Posts Tagged Australia

Customs House Bar, Sydney, Australia

I’ve been doing a bit of travel to Sydney every couple of weeks – I always stay in the CBD.

Customs House Bar is part of the Marriott Hotel. You can enter it by going through the hotel from Pitt Street, or you can enter it directly from Macquarie Place Park at the corner of Loftus and Bridge Streets.

There is a large outdoor area abutting the park where you can enjoy your drinks and a meal. It’s nice when the weather is warm, but can be chilling during the winter even with heaters.

The Food menu is pretty much standard pub fare with not too many choices but what’s there is pretty good. A selection of ribs and burgers, and a number of sides.

The number of beers on tap is very impressive though and they have one of my favorites, Dogbolter.

If you want a pub meal in the CBD with a good beer this place is a good choice. Be warned though that food prices are more aligned with what you would expect from a large international hotel chain, not your local.

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Hyatt Regency, Sydney, Australia

I’ve stayed at a lot of hotels, and I mean ALOT! Somewhere between 150 and 200 hotels over the years all over the world for both business and leisure.

This week I was in Sydney and the work travel booking site bought up the Hyatt Regency on Sussex Street as an option. That was cool, I’ve stayed at a couple of Hyatt’s, primarily the Hyatt Hotel Canberra which was a superb hotel and I would stay there again any day I was in Canberra.

To those who’ve travelled to Sydney for any reasonable amount of time you’ll know that the Hyatt Regency used to be the Sheraton Four Points which was a pretty good hotel when I used to stay there.

A couple of years ago this hotel underwent a refurb and it has reopened as the Hyatt Regency.

Walking into the Hyatt Regency you can see that they’ve splurged the money on the glitz, the hotel reception is superb! The check in was great and the reception staff did all the ego stroking that’s the norm for a decent hotel.

And that’s when, after you scratch the surface, you start seeing that this hotel is mutton dressed up as lamb.

My room was on Level 1 – understandable as my Hyatt Gold membership had expired many years ago. You don’t give your decent rooms to some pleb!

Anyway, I head upto my floor and I am flabbergasted at the disgusting appearance of the common area. Walking down the corridor I guess that they didn’t bother to change the hall carpet when the refurb happened. Disgusting carpet stains (only water I hope) regularly greet me on the walk to my room.

I entered my room and it was refurbed quite nicely… looks like they only skimped on the public areas.

I went out for dinner, got back by 9pm and wanted to have a shower. It was then I find that there were none of the usual amenities in the room – no soap, no shampoo etc! Heaps of cheap moisturiser – maybe this is a pay-per-hour hotel 🙂

I phone up and ask for some amenities and get the promise they’ll be right up… and then I wait for 30 minutes… not impressed. Certainly not the service of a supposedly 5 star hotel.

In each room there’s also a card you can pop on your door requesting a morning newspaper. You need to get this on your doorknob by 10pm and you should receive a newspaper in the morning… Well, that’s a fib. I had that card on my door at 9pm and I woke up at 6am to no newspaper.

Quite frankly, this is a 2 star hotel under a 5 star name. I told the checkout staff what had happened and that service was better when the hotel was the Four Points, but I doubt that feedback will get escalated.

Do yourself a favour, avoid this place and book a decent hotel!

Only saving grace was the Zephyr bar which offers superb views across Darling Harbour… but you can drink there without staying at the hotel.

I won’t be staying there again and will be telling the corporate hotel buyers it should be taken off the list.

It’s sad to see when good hotels go bad.

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EzyMart, Queen St, Melbourne, Australia

Today I had the misfortune of walking into an EzyMart store in Melbourne.

So… an EzyMart opened close by a month or so ago…

Tonight I was watching the footy so decided to drop into the new store for some snacks… and that was when I became disgusted.

Walking in there was a single attendant who was more interested in his phone than a customer, but that wasn’t the problem.

Over the PA was playing what can be described as “Gangster Music”… you know “F*** this”, “F*** you”, “F**ing hoes”.. yep, that sort of rubbish. Totally inappropriate for a store if you want a return customer!

There was a family at the door as I was inside who obviously heard the music and decided to walk away.

When I spoke the the attendant he we taken aback that I was complaining about the “F” words that were blaring out.. he even admitted that this was his personal playlist! And he saw no problems with it!

Even more astonishing was the look on this idiots face when he asked “so you’re not buying these items?”… ah… no… I’ll buy my stuff from somewhere that respects their customers!

I’m relatively sure EzyMart is a franchise, but regardless they are responsible for their franchises, do everyone a favour and boycott these idiots so they disappear from the face of the earth!

If EzyMart ISN’T a franchise then there should be a couple of terminations, if not a store closure, by mid morning Monday… if this store IS a franchise I’m guessing they’ll be looking for another franchiser for a store that noone wants to go into!

UPDATE as of 30 September: You can tell the caliber and moral compass of an organisation by how they respond to a complaint.

It’s been just over a week since I unfortunately walked into an EzyMart store on Queen Street in Melbourne and was assaulted by disgusting music blaring over the PA. I raised a complaint both over the phone and via their online complaint form leaving my contact details on both complaints.

I expected a call at some stage during the week, at minimum to get further information, or maybe even an apology. But after 7 days there’s been nothing but silence – zilch, nada, zip.

I think the lack of a response, and the fact that their staff thought it was appropriate to play that type of music in the first that, speaks volumes about this company and their attitude to their customers.

They don’t deserve a cent of your or my money… I can assure them they won’t be getting mine, nor that of the people who I’ve relayed this sorry story to.

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Ramen Restuarant, Ground Floor, 323 La Trobe St, Melbourne, Australia

Gotta be honest… don’t even bother!

Foodwise, if you’ve been to Japan you WILL be disappointed by the ramen served here!

Secondly – recently the rules around credit charge surcharges were changed in Australia. A lot of businesses were using credit card surcharges to add to their profits, rather than treating the costs as a pass through cost.

What this means is that the old “$1 surcharge under $15” sales is now illegal in Australia as the $1 flat charge does not reflect the cost of doing business.

Unfortunately, this restaurant refuses to adhere to those rules and feels that it can charge a flat fee for some credit charge transactions.

When I advised the counter staff what they were doing was wrong the owner came out and was quite confrontational and irrational. They obviously have no idea of their legal responsibilities.

I’ve reported them to the ACCC for illegal credit card surcharges and hopefully they’re out of business soon – for both reasons! 1) not good food, and 2) not living upto the credit card surcharges rules.

In short, don’t bother!

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Garden State Hotel, Melbourne, Australia

I don’t normally walk along Flinders Lane but have now been here two weeks in a row after Supernormal last week.

A couple of us decided to head out for a beer after work and a friend chose the Garden State Hotel on Flinders Lane.

Given the proximity to Collins Street the place was heaving when I arrived just before 6pm on a Thursday night.

The venue is a sprawling place over 4 levels with a couple of bars to grab drinks from.

We managed to nab a table down the back towards the Rose Garden under the trees, it was a very nice location and there was a standard choice of beers and a bar menu.

We decided to eat here but we should have known the meal wouldn’t be overly good when we ordered our steaks medium-rare only to be told we’d get them how the chef decided to cook them! Seriously, WTF? For $22 we got an overcooked minute steak that was quite underwhelming. The only saving grace were the Roasted Potatoes.

The way the place has been built, with bare concrete walls and glass roof made the place an echo chamber so it was impossible to have a conversation over the noise of everyone else and the blaring music.

So after we finished our food we decided that we’d move onto somewhere where you could actually talk to the person next to you.

By all means, go to the Garden State Hotel for drink, but I’d be skipping the food!

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