Traveller: Andrew Mevissen
Room: Regency Club Harbour View
Address: 161 Sussex St, Sydney CBD
Date: March 2017
Best for: A plush stay in the heart of Sydney for business or pleasure with Darling Harbour and the new Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre a short stroll away.
Formerly Four Points by Sheraton, the hotel reopened in December 2016 as the more upmarket Hyatt Regency Sydney. A $250-million facelift saw the addition of a new tower and 222 extra rooms, with the five-star hotel now offering 892 rooms in total, making it Australia’s largest premium hotel.
The Signature factor
The Zephyr Skybar is Sydney’s only hotel rooftop bar, offering views of Darling Harbour and the sunset as well as seasonal tapas in an elegant, open-air setting. The level 12 bar is also open to the public. Another major selling point of the hotel are the views facing west over Darling Harbour from many rooms.
The hotel is pitched at premium leisure and corporate travellers with a handy, central location suiting both. The hotel is also a drawcard for conferences and functions with 3700 square metres of meeting space, including two ballrooms that can seat more than 1800 people.
As Australia’s largest hotel, the flower-festooned lobby was certainly busy when we arrived, but valet parking at the hotel ($70 for 24 hours) helped, while the advantage of booking a Club room was obvious when we were personally escorted up the lifts to the lofty, sanctuary-like Regency Club Lounge where we could check in speedily. Complimentary Wi-Fi also makes guests feel welcome.
Our 30-square-metre Regency Club Harbour View room on the hotel’s highest floor (15) offered great views over Darling Harbour as well as a king-sized bed, sitting area and desk, walk-in shower, deluxe Pharmacopia toiletries, Bluetooth-compatible clock radio/speaker, ample power points, mood lighting, terry cloth bath robes and slippers, complimentary water bottles and a large, high-definition, flat panel TV with Miracast technology which allows the wireless mirroring of content from your phone or laptop to the TV screen. Our room also provided entry to the Regency Club Lounge on the 11th floor which offers complimentary breakfast, complimentary drinks and canapes from 6pm, free all-day coffee/tea and water, free use of the boardroom and exclusive check-in and check-out – all with great views of Darling Harbour.
Regency Executive Suites (56 square metres) are the hotel’s top-of-the-range offerings with separate living areas and large bathrooms.
On my plate
The Regency Club Lounge, with its chill music soundtrack, offers some of the most extensive, complimentary cuisine and beverages I’ve ever seen in a hotel lounge. From 6pm, meatballs filled with handmade mozzarella, gnocchi with pesto, smoked trout, salmon and meats, sushi, platters of cheeses and lots more appear along with an array of free beer, wine and champagne.
It’s all very impressive and delicious and so substantial and satisfying that the generous spread could substitute for dinner on one night of your stay, but be sure to dine at least once in the hotel’s 272-seat Sailmaker restaurant on the ground floor, if only to experience the exceptional and memorable service of Hungarian-born restaurant manager Aelita and her assistant, Jose. Aelita’s warmth, ebullient personality, infectious smile and sense of fun was the highlight of our stay and made for an enjoyable evening. When Aelita found out my wife and I were celebrating an anniversary, she dashed off and asked the chefs to prepare an urgent, mini love-themed pastry which she delivered with a candle and then held our hands and asked us to close our eyes as she bestowed on us a traditional, Hungarian marriage blessing. What a lady and an asset to the hotel. If only there could be more Aelitas in the world who ran restaurants with such genuine, heart-centred service.
But Sailmaker also delivers on the food side too. We enjoyed mouth-watering Coffin Bay oysters, a satisfying seafood platter for two and crème caramel. And like the lounge, the restaurant comes with relaxed music certain to put diners in a good mood.
Back up in the Club next morning, the lounge again impresses with its complimentary breakfast with a view with smoothies, juices, yoghurts, meats, fruit, an omelette chef and all-important coffee available, along with newspapers.
Highlights from the mini-bar
Beers are $10, soft drinks $5, chocolate bars $4.50, chips $5 and half bottles of wine $16. Instant coffee and long life milk are also provided.
I wish I could take home
Aelita – for her amiable company, fun personality and genuine sense of care for her guests.
There’s no spa in the hotel or pool but there are two well-equipped, 24-hour gym rooms – one for cardio and one for weights.
The swish, ground-floor Lobby Lounge serves coffee, beverages and light snacks all day and the rooftop, open-air Zephyr Skybar offers tapas, cocktails and views from 5pm to late Tuesday-Thursday and noon to late Friday-Sunday. The Sailmaker Restaurant also offers all-day dining – including High Tea from 2.30-5.30pm, plus there’s the two, in-house 24-hour gyms and that alluring Club Lounge for savvy guests staying in a Club room.
The hotel boasts a great position, with the retail, culinary and entertainment lures of Barangaroo and Darling Harbour at your doorstep with all the city’s other attractions a short walk away while business travellers will also find the central city position handy.
The rebadged Hyatt Regency Sydney only opened in December 2016, so no awards yet.
Upgrade to a Club room so you can enjoy the bountiful, complimentary cuisine and drinks in the Club and also feel that little bit pampered – which is what you want on a busy business trip or live-it-up personal celebration. Also request a west-facing room for afternoon light, views of Darling Harbour and the sunset.
Our bags took a little while to arrive in our room but we grazed happily on refreshments in the Regency Club Lounge while we waited. Basic coffee machines and fresh milk would be a nice touch in rooms, too, although the Club has plenty of both.
The hotel had a swimming pool, but there’s plenty to still love about this impressive new addition to Sydney’s upscale hotel portfolio.
Where to find it.
Hyatt Regency Sydney
161 Sussex St, Sydney
02 8099 1234