Our Virgin Australia flight landed almost 40 mins early in Sydney and luckily the gate was empty which meant that we were off the plane by 9 am. Upon disembarking, it took less than 20 minutes for us to be seated in a cab, on our way to the Park Hyatt. Immigration at Sydney Airport was surprisingly simple due to the available Smart Gate access for U.S Citizens. It was a simple scanning of the passport and a quick photo before we were well on our way.
Introduction: Christmas in Hong Kong, and New Year in New Zealand
Cathay Pacific First & Business Class Lounge San Francisco
Cathay Pacific Business Class (Reverse Herringbone) SFO-HKG
The Conrad Hong Kong – Harbor View Twin Room
The Intercontinental Hong Kong – Harbor View Room
The Sights and Sounds of Hong Kong
Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge HKG Airport
Singapore Airlines Business Class HKG-SIN-AKL
Arrival in Queenstown & The Rees Queenstown Luxury Hotel Apartments
Queenstown Day 1: Milford Sound
Queenstown Day 2: Glenorchy
Queenstown Day 3: Crown Range Road & Wanaka
The Hilton Auckland & New Year’s Eve
Hobbiton, New Zealand
Emperor Lounge @ Auckland Airport (via Priority Pass)
The Park Hyatt Sydney – Opera View Deluxe King Room
Virgin Australia Business Class SYD-LAX
Virgin America Lounge – The Loft at LAX
The Park Hyatt Sydney
7 Hickson Rd,
The Rocks NSW 2000, Australia
Phone:+61 2 9256 1234
Hyatt Gold Passport: Category 7 –> 30,000 points/night
The Park Hyatt Sydney is located in the area called the Rocks, right across from the Sydney Opera House and under the harbor bridge. The drive from the airport to the Park Hyatt took almost 40 mins because of road closures pertaining to the New Year’s Eve festivities a few nights before. Let me just say that words cannot describe how awesome it is to take in the iconic views of Sydney all at once. The first time I saw it I was literally trying to slap myself out of a dream. And the fact that it was all within a moment’s glance/walk from the hotel made it all the more incredible. I immediately went out to snap a few photos of the hotel and the bridge.
The view of the Opera House can be seen from parts of the Lobby, hotel restaurant, and some of the rooms. It was interesting to note that the Opera House wasn’t as white as I had imagined it in broad daylight:
I absolutely loved the view, but nevertheless it felt a little like the Taj Mahal in this regard, over hyped about its white nature 🙂
As soon as we arrived, we were helped with our bags and ushered into the modern lobby. My dad had recently received Hyatt Diamond status through a status match from SPG Platinum, and so we were eager to compare the two programs. I had heard great things about the way they treat Diamonds at the Park Hyatt Sydney from many people and this ended being no different. Room rates at the hotel easily cross the $700 threshold for most nights of the year and a gold passport redemption isn’t cheap at 30,000 points/night. As I mentioned before I booked our rooms using the Hyatt Card free night certificates obtained from the credit card sign on bonus. (Note: I don’t receive a commission for this link)
Saying that the staff at the reception left a positive impression of Hyatt Gold Passport is an understatement. They staff went out of their way to ensure that we were all taken care of despite showing up at 10:30 am (well before hotel check in time).
We were immediately thanked for our loyalty and offered bottled water while the receptionist processed the check in. She informed us of our benefits which included free breakfast at the hotel restaurant, gym/spa access, and an upgrade to Opera View Deluxe Rooms.
At this point, the receptionist genuinely looked bothered by what she saw on her computer screen. I was already fearing the worst, something along the lines of maybe I had booked the room for the wrong dates, and was frantically looking through my email for confirmation. However it turned out that she was just about to apologize for not having our room ready yet. Quite frankly I didn’t expect to be allowed to check in this early anyway.
Since it would be an hour or two before they were ready, she offered to allow us to either use the showers attached to the spa/gym or a temporary room on a lower floor, to clean up before our lunch reservation. We opted to use the showers at the spa/gym area, and were quickly handed a couple of key cards to access the floor. We were told that our luggage would placed inside our rooms by the time we were back (sure enough they were).
My sister and I took a quick shower in the gym/spa bathroom not much unlike the one seen above. For some reason I seem to have misplaced the pictures of the locker room and shower area of the gym so I apologize for not having that readily available. All I can say is that the facilities were elegant and exceedingly clean. The showers were stocked with Bergamote toiletries, which just smelled awesome.
After my long shower (I really enjoyed the miniature car wash they had set up), we talked to the concierge about finding the best walks to do while in town. Jonathan at the concierge desk recommended walking along the harbor, in the Royal Botanical Garden, and some other inner loops around the hotel. In general, he seemed to be have a good idea of what was open until when, which seems to be a problem with some concierges.
He proactively asked us if we had made dinner plans that evening, and asked us if he could get us a reservation because all the restaurants were booking up fast. Lucky for me because I had absolutely no plans and judging by the number of calls, places were indeed heavily booked.
