Fresh from a $45 million head-to-toe makeover, the grande dame of Elizabeth Street once again reigns over Hyde Park. This is a proudly full-service five-star, so expect porters to wrangle luggage, superior housekeeping and room service, and generous meals in Feast restaurant, where big breakfasts segue into extravagant seafood buffets. Expect, too, dazzling views over the harbour and the Heads from higher-floor rooms and suites, the club lounge and rooftop pool, but less impressive office-tower vignettes from "city side" rooms. Plantation shutters cleverly conceal such views, while chaises longues and French hangings lend a residential feel that belies chain-hotel expectations.
The rooftop health retreat is a city oasis of glass-roofed pool and hot tub, day spa, big gym, steam room and sauna, but the standout feature is the sun terrace with a quintessential Sydney outlook across parkland to sparkling blue harbour.
Weary guests will give thanks for the small mercy of a single bedside master switch that shuts off all the lights at the press of a finger.
Breakfast, served in the light and bright Feast restaurant, is the full five-star affair ($44, $38 Continental). Highlights include prosciutto freshly sliced off the bone, granola ice-cream, and egg and smoked salmon muffins with hollandaise. The seafood buffet is popular at lunch and dinner.
If nothing appeals on the tight, mostly domestic wine list at the Conservatory bar, a pretty glass atrium on the first floor, take a Roadtrip to Mexico instead: tequila, mezcal, agave and grapefruit.
This review was made independently for the Gourmet Traveller Hotel Guide. The guide's reviewers visit unannounced and pay their way.