The Excelsior Hotel
on Thursday, 17 June 2010. Posted in Finding Accommodation in Sydney
the Excelsior Hotel is tucked away in the heart of Surry Hills, one of the coolest suburbs in Sydney. this pub has live music, great food and boutique accommodation that goes by the name of Happy Chappys.
The pub and accommodation are run by two brothers, so the place instantly has a really great feel about it – you’ll often see them pulling beers behind the bar, chatting to patrons or running food. We reckon they are probably two of the most aussie guys you’ll ever meet in Oz so it’s worth dropping by there for a schooner of beer just to meet them.
The boys are really helpful, if your looking for a good night out, a great place to stay, some advice about whats doing in the area, they will go out of their way to help you.
they really are what makes the Excelsior so great.
Watch Belle’s interview with the Chappy Brothers>
Mark and Andrew have a chat and talk about what the Excelsior can offer travellers
Well if it is your first time to Sydney, I’ve got a little bit of a hot tip. Now if you come into central station which is probably going to be one of your first stops in the day, find Foveaux Street. Walk straight up Foveaux and you’ll find this gem of a pub the Excelsior Hotel.
Now it’s one of my favorite places to come in Surrey Hills. But not only is it a pub with live music. It actually has some boutique hostel accommodations up the top. They call it Happy Chappy Travelers and it’s owned by three brothers and it’s boutique accommodations really cheap and a lot of travelers come here for long term or short term stay but I’m actually going to go and talk to Mark, one of the owners, and he is going to tell you all about it and show you through the accommodation. The Excelsior Hotel, perfect little spot, it’s got great outside drinks, great food and accommodation and it’s really central as well. Just a walk up from central station.
Okay. Let’s go talk to Jeff and find out all about Happy Chappy’s. okay. So what’s Happy Chappy’s in a nutshell. Happy Chappy’s in a nutshell is me and my brother mark, well more Mark, and Andrew. We are the Chapman’s. We bought the hotel two years ago. We had a hostel semi set up upstairs and we’ve also always wanted to have a name with our name in it and we’ve always wanted to go with Chappy or Chappo so we came up with Happy Chappy Travelers because we’ve always been called the Happy Chappy’s because we were always giggling and being stupid so we came up with Happy Chappy Travelers.
So it’s a good place to stop maybe when they are fist arriving in town because it is homely. It is a great stop over place and also a great sort of short to long term place. We have a lot that come here and stay a week. They’ll head up the coast and they’ll go can we book in; we’d really like to come back. We’re going to be working in Sydney and we get a lot of travelers staying 2-3 months at a time. They’ve got a full time job or they’re just working saving their cash to get traveling again.
Okay. So Happy Chappy Travelers, a bit of a mouthful but it sounds like a great place to stay. Let’s get a little bit more information on what can the travelers do once they’re here. They’ve set up base in Happy Chappy’s, what can you provide them? Which services? Well I’ve had a lot of years in the backpackers industry. I use to run a backpackers bar hence why we’re going with a hostel because I’ve been around the industry a fair while. I’ve got a lot of mates, a lot of contacts for the industry; just I can point you in the right direction. If you want to go up the coast, I can send you to the right person, book a trip, if you want to learn how to surf, some mates of mine own the best surf camp in Australia and they do 2 to 3 day surf camps and they’re good mates of mines. Actually one of the reps usually stays here when he is in town. So we’ve got that sort of facility as well and who doesn’t want to learn how to surf when you come to Australia. Exactly. It’s a must guys. There’s all that sort of stuff. You’ve got internet café down the street. You’ve got bars. You’ve got hostels. If you’re out looking for more of a party hostel, I can send you in the right direction. I’ve got friends that manage some of the bigger hostels. We all sort of work off of each other. When they fill up, they send me travelers and when I fill up, I send over to them. It’s a real tight community as far as the backpacking industry goes. If you tell me you want to get on the drink every night and meet 100 different Swedish girls, I can send you in the right direction. We’ve got that facility as well. It was almost like team Sweden here last year.
So who do you get staying? They’re probably a real broad demographic. We’ve had Swedish, English, American, Canadian, had a few Germans here, who else did I have? All over the place. Just from that a lot of their friends were traveling and there’s always the network of people traveling so we picked up a lot of people coming to stay where their friend is already checked in here and also people from up and down the coast from all different walks of life and part of the world.
