The "New" Sydney Hilton. Recent stay report: LONG!

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by ozstamps, Sep 10, 2005.

  1. ozstamps

    ozstamps Member

    Aug 30, 2003
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    Bit of a stay report that may interest others. I'll have quite a few stays here, so paid far more attention than I usually do at Hotels!

    Some background.

    Revitalising the iconic 1970’s Hilton building and 1980’s interior into a new look was a near 3 year, A$200 million dollar undertaking. A disaster of a time frame financially of course.

    The London-based Hilton group has said the combination of the $200 million purchase price it paid for the site about five years ago, and the $200 million fit-out, make the property its biggest single-site investment - ever.

    And the renovation I am sure was the LONGEST in any Hotel's history! It was closed totally for the duration. The penalty costs to the builders for the ~year over-run were rumored to exceed the GNP of Africa. ;)

    Personally I think they should have imploded the old girl entirely and started again from scratch. Right now they are stuck with all the silly tiny room windows in the original shell from 30 years back. In the case of our room, both bathrooms remain untouched, so you wonder where the $200m all went!

    Booked a Junior Suite using the $A110 (inc tax) Diamond Club voucher. Bit of a hassle getting it confirmed as they did not believe such a deal existed, but I am rather persuasive when I know I am correct. :D

    Checked in about 11am (Saturday.) Check-in/Cashier area is way too small for such a place, (only 4 or 5 positions it looked like) and was very "cold" in appearance. Very "cold" on your body too - it is right opposite sliding doors from car drop-off/taxi area. When those open, a rush of frigid air like the Arctic roared in. No idea why, as it is kinda sheltered out there - but it did. Staffer agreed - she said it is a horrible position to work. They really need one of those circular panel 4 segment doors that many airports use for that reason.

    We found the floor buttons on all lifts really weird. You can't readily see numbers on them at all, as number is colourless embossed in the circular metal buttons. They light up beautifully in blue when you select them though. Lynn thought she had it figgered after about 6 trips and that floor 32 was top left button, but each lift button panel is configured differently. Wacko system.

    The suite was not ready, but they invited us to wait in Executive Lounge upstairs on floor 37, and they'd let us know when room was ready and do keys for us there. That went without a hitch. Folks up there went and made us coffees very happily.

    Executive lounge is LARGE, and does have a lot of nooks and crannies. Seems to be open all day. 3 x free access working computers there - great idea for folks like us with no lap tops. Wish that was more common in USA and Europe.

    Like the guest rooms, the windows in lounge are appalling. Just a hangover from the old building, but dumb they ever did that on the old girl. Little vertical slits of glass like archer positions in an old castle and yards of wall in between. 'Medieval archer window slits' I called them. The view from up there in the Lounge should be great, but nowhere in there can you sit and experience it.

    Same with rooms. We had 5 "archer slits" in the room. Crazy. Should have been near all glass expanses being a high floor.

    Walked into room (3325) 30 minutes later. Highly disappointed. All the years of pre-hype about the "Six Star Flagship Hotel" had us expecting a STUNNING and breathtaking new room, in line with what we encounter in flagship Hotels in USA and Asia. Nope. :(

    It just looked boring and un-inspiring and dis-connected right from the moment you walked in.

    Both bathrooms are exactly as they were 10 years agoI'd bet, or at last makeover. The myth that this hotel was completely gutted inside is just that - a myth it seems. Floors had the original old heavily worn/scuffed marble tiles, ditto the wall tiles and wide basic top bench top and basins. Grouting on floor and walls was old and dark, as was sealant along all edges old and original.

    Both toilets were old and a very dated style. The tap-ware in main bathroom MAY have been new - but that was about it. Old style 1970s bath. They should have installed Jacuzzi types in this type of premium room - the space is certainly there.

