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NICE hotel on Sydney's Waterfront

'This hotel is NICE', declared Sasha, my discerning 11-year-old niece on entering the Vibe hotel, Rushcutters in Sydney, Australia. I was grateful to have her with me for lots of reasons – mostly because she is great company, but also because without her we would have missed the turning and failed to get the security card work for the car park.

Sasha is also a stand-out critic, so I was interested to see what she would make of this mid-range hotel that was functional and friendly. The Vibe Rushcutters is in a spot-on location in central Sydney complete with rooftop pool and newly opened restaurant, but is certainly not known for its luxury.

Casey on reception couldn't have been more welcoming and when we complained how Siri had got us lost, she agreed, saying: 'Yes, I hate it when Siri gives me attitude.' Her colleague, Christina, kindly offered to accompany us when Sasha and Jack, my 9-year-old nephew, said they were nervous about going up in the lift to the top floor of the hotel. Christina even delivered two lollipops as reward later in the lobby.

This visit was a bit of a birthday treat for Jack and he broke out into a giant grin when three young female bar staff produced mocktails and a nutella slice with a musical candle I had given them, all singing happy birthday with huge smiles. We settled down to dominoes and memory card games in the lounge area, with not a bit of technology in sight. That is, until we legged it up to the rooftop pool and gym treadmill. It was night time; the lights of Rushcutters marina twinkled in the background and a full moon only added to the magic.

Sasha was determined to try out the treadmill of the gym adjoining the pool, Jack joining her, resulting in not the first bit of comedy of the stay. We all three eventually and happily squeezed into the King size bed and had a reasonable enough night sleep considering the sugar that had been consumed. In the morning, charming Hayden from reception advised ordering from the menu at breakfast to avoid the very full buffet area, but the kids were keen on the help yourself concept, which worked well for speed as they had school that day.

Our verdict on leaving? Impressed. Sasha and Jack have stayed in some fine, luxury hotels in their short lives, and agreed with me that what makes somewhere really special and lingers in your memory, is when you are made to feel welcome, really welcome. Friendliness, I feel, is so underrated in hotels and this, apart from the location, layout and amenities, is what really stands out at the Vibe Hotel, Rushcutters.

Vibe Hotel Rushcutters

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