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Spa in Sydney; Every Day is a G'day

By: Bryan Durocher
Posted: January 30, 2009, from the February 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Australians are unfailingly cheerful people, and with good reason. The country has one of the world’s most robust economies, basically on par—up until the recent world financial crises—with the dominant Western European economies. Inflation and unemployment are low, the housing market is booming, and the country enjoys strong economic ties with China, all of which has resulted in 16 years of economic expansion and a government budget surplus since 2002.

In the unofficial capital city of Sydney—the country’s actual seat of government is the small and bucolic Canberra—the 2000 Olympics set development on fast forward with an explosion of improvements in transportation infrastructure and civic amenities, as well as a rash of new luxury waterfront hotels and high-rises. Today, this glittering city is truly Australia’s economic gateway.

Sydney offers residents and visitors the best of many worlds. One can find the sunny, balmy weather and easy-going beach culture of Southern California; the European sophistication of London; and the multicultural, urban aspects of San Francisco. As an American, Sydney’s pioneering spirit and youthfulness as a country reminded me of the United States 50 years ago, and I felt immediately at home.

My visit to the city included plenty of culture. I attended a wonderful performance of the opera Don Giovanni and a fascinating play at the iconic Sydney Opera House, and I loved wandering through the many diverse neighborhoods, sampling a wide array of cuisine in each one. Dining in the city is a delightful experience, as there is a significant Asian influence and an emphasis on fresh, quality ingredients and excellent wines. Above all however, Sydney is about the water—ringed by beautiful harbors, bays, coves and beaches, including the famous Bondi Beach that lies southeast of the city’s center.

My home base in Sydney was the Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel at Circular Quay. The hotel is ideally situated on Sydney Harbour with spectacular views of the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It also afforded me easy access to dining and shopping in The Rocks Market, a popular Sydney retailing destination by the base of the Harbour Bridge, and the Pitt Street Mall, a highly trafficked pedestrianized shopping area. Additionally, travel to outlying areas was quick and convenient.