Review: Park Hyatt Sydney

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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.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I am planning to stay there next month for two nights as a Platinum. This is my first time to Australia. Any places good to eat nearby?

  2. Seems strange that the carpet is so worn out already. It was only completely refurbished not long ago….

  3. Thanks, Gary for the report. Considering staying there for a trip to Sydney later this year.

    One request (and it’s a general matter) – I suspect that the vast majority of your readers are not Diamond. Could you please make more clear what benefits are associated with being Diamond and what are generally applicable?

    For instance, when you write:

    “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.”

    I assume that this applies only to Diamond. Is that correct?


  4. @Greg99 apologies if I wasn’t clear, I wrote “Diamonds receive complimentary breakfast, and it’s certainly one of the better breakfast offerings.”

  5. Basically this hotel is all about the view. We’ve stayed there multiple times and had perfectly nice stays, but there is a slight arrogance about the staff, I’ve noticed, sort of like “we’re the best place in town and we have nothing but demand for our rooms, so we don’t have to do anything special for you.”

    The restaurant service has always been hit-or-miss (usually miss) and we’ve spend long periods of time trying to get someone’s attention at breakfast. This was true 10 years ago and 5 years ago, so it’s apparently not going to get any better. The only thing that made me feel a little better about it was knowing I wasn’t expected to tip.

  6. I also received no upgrade at check in, and when I asked about possible upgrades, they said they’d get back to me, but never did. As with your experience, my experience as a Hyatt Diamond was that the only thing you can expect is free breakfaster internet. They will not upgrade you (they don’t offer Diamond Suite upgrades either), and they are very firm that they won’t go above and beyond.

    I found housekeeping to be spotty as well.

    Lucky just had a great experience there with his Dad. I chalked it up to blogger preferential treatment (it seems that your stay didn’t merit the same).

    I have another upcoming stay here in July, and I’ve tempered my expectations.

  7. Your experience was in line with mine. Very friendly “service”…though hit and miss in the actual performing of the service. I also had a similar hiccup in diamond upgrade application – that I was unable to get worked out.

    Overall, the hotel is a great location and is nice inside, but I didn’t find it to be anything to get too excited about.

  8. In my previous comment, I meant “free breakfast and internet” not “free breakfaster internet”. Sorry for the typo.

    @Mary: I think you hit the nail on the head about the hotel staff’s arrogance. I felt the same. I’ve never felt this way at any other Hyatt property.

  9. Thanks Gary – it wasn’t clear to me in the earlier paragraph whether you got the complimentary entree because of the Diamond benefit or because anyone who bought the buffet also got to choose from an entree.


  10. We were there last month and it was a true highlight. At check in, they told me that they had a Harbour View Deluxe upgrade for me. I told them that the website showed Opera View as being available and that it would mean a lot to us (as Diamonds) if they could do that. FD manager came over and made it happen – had to wait about45 minutes but they bought the drinks!

    Room was beautiful and view, at the end of the building, was to die for. Concierges were absolutely wonderful. Only downside is one you mentioned – while breakfasts were wonderful and plentiful, I also had to work to get attention for coffee and the check – no charge but had to sign it. But in the end, I felt it was being picky! BTW, we met a couple up north who was staying at the Four Seasons in Sydney. As you hinted, the room rate at the FS was one-third the cost of a room at the PH! Location, location, locations!

  11. i have seen you mention about emailing the GM of a hotel before but I always find it so difficult to find an email address for them with Hyatt. Do you have any tips?

  12. I would have the Park Hyatt Saigon in Ho Chi Minh City as the #1 hotel in that city….

    Is there a better one?

  13. In the interest of self-interest, you accepted the upgrade charge, and then complained. Should have complained right there without accepting the charge. You accepted knowing full well you are going to complain and get it taken off (whether as a diamond member or a blogger, i’m not sure), but seems like a douche-move.

  14. @mike I felt like the best thing would be not to argue, to accept the room I was entitled to, and follow up diplomatically with the person who would be in a position to set things right.

  15. If you’re not a Diamond member there is a great reasonable breakfast place behind the Hyatt called “Pancakes on the Rocks”. We had breakfast there twice during our 5 night stay in Sydney this past summer.

  16. Might be better to have smaller thumbnails going forward.

    May I say that there are far too many mundane photos in this post of an admittedly aspirational property, but one that has been covered to death by your fellow bloggers?

    Actually, I haven’t read your other flight/hotel posts from this trip because you basically followed a well-travelled points redemption path. Your value-add is no longer in writing trip reports to Asia or about Hyatt or Cathay/SQ because there are others who are writing them more frequently or just doing it better.

  17. I wonder if our paths crossed. I’ve been flitting to and from sydney a lot recently, admittedly staying on the other side of the bridge near my office.

    I wanted to ask if you had any recommendations for thai food in Sydney? I certainly respect your judgement and I’m looking for some new places to try.

  18. @Ed – next post! 🙂 But truth is that several meals were just at my family’s home, they hosted an American Thanksgiving dinner while we were there..

  19. You didn’t mention the wonderful toilet 🙂 I thought for sure it would make a cameo in your review.

  20. Thanks for the great detailed review. I will be in AU this year and I think I will stay at the Westin since I am Plat there and may use my upgrade certs. As you stated there is nothing that exciting about this hotel so I wont go out of my way to stay there.


  21. John, I’m going to this hotel in a few months. I stopped and looked at each picture in detail.

  22. Thanks for the review. I had a grand time at the Intercontinental during my RTW trip in Oct, last. views of both the Opera House and the Bridge. The lounge on the top floor was excellent for Breakfast and had an outdoor terrace. I found the location suburb between the Bridge and the Royal Botanical Garden, but I am an urban walker – I Live on Capitol Hill.

  23. Very strange, what they told you RE the upgrade. I checked in on Christmas day 2013 when the hotel was pretty much sold out (award space opened up just two days before) and not only did they upgrade me to the Opera View room, but they offered me late check-out the next day, when the hotel was again sold out. I’ve since read a few reports of Diamond members not receiving upgrades, but a $100 fee is just ridiculous.

  24. @Ariana – my next stay was completely different, and that check-in experience made all the difference… on both stays.

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