Luxury staycations boom as travel ban bites
Interstate and international travel may be off the cards but Sydneysiders are splashing their cash in their own backyard this year.
Lavish staycations and new luxury wheels abound this summer for the people of NSW, with five-star hotels and Airbnbs alike seeing "record bookings" following the end of the pandemic-driven recession.
CBD and harbourside five-star luxury stays are all the rage in the heart of Sydney right now, with venues like the prestigious Shangri-La Sydney at the Rocks reporting a surge in visitors from Greater Sydney. General Manager Philippe Kronberg told The Daily Telegraph staycations were now a "popular choice" for all sorts of occasions, with "increased demand" for the hotel's on-site spa and dining locations and themed rooms.
"Sydneysiders formed less than 5 per cent of our guest mix pre-pandemic, and they now account for over 75 per cent," Mr Kronberg said.
"We have seen great interest from guests booking special occasions, including birthdays, anniversaries, bridal shower weekends, and romantic couple getaways … locals are looking for a Harbourside escape in the city."
Tourism and Transport Forum CEO Margy Osmond praised Sydneysiders for supporting the local economy, and encouraged overnight trips into the CBD or to bushfire-affected regions devoid of interstate and overseas customers.
"Some areas are really sensitive to a lack of travel, like city CBDs with no business travellers or bushfire affected communities, so if people take the opportunity to do an overnight stay or go to a regional area it provides a shot in the arm," Ms Osmond said.
"There's also been a huge boost in Airbnb activity … though unfortunately the industry is still hurting at the moment due to border closures, so we need people to take one, two weeks and enjoy what NSW and Sydney has to offer."
Sydney foodies have also put their money where their mouth is, with newly-opened Japanese fine dining restaurant Nobu at Crown Sydney now booked out months in advance. The restaurant is now full every weekend until mid April.
The Barangaroo six-star hotel has also enjoyed a successful grand opening, welcoming in hotel guests and diners from December 28, including North Bondi couple Annabelle Russell, 31, and Rowan Russell, 36.
The Russells had plans to catch up with relatives interstate, but after border closures ruined family catch-ups they decided to treat themselves to an overnight stay at Crown during the week.
Mr Russell said the pair had briefly considered a trip to Byron Bay but decided to spend their tourist dollars at home in Sydney.
"We thought we could go away and try Byron, which seemed busy, or take a night out to check out a new piece of Sydney real estate," Mr Russell said.
"It was really nice to see Sydney from a new perspective and enjoy the beautiful view."
Originally published as Luxury staycations boom as travel ban bites