In general, I wish more concierges were so curious and forthcoming with their recommendations. I have often found some to not remind us of important times and peak hours for common activities. The concierges here sure did a stand up job as far as I could tell.
Lunch & A Walk through the Heart of Sydney
Anyway moving on to talk about our little lunch excursion. I had made a lunch reservation at Malabar South Indian Cuisine in Darlinghurst after I read some great reviews of the place on Tripadvisor, and Google. Lately I’ve been avoiding heavier Indian food such as naan, curry, and rice, in favor of lighter Indian fare like dosas. This often leaves more room to try desserts or other foods later on in the day and is certainly easier to work off at the gym.
Darlinghurst is one of those trending areas in Sydney from what I could tell. There were tons of restaurants, supermarkets, and clubs lined up along the streets. Many young locals were walking down the street from restaurant to restaurant looking at the menu and deciding what to eat.
When we arrived, the tables at the restaurant were still being setup for the lunch service and the waitress said they should be ready in another 10 minutes. So we walked over to explore the mall across the street, which had a few interesting bakeries, tea shops, and a supermarket. It seemed like this was the high season for mangoes in Australia. There were many different kinds, and locals seemed to be very interested in buying them. And so we bought a few for munching later.
We returned to the restaurant to find that we were the first ones
This is where I must apologize to my readers, for some reason I seem to have deleted the pictures I took of the food at the restaurant off my phone due to space issues. T-mobile roaming wasn’t fast enough in Australia to back up my photos to Google Photos in time.
And so I will just give you a recap of the food we ordered (note: we are vegetarians) : Masala Dosa (for my sister and I), Vendakkai Masala (fried okra), Yellow Dal, Eggplant Curry, Basmati Rice, Plain Yogurt. Overall, the food was excellent, but I would rate the dosa at a B+ due to it being too salty. For dessert we had Gajjar ka Halwa with freshly made ice cream, which was absolutely delicious. Service was prompt, courteous and considerate of food allergies (my sister is allergic to all kinds of nuts). The ambiance and decor of the restaurant was unique in that the wall had some BW pictures of Indian royalty and art work. Google has a very detailed street view of the place here, if you want to check it out. The meal came out to just under $100 ($25 per head) including taxes and gratuities, which seemed reasonable for a fine dining restaurant in Sydney.
After lunch, my parents and sister took a cab back to the hotel to relax for a bit, while I took a walk through the city. The restaurant was a good 40 minute walk from the hotel, a good workout, in the humid heat, to burn off the lunch. The walk first led me through some not so awesome parts of town with empty pedestrian streets and homeless people.
It then led me next to the NSW Art Gallery and overpass looking over a highway and a few high rises. This particular scene in the picture above looked like a perfect place for a long exposure.
And then it led me through the Royal Botanic Gardens where there were some good views of the same high rises I saw before.
The Royal Botanic Gardens had plenty of flower and plant exhibits. Call me unimpressed, but I didn’t think there was anything to write home about in the gardens themselves.
The rest of the city however did feature some nice architecture and statues from another time.
After walking through the garden, I finally arrived at a very busy Sydney harbor and to a view of the iconic Harbor bridge.
I walked around the Quay, which had some very nice Victorian architecture.
I then arrived at the this view which included the Park Hyatt Sydney, the Opera House, and the Harbor bridge. Annoyingly enough, a huge cruise ship was parked just in front of the opera house, obstructing my picture.
Opera House Deluxe View Room
By the time I arrived at the hotel, I was very tired and sweaty from my walk across Sydney. Though it wasn’t the hottest day in Sydney, it was terribly humid and the walk involved a lot of uphill walking. My sister had locked the door to our room, so I walked into my parents room to catch a glimpse of this wondrous sight. I mean the room was just beautiful and the view just spectacular. I was so tired that I didn’t take pictures as soon as I walked in. I just sort of crashed on the couch. My parents were out on the balcony enjoying this view of the Opera House from our room.
I managed to take this picture just before I crashed on the couch and didn’t get another picture of the room because all of our luggage ended up being everywhere.
After my hour long nap, I woke up and took some pictures of the spa inspired bathroom. It featured a small separate powder room (detached from the shower room) with a Japanese toilet and a sink.
Right next to it along the same corridor was a humongous shower stocked with Bergamote toiletries.
There was also a double vanity, weighing scale, and jacuzzi tub next to a window with a shutter for viewing the Sydney Opera House.
Overall, the design of the room was absolutely flawless. I liked that it had a separate powder room away from the shower so that no one is left waiting 🙂 And the jacuzzi/shower area had a privacy shutter to view the Opera House only when you are by yourself.
My room was much the same as my parents, except that it featured the view above and had double beds.
Dinner at Aki’s Fine Indian Dining
For dinner that evening, the concierge got us reservations at Aki’s Fine Indian Dining in Woolloomooloo, an upcoming harborside restaurant area in Sydney. We in fact tried to walk to the restaurant initially before realizing that we would be late and took a cab. It’s not exactly close to the Park Hyatt.
The restaurant was absolutely packed when we walked in and shown to our seat. I really expected it to take forever before we were served, but was pleasantly surprised.
