Elegant ... Kathryn's on Queen is a little slice of Europe in Woollahra.
More B&B Accommodation Reviews & Testimonials
All hail the Queen of hearts
Sydney Morning Herald - Sun Herald Travel Review
David Sygall finds a bed and breakfast that combines big city flair with homey hospitality.
I woke up in Florence the other morning. Maybe it was Paris. It could even have been Rome. Kathryn's on Queen is an escape from everyday life; a boutique bed and breakfast in the tradition of old Europe. Antique furniture, little balconies overlooking tree-lined vistas and a very homey courtyard provide a sense of elegance and comfort.
But the true beauty of this Woollahra getaway is that it is in the heart of one of Sydney's most lovely suburbs. Across the road is Centennial Park, where you can read the paper and feed ducks, go for a run, a bike ride, a stroll - or lie down on the grass and do nothing at all. Metres away is Oxford Street with all its great shopping, restaurants and bars.
The city is 10 minutes in one direction, Bondi Beach 10 minutes in the other and harbourside suburbs like Double Bay are a pleasant walk away.
The terrace is on Queen Street, one of Sydney's most exclusive and classy avenues, featuring fine dining, galleries, antique showrooms and quality shopping. It's a fantastic getaway for any traveller but particularly for parents looking to put distance between themselves and their home life - but not too much. You sense you're in another country but really you are no more than a short drive from home.
Kathryn started the B&B eight years ago because she wanted to take a new direction in her life. It seems she has found her calling because the business seems perfectly appropriate for her personality. She is a motherly, caring and friendly lady who loves a good chinwag. On our first afternoon we arrive home after a walk through Paddington to find a plate of home-made biscuits outside our door.
Kathryn also makes brilliant breakfasts, including poached sweet peaches, beautiful yoghurts, cereals and omelets. She is happy to chat but also has a sense of which guests prefer to be left alone.
While we are there, two English guys who live in Spain are staying in the attic room above us - and talk of living in a resort-style part of the Spanish riviera. I think they will be pretty hard to please, given their lifestyle, but when I ask what they think of the place, their faces light up. "We love it here," they say.
They appreciate Kathryn's friendliness and her tips for seeing the best parts of Sydney. But their favourite thing about Kathryn's on Queen is that it is not just another insensitive, big hotel. Rather, they feel they are staying in a home - a place where they feel appreciated and personally catered for.
The grand Victorian terrace wasn't always so welcoming. The heritage-protected building was built in 1888, the same year as the opening of its famous neighbour, Centennial Park. However, the area was hardly stylish and the terrace has a past that includes some quite salacious activity.
In 1998, Kathryn began restoration and renovation, and opened the business in 2000. She created three rooms*: one small and intimate, another hidden away in a private attic and a third, grander room at the front of the building facing onto Queen Street.
Bathrooms are separate to the rooms, except in the attic room where there is a small ensuite. But all are private and decked out with quality creams, ointments and soaps.
The place attracts all kinds of guests - Kathryn says a week earlier a group of girls rented the rooms and spent their weekend shopping in Woollahra and Paddington, coming back intermittently to drop off purchases before heading out again.
At other times, couples from all over the world - or just up the road - come to stay. Guest book entries suggest Kathryn's on Queen has impressed visitors from Iceland to the United States. For locals, though, it provides a chance to wake up in Paris but be just a short trek from home. The writer was a guest of Kathryn's on Queen and Tourism NSW.
Address: 20 Queen Street, Woollahra.
Bookings: (02) 9327 4535.
FIND TIME TO
- Have a leisurely and pleasant breakfast in the peaceful courtyard to start your day.
- Enjoy a shopping trip and lunch on Oxford Street, Paddington, around the corner from Kathryn's.
Why you'd go: Kathryn's provides guests with a sense of European style and class.
Why you wouldn't go: Because you are close enough for the babysitter to ask that you come home as the baby is throwing a tantrum and the dog has swallowed a tennis ball."
Sydney Morning Herald - Sun Herald: Travel
Sydney B&B Accommodation Reviews & Testimonials
* [Please note: There are currently just two luxury rooms available, Le Petite is no longer available to the public.]