    Neither bathrooms had fans, or phones or input of audio from TV/radio. The latter I like if you need to visit the loo in middle of TV news or a movie etc. Every half decent hotel on earth has had in-bathroom phones for 20 years I'd guess. Toiletries were BVLGARI but very sparse - Lynn went looking for body lotion and there was none there. Even Best Westerns etc have that. :rolleyes:

    Room decor was like the staff uniforms - absurdly "modern" and totally out of place for a leading Hilton.

    The Male staff have been issued these stoopid looking Space Cadet suits in a colour I'd call "gloomy green-grey". They look like unwanted studio extras from a Star Trek movie.

    Far more suited to a yuppy/hip targeted Starwood "W" type hotel - and not a leading Hilton.

    Room furniture was a total mis-matched mess. A silly looking art nouveau and totally non-functional puke yellow Italian styled "chaise lounge" was rock hard. Huge square shaped lounge and matching chair were also hard and uncomfortable, and being a light cream type fabric will be ruined in 6 months I'd guess. You'd think hotels would learn about dark colours one day. :)

    A strangely placed desk in centre of suite with a bizarrely modern black leather and chrome chair that swivelled back dangerously that was totally out of place. And matched nothing else.

    Very large plasma type moveable TV screen, with separate DVD player both had a ton of really ugly wiring running from them. Really visually intrusive. Both SHOULD have been professionally mounted on the wall above where they sat untidily, adding a classy and functional look to the gear. Rather than the present look that they had achieved, of being a hasty afterthought from some kind from an audio shop, and just dumped onto a cabinet top.

    There were 3 music CD's there, (clever choice of titles I must say) and a couple of interesting looking movie DVD's. There was no note whatever on mini bar menu as to what these cost - pretty dumb, as I am sure now and again guests would buy them if they liked what they saw/heard and prices were sensible.

    I probably would have bought Michael Buble if price was around usual retail. Ther ewas no mention of it, so I did not bother to ask. And I bet a few honeymooners/1st time big hotel visitors will cheerfully souvenir the lot, along with their soap and toiletries and newspaper, and get a $200 charge on their credit card next day. :(

    We decided to play a Michael Buble CD. It took us at least 30 minutes of wrestling with the quite misleading instruction sheet to figger out how to do that. There are 2 remotes and either was working the way we needed.

    User sheet pointed to some little buttons on far right outer edge of TV screen to adjust. We hit one and the whole thing went dead. 15 minutes later we got it back with high volume you could hear 5 rooms away, we could not change.

    We hit the "Magic Button" and asked if someone could come and show us how, and maybe bring a new remote as this one seemed to be defective. ("Magic Button" is their way of stopping you phoning departments separately - you use that one button for all enquiries - also strange for a major hotel.)

    Cheery young kid arrived who was generally as confused as us. He had new batteries, had new remote, and nothing worked. He decided the only thing that worked was the tiny buttons at side that we could not see as TV was angled to wall with that site touching wall. A mad system. Another guest concurred.

    All staff seemed exceptionally young for a leading Hotel. All those we encountered were friendly and keen to please, to their credit. Looking like reject Space Cadets wearing ill-fitting green sacks was not their fault. :)

    The room has a little red/green light type deal outside the door you can turn on to indicate you are happy/not happy to be disturbed. However the 4 gang switch for that has no indication whatever about that. Or any info in room about it. As they have the standard door hang deals as well - "do not disturb" one system clearly seems redundant.

    The 5 vertical 'Medieval archer window slits' are tiny as pointed out above. None open. We wondered why there were just flimsy see-thru curtains, as we wanted to sleep-in next morning. Then we noticed a kind of thick blind kind of deal built into the window frame. The top 12" of so on each was down. We tugged on one of these to pull it right down. Nothing happened. Odd. Tugged on all of them getting more frustrated on each one.

    Hit the "Magic Button" again as asked how to lower the blinds. Cheery girl says there is a switch near bed marked "blinds". Huh? Went and played with that. Another 4 gang light switch type deal does in fact lower all blinds electrically. However it says "Press" on it, and nothing else - like "Blinds"! No note in room anywhere telling guests about this that we saw.

