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.

The past year in frequent flyer miles

It’s been another year shuffling between airports, hotels and the occasional week at home.

This year I managed to clock up 67 flights and traveled around 105,000 Kms. That’s around 150 hours sitting in plane, not counting waiting time etc.

Trips were mostly in Australia, but also half a dozen trips to New Zealand, plus a trip to each of Singapore & Thailand.

Some stats

Shortest flight: Sydney <-> Canberra, 238 Kms, ~46 mins
Longest flight: Sydney <-> Bangkok, 7,523 Kms, ~9 hours
Most popular route: Melbourne <-> Sydney, 707 Kms, ~1:20 hours
Most popular airline: Qantas, 64 out of 67 flights

Its now time to put my feet up for three weeks before heading off to Brisbane in the New Year.

Telstra — Australian for incompetence

I need to vent…

About 2 months ago I ordered a Telstra NextG wireless setup for work. I got the forms filled in, sent them off and I had my connection the next day. Not too shabby, but the customer service went downhill from there.

Around the end of June I started to wonder why I hadn’t received a bill for the modem or the service so I called the Telstra team that support our company to ask why I hadn’t been invoiced yet. Quite simply the retard at Telstra who had entered my order made not one, but two, massive and incompetent mistakes that add up to Telstra threatening to disconnect ALL Telstra services in my name!

So what had this sorry excuse for a Telstra employee forgotten to do?

  1. They didn’t bother to enter any of the direct debit details that I had supplied, so my bill was never going to get paid
  2. They completely ignored the section, repeated on two forms, that told Telstra to send invoices to my home address

I got those errors fixed, or so I was led to believe. They also said that they’ll reprint the outstanding invoice and send it to my home address so I can pay it. Sweet.

I also ask what amount is outstanding on my account and I’m told ~$90… strange as I should have been invoiced for the modem but I get told it may appear on next months invoice. Great system Telstra have here.

I go to my office for the first time in a month a day or so later, and what do I find in my mailbox, no, not an invoice, but a reminder to pay the invoice that I’ve not received. The letter contains the usual telco threats. Oh, and the outstanding amount was around $630, not the $90 I was told. lol… what fools.

Send off an e-mail asking what the hell is happening.  I confirm, again, that I want the bills sent to my home address. I also ask why the direct debit isn’t working and the reply I got just said that they’ve sent my direct debit request off to the people to handle that stuff… in my book that’s an admission that they didn’t bother to do it the first time.

I explained that I would not pay the bill until I had the invoice as I cannot expense the account without the invoice. I get told they’ve ordered a reprint of the account.

Onto today, and what do I find in my home letter box? If you’d said a Telstra invoice you would be so wrong. Instead I have another letter, this time from Telstra threatening to cut off every service in my name.

So, despite me being the one to contact Telstra in the first place about the invoices that aren’t arriving and notifying them of their two errors when entering the order, do I get any thanks… Nope! I get threats.

I’ve escalated this to our CIO and asked them to ensure that Telstra don’t do anything stupid, or should that be anything more stupid than they’ve already done.

Seeing as I can no longer trust the Telstra staff that look after our accounts I’ve had to resort to paying the bill out of my own pocket, without an invoice, which I can therefore not expense, so that Telstra do not cut off all of my services due to their incompetence.

We used to be with Optus for our comms, but changed to Telstra. We must have gotten a great deal on the prices as you certainly wouldn’t change for the non existent customer service.

I have both my mobile and my landline with Telstra but a history of 9 years of on time payment of bills doesn’t seem to matter one iota to them. Great to see the way they treat faithful customers.

I wonder if I will get the written apology I demanded?