Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel at Circular Quay (Marriott CQ): 29 May - 30 May 2019

100   Recommended

Room 1823 , Opera View Suite
June 30, 2019 by
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Room 1823

Opera View Suite

Liked:
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Service
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Opera View Suite

Why Here?

In planning our travel to be at Oz Fest 16, my wife and I looked at both Hilton and MRS (Marriott/Ritz Carlton/Starwood) properties in Sydney's CBD. We had discussed going up to visit the Blue Mountains during midweek and potentially planned to spend a night up there. As a "just in case", I booked 1 night here so that we at least had a place to stay depending on how our planning progressed. Because we did not end up spending a night in either Katoomba or Wentworth Falls (not wanting to pack up, haul our bags up into the Blue Mountains, check in, hike around and do stuff, spend the night and then have to pack up again just to get back to Sydney), the Marriott CQ ended up being our bridge stay between the Sheraton and the Hilton.

The Reservation

Since the reservation was for 1 night, I elected to book a King room via marriott.com at the lowest available point total rate: 35,000 points - all other rooms were the same 35,000 points plus had a co-pay of $75AUD or (considerably) more. Here's a screen clip from the reservation e-mail:

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Given my Titanium status and because if we were staying at this property, we'd be there only one night (Wednesday), that the likelihood of an upgrade, at least by one category, seemed fairly high. That being said, after booking the points only reservation, I applied a SNA.

Note that this hotel, like others affiliated with American chains, charges, in this case, a 2% fee for credit card usage:

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The Property / Its Location

FWIW, the hotel has a triangular shape/configuration so that different faces of the triangle provide different views of Sydney.

As noted in the Sydney properties thread as well as in the property's thread, this hotel is the Marriott that's closest to the Circular Quay Wharfs, cruise ship departure/arrival and the Sydney Opera House. Less than a block from the Circular Quay as well as the CQ metro station and ferries and harbor taxis, this section of downtown Sydney is really well connected.

A few statistics from the hotel's website:

  • 543 Rooms, 52 suites
  • Hotel was built in 1989
  • Rooms were renovated in 2011

Here are a few external shots of the hotel from different vantages:

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Quite likely early in its life as a hotel, this property offered its guests a grand set of views of the local CBD, the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and the waterfront and hills of North Sydney. Unfortunately, many of those views are quickly disappearing.

Check In

Having actually done our day trip to the Blue Mountains the day earlier, we took our leave from the SOTP (our primary base for Oz Fest) mid morning to figure out how we wanted to navigate going from there to the Marriott CQ with our luggage (Metro, bus, cab, walk, etc.). We quickly found out that many of the buses going north along Elizabeth Street simply didn't go as far as Circular Quay due to road closures and reroutings because of Vivid Sydney and downtown construction.

Once we got to the lobby of the hotel, I was able to check in, welcomed as a Titanium member and was told that we'd been upgraded to a suite. Looking back now into my e-mail, I located a message from Marriott confirming the my SNA request was fulfilled so that we would receive a suite upgrade. That being said, the front desk agent did _not_ note that the upgrade was due to the SNA. Also, the agent said that the room was not yet ready but that he would provide card keys for us to use the Early Arrivals Lounge (EAL).

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At that point, we decided that we didn't need to use the EAL and asked them to contact us when the room was ready. Now, looking back, I kind of wish that I'd at least went up to the 6th floor to check out the EAL.

Probably hiking around Taylors Bay did I get a call that the room was ready. After a bit more wandering, my wife figured out which bus departing Taronga Zoo would get us closest to SOTP so that, with our confirmed 4 PM late check out, we could then clean up, finish packing, grab a drink from the Sheraton Club, take our bags, complete our check out and then proceed back to the Marriott CQ.

Room

As shown below, we received room 1823. This turned out to be an Opera View Suite - which has a view toward the Opera House and a partial harbor view and on an upper (high) floor.

