- Back from my epic/insane trip: overall thoughts
- Business vs. economy: is the mileage upcharge worth it?
- Assigning $ value to Priority Pass during our trip to South Pacific
- Our two magical nights in Bora Bora
- Hilton Moorea resort and spa: spectacular setting, not a 5-star property
- Making the most of our one night in Moorea
- InterContinental Resort Tahiti: Lovely Property with Freezing Pools and Hot Bellhops
- Hilton Auckland: a Great Choice in a Great City
Park Hyatt Sydney: a fun treat, but NOT worth 30k UR points per night
Park Hyatt Sydney is considered to be one of the most coveted properties when it comes to redeeming points. And it’s easy to see why. While paid rates are usually north of $1k per night, you can stay here for only 30k World of Hyatt points. But I don’t really think you should go out of your way to do so.
To be clear, this isn’t “all other bloggers love Park Hyatt Sydney, so let me trash it” kind of post. In many ways, it’s an incredible property and we enjoyed our stay very much. However, we were using certificates from the old sign-up bonus on Chase Hyatt credit card. The certs were valid at any Hyatt property, so why not make it Park Hyatt Sydney, right? In fact, I signed up for the card last June with this hotel in mind, right before the bonus changed to points. But now that I’ve stayed in it, I don’t believe it’s worth the hype.
Before I go any further, let me clarify who I am and who I’m not targeting with this review. If you are a business traveler who accumulates Hyatt points faster that he/she can spend them, by all means, burn them on Park Hyatt Sydney. It would be silly not to. This is probably the best property in town, so why not treat yourself?
If, on the other hand, you are an average family whose only access to Hyatt program is via sign-up bonus from Hyatt credit card or transfer from Ultimate Rewards (1:1 basis), I really think you should save your points for something else. After all, 30k UR points can book you a $450 hotel room or flight if you happen to have Chase Sapphire Reserve card. At the very least, 30k UR points can be redeemed towards $300 in cold hard cash. And I would not pay $300 for Park Hyatt Sydney. No way.
In addition, if you are a family of four or more, you will have to get two rooms. Now we are talking crazy amount of points. Is it a once-in-a-lifetime trip? I still say nope. Of course, how one spends their money or points is none of my business. I’m only here to provide advice.
Why Park Hyatt Sydney is overrated
1) The location is terrific, but you can partake of the same views for free.
Simply walk to the waterfront from your nearby hotel. I do think staying in The Rocks neighborhood (where Hyatt is located) is definitely the way to go.
Fortunately, there are other hotel options that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. My in-laws stayed in a nearby Holiday Inn Old Sydney and enjoyed it. It costs 40k IHG points which you can frequently buy for $200. Got IHG co-branded card? Your renewal certificate will work here as long as there is award availability. Kids eat free on-property with a paying adult, and Sydney is expensive. The best part: you can enjoy Opera House views from the rooftop pool.
We actually passed by this Holiday Inn while strolling The Rocks area, and I thought the property looked neat, with historic flair to it.
2) You are not guaranteed the view of the Opera House when redeeming points.
That’s the main appeal of staying at Park Hyatt Sydney, right? Unfortunately, 30k Hyatt points will get you a room with a view of the wall and a peek at a Sydney Harbour bridge.
If you have elite Hyatt status, you should get an upgrade to a room with a better view, but once again, no guarantees. My husband is currently an Explorist (via elaborate system of MLife matches). According to terms, we should have received the best standard room available, which includes rooms that have the view of the Opera House. No dice.
Based on reports from other travelers, the hotel is extremely stingy with best view upgrades unless you are Globalist. That said, we did get a room with a harbor view, which was nice, despite some construction in the area.
We were offered the Opera House view for an extra $300 per night, which I politely declined. Keep in mind that those rooms were available at the time of check-in and according to program rules, the hotel was required to give it to us at no charge. However, I didn’t really feel like making a stink or acting like a petulant child, demanding the upgrade. After all, we were staying on certificates, and we could see the Opera House from our balcony.
3) The rooms are comfortable, but they are bland and unremarkable.
