Expected Just A Little More

Old Jul 29, 20, 6:11 pm
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Sydney, Australia
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Expected Just A Little More

Park Hyatt Sydney

Map| 8 Reviews | 63% Recommended

Park Hyatt Sydney

7 Hickson Road The Rocks, NW AU 2000

Park Hyatt Sydney - Expected Just A Little More (18 Photos)

Park Hyatt Sydney

Introduction

[Just a heads up, this is a long review so you might want to skip straight to the Check-In part for hotel specifics]

Timing Is Everything.

Each July we escape the chilly Sydney winter and jet off to somewhere in this world but due to Covid19 causing havoc everywhere things are substantially different. This July is slightly different because I turn 40 and this might be symbolically the halfway point of my life. It is also a time to reflect on the last 40 but look forward to the next 40 or so and purposely make every moment count because we have only one shot at this precious life.

We have been fortunate enough to get to travel as much as we have, 59 countries ticked off, exploring and experiencing a vast array of things; whether it is partying in Ibiza till morning, seeing another wonder of the world, through to dining at some of the best restaurants. Spending time with people we care, having fun and making memories is what counts, especially the time we got married in Las Vegas in front of our closest friends.

This July we were supposed to be in France. Flying First Class there, staying at the Shangri-La Paris just because we wanted to and not because we could afford to. YOLO, I tell myself. July is also good reason month for us because it is also my wife's birthday and our wedding anniversary. Making the trip extra special were my parents coming along - it would have been their very first trip to Europe. They were excited at going, catching up with some of their long distant friends, and then Covid19 came along. As I said at the start Timing Is Everything.

My parents know this concept well. They bravely fled their home to escape the horrors of the Cambodian war in the late 1970s. With close to two million Cambodians dead, despite the trauma and horror they encountered, they were the lucky ones. They were granted refugee status and given visas to live in Australia.

With no English, no money, little friends, and diminishing hope that their family and friends were still alive and safe, they made it to Australia with nothing other than hope and safety. That was enough for them. They did whatever it took and worked tirelessly to ensure that us, the kids, had the best opportunity to have a better life then they did. This trip was now my turn to treat them and show that they too can enjoy life and for them to take it easy.

Then Covid19 turned up.  Being stuck in Sydney and with a 40th birthday to celebrate. I selfishly made it into a week full of fun, and this included staying three nights here in the Park Hyatt Sydney.

And this is where my review begins.

Check In

Whilst the hotel is easily recognisable from the harbour - a short yet discreet driveway marks the front entrance to the hotel where awaiting bellboys are ready to assist guests. We arrive by car, are greeted by staff and our luggage taken care of almost immediately.

This is the front entrance:

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Guests are standing up against the front desk whilst checking in rather than being seated or completed in-room which to me both provide a more bespoke and refined service. The process is efficient, and staff are professional, and this is to be expected from a hotel of this calibre. 

I am checking in on my actual 40th birthday and there is no mention of a happy birthday until we are asked of our purpose of our stay. I do not mind that they do not know but it is the little gestures that can make a nice difference. At this point it also gives me the chance to ask if a further upgrade is possible but none is available even though we are in the middle of a pandemic and the hotel looks quiet. Plus I am just a base Hyatt member that rarely sway things.

That said we have been upgraded one category room from Park View to City Harbour View as part of our Hyatt Privé booking which we stayed 3 nights for the price of 2. The total cost at AUD$1,050 for 3 nights was indeed a steal for this hotel - but the pool was closed, so was the main restaurant for breakfast during our stay.

As a comparison $1,050 might be a steal but for the same amount of money we could have spent a week at the Hilton Sydney. Sure, these are two completely different hotel classes, but the Hilton is not worth sneezing at either.

A night view towards the PHS and Sydney Harbour Bridge:

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Unfortunately, there is no mention of a butler service, no escort to our rooms, let alone an escort to the elevator. These are little details that can elevate the feeling of the personalised service and to show genuine care for the guests and this property missed out on that showing that.

Maybe Covid19 has really changed things up and that we should be expecting less service and less interaction?

Room

We are assigned room 321 which is a City and Harbour View room.

Upon entering you can feel the space as you enter a small foyer, floor to ceiling mirror on one side, artwork on the other and a powder room to the side. Down a short hallway there is wardrobe space to the left and the bathroom to your right. Then you enter the main space with the usual hotel amenities. The striking part is the double sliding doors that lead to a small terrace which provides intimate views and connection to the cityscape and water.

There is plenty of room for this standard room including an oversized table that functions as a desk as well as a dining table, then there is a single ottoman for lounging around. The full HD 50-inch TV has all the usual channels and is perfectly placed at bed level so that when we are on the bed, the TV is at the right eye level. An outdated but standalone Bose Bluetooth speaker is available if one wants to stream music. The room can be darkened or closed for privacy through either the sheer or block-out blinds which are electrically controlled.

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Now the bathroom provides double ‘his & her’ sinks which is lovely, bath towels are big and fluffy and so are the bathrobes, which we opine are the best feel for any hotel or resort we have stayed in. The bathroom amenities, Le Labo, whilst is not our preferred brand they are supposedly highly rated. The walk-in shower is spacious, and the bathtub are a bonus.

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For one of the best hotels, if not the best hotel in Sydney, the room did not feel overly luxurious or over the top like other hotels we have stayed in. It felt more clinical rather than opulent compared to our stays at say the St Regis New York, Hotel Danieli Venice or even the Hotel Bristol Warsaw.

Another very minor complaint is the average in-room coffee and tea amenity – the tea supplies for example are generic Aurora branded and these can be found in much inferior hotels and even in some country motels. At least the Australian branded T2 should be provided but TWG Teas would be more fitting for this type of hotel.

