After landing off my Etihad flight from Abu Dhabi I needed to connect in Melbourne to finally reach Sydney. First class award space on the non-stop Abu Dhabi – Sydney flight never opened, and I had decided to take this connection rather than Qantas A380 first class non-stop to Sydney from Dubai.
Arriving in Melbourne and taking a domestic connection involves picking up checked bags and walking them through customs to re-check them. I wasn’t actually checked in for my Qantas flight yet, and while immigration was near-instantaneous with E-Gate baggage delivery took nearly half an hour as my supposedly priority-tagged bags came out last.
Still Melbourne is a pretty easy plane to connect. It was a short walk over to the Qantas domestic counter, there was no line, and security screening took mere seconds.
So while a third of my layover was taken over by waiting for checked bags, I still had about half an hour to kill in the Qantas domestic business lounge.
This lounge wasn’t in any way special but then I didn’t expect that it would be. There was some seating, some food, and a view of airport operations. In other words, better than heading to the gate early.
About half an hour out we walked over to our gate at the far end of the terminal, perhaps a 10 minute walk, where the plane was already boarding.
It was an on-time departure, an hour long flight, and quick baggage delivery on arrival in Sydney.
I reviewed the Park Hyatt Sydney including an Opera Deluxe room which is fantastic on my last two visits to the property. I’ve also written about pushing back at this hotel when you aren’t assigned to a room you’re happy with. So I’ll keep my comments about the Park Hyatt Sydney modest.
After initially being assigned a ‘city harbor view’ room. So not a larger (Deluxe) room, and not an Opera View. The hotel was legitimately sold out of higher category rooms so that was fair though of course disappointing.
I went up to the room and discovered it was right next to the elevator, and that it had something of a musty smell. I returned to the front desk figuring they’d move me to another similar-type room (since they were still selling these online at 11 p.m. at night).
The front desk associate called a manager who authorized another room — an Opera Deluxe that they weren’t selling, it was on the ground floor of the hotel with a park outside at eye level.
Still — it was a Deluxe room with a direct Opera view. And if I didn’t want anyone to see in during the day I could close the curtains. It worked.
Breakfast here was excellent as always, and my past criticisms of slow service (where it’s tough to flag someone down for a coffee) didn’t seem to repeat on this stay.
Top tier elite members get to take breakfast from the buffet and also order something off the menu.
The buffet was similar to my last stay, which meant one fewer station than on my first — all excellent quality and decent enough variety although not so much that you might not get bored on a super long stay.
There are cheeses, meats, yogurts in a refrigerator as well. Prepared food quality is high. And since this is Australia, the coffee is good.
The Park Hyatt Sydney is an excellent hotel, but probably not as good as it thinks it is, some guests have criticized staff attitude in the past as not befitting a luxury service-oriented property. I’ve always just assumed that such critics:
- aren’t familiar with Australia, which isn’t a super service-oriented culture
- have too high expectations, driven by room rates which are higher than anything else in the city, but that’s a function of the hotel’s unique location on the water with unparalleled Opera House views.
I had no problems at all during my stay. I’ve been here several times and am always happy, though I also attenuate my expectations — to hope for an Opera Deluxe room but also knowing that the hotel does run at high occupancy and there’s tremendous demand for their best rooms, so an upgrade is far from guaranteed and this is one of the few hotels where upgrades cannot be guaranteed using Hyatt’s confirmed suite upgrades for top tier elite members.
Perhaps the most memorable and unique thing about the stay was requesting an UberX to drive out to my family’s place in Mosman (rather than taking the Ferry and bus) and having this awesome car show up for me in front of the Park Hyatt to drive out to the suburbs.