Some hotels are blessed with a completely unfair advantage – and this is one of them. The Park Hyatt Sydney offers an inimitable location. Perched between the iconic Harbor Bridge and Sydney Opera House, it’s a central business district dream, with no shortage of vibrant city life to explore nearby. But at $900 a night, location isn’t everything. To thrive, a hotel would need more – and unfortunately on this stay, the Park Hyatt Sydney did not.
Arrival is overwhelming, even when you have a rough idea how perfect the location is. The hotel has a beautifully refined appeal throughout. Soft tones, gorgeous stone work and marble create an immense feeling of clean, understated luxury. Our check in was swift, and the hotel politely granted early check in after an overnight flight from Tokyo.
After finding our room, number 232- we were shocked to see that we really could see the famed Opera House out our window. Better yet, we had a comfortable balcony to sit outside and enjoy a sunset. The room is large, luxurious, modern and practical. It’s very hard to find fault with any element. But unfortunately, we did find fault with the hotel. Not the property, location, rooms, room service or any other element – just the staff.
Our only staff interaction during our multiple night stay was a call requesting us to leave the room at noon, despite arranging for late check out the evening before. This was one of many indicators that staff do not communicate or share information to further a guests stay. There were no hellos in the hallway, polite greetings or inquiries about help making plans. The staff – overall – appeared rigid, unwelcoming and lacking any concern for guest satisfaction. It felt cookie cutter, in the gold bullion sort of way.
There was never a sense of place. The hotel is lovely, but lack of any definable vibe or personality amongst staff and menu meant it could be located anywhere. Thank goodness there are windows. Thank goodness the hotel is blessed with it’s unmatched location. My overall sense of the staff was best illustrated in Home Alone II by Kevin Mccalister. You could practically feel each member of staff attempting to pry your wallet open with their eyeballs. Never a pleasant feeling.
While disinterested is one thing, incompetent is another. On two separate occasions, we attempted to have cocktails in the lobby bar. The team were absolutely clueless about virtually everything. Like this memorable question:
Me: Other than the spirit, what’s the difference between the Singapore Sling and this other Rum punch?
Bartender: Well, one is made with Gin and the other with Rum.
Me: Ok, then…
On one occasion, we sat down, looked at a menu and politely said we were going to pass. Only moments later, the other server emerged from the same location asking the very same question. It’s hard to properly describe the levels of frustration experienced during these attempted cocktail visits. So much so, we gave up and didn’t even give the hotels other food locations a chance.
Much like all facilities at the hotel, the rooftop pool and jacuzzi are lovely. The staff upstairs was welcoming and anticipatory, offering complimentary bottled water and towels. It would be very easy to fall blissfully asleep at this swanky roof top set up – if not for the horrendous sunburn that would follow shortly thereafter.
In the end, this hotel left a mercurial, frustrated feeling and nothing more. The location is idyllic. The rooms are of the highest worldwide standards and the views are first class. Connectivity around the city from the nearby ferry wharf is unbeatable.
But when you’re shelling out major cash or major points – you want to feel welcomed or invited. And you should. Sad to say – we barely felt as if we were allowed in. With other top properties, many which offer suites or club lounge amenities at a fraction of the cost – and only hundreds of yards away, we regretfully say we’ll be looking elsewhere. It’s all about staff culture and a desire to elevate any guests experience – no matter how small. This one could improve.