Review: Qantas Business Class Melbourne – Sydney and the Park Hyatt Sydney

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.

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 used to live in Mosman, a short drive from town, down Military road.

    not spot to have the rellies Gary.

  2. For a domestic, business class lounge I think the food looks quite good, and it would be “something special” compared to the US Big 3. That looks like Parma or Proscuitto in one of the servers, and cornichons in another. Upscale food in my book.

  3. I’m surprised neither Hyatt nor the hotel hasn’t seen your past criticism and flagged you in their system for enhancements when you stay with them again.

  4. I stayed in the same room six months ago. I think they keep it specifically for upgrades to Diamonds who complain or in my case email the manager before our arrival and ask to meet. Pretty nice room and they are pretty clever with the frosted glass on porch outside to provide a bit of privacy but I have to say Id be really annoyed if I paid $1,000+/night for this room and had tons of tourists walking 10 ft away from my windows and all looking inside.

  5. “I had decided to take this connection rather than Qantas A380 first class non-stop to Sydney from Dubai.” Why? Thanks…

  6. I still can’t go over the fact that for a 3 night stay, every employee I ran into addressed me by Mr Last Name.

    It was like they had facial recognition software or something…

  7. Flew Qantas A380 First (using AA points) from London-Dubai and Dubai-Sydney last year. Makes me wistful that we’re unlikely to enjoy a repeat. Also stayed at the Park Hyatt Sydney (using Hyatt Visa free night certificates), twas the nicest property we’ve ever stayed at.

  8. That’s my home lounge! I fly every week MEL-CBR and back. So used to that place now so it’s certainly “Nothing Special” in my mind, but still nicer than the Qantas Lounge next door.

    Their buttered chicken is to die for, if you ever get a chance.

  9. The roof top pool is suppose to be amazing.

    But $45 for breakfast buffet?

    That is a great location to visit but not sure it’s the most convenient.

    Also the view from the other side of the bridge is pretty good too, maybe even better than from the Circular Quay.

  10. @wco81
    That $45 is Australian dollars remember, so only US$34.

    But it is an expensive city and country to eat out in, and pricy whenever you go. The Australians earn a lot more than Americans on average for the same jobs, and there’s no tipping, so it results in higher prices for service goods….at least in my dealings.

    Thank God the US dollar is now stronger again though. Four years ago it was trading a few cents LESS than the Aussie dollar. Oye did that make things pricy!

  11. @Gary Leff

    What was the service like on the MEL to SYD sector in J? Any PDBs? Snack service? Beverages offered on board? Also what time approximately did you depart?


  12. You only had to wait 30 minutes for your bags in Melbourne? You got off light. Any frequent QF travellers to Melbourne know, whether international or domestic, never to check bags unless you want to spend at least half as much time staring at a carousel as you do flying from MEL to SYD. This has been a problem for years, and nothing gets done about it.

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