Our unit was very clean, so no complaints there. Still, does it look like it’s worth $450 per night? It doesn’t to me. I should also add that the beds were not that great. I realize it’s a matter of preference, but they were kind of hard and uncomfortable. Also, the duvet was really thick and I woke up a few times sweating like a pig. There were all kinds of buttons for blackout shades, lights etc. We would hear clicking sounds now and again, probably due to the overabundance of electronic devices.
I did love the luxurious bathroom as well as the soaking tub.
A minor complaint: we could not get the shower head to stay put. It kept slipping off, so I finally just let it hang. Also, the floor in the bath area was very slippery, and I was constantly worried that I would fall and break my neck. If you have young kids, be very careful.
The toilet was super duper fancy, with all kinds of buttons. I mostly care about toilets flushing. You?
4) Food is (not surprisingly) quite expensive.
This isn’t a criticism of the hotel, not at all. I always find it silly how people choose to stay in 5-star properties and then complain about the price of food. What did you expect? But the reality is, if you are a person of limited means, this is something you need to consider.
My husband and I chose to partake in room service on the day of arrival and had a breakfast buffet one morning. Fried rice, club sandwich, fries and dessert ended up costing us close to $75.
Ditto for breakfast buffet, which admittedly, was delicious. We had a table with a direct view of the Opera House, so that was neat. Globalists get a free breakfast buffet, which is why many can’t resist staying here despite relatively high cost in points.
Some of you may be wondering why we simply didn’t eat somewhere else. I was planning on it, but since we were both recovering from colds and didn’t feel well, I wanted to take the path of least resistance.
5) The service borders on intrusive and feels insincere.
I almost feel silly mentioning it, but here it goes. Everyone at the Hyatt seems to hang on your every word, and it comes across as fake. I prefer friendly, yet relaxed service, like the one we got in Hilton Auckland. Employees there seemed genuinely interested in interacting with me, and I got to enjoy a few fun conversations as a result. Here I felt like a pretender, an imposter who didn’t belong. Which in fairness, I don’t.
This is a matter of preference, but I like to be left alone when staying in a hotel. Don’t call me, I’ll call you… if there is a problem. That kind of thing. Here we got a phone call right after checking in to make sure everything is fine. OK, that’s thoughtful. But then, in the evening, we had a hotel employee stop by our room to once again make sure everything is fine. Why? Finally, I just put a “do not disturb” sign to avoid these sort of interactions.
Speaking of, there are no ice machines, you have to call a “butler” to bring it to your room. We did just that which prompted the question on whether we should tip the butler. I said two dollars will do, my husband wanted to give three. Fine, whatever.
So, we are waiting and waiting, but no sign of a butler. Finally, we get a call from the front desk telling us that the butler has been standing by our door this whole time. The reason she didn’t knock was due to privacy sign even though we did request the ice two minutes prior. And yes, I’m certain she heard the whole conversation about the tip.
This is the kind of pretentiousness that would probably appeal to some, but drives me up the wall. I don’t want a butler to bring us ice. I prefer to get my own friggin ice, like you do in a regular hotel. The whole thing just seemed like an overkill.
What makes the hotel really stand out
I hope that what I said above doesn’t make me come across as a whiny baby. Of course this property is really neat and the main reason has to do with its unrivaled location in Sydney. That’s what commands the high price in cash/points. Not the room, not the Japanese toilet, not even the ice butler.
As I’ve said earlier, my husband and I were a bit sick while staying in Sydney. We only had two nights, and ended up doing very little sightseeing due to lack of energy. Fortunately, on the day after our arrival, the weather was absolutely gorgeous. It warmed up by the midday, so I went to the rooftop area of the hotel. What a lovely spot!
Opera House on the other side
I spent a few hours relaxing in the lounger and watching the tourists climb the bridge, local kids playing in the park nearby and so on. A slice of Australian life and a quintessential Sydney experience. I was thinking that it really doesn’t get much better than this. Is the hotel worth 30k UR points per night/per room? I don’t think so for all the reasons I’ve mentioned. But I’m not going to judge if you choose to ignore me.
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.