The location of the Sir Stamford at Circular Quay can't be faulted, of course, and I prefer the old world charm of the Stamford to the global chains any day of the week. The pool on the fifth floor was taken care of and on a hot afternoon, became the perfect place to cool off for a couple of hours. I was lucky enough to be upgraded when I checked in, which I appreciated very much. My suite was spacious, tastefully furnished and well equipped. The bathroom facilities were excellent, and the shower couldn't be faulted in terms of power and temperature. The toiletries are by L'Occitane and of course, of very high quality. But it's the staff at the Stamford that makes the difference. You know that sometimes, in some hotels you feel that as a guest you are a minor irritation to the busy staff, well it's the opposite here. Each person immediately drops what they are doing and devotes their attention to the customer. They have developed the art of small-talk to guests, but a short, friendly chat to a solo traveller makes such a big difference. The young Singaporean on check-in has a lovely smile for you when you walk up to the desk, and the concierge team couldn't be more helpful. One small hiccup was being directed by the Front Desk to the ice machine on the 2nd floor, only to find that it was removed for repairs. But within minutes, a waiter with a bucket of ice was standing outside my room. Service of the highest order. No more Hilton in Sydney for me, where I'm a faceless number, I've switched my loyalty to the Stamford.