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So far in my series on my trip to Australia with TPG Managing Editor Eric, I’ve covered how I used miles to book my award ticket, my flight from LAX-MEL in United GlobalFirst, the day I spent wine-tasting out in the Yarra Valley, a restaurant review roundup of all the fantastic places we ate in the city, my review of the Westin Melbourne, my review on the Hamiliton Island Reef View Hotel, flying Jetstar to Hamilton Island and on Virgin Australia from Hamilton Island to Sydney. On the end of my Australia adventure, I visited Sydney for the very first time, and decided to stay at the Park Hyatt. Stay tuned for more Sydney activities!
For my first trip to Sydney, I really wanted to be in a central location so I could explore some of Sydney’s top sites and be close to my friends who live all over the city, so I chose the Park Hyatt Sydney. The hotel is in Hyatt’s new top tier, Category 7, and is in a perfect location for tourism – the historic The Rocks district. It was recently renovated and has incredible guest rooms with floor-to-ceiling glass windows that open onto private balconies overlooking the Rocks and Sydney Harbour (well, some rooms).
The stats: I used 110,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points (booked pre devaluation) for a five-night stay, so I was able to get the room for 22,000 points per night, and post-devaluation, the now Category 7 hotel requires 30,000 miles for an award night. So by booking pre-devaluation, I was able to save 40,000 points for the five nights. The cost of the hotel per night was $775 AUD, or $693, so my per-point valuation was 3.15 cents per point.
I started my stay in a Standard room, but when I got to my room and checked everything out, the view of a tree wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, so I spoke with a manager about seeing if there was a nicer room available. As I am a Hyatt Diamond member, Gold Passport promises me the best room available upon my arrival, but it never hurts to ask if there is anything better just in case. However, the desk agent told me that there was unfortunately nothing else available.
I wasn’t thrilled, but I wasn’t going to give up! I spent one night in the first room, and the next day I asked about getting a different room again, and a manager gave me another room with a partial view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but it had less windows and no balcony, so I politely declined.
However, lo and behold a few hours later, she called me back and said a cancellation had taken and I was moved to a beautiful City Harbour Deluxe room, which had a beautiful view of the Central Business District and then to my left the Sydney Opera House – what a difference from my original “tree view” room.
The room was comfortable for the most part, and quite spacious at about 800 square feet. Obviously, the balcony with the view was one of the best things about the room. The linens and bed were nice – same as my original room, but the overall layout was much nicer in this room, with more room by the closets and bathroom and a ton of natural light from the windows.
The bathroom is separated from the bedroom by two sliding doors coming from either side of the room. It had dual vanities and an Toto toilet (with a self-warming seat) in the WC. The glassed-in bath and shower suite was spacious and ornate, and had both wall-mounted and rainfall shower heads as well as a separate deep soaking tub. The sinks and the bathtub were marble, and flooring was made out of the local cream-colored Sydney sandstone.
I was a little annoyed because I had wanted to try out the spa, but they were booked solid for three days straight. I had hurt my back recently during a workout and was really hoping for a massage, but unfortunately they weren’t able to accommodate me during my stay due to the small size of the spa – they only have 5 treatment rooms.
The simply-named restaurant options are The Dining Room, The Living Room and The Bar. The Living Room is more of a casual lounge that overlooks the harbor, and the Dining Room is the main dining outlet, where I was able to enjoy breakfast daily as a Diamond Member. The breakfast buffet was small but nice, with the continental option priced out at $35 AUD ($30 USD) and the hot buffet addition at $45 AUD ($37 USD).
Instead I just opted for an a la carte option of coffee, orange juice and an omelette with vintage cheddar, tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach, which was hearty and delicious.
I also went there one day for lunch, hoping for a quick sandwich or salad before I headed out for the day, but realized too late that they only have a prix-fixe menu option. The food was quite good, but pricey and only for a leisurely sit down. You can choose a one, two or three-course option paired with wine, but I just opted for the one-course for $39 and passed on the wine-tasting since it was right before my Sydney Bridge Climb tour and you get breathalyzed beforehand and I had a friend who had a bloody mary at brunch and was barred from the activity that day!
The hotel also has a rooftop pool, however it is smaller than I had expected and even though they told me the pool was serviced at the front desk, no one came to take any orders or anything during the time I spent there. There was also a strange “emergency evacuation” that happened during my stay, apparently something happened with pool chemicals, and all the guests needed to evacuate for about an hour and there was a distinct smell of the chlorine throughout the hotel for a couple hours.
I had also hoped to take advantage of the concierge service a bit more to help plan some activities and excurions, but every time I called, it just rang and rang. I also left messages and was never contacted back. I was finally able to have the concierge book a boat rental, but I had to go down there and speak to him in person. Once I was down there, the service was helpful but it was difficult to get a hold of the concierge and I didn’t love that I had to go down in person to figure it out.
Last Diamond Hurrah
This was my last stay as a Hyatt Diamond – I let it my top-tier elite status go this year to focus on Starwood 75-night Platinum status instead, and to be able to stay at more unique/pet-friendly/rental home properties last year. Overall, even though I wasn’t blown away by the service and elite recognition here, I still think the value was incredible considering the breakfast benefit was worth $100 daily (for two people) and the stay would have cost me nearly $4,000 in the Harbour View room, so I can’t complain. Even at 30,000 points a night at current rates, the property is a great way to use your free nights from the Hyatt Visa or transferring in your Chase Ultimate Rewards points from the Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus or Ink Bold.
I had a great first visit to Australia and fell in love with Sydney. Can’t wait to return! The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.
The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.