Words by Anna Howard
For some, travelling is the most exciting part of their work week but for many, it's the bane of their existence.
It needn't be the latter.
Gone are the days of fluorescent-lit conference rooms, slow internet connections, uncomfortably cramped rooms and lacklustre Continental breakfasts. That is, if you know where to look. Bonuses like Wi-Fi access, lounges and unique conference facilities are often just the tip of the corporate travel iceberg these days.
Sydney boasts some of the world's best business hotels with more mod-cons than you can poke a USB stick at. We've rounded up six of the most practical, comfortable, unique and luxurious.
Sir Stamford Circular Quay
93 Macquarie Street, Sydney
Sir Stamford Circular Quay is for those who like their business brunches amongst a little old-world luxury. This boutique hotel is lavishly outfitted with 17th Century and Georgian antiquities, and offers guests a collection of 105 generously sized rooms, including 15 suites.
Book into The Governor's boardroom, connect with colleagues at The Bar and make use of the outdoor heated pool, sundeck and gym when you clock off for the day. Never fear running late for a meeting, the hotel is perfectly central: mere steps from Circular Quay, Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Opera House.
As a SmartSTAY hotel, guests who book the Sir Stamford Circular Quay through their FCBT Travel Manager will have access to a range of added extras. Start the day with complimentary breakfast; never miss an email with free internet access; and look forward to an upgrade to the next room category if it's available.
Rydges Sydney Central
28 Albion Street, Surry Hills
Escape the concrete jungle at Rydges Sydney Central, a contemporary hotel in hip, inner-city Surry Hills. This stellar location means you're a stroll away from some of Sydney's hottest restaurants, yet only an easy (2.5-kilometre) commute or Uber from the CBD.
In fact, Rydges Sydney Central lays claim to one of Sydney's most popular bars, Bar Surry Hills & Italian Kitchen, along with upscale Albies Restaurant and around-the-clock room service.
Whether you're a small team or group of 200, Rydges Sydney Central offers 10 versatile, state-of-the-art meeting rooms.
Free Wi-Fi is not just confined to your suite either, you can send off those emails by the pool or on the rooftop overlooking the city skyline.
Rydges Sydney Central is a SmartSTAY hotel. Contact your Travel Manager for more information on this value-packed service, which includes car-parking, food and beverage discounts and room upgrades where available.
5 Bridge Lane, Sydney CBD
It's sexy, it's chic and it's the perfect spot to mix a little business with pleasure. Establishment Sydney is a boutique hotel just minutes from the Circular Quay Ferry Terminal.
With a selection of 31 studios, Establishment rooms and two Penthouse suites, accommodation is sleek, elegant and features enough digital toys to keep even the savviest tech-head at bay.
But if a digital detox is in order from the free Wi-Fi, iPad2 and Apple TV, you can practice your dolphin pose and Zen-out on your Lululemon yoga mat or get that heart rate going at the gym.
When it comes to wooing prospective clients, the Establishment just can't be beat. Discuss contracts over breakfast in the Gin Garden, conduct a working lunch over meals in the building's acclaimed est., sushi e and Mr. Wong restaurants, or throw down some after work drinks at Hemmesphere bar.
176 Cumberland Street, Sydney
Let's hope you stay in the boss's good graces if you're expensing a night or two at Shangri-la Sydney.
Rooms are incredibly luxurious and range from Deluxe Darling Harbour View Rooms to the opulent Horizon Club Tower Suite.
Check into one of the Horizon Club rooms and you'll not only be awarded with ultra-plush living, you'll get personalised check-in and access to the club lounge on the 30th floor. Take your breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or cocktail meetings beside spectacular views of the Harbour Bridge in this private space.
Conferencing guests have a choice between 18 state-of-the-art function rooms and boardrooms, including the Grand Ballroom and a coveted outdoor space available for up to 400 delegates.
When it's time to escape from reality, bliss out in one of the private spa suites at CHI, The Spa, make a splash in the indoor pool and sit down to a decadent meal and heady drinks at one of four dining venues.
129 Murray Street, Pyrmont
Looking for a venue to liven up that next networking event or convention? Funky and unique with a twist of history, 1888 Hotel in Pyrmont offers stylish, modern spaces for small to medium sized parties.
Darling Harbour and the temporary Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre are just moments away from this restored heritage building.
Exposed brick walls create a moody, industrial feel in each of the guest rooms, and you can expect all the mod-cons from this 'Gen Y' hotel.
Wine and dine your guests with a range of rustic, yet contemporary dishes at the 1888 Eatery & Bar and make use of free access to the Olympic-sized swimming pool, sauna, aquatic classes and personal training sessions of the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre.
1 Martin Place, Sydney
You'll have every reason to get your work done, plus every reason not to at the Westin Sydney. This 5-star hotel is located in the heart of Sydney at Martin Place, amongst fashion retailers, restaurants and multi-national headquarters.
Discerning tastes have a choice of elegant Heritage Rooms, modern Tower Rooms or the Executive Club Rooms on the top four floors. Executive Club Rooms award access to the Westin Executive Lounge where guests can soak up the city views, take advantage of complimentary hour-use of the club boardroom, and savour pre-dinner drinks and canapés. Hate ironing? The lounge also offers a light pressing service.
If that's not enough, Westin Sydney features upscale dining at Mosaic and The Bar, Lounge And Room, and the choice of 13 meeting spaces including two magnificent ballrooms.
Image credits: Sir Stamford Circular Quay, Rydges Sydney Central, Establishment Sydney, Shangri-la Sydney, 1888 Hotel, Westin Sydney