WHAT’S IT LIKE? After experiencing the uncomfortable early morning scrum of arrivals at Sydney International Airport and having made the mistake of choosing a van transfer instead of a (much bigger)bus, it was with intense relief I entered the Park Hyatt’s uncluttered, intimate lobby. Glass walls, running along its entire length, provided spectacular framing for the waterfront that was starting to come alive with the new day.
I was quickly led to my room where a pot of steaming coffee waited for me, courtesy of my butler. I guzzled the beverage gratefully and soon my head cleared. Shortly, the helpful gentleman came around to ask if I needed anything more, which I did – Epsom salts as I wanted to ease the ache in my neck, shoulders and back. Unfortunately, the hotel did not carry the item, so he volunteered to have it bought. This not being urgent, I demurred, telling him to point me instead to the nearest chemist.
After washing up, I crawled under the snowy duvet of the 2m by 2m king-size bed for a nap, and woke up two hours later for a lunch appointment.
WHERE IS IT? In the historic Rocks district with a front-row seat to some of the world’s most iconic views: Sydney Harbour Bridge, Opera House and the harbour itself. A quote from Rudyard Kipling on a hotel brochures sums up its wonderful location: “No one in Sydney ever wastes time debating the meaning of life – it’s getting yourself a water frontage. People devote a lifetime to the quest.” The Park Hyatt certainly has the bragging rights to this feat.
All within a stroll are the CBD, cultural and shopping districts, Circular Quay with the ferries around the area and Circular Quay Station which links to all of Sydney.
HOW MANY ROOMS? Available are 158 guestrooms, including the Tony Chi-renovated Governor and Diplomatic Suites. Every top CEO (or anyone with the wherewithal) should stay at least once in the 181-square-metre Governor Suite, whose wrap-around views of the bridge and Opera House through floor-to-ceiling windows are the wow factor here.
My 75-square-metre Opera Deluxe Room (pictured) suited me just fine, however. It featured an open design, allowing ease of movement. The strategically placed workdesk provided a direct view of the Opera House and, while distracting at times, was still one I savoured to the fullest.
ROOM FACILITIES: These include a fourth generation 37-inch Sharp Aquos flat-screen LCD TV standing in a corner from where programmes can be viewed from all sides of the room; Sony CD/DVD player; a walk-in wardrobe containing a personal safe and the spotless bathroom, both a nice size; and two deep, low-slung chairs flanking a small table that enhance the residential feel. Internet access costs A$29 (US$26) for 24 hours.
RESTAURANTS & BARS: It’s impossible to draw the line between these outlets as designer Tony Chi meant them to be a seamless experience, which harbourkitchen&bar truly is. Again, the view of Sydney Harbour is on show through expansive folding glass doors that create a light and airy atmosphere. The bar area also recently underwent a nip and tuck, refreshing the furnishings and lighting and adding a new tapas bar.
BUSINESS FACILITIES: Event facilities are extensive, catering for groups of 12 to 100 participants. For the view, choose the Rooftop Terrace with its permanent marquee (pictured) or the Opera and Harbour Rooms – although it can’t be guaranteed people will concentrate on the business at hand! Wi-Fi is available in the function rooms and all the public areas.
The business centre adjacent to the lobby has three computers and four workstations and furnishes colour laser-printing services.
LEISURE FACILITIES: A small spa is named Iluka and offers a Vichy shower, massage and treatments using Jurlique products; the gym comes with Cybex cardio and strength equipment, and sun-deck heated pool and Jacuzzi (but be warned dippers can be seen by participants of the BridgeClimb tours although they appear as ant specks).
PRICE: Nightly internet rates for a three-night stay in late June start from A$675 (US$623). Themed packages are also available.
VERDICT: The raves earned by this unique property, including the yearly Best Business Hotel in Sydney award given by our readers, are well earned.
CONTACT: 7 Hickson Road, The Rocks, Sydney, Australia, tel 61 2 9241 1234, www.sydney.park.hyatt.com
Margie T Logarta