What about working, I mean, do you take backpacks to work behind your bar? We do in the busier time. I had a few staff here. Well not actually staff, people that were staying upstairs, never worked in bars before and so I just said to them if you want I can teach you how to pour a beer. Which is great if you do want to work in bars up and down the coast I could imagine. You have to get a couple of certificates to work behind the bar in Australia. The responsive service of alcohol. So I would tell them where to go to get that and cost about - to get that. Once they’ve got that, I can put them behind the bar and show them how to pour a drink and if I’ve got work available, I can put them on as a staff member or at least get them started so they have some experience to go and find a job somewhere else.
How many people do you usually have staying or how many can you hold? We’ve got 35 beds. It’s quite a small hostel. That’s why we name it the home away from home because it’s a bit more intimate. Me and my brother are always here. We check everyone in and out. We look out for ourselves. It has a real feel of you guys actually looking after it not a massive hostel. Not a massive hostel. It’s small. It’s friendly. Like I said we know everyone that stays here. We don’t let anyone check in unless we’ve met them. If they have checked in and we haven’t met them, I’ll go knock on their door and say hi, how are you doing?
If they stay upstairs, is it loud or is it quiet? It’s a bit of both. A night the music can be a little louder upstairs but it’s finished at midnight every night, that’s usually just the weekends. During the week it’s pretty quiet around hill. Surrey Hills is a real eclectic part of Sydney. It’s a growing part of Sydney. You’ve got your trendy, alternative, all walks of life around here and it’s just on the city doorstep, like 5 minutes into town, 200 minutes from central station. It’s a bit of a hub of city now, Surrey Hills. There are bars, restaurants, cafes, hostels. Good place to start. Great place to start. You can get the train from the airport straight to Sydney and it is literally a 200 minute walk from central station.
Can they book on-line? You can book on-line. You can walk up, give us a call, shoot me an email. I take all the emails at Mchappy@HappyChappyTravelers. Bit of a tongue twister but it gets you here eventually. You can shoot me an email and I’ll send you a booking request form. You just send it back to me and I’ll lock you in.
How do we get to you? Where are you? What’s the address? We’re on Foveaux Street. 64 Foveaux Street. On our website there’s a little map there to get you here from central station and it’s literally the bottom of the hill. What is the website? www.happychappytravelers.com. It’s a bit long but if you go to Google and punch in Happy Chappy Travelers, it will pop up or the website for the Excelsior Hotel, we’ve got links for that as well. www.excelsiorhotel.com.au or www.happychappytravelers.com. So that’s basically Happy Chappy’s in a nutshell. Home away from home. I live upstairs amongst the backpackers as well so I operate the hotel and also the hostel.
What’s your favorite part of Sydney? As a local? As a local, well I’ve grown up here all my life and there’s never a dull moment in Sydney especially in the peak season. The nightlife just cranks and the weather is phenomenal for a long time. Good six months of summer. You can walk off the beach and walk into a bar. There are no dress regulations in every place you go to. You can walk in in your thongs and board shorts, thongs or flip flops, whichever you want to call it. Your thongs as well ladies. Don’t be shy to wear those.
This is the other Happy Chappy. Hi how are you doing? You’ll see the similarity on the caricature when you see it. But what’s your favorite part of Sydney? Pretty much Circular Key. It amazes me with all the lights and how the bridge lights up, the building lights, Opera bar, a great place to grab a drink or walk around and see the scenery. That’s probably one of my best places or Dying Harbor. Where’s your favorite bar? There’s too many. That’s the great thing about Sydney; you have so many great bars. What’s your favorite romantic thing to do? If you were a traveler and you’re looking to pick up some local. Probably Oyster Bar or Opera Bar. I’ve used that a couple of times. Good results. It’s good to like seafood so if you like seafood Opera Bar next to the opera house, looking at the bridge over the water. Guys you’d be doing well. Especially if you’re traveling on the pound, you’d be doing well.
