Dinner and a show before the Mantra 2: a classic combination

The Palace … not your average pub meal.

The Palace … not your average pub meal.

For people such as Neil McDonald, general manager of the Mantra 2 Bond Street, the chaotic, somewhat dishevelled state of downtown Sydney must be enough to have them tearing out their hair.

Regardless of what spin is put on it, the current phase of infrastructure upgrading must be having an impact on how guests approach this definitely classy property — on foot, by car and cerebrally.

And that’s not to mention any problems affecting their stay in terms of noise and dust pollution — though neither of those had any impact during my stay there.

Indeed, once through the front doors, I’d have had no reason at all to question the integrity of my surrounds, or the quality of where I was staying.

Mementos Bar at Mantra 2 Bond Street … a great place to relax.

Mementos Bar at Mantra 2 Bond Street … a great place to relax.

It’s something that Neil and his team have become quite used to working around and he reckons that the council has been as accommodating as possible.

Anyway, I was pleased that Sydney’s rail system was working well during my stay. The hotel’s across-the-street location from Wynyard Station made it an absolute breeze to access.

Position is paramount with this property. It really is walking distance to attractions such as Darling Harbour, The Rocks and Circular Quay, the Opera House and the Botanic Gardens. And the near proximity to the rail network and the harbour ferries does bring it within reach of the majority of Sydney.

Top of the class … Mantra 2 Bond Street’s rooftop pool.

Top of the class … Mantra 2 Bond Street’s rooftop pool.

Even a semi-crock managed to make the walk to the Capitol Theatre in Campbell Street for dinner at the nearby Palace Hotel and the opening night performance of The Wizard of Oz.

Mantra 2 Bond Street’s four-star rating places it just behind the status of Sydney icons such as the Shangri La and Intercontinental but that comes as relief to your pocket, though these days talking hotel rates is a minefield and it’s always going to be worth shopping around on the day — and probably being as brazen in bartering as you’re comfortable with.

Regardless, we’re talking a seriously good hotel here, especially in regard to the newly refurbished Executive Studio rooms.

One of Mantra 2 Bond Street’s refurbished Executive Studio rooms.

One of Mantra 2 Bond Street’s refurbished Executive Studio rooms.

These have been very classically appointed, in split-level open-plan style, with marble bathrooms, sunken lounge and fully equipped gourmet kitchen.

The bed was great, and if I have a quibble, it’s about the only-just-adequate hot-water pressure but I’m quite prepared to blame that on the nearby construction work.

And having mentioned The Wizard of Oz, it would be remiss not to talk about dinner at the Palace Hotel, which is adjacent to the Capitol and does a roaring theatrical trade, especially on opening nights.

Andy Yang … meat quality is central to the head chef at Sydney’s Palace Hotel.

Andy Yang … meat quality is central to the head chef at Sydney’s Palace Hotel.

For general manager Paul Walker and his head chef, Andy Yang, quality of meat is absolutely paramount.

That’s why their menu precisely lists origin as well as cut — rump steak from O’Connor is South-East Gippsland, sirloin by Angus Oakey Reserve in South Queensland, for example.

The Palace … menu precisely lists origin as well as cut.

The Palace … menu precisely lists origin as well as cut.

Make no mistake, this is so much more than your average pub eatery, even if your plate can be dominated by sensational beef and french fries.

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