Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Hilton Sydney - five stars in the Harbour City

I recently had an overnight trip to Sydney and stayed at the Hilton hotel.

It was a flying visit and I was unable to savour all of the delights of the Hilton but I took a lot of photos of the room and gathered a bunch of information to share with you all.

The Hilton is located at 488 George Street, right in the middle of the Sydney CBD, one block south of The Sydney Tower (also known as the Sydney Tower Eye, AMP Tower, Westfield Centrepoint Tower, Centrepoint Tower or just Centrepoint) and across the street from the magnificent Queen Victoria Building (QVB).

Upon entry the foyer is quite spectacular, with the ceiling several levels above you and a striking sculpture next to the reception desk reaching from the floor to the ceiling. In comparison, the reception desk seems quite small but check-in was as efficient as you would expect from a 5-star hotel. 

*All prices in this post are in Australian dollars and all information is as of July, 2012.

I have discovered that this post runs slowly if viewed on Internet Explorer. It's best viewed on Google Chrome or Firefox (not as fast as Chrome).

The foyer (reception desk is out of shot at the bottom of the
sculpture and on the other side of the wall in the foreground).

For those of us who don't spend a good amount of time calling hotel rooms 'home', opening the door and seeing your room is always exciting. This was no different and the room, a Guest Room Plus, was right up there (check room rates, as prices will vary)

Guest Room Plus.
Looking back the other way.
The tea/coffee making area.
Under the tea/coffee area is the mini-bar.
Look but don't touch, because once you take something out of its space, it registers as being 'consumed'.
The four empty spaces at the front of the middle shelf are for your own drinks, should you have any, and if
you have anything that is too big for the space, they will bring you up a smaller bar fridge.
Decent amount of hanging/storage space.
The white robes are Hilton robes, available for purchase ($85).
The safe, iron and ironing board and Hilton slippers.
The view from the room - looking south up George Street towards Central Train Station.
That's the QVB bottom right.
Day, dusk, night - the changing face of George Street from the window.

The small details in the room set it apart from many other hotel rooms...the leather-covered tea and coffee containers; the stand alone lamp in the room; the chaise lounge; the 'do not disturb' and 'make up room' lights outside the room (photos of all below). 

The room also had an elegant, executive-style glass top desk. The Hilton Sydney website appears to confirm the fact that is is standard in each room. Being in the Sydney CBD, the hotel must get a lot of business clientele. Makes sense.

The leather-covered containers housing the tea/coffee/sugar and milk.
The white 'plate' with 't' on it is just for that - your used tea bag/s. 
The stand alone lamp in the room.
The chaise lounge - relax, read, take in the view or get some up close TV viewing.
The 'Do Not Disturb' and 'Make My Room' switches that turn on a small light in the hallway.
There are also the 'old fashioned' signs you can hang on the door handle.
The executive-style desk in the room.
And in the box on the desk, writing materials and other bits and pieces -
writing paper, rubber bands, paper clips, a pencil, eraser and post-it notes.
Handily placed nibbles (not complimentary) next to the desk for those late night sessions on the laptop.
One one end of the desk - complimentary water and apple.

As for sleeping, the bed was ultra comfortable and the black out screens amazing. I woke and thought it was still the middle of the night because the room was pitch black. I looked at the clock and it was 6.50am. Even though it was winter, there is still a decent amount of light at that time of the morning in Sydney but not a peep was getting through the blinds (which can lower and raise via a switch next to the bed).

You don't even need to get out of bed to see how the day outside is looking (if you sleep long enough).

If you're a 'bathroom' sort of person, then the bathroom ticked all the boxes. It was a good size, clean, with complimentary Peter Thomas Roth toiletries...it even had a TV built into the wall of the shower!

However, unless I missed something, the speakers were outside the (good-sized) shower cubicle and the TV was barely audible. You could see the screen if you were on the loo but you still had to look at it through the glass wall of the shower cubicle. 

TV aside, as well as the already large shower head, there was an even larger rain cloud shower head.

Good sized bathroom (with TV screen sneaking into frame at left...photos to come...)
Peter Thomas Roth goodies.
The rain cloud shower head. The 'real' shower was good enough but
if there's two fighting over the water, then...
And the 'wash while you watch' TV (only available in Guest Room Plus rooms).
That's the TV control on the wall in the shower.

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If you'd like to know how to turn your images into visual stories, I've published a book that takes a whole new slant on photography and 'translates' the art of taking photos into a language we all understand.

To read more about my book and see some of its 100+ visual examples, please click HERE.

