It’s an old joke but a goodie. People in other, less affluent suburbs, call it Double Pay. But I have recently rediscovered this piece of Sydney and I love it.
In fact, in recent months when visiting Sydney, for business or pleasure, I have stayed there. And there have been times when, during a whole visit, I have not been to the CBD.
Straight from the airport to the Eastern Distributor and up William Street to Double Bay.
As a creature of habit I would usually stay in hotels like the Intercontinental near Circular Quay. And looking for a meal – or a newspaper—there you would joust with ferry commuters and foreign tourists. And there weren’t many good places around. Unless you grabbed a cab and went to somewhere like Otto’s down on the Finger wharves.
I had ignored Double Bay for years since sipping coffee at the Cosmopolitan in the 1970s. People like Bob Rogers and Kerry Packer and Abe Saffron hung out there. And the wouldbe if they couldbes. There are still a few of them around in their leased Porsches.
In 2005 Knox Street knocks me out. It is almost Parisienne. You will rarely find so many beautiful, well-dressed, women in the world. Unless you go to Rio. Double Bay makes the Melbourne equivalent – Toorak – look old and tatty.
You can sit at one of the outdoor cafes on Knox Street and watch a beautiful passing parade. To use that awful American expression it is “eye candy”.
I stay (and pay) at the Sir Stamford. To use the hotel’s own blurb: “Sir Stamford Double Bay is unlike any other hotel that I have seen. Its entrance is disguised on a charming shopping street and from the outside, it is difficult to discern the presence of the hotel. An elegant and green awning and small brass nameplate are the only indicators that a hotel is situated here”. And that’s the truth.
I usually stay in a third floor suite and, from the balcony – especially on weekends – the view is like something out of Paris. Tres continental. As one would say. In Double Bay.
In front of the Sir Stamford is the aforementioned Cosmopolitan. A great Australian café and one of the first. They have great breakfasts. But try their desserts, later in the day that they describe as “Something Sweet”.
“Red wine poached figs served with raspberry coulis and vanilla ice-cream” or “warm apple and rhubarb crumble with vanilla ice-cream”. Had that!
Or “fresh strawberries in Grand Marnier with lemon sorbet”. Had that too. And then there are shops. Classy clothes. And the people you perv at obviously buy them.
I have discovered that Double Bay is a beautiful piece of the world filled with lots of beautiful people. And I, frankly, don’t care if I “double pay”.