    I tell "Miss Magic Button" I predict half their fancy blinds will be very soon torn and ripped and mangled out of frustration of guests trying to sleep, unless they place a little sign somewhere clearly visible in room. Cost of signs a few $1000 and cost of replacing with new blinds 100 times that. She seems to cheerfully agree.

    Those blinds I must say were brilliant at keeping the light out next morning.

    From 5.30-7.30pm the Executive Lounge serves booze and food, so we'd done most shopping by then and headed up.
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    VERY full, and it was tough to find 2 seats together. A lot of staff work there we noted, both earlier that day, and then. Ample drinks, and they had a nice Western Australian bubbly we liked. Friendly staff wandered around and topped them up several times. Service stops at 7.30pm with no advance warning - so hint - top up at 7.28pm. :D

    They have quite a commendable spread of hot and cold food and sandwiches/snacks there - one of the better Hilton clubs you'll find in that regard.

    At SYD Hilton I triple checked - there curiously is only ONE restaurant in the entire place. It is "Glass" - more a separate trendy business than a Hilton restaurant. i.e. it has "Star" chef Luke Mangan and if he moved next month their business would halve I'd guess.

    I am amazed Hilton do not have anything else as an option, as "Glass" is not terribly cheap, and clearly too formal/pricey for many guests need for casual Hotel dining I can bet. (Main courses typically $30's mark but the lowest priced domestic bubbly, which is all we drink, runs about $45-$50 a bottle, and we usually get through a couple of bottles, so dinner here for 2 would typically be $100s.)

    Plus, you simply can't get a booking some nights as we discovered. I doubt there is any other large city Hilton anywhere in the world with only 1 eating option? :confused:

    The Old Hilton had 3 places for meals - the San Francisco Grill was top of the tree, but the America's Cup Bar offered decent food, and there was a more formal place too in between the two - "The Market Place".

    We checked at Marble Bar when having a drink and no sign of any food there. Only very basic Cafe Cano, the surprisingly small espresso bar at street level as you walk in doors, and a "GAB" bar upstairs serving Tapas and bar snacks etc.

    We tried to book "Glass" for dinner last night - did not mention any certs - just asked to see if there was space at ANY time.

    NIET.

    We had the friendly concierge at the Executive Lounge ask them, and she really was getting the: "Nope - 100% full" response, it was obvious that was the deal. For ANY time of evening. In fact she had a lounge guest ask for her booking to move from 7pm to 9pm in the same call. So she cheekily asked them: "does that mean we can squeeze these 2 guests in at 7pm?" and also got a NIET.

    We had breakfast in "Glass" this morning. Even at 10.45am the place was jam-packed - amazing. It gets so full for breakfast on weekends they usually refuse admittance to non guests they told me!

    Probably the most comprehensive buffet breakfast I've seen anywhere on earth, and that covers a few 100 top rated hotels by now. :)

    It is an expensive buffet breakfast ($76 for 2) but eating late it is basically an early lunch. Weird thing is there is absolutely no self serve coffee. You need to order it, and staff at an Italian machine pour it. As it was busy the girl there had about 50 orders and it took 15 minutes to get a coffee. Ridiculous. Having a few pots of self-serve brewed would help.

    Asked politely if a later than usual check-out was fine, so we could do some more shopping, and they were happy to OK 2.30pm. We appreciated that.

    The one thing Hilton really has going for it is LOCATION. Right in the centre of all the retail CBD shopping in Sydney. I walked there from busy Town Hall station - only 100 yards away. The Queen Victoria Building with its 100s of shops is right across the road in George Street. The Pitt Street Mall and huge Myer and David Jones department stores are also only a minute walk away.

    The famous Marble Bar is still thankfully untouched. Originally built as part of the Tattersall's Hotel in 1893 it was faithfully re-installed when the Hilton was built on that site in 1975. We popped down to have a drink in this gracious old Victorian bar, and were pleasantly surprised to see bubbly was only $A6 a glass - pretty amazing for that kind of place. In the USA it would run twice that. A rock band with mega amplifiers then set-up and we vamoosed - a rather strange entertainment choice for that elegant kind of place.

