ANGELA SAURINE reveals the best things to see and do and family-friendly restaurants to check out during a stay at Crowne Plaza Sydney Coogee Beach
Things to do in Coogee with kids
Without doubt Coogee’s biggest drawcard is its beach, which rivals the more famous Bondi Beach nearby. The coastal walk that links the two suburbs is a must, taking you past equally beautiful Tamarama, Bronte and Clovelly beaches. Just don’t attempt to do it with a pram, as there are a few stairs along the way! Another iconic Sydney experience is swimming in the city’s ocean pools, and there are a few to choose from around here. At the south end of the beach, Wylies Baths has views to Wedding Cake Island. There’s also a natural rock pool called Giles Baths at the northern end of the beach known as the bogey hole, which is great for kids. Just a few minutes’ walk south of the beach along the coastal walkway, Grant Reserve is home to a fantastic playground. Designed to resemble an abstract ship moored to a jetty, with climbing ropes, pylons and a boat-shaped structure to play in, it features a sandstone sundial with animal images, slippery slides, a raised mini sandpit, and swings. There are also picnic tables and barbecue facilities nearby. It’s around 10 minutes’ drive to Westfield Bondi Junction and15 minutes to The Entertainment Quarter and the SCG, where cricket tests and AFL games are held.
Crowne Plaza Sydney Coogee Beach, an IHG hotel
Opening the curtains of our room at Crowne Plaza Sydney Coogee Beach to see the sparkling pool below and crescent-shaped beach beyond is a highlight of our stay. At night, we are lulled to sleep by the sound of waves crashing against the shore. Besides the big, comfortable bed, the night light in the bathroom is my favourite feature of our Superior King Ocean Front room. It’s one of several room types available at the refurbished hotel, which opened in the early 1900s as The Oceanic. The upgrade has given the property a fresh, light and bright coastal feel in keeping with its location, with beach prints on the walls. As a bonus for eco-conscious travellers, bulk vegan amenity products have been introduced to all the bathrooms in a welcome move away from single-use products. There’s a 24-hour reception desk and secure, undercover self-parking is available at a rate of $35 per day for hotel guests. If you have friends visit, casual parking is also available for $20 per hour, capped at $100 per day. Special kids’ activities, including paper plane making, cupcake decorating and animal encounters, are offered twice a day during the school holidays.
Family-friendly Coogee restaurants
Located off the lobby at the Crowne Plaza, Shutters Restaurant and Bar has semi-circle shaped booths facing the windows that are perfect for families. I love the stylish design of this restaurant, which has an abundance of arches, plantation shutters and indoor plants. Just downstairs, Estate Kitchen has a laidback feel. Specialising in seafood, it offers a share-style menu with Californian, Japanese and Mexican influences. Think salmon sashimi, tacos and prawn rolls, with sides including truffle mac and cheese and sweets such as a peanut butter and jelly ice-cream sandwich.
Outside the hotel, Coogee Pavilion is as family-friendly as it gets, with a games area on the ground floor with table tennis, giant magnetic Scrabble, lounge chairs and kids’-sized tables. Housed in a building at the northern end of the beach built in the 1890s as an aquarium and swimming baths, it is now operated by Justin Hemmes’ hospitality group Merivale. It has a casual vibe, with funky décor and exposed brick and meals including burgers and wood-fired pizzas. As well as the usual staples of fish and chips and pasta, the extensive kids’ menu includes milkshakes, vegetable plates, kids’ pizzas and butter chicken and rice.
The writer stayed as a guest of Crowne Plaza Sydney Coogee Beach