Following a multimillion-dollar refurbishment of the former Four Points by Sheraton, Hyatt Regency Sydney opened at the end of 2016, complete with an additional 24-storey tower. Hyatt Regency is positioned as one of Hyatt’s three premium brands, particularly tailored towards meetings and events. Following the renovation the hotel boasts 892 guest rooms, making it the largest hotel in Australia, and with its proximity to the new International Convention Centre (ICC) is ideal for large MICE groups, as well as individual business or leisure travellers.
Where is it?
Hyatt Regency Sydney boasts an enviable position in the city’s CBD with a stunning backdrop of Darling Harbour. The hotel is a stone’s throw from attractions such as the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and the Wildlife Sydney Zoo where guests can get up close and personal with the country’s cuddly mascot (though no zoos in New South Wales permit guests to actually hold koalas).
The hotel also offers direct access to The Promenade, which is lined with bars and restaurants stretching into the fashionable Barangaroo district.
The hotel is about a 20-minute drive from Sydney Airport – the hotel offers a limousine pick-up/drop-off service, equipped with complimentary wifi, a bank of chargers, magazines and water.
What's it like?
The polished-marble lobby is grand and sophisticated, with several reception desk islands and some comfortable modern seating areas. A bank of six elevators is located behind the reception desks. With almost 900 rooms, the lobby is constantly bustling and the lobby bar was generally busy, particularly in the evening. Check-in was a speedy affair (though I did have to queue on a Saturday evening after my room key card randomly deactivated – always a pain), and the staff were helpful, polite and friendly. With my room 994 being located in the new tower (clearly marked by new, jazzier corridors), I had quite a trek from the elevators to my room.
First impressions of my Club Harbour View King room were slightly underwhelming: at 28-30sqm it felt rather small and plain for an upscale brand, particular in comparison to its Asian counterparts. However, having subsequently explored other hotel offerings in the city, smaller sizes seem to be the standard, so we can blame Sydney for that.
The décor was smart and neutral, with a dark grey diamond-patterned carpet and beige headboard and curtains. A few design details included a beige armchair, hidden panel lighting behind the bed and a hanging lamp near the desk.
The absolute standout feature is the view: the kind that makes you anxious to run out and explore the area. Floor-to-ceiling windows offered a fabulous panorama over Darling Harbour, encompassing the ICC, marina and colourful entertainment venues lining the waterfront.
Facility-wise, the room offers all of the essentials: a smart TV with Miracast, which allows wireless mirroring of content from your devices (movies available at an additional fee), complimentary wifi, which worked well in the room but tended to die in the lobby area, and a smallish, oval marble-topped table by the window for working, equipped with a telephone and power sockets. The phone on the desk confounded my technological skills – I eventually succeeded in making a call to room service (via speakerphone only) to ask for a Samsung phone charger one evening, however was told there were none left. On one hand this is fair enough, (it was quite late in the evening and it’s a 900-odd room hotel) on the other – this is the kind of basic amenity I would expect in a premium business hotel.
Other staples included iron and ironing board, tea and coffee-making facilities (with fresh milk in the fridge – a detail I greatly appreciated) and a well-stocked minibar with local beer priced at A$10 (US$8). Thoughtful touches included a complimentary fruit bowl and daily replenishment of cake.
The bed itself was large and supremely comfortable. Combined with great blackout curtains and quiet, ambient air-conditioning, I had a good rest. Both sides of the bed had two plug sockets, but unfortunately, these were not universal and so do require an adaptor. There was no master light switch either, but the lighting system was very intuitive (one benefit of a smaller room!) and there are bed lights that can be controlled from the side table.
The bathroom was also clean and functional. The fixed glass-door shower came with Pharmacopia products. There were also complimentary hygiene amenities and a high quality hairdryer – another detail that was appreciated.
One odd observation was the knock from room service at 8.45am one morning – I found this to be a little unreasonable, as many people would likely be busy getting ready for the day, so a tip is to make use of the Do Not Disturb facility.
Food & drink
The main restaurant outlet is the all-day dining Sailmaker, located beyond the lobby. It’s a lovely, large 272-seat space, though at breakfast in particular it gets very busy and you are likely to have to queue – those with club access should avoid.
During lunch, Sailmaker offers a health-focused buffet concept with lots of market-fresh salad dishes served in smaller, regularly replenished portions. Great for a light business lunch, and priced at A$35 (US$28) per person. At the weekend, the evening “seafood table” stars, with fresh shellfish, creamy salmon and more.
After dinner, heading up to rooftop bar Zephyr is an absolute must. You’ll meet plenty of well-heeled locals on the 12th floor enjoying innovative cocktails against the spectacular backdrop.
One of the standouts of this property is its 3,700 sqm of state-of-the-art venue space. The two ballrooms feature sail-like ceilings with customisable lighting and floor-to-ceiling windows to offer stunning Darling Harbour views. All of the basic tech in the room (such as shutters, pre-set lighting, temperature) can be easily controlled from a touchscreen wall panel, while the onsite AV team can help with more technical specifications. The venue also offers a four-ton car and goods lift, separate coach check-in facility for expedited registration of large groups and 21 meeting rooms.
The Regency Club lounge is rather spectacular: the nautical theme that subtly runs throughout the hotel is perhaps most apparent in the design detail here. A lovely, bright space with plenty of comfortable and more formal seating arrangements, a good continental breakfast buffet spread (complete with live egg station), canapés and cocktails in the evening, and an elegant conference room – all with views over Darling Harbour. Check-in and check-out, concierge and printing facilities also available.
There is a 24-hour fitness centre with cardio and strength training on the 11th floor. Recently, the hotel entered into a partnership with Canon to host a rotating gallery in the hotel’s Heritage Bar, built in 1887. Another piece of history connected to the hotel is the Dundee Arms – a historic pub that has been the gathering place of Sydney siders and sailors since the 1860s.
An excellent choice for business travellers. I’d call this laid-back “Aussie-style” five-star, with an unpretentious focus on practicality over chandeliers. Fantastic location and good facilities.
Best for: Large groups and proximity to the CBD.
Don’t miss: Sundowners at Zephyr.
Price: Internet rates for a one-night stay in a Club Harbour View King room in mid-April start from A$511 (US$413)
Contact: Hyatt Regency Sydney, 161 Sussex Street, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 2000; +61 2 8099 1234; sydney.regency.hyatt.com