Weekend Getaways

Hyatt Regency Sydney review: Inside Australia’s giant new hotel

The place

Hyatt Regency Sydney

The location

On the edge of the CBD, facing Darling Harbour, the Hyatt Regency is in one of Sydney’s premier locations. The city centre is directly behind the hotel, with George Street just five minutes’ walk and the Pitt Street Mall about 10 minutes away. Across Darling Harbour, the new International Convention Centre is close by for those in town for conferences and exhibitions.

The space

Formerly the Four Points Darling Harbour, the property underwent a major redevelopment in the past couple of years. More than just a simple refurbishment, the changes included the addition of a striking glass tower on the building’s south side, increasing the number of rooms by more than 200 to a whopping 890, making it the largest hotel in the country. A bar and large restaurant can be found on the ground floor, with a striking rooftop watering hole on the 15th floor (See “The Food” below). There’s a 24-hour fitness centre, but no swimming pool (perhaps the sheer size of the hotel meant a pool that could accommodate this number of guests would be unfeasible). On the 11th floor is the Regency Club, a stylish space where guests staying in the hotel’s Regency Club rooms can enjoy breakfast, drinks and snacks.

 

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The room

I’m in a Regency Club suite, one of the large rooms in the new glass tower. It’s a huge space with a large, curved floor-to-ceiling window offering panoramic views over Darling Harbour. The design is modern, with a grey, black and white colour scheme fitting the more business-traveller style of these rooms. Power points abound, with two for each bedside table, easily accessible above the table itself. There’s a desk, a chaise longue and a giant flatscreen TV. Wi-Fi is free. The bathroom is grey marble with large bathtub that also offers views outside. Toiletries are from Pharmacopia.

The non-suite Regency Club rooms offer most of the same features, with the exception of the size of the room and the bathtub, while the standard rooms are similar in size to the Club rooms but with a different aesthetic in the furnishings and bathrooms.

The food

The Sailmaker restaurant is on the ground floor and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is necessarily large to match the size of the hotel, though it’s fairly quiet the evening I dine there. There’s no particular theme to the menu, with a range of cuisines including Japanese, Thai and Italian, along with pub favourites like burgers and schnitzels. I opt for a burrata entree (Italian mozzarella balls with tomato and crispy prosciutto) and crispy skin ocean trout for the main course. Both are high quality, but the salted caramel chocolate fondant dessert is a little too heavy and stodgy for my tastes.

After dinner, a visit to the spectacular Zephyr rooftop bar is a must. The open-air space, with views over Darling Harbour, has already turned into a highlight of Sydney’s drinking scene and attracts plenty of visitors beyond the hotel’s guests. While the afternoon sun can be harsh in summer, there are plenty of cocktails and other drinking options to keep you cool.

Stepping out

Elements of the design of the hotel incorporated a nautical theme – Zephyr, for instance, offers something of a lido deck feel. So why not keep the nautical theme going by visiting the Australian National Maritime Museum, which is just a short walk across the Pyrmont Bridge. Here you can explore Australia’s maritime heritage, including exploring a replica of the HMAS endeavour, along with destroyer the HMAS Vampire and submarine the HMAS Onslow. See www.anmm.gov.au/

The verdict

Despite its size, the Hyatt Regency doesn’t feel overcrowded and offers an excellent location for both leisure and business visitors to Sydney.

Essentials

Rooms at the Hyatt Regency start from $200 per night, with Regency Club rooms starting from $310. See sydney.regency.hyatt.com

Highlight

A drink at the Zephyr bar is a must.

Lowlight

The size of the hotel means if you forget something, the walk back to your room can take a while.

Craig Platt stayed as a guest of the Hyatt Regency Sydney.

Robin Cole