    In summary, the lobby and our room interior were VERY similar to a Sheraton Four Points Darling Harbour suite, where I have stayed a dozen times. However that place must be 20-25 years old now. And runs way under Hilton rates. And the 4 Points suites are superb with wide accessible balconies that look right over Darling Harbour with nothing between you. No Hilton window even opens.

    This was not a room from a brand new "Six Star" Whizz Bang Hotel that was refurbished for $200 million.

    It is EXACTLY the kind of room you will find at 100s of USA and Asian Hotels that are presently rated around 3-4 star. Most average Sheratons/Hyatt's/Hiltons equal or generally surpass this room's interior. We stay there again in a couple weeks and will be interested to see what we get then.

    There is no feel whatever of "quality" or "discreet Class" to this Hotel. It is 20 un-connected styles and ideas all bolted together - badly. Everywhere.

    Most great Hotels have an opulent feeling of taste and class and refinement oozing from them. From the lobby to the guest rooms. The public areas of the Waldorf Astoria are a joy to wander around. Ditto the Palace in San Francisco, or the Royal Hawaiian etc. They have "presence". The rooms are wonderful. The new Sydney Hilton has neither. IMHO.

    We chatted to a very regular Hilton client in the lounge. He had stayed at the old place 100s of times it seems. This was his first stay and he agreed. "Cold" and "sterile" were words he used, and he agreed nowhere near as comfy a feel as the old place.

    Staff were good and most helpful and cheerful as pointed out - and that goes a long way. Silly omissions in the room like instructions and signs will occur eventually when the damage to blinds etc costs 100 times more than the room signs will! Yes it has only been open 6 weeks and these details will get ironed out I feel sure.

    The totally mismatched and tacky room decor however will stay the same. It all looked like 6 artistic folks had input and none of it worked visually. Design by committee never works. No "flow" and certainly no symmetry whatever in the one room we stayed in. The stock standard (and well worn) USA hotel style 10 year old bathrooms was a real shock. And great disappointment.

    Glen

    ozstamps at ozemail.com.au
     
  2. danielh

    danielh Member

    Dec 5, 2003
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    Well thanks for the review Glen. Myself and a few workmates are going to visit Glass on thursday night and I'll let you guys know what the food is like.

    Regards
    Daniel
     
  3. BlacKnox

    BlacKnox Active Member

    Jan 29, 2005
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    A great read - thanks ozstamps :!:
     
  4. icarus

    icarus Member

    Feb 15, 2005
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    This is great, and v useful. Have you posted it on tripadvisor.com? It deserves a wider audience!

    The restaurant situation sounds ridiculous. Perhaps they are just assuming that people can step outside to dozens of Sydney restaurants, but for my part, if I'm travelling a lot I sometimes just want to nest wherever I am (and especially if I'm travelling alone).
     
  5. straitman

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    Email yesterday from Hilton Premium Club.

     
  6. danielh

    danielh Member

    Dec 5, 2003
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    Quick report on the food.

    I didn't go but my workmates went.

    Here is their summary:
    - Cost for food and 2 bottles of wine was about $120 per person
    - 5 people at dinner
    - Food serving size is following the rule of the more expensive, the smaller the portion (some guys said they thought of going to maccas afterwards)
    - Food was nice and almost all but one had Entre, Main and Dessert
    - one person ordered an Entre and another ordered a Main of the same meal, both came in at the same time, both the same size but one cost $18 and the other $35

    and to finish it all off

    - Two people had diahorrea afterwards :)

    Regards
    Daniel
     
  7. NM

    NM
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    I hope the 2 bottles was between the 5 people, and not per person :p .
     
