As Australia’s largest hotel, the national shutdown orders and international border closures of 2020 could have dealt a crippling blow to the 888-room Hyatt Regency. But as an extended hiatus on bookings loomed, the Hyatt group saw an opportunity. Using the downtime to make multimillion-dollar upgrades to 649 of its guestrooms and 17 of its suites (just over three-quarters of its occupancy), the Hyatt Regency came out of lockdown with a chic new look channeling a subtle nautical vibe inspired by its Darling Harbour setting.
Despite only receiving its last phase of upgrades in 2016 – when the former Four Points Hotel changed hands to join the Hyatt portfolio and underwent major renovations including the addition of a substantial high-rise extension – the 2020 facelift has proven to be a savvy decision. Sydney is in the midst of a luxury hotel boom, with the already operating Sofitel and Crown Towers Resort and the under-construction W Hotel all just a stone’s throw from the Hyatt Regency’s front door. With competition for local and interstate bookings more fierce than ever, and with so many five-star venues clustered within a relatively small enclave of the city, the recent reno has kept the Regency at pace with its box-fresh neighbours, while an experienced in-house team has maintained the level of service Hyatt customers expect.
The vibe at Hyatt Regency is luxury without the showboating. The interiors are sleek and streamlined, unquestionably luxe yet minimalist in their classic, uncluttered finishes; think mid-century modern meets executive retreat with just a touch of superyacht chic. It’s a cleverly ambidextrous approach – slick and functional enough to be a perfect bolthole for corporate customers yet with enough plush finishing touches and high-end comforts to easily satisfy the expectations of discerning leisure guests. Other facilitates include a 24-hour fitness centre, underground parking, state-of-the-art meeting spaces for events and access to Hyatt's e-concierge service.
But should you want a few extra bells and whistles, you can upgrade to one of the rooms on floor 11, which grants guests access to the Regency Club lounge – a comfy retreat with complimentary drinks, canapés, and breakfast options away from the busier public spaces elsewhere in the hotel (although depending on what health regulations, if any, are in effect, access to the Regency Club can occasionally be restricted).
The Hyatt Regency’s flexibility doesn’t end with its guest rooms. It makes sense that a hotel so large should keep its offering varied to attract as many different guests as possible, and this is writ large across its eclectic hospitality spread. Its four in-house hospitality venues all channel their own respective energies.
The hugely popular open-air rooftop bar Zephyr is a sophisticated cocktail lounge perched on the hotel’s twelfth level. Its styling is subtle yet elegant, much like many of Hyatt Regency’s fresh, modern interiors, because who needs flashy décor and OTT opulence when you have views as stunning as those taking in the waters of Darling Harbour?
Hungry? There are multiple in-house options depending on what takes your fancy. Just beyond the lobby, the hotel’s main restaurant space, Sailmaker, has capacity for 200+ diners and operates all day long, offering breakfast, high tea, a special lunchtime seafood banquet with bottomless bubbles, and an a la carte dinner service.
If your wanderlust is getting the better of you, a trip to the hotel’s quirky eatery Jackalberry should take the edge off. With an array of different world cuisines on its menu – from Peking duck spring rolls to Canadian poutine, seafood linguini to mee goreng, and lots more besides – you can take your tongue on a globetrot without ever leaving Sydney.
Making use of the historic buildings on the hotel’s plot, the Regency’s very own pub, the Dundee Arms, strikes an oddly traditional figure on the otherwise thoroughly modern Sussex Street. One of the city’s oldest surviving pubs, built in the 1860s, the Dundee Arms offers classic, hearty grub like schnitties and fish and chips (with a couple of up-market interlopers like truffled fries), in an atmosphere that the dock workers who frequented it a century and a half ago would feel right at home in.
Centrally located, Hyatt Regency Sydney is less than 15 minutes on foot from the hospo hubs of Darling Square and Barangaroo. It's also less than 10 minutes to Darling Harbour, Town Hall train station, Chinatown and CBD bars including the YCK Laneways late-night precinct, making it the ideal home base for a city staycation. The Sydney Opera House, The Rocks and the Royal Botanic Gardens are all just 25 minutes' stroll away.