Australia's largest hotel Hyatt Regency Sydney has opened its doors in Sydney's Darling Harbour after a $250 million redevelopment.
Taking over from former operators Starwood's Four Points Sheraton at 161 Sussex Street, Hyatt Regency Sydney has added a new 24-storey tower and 222 premium guestrooms, making it the country's largest five-star hotel with 892 rooms.
The 222 new rooms, which include suites and club rooms, occupy the first 15 floors of the hotel's new tower, which offers views of Darling Harbour. The remaining floors will be leased as office space.
Designed by Cox Architecture, the hotel's big "wow" factor is the rooftop bar – the CBD's only premium hotel rooftop bar with views of Darling Harbour that is open to the public. The west-facing bar will provide sunset views over the harbour and offer a dazzling potential for NYE fireworks. The rooftop bar will be open in late December.
Another appealing factor is its Sussex Street location. Situated in the CBD between Darling Harbour and Town Hall, the hotel is within walking distance of the Barangaroo dining precinct, Pitt Street shopping strip and iconic bars such as The Baxter Inn and Lobo Plantation. It's about a 30-minute walk (or 10-12 minute taxi ride) to Circular Quay, the Sydney Opera House and The Rocks.
Other offerings at the hotel include all-day dining, a contemporary lobby bar and Regency club lounge.
With all things Sydney, location is key and Hyatt picked a gem of a location for the return of its Hyatt Regency brand to the city. The chain previously owned a hotel in Sydney's Kings Cross, which was sold and transformed into an apartment tower.
The return of the Hyatt Regency to Sydney as well as a number of new hotel openings, including the Primus Hotel, is a sign of the continuing growth of tourists to the city, especially outbound Chinese tourists.
According to David Udell, Hyatt Hotels group president for the Asia Pacific region, "Sydney has it all" when it comes to being a global travel destination.
"[Sydney's] an aspirational place for many people from all over the world to travel to because the people are exceeding friendly, very warm, it's a completely multiracial society with many different nationalities coming together," Udell told Traveller.com.au.
"With that there is a plethora of food and beverage, wining and dining opportunities, together with [activities] if you want to do cultural things, recreational things outdoors ... combine that with a location on Darling Harbour ... it's a really happening place, and if you're coming to the city for leisure, location is front and centre for that."
While location and views maybe the Hyatt Regency Sydney's main drawcard, Udell said what gives hotels longevity is the unique and captivating story they tell. For Udell, that story is told best by the Park Hyatt Tokyo, the hotel that was immortalised in Sofia Coppola's film Lost in Translation. He names this as his favourite hotel experience not because of the hotel's celebrity status but because of the sense of intimacy that the hotel evokes and the emotional connection guests feel.
What story the Hyatt Regency Sydney will have, time will tell. For now the hotel aims to be everything it can be to every traveller: a contemporary hotel for the under 30s; the over 30s; the foodies; the relaxation escapees; families; the tourist attraction fanatics; the business traveller and everyone in between.
This broad strategy of appeal might lend some to think that it's a matter of ticking all the boxes rather than carving a niche, but that could be what makes this modern hotel unique. In the age of boutique and design hotels, this multi-purpose luxury hotel could be the answer for every traveller. After all, isn't that reflective of Sydney – a city that's a bit of everything really?
The Hyatt Regency Sydney is the brand's second hotel in Sydney after the Park Hyatt Sydney. In Australia, the chain has four brands the Park Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Grand Hyatt and the forthcoming Hyatt Place.
Hyatt is due to open a new hotel in Essendon, Melbourne next year. The eight-storey Hyatt Place Melbourne will be the country's first Hyatt Place hotel.
Hyatt Regency Sydney is taking bookings for its new tower and its 222 additional premium rooms for stays from December 27 and beyond.
Rooms cost from $275 a night. See sydney.regency.hyatt.com