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Given that there are 32 floors in this hotel, I suspect that the 18th floor is quite likely the lowest upper floor that has _any_ view to the Opera House and very minimal views of the main harbor ship channel (as is shown above and below).

The 1 king bed for 1823 is set in its own room with no windows:

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One thing to note is that the bed was/is made without a top sheet - basically all you have is the sheet that is on the mattress and then a duvet/comforter. If you prefer/desire a top sheet, let the hotel know in a communication prior to arrival, let the front desk know at check in and/or check for a top sheet when you get to the room and call Housekeeping to get one added.

Here's the bedroom's closet, expensivist stocked mini-fridge and snack drawer in the bedroom's dresser/chest of drawers:

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Within the bedroom is the bathroom for the suite with both separate shower and separate bathtub:

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The bedroom itself is separated by a pair of pocket doors (that didn't properly close) from the living room/sitting area:

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For myself, the living room/sitting area is probably the primary draw of the room given its views:

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Unfortunately for this hotel, given construction that will remove more and more views, one of the dominant features out a given window will be these construction cranes:

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One challenge of this hotel at this time is the lack of USB charging options. I brought a single power converter on the trip but with multiple devices, having separate USB plugs for recharging is now rather important - especially for two (or more) people each with phones, separate cameras, tablets, etc.

Back of the door floor layout map:

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Not shown are some photos of a patch of mildew growing on the ceiling of the bedroom toward the entry pocket doors - the cave-like feeling of the bedroom without windows and with the bathroom also part of the bedroom, dealing with the excessive humidity is clearly an issue.

FWIW, here are a few shots taken before and during sunrise:

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Concierge/Executive Lounge

Here are the hours and dress code (unfortunately not enforced during our stay) for the lounge:

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Here's a panoramic stitched view of the lounge from close to where the door the staff enter from the kitchen:

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After having just spent 5 nights at the SOTP, while we missed the view from the Sheraton Club of Hyde Park and eastern suburbs (versus the 2nd floor view across Pitt Street), the expanse of the Concierge/Executive Lounge and the ability to self serve drinks was one that we particularly relished:

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Additional shots of the Lounge:

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Going through my photographs, I don't have any shots of the hors d'oeuvres, desserts or breakfast (just the snacks set out during the afternoon prior to hors d'oeuvres) - this is probably becuase of the more competitive effort that was required to get food as well as not wanting to take a bunch of photos with folks dominating the scenes. Personally, both I and my wife were fine dealing with the other guests but I suspect that, if your idea of spending time in the lounge was a bit more genteel, you might not be as happy.

Overall

For downtown Sydney, Marriott, now combined with the former Starwood properties, has a significant presence. As a long time stalwart outpost of Marriott in Sydney, the Marriott CQ has evolved as evidenced from the posts of the hotel's thread that start in late 2001, discuss its transition as a then Renaissance flagged hotel before becoming and being named as a Marriott.

Given its location, the Marriott CQ provides a huge benefit to Marriott's customers and clientele who want to be in the harbor and Circular Quay. If you're interested in the Rocks, the Harbour Bridge and Barangaroo Reserve as well as the Observatory, other hotels such as the Park Hyatt and Pier One might be of greater interest. However, Marriott CQ is still fairly close by as well as even closer to the rest of Sydney's CBD, the Opera House and really the core waterfront business areas.

With all of this, I would have liked to have tried the breakfast buffet downstairs as well as getting a chance to see what the Early Arrivals Lounge had to offer. Additionally, while I was grateful for our upgrade to a suite, I wasn't happy about the cavelike feeling of the bedroom, the bed not having a top sheet and the humidity/mildew problems that I encountered. Also, without built in or lamp-integrated USB plugs, we were competing for the use of my power converter to charge our different handheld electronics.

I know that my wife really liked the proximity of the hotel to Circular Quay and all that was going on there for Vivid Sydney as well as the centrality of getting access to all types of public mass transit. She indicated that she would be happy returning to the Marriott CQ. At this point, I'm still divided, probably because of the room and cavelike feel plus the mildew.

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