I’d like to do a bit of a review of one of the hotels we stayed at – the Sydney Harbour Marriott which is a true 5 star hotel. After staying there, I can really say I had never stayed anywhere which was 5 star before.
We booked through wotif.com.au which we have been using for some years now. The package was this – $309 *Revive Package* Revive yourself by sleeping in the Marriott Bed! Deluxe room with 1 King size bed, includes Bvlgari bath pack and wine take away, Buffet Breakfast for 2, Valet parking, access to health club with indoor heated pool and late checkout of 2pm.
On arrival at the hotel, we were greeted by the Valet. We’d never used valet parking before and yes, I am terribly possessive of my vehicle so this was a bit scary for me. However, the staff member who greeted us instantly made me feel at ease, asking about our luggage and what we wanted to take out of the car and saying he would have it sent up to our room. We entered the hotel lobby and just walking in there put a big smile on my face. It was beautiful. I did not take photos because nobody wants to look like such a tourist in the hotel lobby, but it was *worthy* of a photography session.
We were quickly checked in, given a room on the 27th floor, and whisked away by the elevator – which, I might add, was also stunningly beautiful. I can’t describe it. I wish I could. We did not realise at the time just how lucky we were, because we’d been given a room that was fairly unusual. Once we got inside and I shut the door, I was able to see how unusual it was. As you can see, there are only two rooms on each floor shaped like this. Excellent Feng Shui, in my opinion. I’m sorry the pics aren’t the best, we took them with the camera phone and please note we took them in the morning after sleeping in the bed, it looked much neater than this when we arrived!. Here’s a view looking towards the desk where The Other Half set himself up (with broadband internet I might add) for the stay. And here’s a view towards where I set up my laptop in this amazingly comfortable wing chair. My pictures don’t really do it justice, ya’all. And to not have curtains, to have shutters! What a BRILLIANT idea.
So, after a walk around Sydney we returned to the room pretty tired and thought we’d have room service instead of go out to eat. The menu was not cheap, but there were many excellent choices there. I ordered a chicken salad sandwich and they had mashed potato on the menu as a side dish you could order with any meal, which I really felt like. So odd, but delicious. The other half chose pasta. It arrived fast, and was really delicious with big serves. We thought about dessert, but chose not.
While we were waiting for dinner, I took a shower because even though it was cold and raining Sydney was still quite humid, and then we got on the subway, which is fantastic but makes one feel quite not clean, especially a germophobe like me. The toiletries supplied by the hotel were scented with lemongrass, and absolutely heavenly. I’ll admit I am a shower snob. I like good water pressure, and I like a shower where the designer has actually thought about what happens when you shower. I hate it when water goes all over the bathroom floor. This shower was very well designed, the water stayed in the shower. As it should! The towels were a little on the small side, but there were plenty of them. The other half took some long exposure shots of the Sydney Harbour Bridge from the window of the room. Click for a bigger view. I thought dinner was good, but I had no idea of the breakfast delights that awaited me.
Knowing you have a late checkout really takes the pressure off when it comes to morning. We didn’t wake up till 9am, and then I lazed around for a bit while the other half showered. After another scented shower from heaven and a quick hair drying session (the wall dryer was 1500 watts, not 1200 like every other hotel, makes the job a lot faster) we wandered out to catch the lift to breakfast, which was buffet style in the Icons Brasserie. When we got there, quite a queue of people were forming to be seated – looks like we caught the rush, we thought.
I should first mention, I don’t really do breakfast. If at home, I’m lucky to have a bowl of cereal once a week. A hot breakfast is out of the question, except for the occasional Sunday. My parents like hot breakfasts on the weekends but I never got into the habit. I’d rather a cup of coffee. Maybe a croissant.
Buffets can be nightmares. People vying for the best food. People who won’t get out of your way. Some places I have been, you are reminded of pigs at a trough. Not so at the Marriott. There was plenty of room, and the buffet was divided into sort of sections, to make it easier.