  8. ozstamps

    ozstamps Member

    Aug 30, 2003
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    Sunny Sydney
    OK, as promised here is my report on Stay #2 at the new Sydney Hilton last Saturday night. I plan to stay here quite a bit in my quest for HH Diamond status this year, so have taken it upon myself to get to know the place very well, and the many room types, which at first glance are pretty confusing. I hope these detailed reports assist others to make the correct room selection - if you only get one chance to get it right! :cool:

    Checked in about 1.15pm and all went well. Both rooms ready. Gives us 2 x room keys. One worked the lift the other did not. This is a MAJOR problem there the staff say .. many of the gold room keys simply do not work in the lifts for higher Executive floors. :rolleyes:

    This time got an Executive Room for ourselves and for Lynn's daughter Gemma who was celebrating a birthday. I was told that "Executive Rooms" are identical pretty much to "Deluxe Rooms" interior wise - only difference being one has gold room key access to Executive Lounge, and the others do not.

    We got 3816 and Gemma was 3809. Only 30 yards apart and on same side of corridor but warning - ALL the rooms sold as the same type are NOT the same. 3809 was down end of corridor and the sister room at other end is 3822. (This applies for floors 34-38 and may well also apply to lower floors - not sure.)

    Avoid 3409+3422 up to 3809+3822 is my strong advice. These rooms are absolutely TINY. There is literally one metre/one yard from king bed end to the wall. True. Our room had space for the rock solid and goofy chaise lounge as well as the metre walk space, so in a small room that is a lot of space to lose. 3809 did NOT have a lounge of any sort due to the tight space. It was a real stretch to call this a "Deluxe Room." In any decent USA FOUR Star a "Deluxe Room" would have 2 x Queen or King beds. This room literally would not have fitted 2 beds and a desk it was so small. I was told 3416+3423 to 3816+3823 are slightly larger than other rooms on these floors. Ours (3816) certainly was much larger than 3809. 3816 was near lift, but no real noise level from that I experienced.

    OK, now to the rooms themselves. New bathrooms, so that is a nice plus compared to the junior Suite we had last visit which had 10-15 year old bathrooms in it.

    Separate large shower. In fact far too large for this room size, and as a result the basin/vanity area was less than a yard wide in total. Ridiculously small and being recessed, really cramped for an "Executive/Deluxe Room". Why they did not enlarge the bathtub to fit one of those Jacuzzi styles, and add a new shower to that beats me, as it would have allowed a ton more living space in these little rooms which really are FAR too small to have a separate bath.

    Neither bathrooms in this or the suite had exhaust fans, or phones or input of the audio from TV/DVD. The latter I like if you need to visit the loo in middle of TV news or a movie etc. Every half decent hotel on earth has had in-bathroom phones for 20 years I'd guess. Huge mistake not adding these tiny little touches when doing a total and expensive makeover.

    Toiletries were BVLGARI in suite but far more basic fare here.

    The shower has a semi see-through frosted glass wall facing bed. So anyone going into bathroom means the bed gets a fair bit of light falling upon it at night. Pretty annoying in the middle of the night when one person visits bathroom, and other is asleep. As we found. :mad:

    The living area is really cramped. A glass top work desk took up far too much of the room, and really should be placed against shower wall rather than being an "island", that dominates the room. And which you painfully walk into at night. :rolleyes:

    Our room had a totally non-functional Italian styled "chaise lounge" that was rock hard. A really silly choice for any hotel. One circular pouffe type deal and that was it apart from the king bed.

    The flat screen TV was much smaller than suite, but still a good size, and was at least integrated into the CD/DVD player, and far neater in appearance than the ugly wiring mess in the suite. And all rotated as one unit which was functional and smart. Unlike the suite, no DVDs or CDs were supplied. Still found it tough to get TV to work via the 2 remotes. Supplying a few DVDs/CDs for use and sale is a VERY smart idea, and just an extension of the mini bar idea, and a sure profit centre. As there were none here, did not try the unit.

    This room had clearly marked buttons to operate the electric block out curtains. The Suites do need some signs for sure on that score as buttons are simply not marked at all. Same silly little "archer slit" vertical windows as rest of Hotel, instead of decent sized panes of glass to allow some views.

