BACKGROUND The Park Hyatt originally opened in 1990 but this incarnation, unveiled in February last year, is as close to a brand new hotel as is possible without razing the building to the ground and starting again. The multi-million dollar renovation saw the property close for 11 months, during which time the public areas were completely reconfigured, rooms redesigned, and a new fourth floor with three rooftop suites and a pool added. WHAT’S IT LIKE? Australian design firm Bar Studio has created a residential feel that will be familiar to regular Park Hyatt guests, with neutral colour schemes of chocolate, cream and beige, and the use of Sydney sandstone and local timbers. Several large artworks were commissioned, including Bruce Armstrong’s Janus head, a two-headed sculpture made of native red gum and featuring Bennelong, the chief of the Aboriginal tribe that inhabited the city’s Rocks area, and Captain Arthur Phillip, captain of the first fleet and the first governor of New South Wales. WHERE IS IT? In the Rocks, in the shadow of Harbour Bridge and looking out across Circular Quay to the Opera House. There can be few, if any, properties that offer such commanding views of this iconic building, with the possible exception of nearby taller hotels such as the Four Seasons and Shangri-La. The main entrance is via a discreet road at the back of the property. Circular Quay station is about ten minutes’ walk for direct trains to the airport. ROOM FACILITIES The low-rise nature of the property means it can be quite a long walk to rooms at the far end of the building, where my Opera Deluxe room was located. Rooms start at 40 sqm and are split into City Harbour and Opera categories, depending on the view. All feature floor-to-ceiling windows leading on to a balcony (Deluxe rooms have a second smaller balcony and start from 75 sqm), and bathrooms have a sliding wall so you can sit in the tub and look through the bedroom and out to the harbour. All rooms have a king-size bed, a large desk-cum-dining table, a corner sofa, blackout blinds, a 40-inch LED TV, a Bose iPod dock, a safe, free wifi, a media hub and a Nespresso De Longhi machine. Bathrooms have double basins, a separate tub and shower, and Le Labo toiletries. All guests get 24-hour butler service – mine called the room when I arrived and was on hand for any queries I had. RESTAURANTS AND BARS The restaurant and lounge area is referred to as the Dining Room and Living Room – both look out across the waterfront to the Opera House. Executive chef Andrew McKee has created a contemporary Australian menu, with choices including a signature dish of Rangers Valley beef brisket. An excellent breakfast buffet is served, as well as à la carte options. The adjacent bar serves smaller dishes, cocktails and specialist whiskies. BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES The ground-floor Gallery can hold up to 130 guests and be split into three smaller spaces. The Guest House is located on the waterfront with an outdoor terrace and can host up to 70 guests. There is also an 18-seat boardroom, two waterfront private dining rooms and a business centre. LEISURE FACILITIES The heated rooftop pool looks on to Harbour Bridge – there is also an outdoor spa bath, which was out of action during my stay. One floor below, the spa has five treatment rooms, a relaxation room, a steam room and a fitness centre. VERDICT The renovations have created a warm, inviting hotel with public spaces and guestrooms that make the most of the views. Service was impeccable, and rooms were luxurious without feeling over the top.
FACT FILEHOW MANY ROOMS 155 – 57 City Harbour, 27 Opera, 32 Park, seven City Harbour Deluxe and 21 Opera Deluxe rooms, and three Cove, three Quay, two Rooftop, one Harbour, one Opera and one Sydney suite. HIGHLIGHTS Views, views and more views – whether you are eating in the Dining Room, sitting on your private balcony or taking a bath with the sliding wall pulled back, you will enjoy some of the most memorable vistas Sydney has to offer. The hotel also comes equipped with:
- Free wifi
- 24hr room service
- iPod Dock
- Five meeting rooms