Dive Hotel

Coogee, Sydney, Australia Book from

Reviewed by Nadine Mellor
Boutique but friendly beachfront hotel in the laid-back suburb of Coogee, just 15 minutes from Sydney airport
Don't misinterpret the name: this is no 'dive', nor does it feel like a hotel. In fact it's something of a hybrid, with all the style of a boutique beach villa and all the friendliness of an owner-run guesthouse. Perched on a raised walkway facing Coogee Beach, its modern exterior - all large windows and charcoal-grey walls - hides a colonial house within. And there are some lively contrasts. Bright green carpets and shocking pink courtyard walls yield to calm monochromes in the 16 spacious bedrooms. Sleek bathrooms of stainless steel and cerulean-blue glass poke fun at ornate plaster ceiling mouldings and Victorian tiling in the hallway.

Terry and Mercedes, who 'live above the shop', have created a tranquil, laid-back and sociable atmosphere. There's a help-yourself kitchen with coffee and magazines, a sunny little courtyard, and lazy breakfasts for guests to compare - and sometimes combine - travel plans. After a day's swimming, surfing and Sydney-sightseeing, it's an easy-going beachside haven.

Highs

  • Unpretentious, well-priced boutique hotel with nice designer touches
  • Coogee beach is on your doorstep: much less crowded than Bondi, and great for swimming or surfing
  • An ideal bolthole from busy Sydney, whose centre is just 20 minutes by taxi
  • Coogee's village feel makes it seem like you're living here rather than visiting
  • The minimalist rooms are well-equipped with cleverly designed ensuite bathrooms and kitchenettes

Lows

  • Coogee is a nice beach, but it's not Sydney's trendiest nor its most central; you will need taxis and buses to get about
  • Further down the road are the inevitable backpackers hostels common to every beach suburb; but you rarely notice them
  • Only 3 out of 16 rooms have sea view
  • The road outside means these rooms get some noise with their sea views
  • Breakfast is continental style only
  • The hotel is getting a little frayed round the edges

Best time to go

The swimming is best in the summer (November - March) but the ocean is great to have on the doorstep all year round as its moods alter. Spring (September-October) and autumn (April-May) are quiet and generally have lovely weather; winters (June-August) are temperate.

Our top tips

Enjoy the coastal paths here and see if you can walk as far as Bondi. Don't forget beach gear, any sporting apparel you'll require, shoes for walking or running, sun hats, sunglasses and sunblock - the rays can be fierce off the ocean.

Great for...

Beach
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 16
  • Breakfast (+ walk to off-site restaurants)
  • Over 8s welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room: Balcony Room

Rooms

Architect Virginia Kerridge has done a great job combining cool whites with bold splashes of colour, and contemporary restraint with the grandeur of the original structure. The rooms vary in size but all feel spacious; those on the ground floor retain their high Victorian ceilings. Smallest are the Standard Queen Rooms and largest is the Premier Ocean View Room which has its own sitting area and grand sea views.

A Japanese influence is apparent in the monochromatic decor, screens and sliding cedar doors. Beds are covered with dazzling white linen, dark charcoal counterpanes and double pillows; bedside Eileen Gray tables have sleek metal lamps. You get beige curtains, dove grey sofas, a small dose of art (2 black and white photographs in our room) and warm grey-mocha rugs on pine or jarra-wood floorboards. Bathrooms are bijou but perfectly conceived: expect custom-made stainless steel suites with a walk-in drench shower, blue mosaic tiled walls, and an organic range of Clay toiletries from Byron Bay.

We loved the Ocean View Rooms, on the ground floor by the entrance, which have stunning sea views and a small sun-trap balcony. King Rooms, also on the ground floor, enjoy original ceiling mouldings and high ceilings. Upstairs, the Balcony Room has its own balcony and sliding wood lattice door.

All rooms have a compact beech wood kitchenette with microwave, tea and coffee making facilities and stainless steel sink. Other practical items include an ironing board and iron, telephone, radio, satellite TV, CD and DVD players.

Features include:

  • Cd player
  • Coffee tea making
  • Combined Air-Con/Heater
  • Digital TV
  • Kitchenette
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast is taken communally around the large custom-made dining table in the Tasmanian oak kitchen, or outside in the courtyard. It's a lazy, sociable affair which can last all morning. You'll find fellow guests reading the complimentary newspapers, tapping away at their laptop, and making plans for the day. The architect, Virginia Kerridge, designed the galley kitchen, with its folding doors and clean lines, to be simple and stylish. The 2 long dining tables, next to the wide glass sliding doors onto the courtyard, are laid with condiments; there's a large fridge full of supplies and a variety of breads on the sideboard; and you're free to bring your own favourite items too. So help yourself and make toast, coffee, cereal, freshly-squeezed orange juice or whatever takes your fancy in the mornings. Both the reception area and kitchen are tucked away at night by customised cedar folding doors.

Sydney is justly renowned for its wealth of excellent restaurants and eateries - food is fashion here. Coogee Beach has dozens of likeable cafes and cuisine of every stripe. For restaurants with designer interiors and design-conscious customers you may need to go further afield - check out Paddington, Darlinghurst and Bondi. Local recommendations include A Fish Called Coogee, Bar Zura, and Jack & Jills.

You can also stay in and rustle up dinner in your room's kitchenette. There is a microwave, a fridge, a kettle, and a basic set of cutlery, the hotel will also let your borrow items from their kitchen.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Children meals
  • Coffee tea making
  • Communal dining
  • Kitchenette
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating: Breakfast room
Activity:

Activities

  • Charming Coogee beach is right in front of your nose - swim and surf to your heart's content; there are often fairs, markets and kite festivals on summer weekends
  • Recently restored, Victorian Wylie's Baths is an ocean pool with a wooden sundeck cum coffee bar. It's also a Dive-in cinema
  • There's also a Ladies Baths for "Women from 0-90" - a great sampler of Sydneysiders
  • The Ocean walk to Bronte and Bondi Beaches along rugged cliff tops is one of the highlights of the area - check out the cemetery with a view
  • You're 10 minutes away from a tour around Fox Studios, where Babe, The Matrix, Moulin Rouge, Star Wars and Mission Impossible were filmed
  • Cheer on your team (or someone else's) at the legendary Sydney Cricket Ground and Sydney Football Stadium (which hosts football of all codes), both nearby
  • Fancy a flutter? Sydney's Randwick Racecourse is a 5-10 minute drive
  • There are seven golf courses within a 7km radius; and tennis courts 2 blocks away
  • Go diving in adjacent Gordon's Bay, with its underwater park
  • Laid back Centennial Park is 10 minutes away - perfect for a picnic, strolling, rollerblading, cycling and horseriding - and with a cafe and restaurant too
  • For nightlife, restaurants and bars, Darlinghurst is about a 15 minute cab ride away
  • And Paddington, great for its Saturday market, boutiques and shops, is 10-15 minutes away
  • The City's Circular Quay, Opera House, Harbour Bridge, museums and ferry trips are 20 minutes away
  • Or stay in with a massage in your room

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Horse-riding
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Scuba diving
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Tennis

Kids

Dive welcomes children over 8 years old. Kids will love the beach and its facilities opposite. None of the rooms are able to accommodate extra beds.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Babysitting:

Babysitting available by arrangement

Children's meals:

Rooms have a kitchenette, and there's a communal kitchen area for breakfasts.

Families Should Know:

There is a relatively busy road in front of the hotel and though the property is on a raised walkway and the front door is too heavy for small kids to open, parents should be aware of excited children rushing out towards the beach.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

7/
Rooms
6/
Food
7/
Service
7/
Value
7/
Overall

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