On the bar, there were all the fruit juices. I’m a big pineapple juice fan but there were 5 flavors to choose from. I went and got us both a glass of juice, and then a staff member asked us if we wanted coffee, of course the answer was yes. ;) The Other Half said lets eat, so we wandered off to look at the buffet. The choice was incredible. I can’t even remember it all, because I was so stunned by the fact that at the end of the buffet, they had a little section with an egg cook and a pancake cook. I wasn’t really sure what the deal was with that, so I got some scrambled eggs and bacon from the buffet and returned to my seat somewhat amazed. I finished my plate and before you could blink a staff member appeared and asked if they could take it away.
Intent on investigating the egg cook situation, I asked the other half if he wanted pancakes, so I could stand there and watch what was going on. On closer inspection, it appeared you could go there and order what you wanted, they would make it on the spot for you. Fried eggs? Poached Eggs? Boiled Eggs? Omelette? With stuff in it? They had every filling you could imagine there. Pancakes – plain, with blueberries, with fruit in them, crepes..
The urge for an omelette took over, and I forgot all about the other half’s pancakes (a good thing too because he’d gone back to the buffet and filled his plate a second time) and ordered myself an omelette with capsicum, mushroom, shallots, and cheese. That’s what the guy in front of me had, and it sounded so good I ordered it too, and then the person behind me chose the same as well! You just stand there and wait for them to make it, when they’re done you hand them your plate, they put your freshly cooked request onto it and you walk away.
As I’m going back to the table, I realise I had not even noticed a lot of what was on offer because I was so shocked by the egg and pancake situation. I spot what can only be described as an alcove of sweet things. It was like a large bookshelf, filled with continental breakfast bakery delights. Danishes. Doughnuts. Croissants. Friands. Muffins. Next to that was the cereal station. On the other side of the buffet was the toast station, with many toasters and an alcove full of Beerenberg Jams. My favorite!
When I got back to the table I was offered the juice of the day, which was Guava and Pineapple, and that was lovely too. My omelette was delicious beyond my wildest imaginings. Can you tell I really enjoyed my breakfast? :) We both did, actually. We stayed down there for an hour, sampling many treats from the various sections and stuffing ourselves to the gills, I won’t lie to you. ;) I didn’t want to leave, and neither did the other half, but we were so full we couldn’t just sit there watching everyone else eat. Though, I considered the option because the people were fascinating to me. A real cross section of tourists from all over the world. Accents from every corner of the globe were coming to me as a surprise and as we sat there so many people were enjoying themselves as much as we were.
I was also enjoying watching the staff. They seemed to work together very well, and they all seemed very happy, which I found unbelievable. Hotel service jobs must be no fun, in my opinion. People can be really nasty, I know that from retail and I imagine they have customers who are quite troublesome. Yet they all seemed as if they were enjoying doing their jobs and having fun doing it. I had to give up the staff-watch after I found just to look in their direction meant they kept coming over and asking if I needed anything. :)
We wandered back to our rooms and as we got off the elevator we noticed the aroma of lemongrass from everyone’s morning showers had filtered out into the hallway. It was aromatherapy heaven. Then we relaxed for about an hour before making the decision to get packed up and on our way. I collected the remainder of the heavenly toiletries to take home with me, wishing I could buy them ;) We took the quick pics you see above and headed down to check out.
Our car was returned to us exactly as we left it and I thanked the valet who drove it up so heartily I think he was surprised and gave me a beautiful smile. In fact all the staff gave us beautiful smiles, the whole time we were there. It’s not till they’re missing that you notice the absence of smiles.
Now I know why my sister doesn’t do less than 5 star. :) I’d certainly like to do it again, and most hotels won’t meet up to the wonderful standard set by the Sydney Harbour Marriott. The one down side to our stay was, we think the springs in our bed were broken. Hotel beds must get an absolute thrashing and I reckon some kids must have been jumping on this one. I’m not one to complain, it was just a little noisy when turning over, and I liked everything else so much I don’t really care, but I did write a note on the comments form to let them know. I’m sure the hotel will fix it, they probably already have. :)
Just in the interests of disclosure and to prevent confusion, this was NOT a paid review in any way. We paid to stay there ourselves. But if any hotel wants me to come and stay and review them, my email address is on this page, I’m happy to oblige ;) As long as you know I’m going to tell people what I really thought of my stay there.