    In-room amenities were very good and up to speed with what you'd expect for a new "6 Star" Hilton. Full coffee/tea making stuff with milk sachets, ironing board, 2 fluffy robes, 2 pairs slippers, in-room safe, large hairdryer, wine glasses, opener, new quite large well stocked mini bar, neat little business folio with post-it notes, paper clips, eraser etc.

    It was Gemma's birthday which the Hotel knew at time of booking and hotel sent her a large personalised cake and fruit, with note from General Manager - a very nice gesture but delivering it at 10.30pm when they were fast asleep was really bizarre timing!

    Dumped bags in room and headed out to watch the AFL Grand Final which my beloved Swans were contesting - had not won it for 72 years. I had $4,750 riding on this result. ;)

    Went to P.J. O'Brien's Irish Pub to watch match and it was a real zoo - 1,000 people and 20 deep at the bar. Went back to Hilton and asked Concierge if he could suggest anything less frantic and less crowded. :-:

    He pointed us to the Hilton GAB bar, which had 2 large Plasma screens and only 10 folks inside. Amazing. No-one had thought about that place. All nice and new and comfy, and a nice place to watch a Grand Final! They had a great deal for large gourmet meat pies (various fillings) plus a large beer or glass of wine for $A6.50. Unheard of value in the CBD, much less at a Hilton!

    Better still, ran a tab AND I got 20% off all drinks and food via Premium Club at check-out, AND got Hilton points on it all, for 3 hours drinking and nibbling for the 4 of us. Then went back to Hilton Executive lounge after that for the excellent free nibbles and bubbly they have up there to 7.30pm. ;)

    Had booked "Glass" Restaurant for dinner a week or so ahead - essential to get a table in that place. My previous stay they were 100% booked. This booking was for 9pm for drinks if we wished, and a dinner table for 9.30pm. We decided to skip the drinks and got down there at 9.37pm and Maitre'D seemed pretty shocked to see us as we "had not re-confirmed". Huh? Anyway, he steered us to the bar and staff gave us a Taittinger bubbly each to apologise for mix up - very nice gesture seeing I noticed it was $24 a glass on menu. :)

    Ushered to our table soon afterwards. Excellent and professional service all through. Food is pretty expensive - starters $15-$20 and mains generally $35 and dessert etc just as pricey. Food menu surprisingly limited compared to huge wine list. Typical noveaux cuisine tiny serves - Lynn's Barramundi was literally 2 or 3 square inches in size with a couple of Balmain bugs perched on top. But very tasty she said. I had a sirloin steak - small but tender. We were not terribly hungry after an afternoon nibbling at GAB then Executive lounge, but if you were famished "Glass" is certainly the wrong place to head. :D

    The white butcher's paper covering the white linen table tops was way out of line for a top restaurant at dinner I thought. A few $100 bill per table of 4 would cover a dollar or two linen laundering I'd imagine? Maybe OK for breakfast which is often messier, but for a Fine Dining place - not cool.

    Booze cost is the killer at "Glass". We generally drink only bubbly, and the lowest price for domestic fizz was $A64 a bottle for Chandon, and it is simply absurd there is not a more affordable choice. Lowest priced white I saw was $35 for something costing a fraction of that in a bottle shop. And apart from that I recall everything else was $40+. Huge wine list. Most impressive. Much of the cellar is on view in Restaurant via the 'Walls Of Wine' which is a nice feature.

    The very top end wine ran literally into $1,000s a bottle. Many seemed to have remarkably low mark-ups actually. 1996 Dom Perignon for $A338 and 1989 Grange Hermitage for $A400 are very near bottle shop prices. Odd they'd be so reasonably priced yet basic brands are marked up by ~400%.

    The place was PACKED and new diners were entering way after 10pm, so right now this is THE hottest place to eat in Sydney. No doubt about it. Having the only rest-rooms a long hike away way outside the restaurant is a dumb idea, and you'd have to wonder what they were thinking with that kooky idea, as "Glass" seats a LOT of folks.

