I’m writing this while sitting by the pool at the Park Hyatt in Sydney. I just checked in after spending last night at the Intercontinental Sydney.
I know it’s not news to anyone that the Park Hyatt is a superior property or that Gold Passport status comes with better benefits than IHG Rewards Club status but my experience at the two properties over the last 24 hours have been like night and day.
When I checked into the Intercontinental I asked at check-in if there was any availability in rooms with a harbour view. As a Platinum Elite with IHG, I am entitled to room upgrades pending availability, though as this was an award stay I had no expectation this benefit would be honoured. It wasn’t. The check-in agent advised me the hotel was at capacity and there were no rooms with a view available so we checked in and went up to our city side room.
When we got up there I had a look at their website out of curiosity and there were a bunch of rooms still being sold for the night including an Eastern harbour view room. I called front desk and explained that I had asked if there were any rooms with a view available when checking in and was told there were none. The guy I spoke to told me that was correct and that the hotel was at capacity. I told him I was on the IHG website and that they were still selling Eastern harbour view rooms. He put me on hold for a few seconds and then confirmed they did in fact have an Eastern harbour view room that I could upgrade to for $25. Obviously we went ahead with the upgrade and switched rooms. Now, I understand that benefits won’t necessarily apply to award stays and I have zero issue with paying $25 for a view, that’s actually an awesome deal as far as I’m concerned. It’s just that when you take away the benefit of upgrades from IHG Platinum, what are you left with? Bonus points to help you requalify? Not much point if the only benefit you get from requalifying is it being easier to requalify again. It just makes no sense.
I had an Ambassador card with Intercontinental that expired in June and I didn’t renew it as I wasn’t expecting to be staying at too many Intercontinentals this year. While I had an Ambassador card I actually thought it was pretty great as it’s quite easy to be strategic with the one category upgrades you get at the time of booking and I definitely got some great value from that card. But what’s the point of the loyalty program?
Beyond that, the Intercontinental is a solid hotel in a great location. The rooms are perfectly functional and clean but definitely a bit past their prime and pretty unexciting. I realise if you get a room on the North side of the building the views are incredible and the Club Intercontinental has some of the best views in the city. If you don’t get a North facing room or Club access though, the property becomes sort of just convenient and not much more. If you have club access or an Opera House view from your room though, I bet it’s pretty awesome.
Park Hyatt Sydney
I hadn’t ever stayed at this property before but have been wanting to for some time. I decided to spend a Saturday night while I’m still Diamond with Gold Passport so had a look through the calendar and found a Saturday with a decent rate and booked it. We were really excited to finally spend a night here and it definitely didn’t disappoint. We rocked up at 11:30am from the Intercontinental and were told that our room had been upgraded and was all ready for us to go up to. We were also offered a 4pm checkout and shown where our complimentary breakfast would be served. Already a significantly better experience than the previous night.
There weren’t any Opera House view rooms available but we were given a city harbour view room. The view was fantastic and you could still see the Opera House from the balcony.
I haven’t got too much to add to all the previous reviews of this hotel but it is truly exceptional and easily the best hotel I’ve stayed at in Sydney. The rooms are very large and are modern, luxurious and have ridiculously good views. The service is warm and professional. The location is absolutely perfect for Circular Quay and The Rocks.
And the perks as a Diamond with Hyatt are fantastic!
I know it’s not apples for apples. The room we stayed in at the Park Hyatt generally costs about AU$1000 a night as opposed to the room we had at the Intercontinental which would be more like Au$300. And I realise Diamond is top tier with Gold Passport whereas Platinum is mid-level with IHG since the introduction of Spire.
I also know it’s not news to anyone.
But. They are both considered 5 star properties. They both have fantastic views of the harbour. They are both their respective chains’ flagship property in Sydney.
And for me, the Park Hyatt and Gold Passport left IHG for dead this weekend and I’m really starting to question the point of Rewards Club without an Ambassador card.