My Australia trip last month was mostly spent catching up with a good friend at her home. I did spend a couple of nights in hotels, however, in true road warrior fashion.
After checking out of my first hotel stay at the Radisson Blu, I spent a second night in Sydney at a hotel I hadn't visited in more than 10 years. I bring you a review of the Hilton Sydney for this installment of "Road Warrior Tested."
Date/Duration of Stay: July 27, one night.
Room Type: Curious to see how it had changed in the last decade, I booked a King Hilton Guest Room for my stay, the lowest-category room type offered. As a top-tier Diamond member of the Hilton HHonors loyalty program, I was upgraded at check-in to an Executive room with added amenities. A detailed description of the room is below.
Rate: It was a weekend night, so I was able to secure a reasonable rate of A$219 Australian dollars, or about $230 U.S. dollars (at current exchange rates).
Location: Located in the central business district of Sydney across from the Queen Victoria Building, Hyde Park is a short distance away. An entrance to the Town Hall train station is a mere steps from the hotel, making a trek from the airport very convenient on public transportation.
Room Details: I was booked into room 2903 and found a complimentary bottled water and apple awaiting my arrival on the desk — an amenity for being a Diamond member. The room itself was rather small, only 323 square feet. However, the positioning of the king bed, desk and lounger were ideal for the limited space.
The large glass-top desk faced the windows, from which I had an amazing view of the city. Ample power outlets, lighting and a wired Internet connection were just off to the side on a low credenza that extended from the bedside.
A well-stocked mini-bar was located underneath a small marble-topped serving cubby, where coffee and tea service items sat. Above was a frosted glass cabinet stocked with glassware, coffee mugs and a water kettle.
Inside the closet was a set of bath robes and slippers, as well a safe large enough to fit most laptops.
My only true complaint about the room was the lack of darkening shades. The early morning sun easily pierced through very thin and translucent window treatments. If you're looking to sleep in, a pair of eye shades might be required.
Bathroom: The bathroom was very small, but did offer a standard-sized bathtub separate from the shower. There was extremely limited counter space near the sink, but a shelf housing a tray of amenities and wash cloths offered a bit more space.
Amenities and service "incredibly friendly and efficient"
Hotel Amenities: The Hilton is a destination in itself in Sydney with the iconic Marble Bar, a watering hole that is a top destination for even the locals. Built in 1893 and originally housed in another Sydney hotel, the Marble Bar features Victorian-style decor and collection of Edwardian paintings to compliment its namesake marble arches and columns.
The hotel offers three dining and beverage venues, including celebrity chef Luke Mangan's "One Hat" award-winning restaurant. While I didn't dine there, I did enjoy dishes inspired by Luke Mangan on my Virgin Australia flight to Perth.
The Hilton's "LivingWell Health Club" featured the latest cardiovascular and strength training equipment, personal trainers and exercise classes, as well as an indoor pool, sauna and steam room. Full treatment services were also available in the Alysium Spa.
The Executive Lounge located on the 36th floor was spacious and offered several seating areas with gorgeous near-panoramic views of Sydney. It's open from 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily, serves continental breakfast in the morning, with drinks and canapes in the evening. I arrived just at the start of the evening service at 6:00 p.m., and within 15 minutes the entire lounge was filled to capacity. Some guests were turned away because of a lack of seating, but were provided a voucher to enjoy a drink in the lobby.
Service: Check-in was incredibly friendly and efficient. I was thanked for being a Diamond member and provided a welcome letter detailing my benefits at the hotel, which included a complimentary press of one item per day. The hosts in the Executive Lounge were equally pleasant. I didn't solicit the help of the concierge during my stay, though I imagine they would have provided a well-rounded and complete range of services.
Summary: To me, it felt like a brand new hotel and a drastic improvement on my last stay more than a decade ago. The rooms, public areas and hallways were immaculately clean. Small rooms aside, I'd definitely recommend this property should your journeys bring you to Sydney.