    Had breakfast next morning at "Glass". We got there about 11am, but it was an absolute zoo. Now this place is expensive at $74 a couple, but price does not bother some folks it seems. A line about 15 deep to get near buffet area. Excellent food and selection and staff - as reported from last visit. And I'll make the same comment again re coffee - they are INSANE not to have some brewed coffee there for self serve. :mad: :mad:

    Once again we needed to wait 15 minutes for someone to rustle up cappuccinos from the fancy machine. After I wake up I just need CAFFEINE and normal pour yourself filtered coffee is just dandy. This nonsense of needing to order it off waiter is dumb, as they are often so busy they forget as they did here. If you CHOOSE specialty coffee, sure do it that way, but right now that is the ONLY method to get a caffeine hit.

    We have another stay in a few weeks, and hope to try one of the corner Relaxation Spa Suites. I understand these are about twice the room area of the Executive rooms. Look forward to reporting back then. :)

    Glen
     
  9. ozstamps

    ozstamps Member

    Aug 30, 2003
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    Have had many stays since, and things there have really improved I must say. :)
     
  10. BiziBB

    BiziBB Member

    Aug 14, 2006
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    Hi Ozstamps,
    Do the improvements mean you have been getting bigger, better rooms?
    Have you renewed your Premium Club membership for some more special rate coupons (RIP $110 Jr Suite...), or are these stays awards in the Spa suites? :p
    Cheers!
     
  11. ozstamps

    ozstamps Member

    Aug 30, 2003
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    BiziBB - As a Hilton gold I always get at least Executive Floor rooms and have scored a few Relaxation Suites with spas as well on occasion which is very nice. They are superb in fact.

    Remember the Premium Club has had quite a lot of $125 a night (inc tax) special deals this year at this Hilton which I have taken advantage of quite a lot.

    Hilton recently ran a stay 5 nights nights get 1 free, stay 7 get 2 nights free etc promo (anywhere in the world) and scored on that too.

    Just came back from Hilton Seoul Korea where the VERY cheapest room with the 20% taxes was about $A300 a night, so 2 free certs there was a god send.

    It cost only $800 to earn them, and you get 7 nice hotel stays in the process, so is quite a win win .. not to mention all the HH miles and the stay credits ticking over. :)
     
  12. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

    Dec 25, 2004
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    #12 Mal, Jun 17, 2007
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    Dragging up a ~2 year old trip report here, but couldn't find any other Hilton Sydney threads to post in.

    I had a recent stay for one night.

    As a HH gold, upgraded to Exec Floor. Similar experience really to OzStamps' 2nd visit. My room rate included breakfast, but it wasn't mentioned to me at checkin and as I left before breakfast (or the lounge even opened) didn't really care about chasing it up.

    Rooms are as described. Fairly smallish really with medieval castle windows (although windows were wider than I was expecting). I was put on the Executive Lounge floor which meant some pretty loud noises at closing time of the lounge when things were being moved around a bit and people left.

    When I checked out, I had the pleasant (cough) suprise of being charged the full rate of the Exec room I was put in (rather than my normal room price). Hopefully sorted out soon... Wasn't able to be sorted at checkout unfortunately as the charge went through and I only noticed when being asked to sign. (Actually, I will add here, that the check-out desk person did take ownership of the problem, offered his name and told me that he would sort it. I was impressed by that)

    Exec Lounge is nice, but I think too few chairs. Popped in around 6pm and was lucky to find a spare seat. Only stayed for one beer and a few nibblies (samosa's/pork ribs, finger sandwiches, nibblies, some fresh veges and a few other similar items).

    Overall, I believe there are much better and cheaper hotels in SYD. I noticed that most of the lounge/hotel guests I saw appeared to be Americans. That makes sense really - stick with the chain you know, not the places which are better!!
     
