lounging with drinks at the bar's booths and cabanas lining the pier. The location is hard to beat: part of the Walsh Bay arts precinct, with the bridge looming overhead and much of the harbour's water traffic bobbing past. Make the most of it by taking breakfast with views at The Gantry's waterside tables, or settle later pier-side with a burger or ribs from the food truck on site. Inside, the handsome industrial bones of this old finger wharf set a nautical vibe in white, light-filled, unfussy rooms with city or (more) harbour views.
As one of only two wharf hotels in the city, there are few more spectacular or affordable places to stay and play by the harbour. Plan a day around it: start with a waterfront walk or jog from your room, stroll to Circular Quay for a ferry (anywhere), and return to your pier for sundowners. Conveniently, there's a water-taxi rank out the front.
Not close enough to the water? Dive in from the hotel's private Astro-turfed pontoon, where an adults-only bar and plunge pool operate in summer (November-February).
The busy breakfast buffet ($38) is good without being stellar, and includes an egg station and good barista-made coffee. Things get more interesting in lunch, pre-show and tasting menus, which showcase produce such as Flinders Island wallaby and Robbins Island wagyu.
If you can resist the siren call of a pier-side tipple, the minibar stocks four pre-mixed cocktails by Melbourne's Everleigh Bottling Co.
This review was made independently for the Gourmet Traveller Hotel Guide. The guide's reviewers visit unannounced and pay their way.