We’re talking with Mark and Andrew of the Happy Chappy Travelers, owners and operators. Once you’ve checked in, this is your way in. This is the access for the hostel. As you know that’s me and Andrew, the Happy Chappy Travelers so you can’t miss the doorway. Electric code. Ignore that. We change it every week. We’re coming up. On the way up we’ve got some food specials every day. We have meals, dollar meals depending what’s on so you can get a nice steak or a curry or something depending on what your flavor is. Maybe not every night but we have got a full kitchen down there anyway so we’ve always got specials going for whatever it might be. Actually we’re due to start breakfast soon on the weekends so you can come in and have a brunch of all kinds of nice things. Another photo of us because we like to look at ourselves. There are two levels. There are three rooms down there. My room is down there so unless the place is burning down, you don’t knock on that one. We have bathrooms here. The next level goes up as well. Coming down is our common room. Our office which we are always usually around. A couple of photos of our last two Christmases here. You can see me and my brother and the drunken idiots that hand out with everyone. That was our first year, small group. To our second year, hostel and that was all the people who stayed here over Christmas Day. We had a big Christmas breakfast. Turkey, ham, croissants and all sorts of stuff. We always have a lot of fun.
Hey how are you? See all the homey things of Happy Chappy’s. Iron your shirt and get ready for a day’s work. We are just doing a little hi, how are you doing? Where are you from? Sweden. There you go. What did I say? Plenty of Swedish people. We’ve got plenty of stuff. Like I said the surf camp, learn to surf. Good mates of mine that run that. The package is there. It’s 2 to 3 day surf camps. If you grab one of those, it’s a toll free number when you get here give them a call. There are all sorts of other stuff. Blue Mountain trips. There’s a box of wine there as you can see. We all enjoy a drink. Plenty of books to read. Guides and just our common room full of DVDs and movies you can help yourself to. There are a few remnants of last night, the red bulls and spirit glasses, everyone enjoys a drink. This is generally the area where everyone hangs out, has dinner and does their thing, meets every one. We did have TVs in all the rooms but we took them out. So everyone comes in here and socializes. If you’re traveling alone or as two people, you’re guaranteed to meet someone else. That’s the idea at Happy Chappys. We don’t want anyone to be sitting around on your own at all. Once you’re here, you’re almost expected to meet everyone else and so we make sure that usually happens. I’ll show you around the rest of the place. I’ll show you upstairs. Hopefully the guys have cleaned up after themselves after breakfast this morning and I’ll show you the kitchen area. There are two levels. There are 35 beds. It’s a night or 0 a week, which is pretty cheap for the area. Got some more guests coming down now. This is Sandra from Sweden. She’s been here for quite a few months. She was here over Christmas. You’re from Sweden? Yeah. How long you been here for? 2 ½ months. What do you think of Happy Chappy Travelers? It’s awesome. I’ll buy you a beer later. So that’s two Swedish out of 35. Probably more still sleeping because they’ve been out at the pubs all night.
Five rooms up here. This is the corridor. There are four rooms along there. There’s also another one out here. There’s supposed to be 4 to a room. There’s one room with 6 beds in it. Most of the rooms have 4 beds in the room. Like I said it is a night or 0 a week. We don’t change those prices all year round. We keep a level price. A lot of hostels price are up 4 times the price over New Years and Christmas. We keep ours level. We’d rather have a lot of happy people here with plenty of money to spend on the good times in Sydney. We don’t want to fleece you too much. There are plenty of other facilities to spend your money on that way.
There are a few, some rules and regulations. If you use it, clean it. If you dirty it, clean it. If you break it, report it. If you’re happy, smile. Probably a few of our little things. Here we go another little part of the hostel some dirty washing but we’ve got washers and dryers. We got kitchen facilities here. Pretty basic but enough for you to cook your own food. Means you don’t have to blow your budget and eat out every night or you can just hang out, make your own dinner and sit down in the common room, have a chat and watch a movie.
Okay guys. We’re back outside. That was a little tour of the hostel. That’s Happy Chappy’s. Don’t forget you can find us on the web at www.excelsiorhotel.com.au or www.happychappytravelers.com. That’s me and my brother that you met before. We’re idiots. We have a good time. We love showing off our city and we love showing off our hostel and welcoming anybody through our doors and so if this is what you’re after, come along, give us a call or send us an email or if you’re after something different we can always point you in the right direction. We’d love to help you out. We’d love to meet you and hopefully we’ll see you in Sydney soon.