Hyatt Regency Sydney; Harbour Grand Hong Kong; Laguna Garden Hotel, Okinawa; Doubletree by Hilton Naha Shuri Castle
Following a multimilliondollar refurbishment of the former Four Points by Sheraton, Hyatt Regency Sydney opened at the end of 2016, complete with an additional 24-storey tower.
WHERE IS IT?
In an enviable position in the city’s CBD, about 20 minutes from Sydney Airport, with a stunning backdrop of Darling Harbour. The hotel offers direct access to The Promenade, which is lined with bars and restaurants stretching into the fashionable Barangaroo district.
WHAT’ S IT LIKE?
The polished-marble lobby is grand and sophisticated, with several reception desk islands and comfortable modern seating areas. With 892 rooms (making it the largest hotel in Australia), the lobby is constantly bustling, but check-in was a speedy affair (though I did have to queue on a Saturday evening after my room key card randomly deactivated). Staff were helpful, polite and friendly.
At 28 sqm my Club Harbour View King room felt small, though this seems to be the city standard. The décor was smart and neutral, with a dark-grey, diamondpatterned carpet and beige headboard and curtains. The standout feature is the view: floor-to-ceiling windows offer a fabulous panorama across Darling Harbour.
The room offers all the essentials: an iron/ironing board; tea- and coffee-making facilities (with fresh milk in the fridge); a well-stocked minibar with local beer priced at A$10 (US$8); a smallish, oval marble-topped table; and complimentary wifi, which worked well in the room but tended to die in the lobby area. A smart TV with Miracast allows wireless mirroring of content from your devices (movies available at an additional fee). Thoughtful touches included a complimentary fruit bowl and daily replenishment of cake.
The bed itself was large and comfortable – combined with great blackout curtains and quiet, ambient air-conditioning, I had a great rest. Both sides of the bed had two plug sockets, but unfortunately they weren’t universal. There was no master light switch either, but the lighting system was intuitive.
The bathroom was clean and functional, with Pharmacopia products, free hygiene amenities and a high-quality hairdryer.
One evening, I phoned reception for a Samsung phone charger but was told there were none left. It was quite late, and it’s a large hotel, but this is the kind of basic amenity I would expect in a premium business hotel. A knock from room service at 8.45am one morning also seemed a little unreasonable, as many people are likely to be getting ready for the day at that time.
The main restaurant outlet is the all-day dining, 272-seat Sailmaker, located beyond the lobby. It gets very busy at breakfast and you are likely to have to queue – those with Club access should avoid. During lunch, Sailmaker offers a health-focused buffet concept (great for a light business lunch). At weekends the evening “seafood table” shines, and after dinner heading up to rooftop bar Zephyr is an absolute must.
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 Darling Harbour views. The venue also offers a car and goods lift, separate coach check-in facility for expedited registration of large groups, and 21 meeting rooms.
The Regency Club lounge has a striking nautical design aesthetic. The lovely, bright space offers plenty of comfortable and more formal seating arrangements, a good continental breakfast buffet spread (complete with live egg station), evening canapés and cocktails, and an elegant conference room.
There’s 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 historic Dundee Arms pub.
Laid-back, Aussie-style five-star, with an unpretentious focus on practicality over chandeliers. Fantastic location, good facilities and a comfortable stay.
One of this property’s standouts is its 3,700 sqm of stateof-the-art venue space