Posts Tagged Hotel

Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney, Australia

I’d attended a seminar at the Sydney Shangri-La before but never had the opportunity to stay here.

It’s in a sort of weird location right at the corner of the Cahill Expressway and the southern approach to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. So close that my room window allowed me to almost look across the bridge in it’s entirety.

Upon entering the hotel you’re welcomed by a bright, marble reception area with a lobby lounge to the left and reception to the right. Checking in was fast and painless and I was off to my room in about 5 minutes.

In many hotels the corridors are cramped and claustrophobic. But here they are expansive. Probably the widest I’ve seen in any hotel recently. No filthy carpet like the Hyatt Regency either :).

The room was large by comparison to the Marriott and the InterContinental. I had a view of the Harbour Bridge and Circular Quay from my sixth floor room.

For drinks we headed upto Blu Bar on level 36 which offers absolutely magnificent panoramic views of Sydney. Drinks were standard hotel prices but the view means you’ll forget getting gouged.

The bed and pillows were some of the most comfortable I’d had in quite a while but that’s expected of a 5 star hotel.

Bathroom was large and had a separate bath and shower which you don’t see that often anymore.

Despite my room being on a low floor and being so close to 2 majorly busy roads there was no problem with noise.

Superb hotel!

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Pier One Sydney Harbour, Sydney, Australia

This is a little out of the way gem of a hotel on Sydney Harbour. This hotel is built on one of Sydney’s old piers and uses the rustic form of the pier in the design of the building.

The rooms are on the largish side and with soaring ceilings. My room had a huge beam as a central feaure that supported the upper floor of the original pier along with the intricate metal work that connected the beams together. It looked pretty impressive I must say.

Outside the front door of the hotel is the south supporting column of the Sydney Hardbour Bridge along with the extensive stone work that supports the approach road of the bridge.

Foodwise I couldn’t be bothered leaving the hotel and I had 4 meals at the hotel restaurant, The Gantry.

The dinner menu was small but had quality.

On my first evening I had the pheasant, and on the second the wagyu steak – both cooked to perfection. I would eat these dishes any day!

I also had breakfast at the hotel each morning as there was a special on that gave me free breakfast with the corporate rate.

My only beef with the restaurant is the consistent errors they made on the bills! When eating in the hotel I always have the total put on my hotel bill, makes it easier for me as I only have one bill to worry about at the end.

What were the problems?

Even though I charged my dinners to my room account I found out that they had added a credit card surcharge to the dinner bills before they added it to my room account. I noticed something was wrong when I was checking out as the restaurant bills weren’t round numbers. If I hadn’t noticed I would have been paying a credit charge surcharge twice for my dinners, and also paying a credit card surcharge on the credit card surcharge.

Secondly, even though I showed the discount card for the free breakfast to the wait staff they didn’t record it and still charged me for breakfast. I also bought this up at checkout and the charges were removed.

So a great hotel, a splendid restaurant menu…. just make sure you check your bill before you checkout so you don’t pay more than you should.

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Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel, Sydney, Australia

In over a hundred trips to Sydney I’d never stayed at the Sydney Harbour Marriott. I’d stayed at the other Marriott up on College Street but wasn’t impressed – it is not longer a Marriott.

The Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel was seen as the flagship Marriott in Sydney and it has a location that can’t be faulted.

I don’t know how long this property has been the Marriott, atleast for 10 years from what I can guess, but you can see that it’s a little dated if you really look. Just little things like the odd missing light switch, the tiling in the bathroom that’s been repaired shoddily, or the quick gaffer tape fix that was applied to the bathroom sink that you can only see when you’re sitting on the loo.

But don’t get me wrong, overall it’s a very good hotel. Check-in and check-out are always efficient and courteous, as are the concierge staff.

InterContinental up the road is probably a slightly better hotel, but the Marriott is also a great place to stay.

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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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