AS a seasoned corporate traveller, I never thought to stay at men-only gay bar The Laird. I decided to suss out if there was a better way to fit in some Christmas shopping, still get my work done and find ways to get distracted. At nearly half what I am used to paying, I was also pleasantly surprised.
The boss Brett likes his rugby league and thought we’d have a kinship with my Sydney roots. “Pfft AFL boys are far hotter,” I demanded as he poured me a Carlton Draught – after telling me not to bother ordering that “Toohey’s shit” again.
Already my corporate stay was different from the cold and impersonal hotels where room service and laptops pass what could be a lonely time away from home, even if The Laird’s included wi-fi was a nice surprise.
I spent $9 in pizza from the place next door, which gets delivered to the pub included a pot of beer. Brett showed me the private guest area that has its own lounge and kitchen. For a burly-blokey place to lay your hat, it had the cute touch of jam-filled bickies and help-yourself continental brekkie as part of the deal.
A Dutch tourist was in the private lounge and we had a quick chat before I passed out in my standard room. A nice touch to the non-interaction protocol straight out the movie Lost in Translation I was used to.
Getting ready for work the next day, there was a decent iron, which is always a risky-lottery in hotels, and I chuckled as I lathered up with the “three times moisturising cherry blossom cleanser”.
I took this up with Brett. “We all have our sensitive side,” he joked. “Wanna swap quiche recipes, too?”
In case I wanted to complete my WHAM experience, the good people at The Laird even have hair mousse straight from 1984.
After a long day and not feeling like pizza, I was sent to the sensational Park Hotel for a delicious parma with more beers that I can choose from on a school night. Staff were tops and gay and straight friendly as my cousin and I worked towards a food coma.
When I got back, Brett said: “just show your key and it’s free entry to Club 80.” Not tonight Brett, but good to know. Up to the room for black-out blinds and enjoying a good range of local TV, including some of the manager’s hand picked favourite films and wondering what my boss might say about me changing digs (“you know we can just do an invoice with an ABN – no worries”).
Being within walking distance from the outlet shops on Smith St, my Chrissy shopping is done. The comfy bed and good hospitality meant that there will be less time spent in a cold, stale corporate hotel for me in the future.
En-suite rooms were $150 for two, including wi-fi and brekkie. My room standard room was $120.