  13. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
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    As an HHonors blue I stayed there a little while ago (just before my last Asia trip) and I really enjoyed it. It was well designed for someone like me - nice clean clear desk, plenty of light but also black out blinds that were great. Not bad views of teh city (but as I work in the city - not exactly a selling point for me ;))

    The worst part was the wait to have the car brought up - very slow...

    It was very similar in design to the Shanghai Hilton I stayed in recently. I agree the bathroom is the least modern feature...
     
  14. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

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    #14 Mal, Jun 17, 2007
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2007
    The views were uninspiring to me. Sydney City skyline from within the city is nothing special :)

    I do think it's a fresh hotel in interior design. It has a nice modern vibe to it. But I don't think it is anything as special as it is made out to be, and believe there are better hotels in SYD for cheaper prices.

    (PS for anyone staying there in the near future, check out Promo code PR44UE - Urban Escape package. You may get a good discount of the rate and free brekkie. Even better is the travel agent rate - and for other Hiltons too... A very, very nice rate if you have ID. Anyone in the travel industry want to employ me as a shadow employee? All you have to do is to issue me a staff badge and/or allow me to print business cards with your logo on it ;) I'll even use your IATA codes to book my travel).
     
  15. littl_flier

    littl_flier Active Member

    May 1, 2007
    898
    0
    Brisbane
    I think Hilton may have started to weed out some of the problems OzStamps first posted.

    This is my preferred hotel in Sydney so it's interesting that many are unimpressed. My pro's are that its location is second to none, it supposedly features some you bewt Fitness Club (but I haven't checked this out thanks to 9pm arrivals and visits to Star into the wee hours ;) ) and as someone mentioned, the best and widest selection of food for breakfast I've ever seen. Admittedly, I didn't think the room was a flash as some other close by (Westin or Four Points) but for a purely business hotel, or a hotel close to shopping, its hard to beat. It also has a comfy bed! Cons- can be a little pricey and brekky is quite expensive unless included.
     
  16. Coathanger

    Coathanger Member

    Sep 11, 2006
    154
    25
    Sydney, Australia
    The health club is pretty good, I got a decent corporate rate there and make good use of the facilities.

    Probably the biggest selling point is that they have alot of machines for a relatively small club, so even during peak hours I have never had to wait for a treadmill.

    Towels and toiletries are a bonus, but the changing rooms tend to get untidy and there were problems with the hot water recently.
     
  17. I stayed there about a month ago, and found a few small annoyances, the lifts as mentioned by the original poster are extremely difficult to fathom. Each set of buttons seems to be in a different format, and when accessing the Executive floors you're required to use your room key, while searching for the right floor.

    Also there was no way of knowing that there was a Executive check in on the 30 somethinkth floor.

    The check in area downstairs is tiny as really stark and cold, although this does seem to be a common look at the moment. On the upside the snacks with drinks in the evening were nice, although I do prefer to be able to help myself to a drink.

    By far the best Hilton lounge is in Prague, 30 Whiskys, 15 Vodka, and much more, great staff and a rather amazing array of food on offer at all times of the day.
     
  18. SF&

    SF& Member

    Jun 28, 2006
    134
    0
    Adelaide
    Can anyone suggest the better hilton ie better rooms exec floor lounge in London area i am diamond so i get an upgrade i stayed in hilton heathrow and cardiff, glasgow etc but not much in london itself. I don't really care for location so if its outta the way its ok
     
  19. serfty

    Moderator

    Nov 16, 2004
    36,838
    6,703
    MEL
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    There is no Guarantee of an upgrade as an HH Diamond when staying at hotels out of the US - especially in Europe; nor indeed breakfast.

    I would suggest looking at the FT HHonours forum; there are many threads there that are relevant; both as to London and as to not getting upgraded there.
     
  20. SF&

    SF& Member

    Jun 28, 2006
    134
    0
    Adelaide
    I usually am pretty lucky

    I haven't missed since becoming diamond probaly start now

    go the hawks!!
     
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