We started off by ordering the Masala Dosa, which was absolutely phenomenal. Simply the best dosa I’ve had anywhere in the world. Having tried this item in many different places around the world and India, I can only name a handful of places which serve dosas on par with this one. The dosas are perfectly shaped, not too crispy, not too soft and the accompaniments of sambhar and chutney are excellent and provided in more than sufficient quantity to completely eat the dosa. I liked the dosa so much that I ordered a second one, which I shared with my sister.
The tomato chutney served with all the appetizers is outstanding. So if anything I would go here just for the dosa and that. And though it is stated on the menu that the dosa is a starter, the portion size is big enough to make it a huge chunk of the meal on its own (order according to how hungry you are)
Though the dosa was the best part of the meal, each and every item menu were terrific, which included: the Palak Patta Chaat, Beetroot Vada, drinks (eg. Mango Lassi), Potato Karakari, and Breads (Naan, Onion Kulcha etc.).
At times the chef (Kumar Mahadevan) would walk around to make sure everyone was enjoying their meal. His attention to detail was impressive as he made sure that everyone’s glasses and plates were full.
Bottom Line: Great homestyle food, great service at an expensive price (I’m sorry I don’t remember the price, but it was more than lunch). Nevertheless after this visit it has become go to restaurant in Sydney. The Masala dosa and tomato chutney were just too good. I apologize for not having more pictures, as I mentioned I was having space issues. Luckily my mom managed to take a photo of the dosa before eating it as well.
Night Time Photography:
By the time we reached our rooms, it was well past 10pm and dark outside. We sat out on the balcony for a very long time watching the harbor and noticed tons of newly weds coming to take pictures with the Opera House. Who could blame them? The view was terrific.
As we sat watching the boats pass by, I noticed an opportunity for a long exposure with the boat lights. And took the picture below:
I also took pictures of the financial district later that night from our room.
At around midnight, I hit the sack calling it a day. Note to self: never have a shower like the one at the Park Hyatt or I may never make it to work or school on time in the morning.
Breakfast @ The Dining Room
Our flight back to the U.S was at 11:40am the next morning so we found ourselves down for breakfast by 8 am. Breakfast is included for Hyatt Diamonds and was graciously extended to both of our rooms. The breakfast included the buffet and anything off the menu.
The decor was what you would expect at a high end restaurant: elegant and comfortable.
The view of course was outstanding with the opera house in full view from our window seats.
The breakfast spread was not only high quality, but was perfectly organized and looked great. In fact it looked so good that I didn’t want to disturb a single spoon or bowl, which all seemed to be placed perfectly.
There was tons of cereals, and toppings (nuts, raisins, fruits etc) on offer along with a wide assortment of freshly squeezed juices. The freshly squeezed orange juice was absolutely awesome.
There was also a display like case, which also served as a refrigerator with a wide variety of salad vegetables, dressing, and a really good looking yogurt parfait display.
The hot items in the buffet included breakfast potatoes, steamed veggies and some other items I didn’t really look at because they were non-vegetarian.
There was also a decent variety of high quality pastries enclosed within a glass case. I know they are high quality because my sister may have been over indulging (she is usually extremely picky) 😉
At another station there was a wide variety of regular and gourmet breads, which again looked like an art display.
Let me start off by saying that service was outstanding from start to finish. Fannie and her colleagues working there that morning were complete delight. They made sure our glasses were full all the way through breakfast, and even insisted that we try something from the menu. And though initially I didn’t feel like eating breakfast, I was convinced enough to try the waffle with maple syrup, powdered sugar, strawberries, blueberries, and butter.
And yes, it was indeed as good as it looks. Simply the best breakfast waffles I’ve had in ages: perfectly toasted, surprisingly light, and the right amount of sugar. My dad, who loves waffles, looked a little disappointed that he was already done.
By the time I was done eating the waffles, I was the only one left sitting there just taking in the view and ambiance one last time. Fannie came by to ask if I wanted to order more waffles or anything, which I politely refused.
She seemed to love where she worked and was extremely enthusiastic about talking with everyone, even remembering the names of guests who I presume were staying for more than one night. When we chatted, she suggested a lot of places that I apparently should’ve visited and was disappointed that I hadn’t seen more of Australia.
Though I do my own research a lot, it was interesting to listen to where the locals recommended going and breakfast is certainly the time of day when guests have the most patience and time to talk about their plans. The rest of the day is spent trying to be somewhere or going elsewhere 🙂 Yes, glorious lives we lead as travelers.
Bottom Line: Outstanding Service, great gold passport member recognition and jaw dropping views/location paired with some of the world’s most modern and luxurious rooms. Everyone employed at this hotel from the receptionist to Jonathan at the concierge desk to Fannie in the restaurant were extremely proactive with the service and very attentive to their guests. It’s certainly employees like these that make an excellent hotel, exceptional. Simply the best and certainly my favorite Park Hyatt! I can definitely see why people pay a premium to stay here and I can’t wait to return.
That pretty much caps my time in Australia, now for the flight home 🙁