Overall, the room is spacious, and the views are intimate, so this was plenty for our situation.

City skyline view at night:

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And if you turn 90 degrees you could see the Opera House:

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Service

Firstly, the good point is that our interaction with all staff was pleasant and professional and this met our expectation. Our room was upgraded one category as part of our booking, and we received a nice bottle of red wine which retails for around AUD$30 as our welcome amenity.

Then the not so good points. We did not get assigned a butler nor were we advised that this service existed. Although this is of limited benefit for us, we have used this service in other stays where our butler would bring teas, coffee & snacks to the room, attend to our laundry, or when we have longer stays they assist with organising fresh flowers to decorate our room. Maybe this service is suspended during this pandemic?

With the restaurant closed for breakfast on weekdays it was held in room. To order breakfast guests needed to telephone to place their order, this process could take several minutes. To expedite things, we would prefer a door card which staff can collect sometime in the evening, or even an electronic order through iPad / app etc.

For breakfast delivery, it was always on time and to the different staff who delivered breakfast, whilst pleasant, each had a different approach. One would leave the trolley outside the door; another would roll the trolley into the foyer and another would roll the trolley right to the table. My preference would be the cart to the table method to aid in efficiency; the trolley outside required staff to go back and forth several times which can feel intruding.

And on the more serious not so good point. We found the hotel’s nightly turn-down service to be very weak. We received a turn down service only on the first night out of three. We are certain we left the ‘clean room’ light on the other two nights and even if the ‘do not disturb’ light was on, a note should be left. We could have called to get the room made but opted not to.

To describe the first and only turn down service, the room was tidied, and bed prepared, bottles of water placed on each side of the bed, but no glassware provided. The curtains were not drawn down as is normal. They did not lay on the side of the bed our room slippers or place a mat. These little extra touches as well as maybe leaving chocolate would have been nice touches but did not happen and sadly, we have experienced this kind of service in much inferior hotels elsewhere.

Dining

We have dined at The Dining Room previously and the food offering is nice but not great. The view towards the Opera House is the key selling point I would think. The restaurant opened on certain nights of the week and offered either a two or three course set menu. We opted for the three course menu at $79 per person which is comparable value to similar restaurants in the city. We also had a $100 hotel credit as part of our rates package and this was the only available place to spend it since all other amenities (except in-room dining) were closed during out stay.

We enjoyed the relaxed dining ambience and whilst we did not have a window table, the view was gorgeous at certain angles, the décor was intimate, however we did however miss the white table linen cloth which would have elevated and brightened the setting a little bit more.

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The food experience was good and as expected, it will not win any Michelin stars, but we were overall satisfied for pricing, convenience, service and setting.

Being in such a diverse city, there are plenty of excellent dining choices nearby so I would suggest considering elsewhere if you were a visitor or repeat guest to this City.

Here are some of the food photos; even though I have lived 99% of my life in Australia I still carry a lot of Asian traits

Here is the food photos.

Air Dried David Blackmore Wagyu Beef, pickled muscatel & pine seeds, Tasmanian mustard:

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Prawn Salad, avocado & sesame:

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Rangers Valley Sirloin, date & chestnut chutney, celeriac, crispy kalette:

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Flame Snapper, squid ink angel hair, crab bisque:

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Yuzu and Fennel Posset:

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Three Cheeses, quiince paste, lavoosh:

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In-Room Breakfast Dining

This deserved a separate section because we found the in-room breakfast offering slightly underwhelming. Guests who had breakfast inclusive stays enjoyed in-room breakfast when the restaurant was closed between Monday to Friday. On weekends guests only had a 60-minute breakfast dining period due to government set capacity restrictions.

For in-room dining, guests could have up to the full breakfast spread which included a continental selection plus an additional a la carte or specialty item. An a la carte item could be for example a three-egg omelette; whilst a speciality item could be like eggs benedict.

Whilst the food spread is adequate (we actually ordered everything) and proportionally fulfilling for us, the quality can be a little lacklustre.

Have a look at the “eggs benedict” which is charged $22 per serving. You can be a judge to the presentation but to me, it is two random uneven sized bread slices with ham and poached eggs put together. I have no issue in saying that this is the saddest looking eggs benedict I have seen.

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Overall

Overall, this hotel has a lot of good things in its favour. The intimate closeness to the harbour cannot be beaten. The four-level building and its relatively small size made it feel more like a boutique hotel than many of the larger hotels nearby.

In terms of the décor, hotel space, and rooms to me it is presented in an understated luxury though it is also felt a little too cold and clinical. Personally this can be less attractive when newer hotels like the Sofitel Darling Harbour or W Sydney are popping or about to pop up giving these hotels a fun and funkier edge in hard product or where hotels have been recently renovated like The Fullerton Sydney, Pier One, or Ovolo.

The PHS may not over the top opulence or as grand as other hotels of this calibre, but I felt that it needs to move in that direction. For me it needs to really set itself apart from other nearby and competiting 5* hotels because the PHS rates are often double.

There are weaknesses in nightly turn down service and for in-room breakfast and this could be easily improved on, and there could be more attention to little details that can elevate the guests stay. 

In the past ten years of travel I have had some experiences on my birthday without any prompting so these made those trips a little bit more memorable; whilst enjoying breakfast at the Pullman Hotel Yangon the entire breakfast team come over with a cake on the morning of my birthday, Le Meridien Barcelona upgrading me to the Penthouse Suite, or when flying Singapore Airlines First Class was presented a signed card by the entire crew, with a cake and one of the SQ bears. There are more but the PHS did not recognise this.

In summary, the hotel hard product and location is excellent, ignoring that the price is often twice as much as nearby hotels, and with a bit more focus on the little details, this hotel can truly be world class.

Park Hyatt Sydney - Expected Just A Little More

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