Must-read Earlier Installments:
- Singapore, Cathay, and Qantas First Class.. Some of the Best Meals of My Life, and a Tour of Hyatts in Bangkok, Singapore, and Sydney
- Inside the New Oneworld Lounge at LAX’s Tom Bradley International Terminal
- Cathay Pacific First Class, Los Angeles – Hong Kong
- Cathay Pacific “The Wing” First Class Lounge, Hong Kong
- Cathay Pacific Business Class, Hong Kong – Bangkok
- Grand Hyatt Bangkok: Suite, Club Lounge, and Facilities
- Thai Molecular Gastronomy at Sra Bua in Bangkok
- Getting Custom Tailored Suits Made in Bangkok at Empire Tailors
- Nahm at the Metropolitan: the Best Thai Food in Thailand?
- Thailand’s Iron Chef Cooks Ancient Recipes in a Deserted Top Notch Restaurant
- Eating The Best Local Thai Dishes in the Bangrak Neighborhood of Bangkok
- Louis Tavern CIP Lounge and Cathay Pacific Business Class, Bangkok-Singapore
- Grand Hyatt Singapore
- Eating and Entertainment Like a Singapore Local
- Singapore Airlines ‘The Private Room’ First Class Lounge
- Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Class, Singapore – Sydney
I’ve been traveling to Sydney for many years. My aunt and uncle moved there in the early 1980s and I have cousins there now as well. So my trips to Sydney have been more common than to most destinations, though I haven’t stayed at very many hotels there (growing up I stayed with my family in the suburbs).. although I’ve previously stayed at the Westin and the Intercontinental.
I booked the Park Hyatt Sydney prior to the implementation of Hyatt’s new category 7 awards, so this cost me 22,000 points per night rather than the current 30,000. I figured it was as good a time to finally stay here as any!
My aunt and uncle picked us up at the airport and we stopped along the way at the fish market to buy dinner for that night. Then they dropped us off at the hotel around 10:30am.
Now, that’s before check-in time and the hotel certainly didn’t have to accommodate us. I arrived at check in and was told I had been assigned a City Harbor View King that wasn’t ready yet. I then asked whether any rooms were available?
The agent at the desk told me that there was an Opera View King available if I wanted to pay an extra AU$100 per night.
I asked if the room is available –and it isn’t a suite (indeed, it’s just an upgraded view and not even a ‘Deluxe’ room), shouldn’t I be able to have it assigned as a complimentary Gold Passport Diamond member upgrade?
No, I was told — the hotel “tries try to upgrade Diamond members,” but since the hotel was very full they couldn’t provide the upgrade for free.
Wanting a nap, and not to have a ‘thing’ at check-in in front of my wife, I accepted this AU$100 per night charge for five nights — AU$500 total! — know that it should be reversed later.
This was purely self-interest. If I pushed, the hotel could have said they’re unable to accommodate me until check-in time in the afternoon. (Hotels are supposed to accommodate early check-in for Diamonds if a room is available, this isn’t a published benefit but it’s what I’ve been told by the leadership at Gold Passport — nonetheless, they wouldn’t have been breaking the progam’s rules if they did not.) I figured that any argument could have meant me not getting a room for hours. Whereas simply addressing the matter later was the best course, once I had been assigned a room.
I emailed the Front Office Manager who agreed that a Diamond member shouldn’t be charged for an upgrade to an available room with a better view. I wasn’t out AU$500, or anything at all.
That glitch aside, I thought the hotel was absolutely lovely. It’s located down at ‘The Rocks’ which is convenient if you’re going to be taking the ferry around to the suburbs of Sydney (my case, since it’s where my family lives). It’s convenient to a lot of tourist activity. But it’s not super-convenient to most of the downtown business activity, though I’ve certainly walked between the Park Hyatt and the Westin and back in the past.
The hotel has magnificent views of the Opera House and the Harbor.
The hotel has a very friendly, service-oriented staff — which you would expect from a Park Hyatt, but wouldn’t necessarily expect in Sydney. On the other hand, I can’t really think of another city where the Park Hyatt is generally regarded as the best hotel in the city. There are some great Park Hyatts, up there among the better properties in a given city, but I think it would be hard to make the case for another property in Sydney being ‘better’ than this one.
Breakfast at the hotel is impressive, you get the full buffet plus you can order off of the menu complimentary. They have you sign a check at the end of the meal which shows the cost taken off. Each day I ordered an entree, and I even ordered a side, plus unlimited flat whites made with extra ristretto, in addition to having some pastries and fruit and smoked salmon from the buffet.
Breakfast menus — click to enlarge:
The only criticism I’d have is that service at breakfast time was hit-or-miss. There were some days they were spot on, and other days it was difficult to get anyone’s attention to bring by more coffee, and it didn’t really seem to coincide with the days they were busy or slow.
I’d say that the occasional lapses in the restaurant at breakfast were really the only lapses overall — room serive delivery was super-prompt. The concierge was friendly. Help with a taxi was always offered, along with a bottle of water when you wished.
The rooms are very nice, too.
I especially thought that the plant which can be seen both through the main bathroom and also in the toilet room was a nice touch.
(The only oddity about the bathroom was that there was no ‘backup roll’ of toilet paper in the room throughout the stay, never a problem but a curiosity that I noted.)
Even though I didn’t get upgraded to a larger room, the size of the room itself was just fine with a large bathroom and a super comfortable bed, and a sitting area.
There was a mini balcony as well that did feature a chair, although it was more of a walkout balcony than anything else.
There was welcome fruit delivered to the room shortly after we arrived, which was appreciated.
The property itself is simultaneously love, a bit tired, and strange.
Here’s one piece that stood out to me in the hallway (same piece in several spots).
As for tired, this was the carpet just before reaching my room.
I found the elevator lobby perfectly nice though fairly unmemorable.
The lobby of the hotel, though, is much nicer.
There’s a lobby area where they do casual dining including breakfast, and past that is the bar.
The gym is well-equipped.
The rooftop pool is lovely, though I was surprised that it didn’t face the harbor and opera house (there’s event space up there that apparently does instead).
On our last night we received treats.
Honestly, I wouldn’t say that I find there to be anything exciting about the hotel. It is a good place to stay if the area of Sydney works for you, and the views are definitely special. Diamonds receive complimentary breakfast, and it’s certainly one of the better breakfast offerings. Plus, this is Australia, so they know how to make coffee.
I plan to be back in a couple of months, and I expect to stay here again.