I’ve had the pleasure of doing business in Sydney a couple times this year, and for my most recent stay, I decided to give the Sheraton on the Park a try. Last time I was in town, I stayed at the Marriott on the Harbor. I selected the Marriott for my first stay based on its proximity to the harbor and the fact that I was going for the Megabonus. I have already hit top tier status with both Marriott and Starwood this year so for my most recent stay, I had my pick of hotels. Despite my usually not being a huge fan of the Sheraton line, the Sheraton on the Park in Sydney had great reviews on Tripadvisor, and I decided to give it a shot. Considering that my SPG confirmed suite nights never confirm, I had extras to burn so I used them on this stay. I was in luck as my executive suite confirmed a few nights before my arrival.
After a long flight in United Economy on the 747 from SFO to SYD, I hopped a cab to the hotel. If I weren’t so groggy at the time, I would have realized that I could have just taken the Sydney airport train right to the St. James station, which is right out in front of the hotel.
The hotel is unassuming, right across the street from Hyde Park. Unlike some hotels with grand external appearances, it would be easy to walk past the Sheraton without noticing. After entering the hotel, the lobby is very classy and pretty. Lots of wood and marble.
The check-in progress went smoothly. The receptionist informed me that my executive suite was confirmed, but that I had arrived too early. He checked to see if there was another suite open, and there was indeed! He made the swap, and I took the elevator up to the 14th floor where my suite was. The suite was right off the elevator, and opening the door led me to the primary room with a huge couch, a desk, and the TV. Sorry that I forgot to take a picture without my stuff strewn all over!
Double doors from the primary room opened up to the bedroom, which had another television and a king size bed.
Just to the side of the bedroom was a large bathroom with separate bathtub and shower. All in all, the suite was quite large with lots of space to walk around, and it was clean and spacious. The bathroom was filled with all the amenities you might want after a long flight: a shaving kit, dental kit, etc. I think the only small annoyance I had with the room was that there weren’t international power ports or USB power ports near the desk. I had a converter, but a lot of the American chains have been really good about including international power ports and adaptors near the desk. I brought an adaptor so it wasn’t a major issue.
Also, there was an iPod dock near the side of the bed. Maybe I’m just too much of a geek, but… “Dear Hotels, very few people actually use an iPhone 4S or earlier now. People are either on newer iPhones or devices with other operating systems (Windows Phone, Android, etc). Can we replace these 30-pin docks with bluetooth speakers with USB ports for charging?”
After my long flight, I decided to go for a jog in the fitness center to get my blood flowing and energize myself a bit. The spa and fitness center are on the top floor of the hotel, and only the last two elevators in the bank service them. When you get up to the top floor, you walk down a hallway, and then glass double doors open to the spa reception desk. Go left to use the spa and indoor pool. Go right to use the fitness center.
I really appreciate it when hotels make a true investment in their fitness center. My pet peeve is when they take two standard hotel rooms, knock out a wall, stick four treadmills and a water cooler in it, and call it a fitness center. Thankfully, the Sheraton on the Park has one of the nicest hotel gyms I have seen from a major chain in some time.
There were two racks of weights along a mirror, a full bench press, lots of treadmills, a variety of weight machines, a TRX cable, a rowing machine, and more. It wasn’t even an enormous space, but they did a great job of fitting it with a large selection of equipment. Also, being on the top floor of the hotel, the fitness center has great views! One side looks out toward buildings, and the other looks out across the park. I’m used to hotel gyms being stashed in the basement so this was, once again, a very welcomed surprise.
There is a lounge on the second highest floor of the building, and they have an overflow lounge for the weekends on the lobby floor. I really appreciate this. While I never had to use the overflow lounge, as I left the lounge, I once saw staff members telling a guest that the lounge was too full and they should go downstairs. I think this is great. After all, how relaxing can a lounge be if you can’t find a place to sit?
The Sheraton on the Park has one of the best lounges I have ever visited at a hotel. It’s definitely not the biggest, and it’s not even the most extravagant, but there is quite a large offering, and the staff attends to it as if it were a restaurant. For breakfast, you have your choice of pastries to start, and then there are three hot items in containers. The items changed daily, and there were typically things like bacon, dumplings, eggs, sausage, and more. My only complaint was that their scrambled eggs were too runny for me, but I think that’s a cultural / personal preference. After the row of hot items, there is a wide selection of fruits.
Behind the main breakfast buffet section is a column with cereals, granola, etc. On the other side of the column there is bread, cheese, and jams. I found the breakfast to be excellent, and visiting the lounge was always a treat.
Just like one side of the gym, the lounge also has an excellent view of the park. The view is great, and there are several balconies that you can go out if you want to soak in the sun. I seem to bring the San Francisco weather with me wherever I go, though. It rained just about every day I was in Sydney so I stayed off the balcony. And while the lounge is great in the morning, it’s even better in the evening!
This is the kind of lounge where you might find yourself skipping dinner plans for. It turns out that I never did, as I either had dinner meetings or wanted to try a new place in Sydney. If I were there for a week on vacation, though, I would definitely relax a few nights and just stick to the lounge. The staff in the lounge treat it as if it’s a restaurant anyways, and the service is just great.
Every night when I would walk in, there would be a stack of champagne, white wine, and red wine at the entrance. If I decided not to grab one on my own, a staff member would come by my table and offer one to me. The staff in the lounge was far and away the best lounge staff I have ever interacted with. Dirty plates were cleared quickly, and they walked around with bottles of wine and champagne, topping people off as needed.
In terms of food, the offerings were fantastic. There were 3 different hot dishes every night, ranging from pork buns to spring rolls to satay to meat pies. The cold section was fresh oysters. To be able to get oysters every evening was quite a treat. They also had a bread and cheese table and a plethora of desserts.
I used the concierge a couple times for local recommendations, and they always pointed me in the right direction.
There are plenty of lodging options in Sydney, but between great service, an awesome gym, a nice suite, and a fantastic lounge, I’ll DEFINITELY be staying at the Sheraton again next time I’m in town!