***I use all the tips and hints from my book in every photo I take, including those in Travel With Giulio.

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I always head for the TV in any hotel room, once the photos have been taken, and see what cable channels there are. The selection was ample (everyone will always want for something when it comes to cable...there was no National Geographic, but there was the Biography channel).

No introduction needed...
Press the TV button on the remote and this screen will appear.
Select Local TV, Foxtel etc along the bottom and scroll up and down through the TV channel options.
The corresponding channel will appear next to the list and choose what you want.
A favourite position, I must admit.
Alternatively, if TV isn't your thing, then how about a good book? Perhaps one - or more - of my three books? Have a look and see which you might like.

If there is anything you need that isn't in the room (a new pillow, perhaps?), you can ring MAGIC (Managing All Guests Incoming Calls), the '24-hour centralised communications centre designed to manage guest requests'. Your room phone has a special MAGIC button on it.

Should you so desire...

I didn't get the chance to savour any of the in-room dining on offer but the menu looked quite extensive.

The Guest Services Directory - a gold mine of information.

Below are a few examples of each of what was on offer:

BREAKFAST (6am - 11am)
Cereals (with choice of milk): $8
Pastries (choice of two): $10
Fresh Fruit Salad: $18

Buttermilk Pancakes: $18
Rum and Raisin Hot Porridge: $18
Three Egg Omelette: $22
Eggs Benedict: $26
Grilled Barramundi: $28

Healthy: $39
Wheat grass shot, freshly squeezed orange juice, bircher muesli coupe, yalla yoghurt (natural/fruit), seasonal fruit salad, two organic eggs 'any way you like' on wholemeal toast, freshly brewed coffee or your choice of tea.

SNACKS (11am - 11pm)
Mediterranean Dips: $20
Hummus, eggplant salad, tzatziki and green tahini dips with marinated olives served with turkish and flat bread (gluten free breads on request).

The Classic Hilton Club Sandwich: $25
Sliced chicken, grilled bacon, fied egg, tomato, lettuce and mayonnaise in a triple-decker sandwich served with fries (gluten free breads on request).

All Day Breakfast: $28
Two fresh eggs prepared to your liking, served with bacon, sausage, grilled tomato and hash browns.

Boutique Cheese Plate: $27
Australian fine cheese selection served with celery, grapes, fruit paste, dried fruit, crackers and walnut bread

SALADS (11am - 11pm)
Wild Rocket, (marinated) Artichoke and (shaved) Parmesan, balsamic and extra virgin olive oil: $19
Turkish, with cucumber, tomato, corn kernels, white cheese, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil: $20

PIZZAS (available around the clock)
Margarita: $28
Hawaiin: $31
Supreme: $33

PASTA (11am - 11pm)
Starter: $22
Main: $32
Penne or Spaghetti with choice of sauces - bolognase, carbonara, napoli
Homemade Beef and Tomato Lasagne
Blue Pumpkin and Goat's Cheese Ravioli
*All served with garlic bread, basil pesto and parmesan on the side

Roast Pumpkin Soup: $17
Lightly Smoked Tasmanian Salmon with Avocado: $28
Oyester (Natural/Kilpatrick)
1/2 doz: $28
Dozen: $47

MAIN COURSES (6pm - 11pm)
Thai Beef Salad: $36
Grilled Chicken Breat with Eggplant and Roasted Pepper Caviar: $36
Sirloin Steak
150 gram: $31
250 gram: $39

DESSERTS (6pm - 11pm)
All: $17
Baked Mango and Ricotta Cheesecake
Bitter Belgian Chocolate Tart
Artisan Ice Cream (three scoops)

Champagnes up to $310/bottle (Dom Perignon Vintage)
White wine up to $82 (Cullen - Margaret River - Semillon Sauvignon Blanc)
Red wine up to $110 (Brands 'Patrons' - Coonawarra - Cabernet)

Tea and coffee is also available, even though facilites are in the room, and there is a children's menu, too. Picnic hampers are available.

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Caffe Cino (located in the foyer)

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I enjoyed the brief stay at the Hilton Sydney. I didn't get to see and try and much of the hotel as I would have liked but it all looked top class. One of the things I didn't get to was  Glass Brasserie in the Hilton owned by one of Australia's leading chefs and restaurateurs, Luke Mangan. The reviews are glowing!

Would I go back to the Hilton Sydney? For sure. There is a lot to like about it.

Bon voyage,

*If you stayed at the Hilton Sydney as a result of this post, please tell us! 

488 George Street, Sydney (street MAP)
Ph - 02 9266 2000
Fax - 02 9265 6065

See and read about more of our accommodation experiences/reviews.

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Photos & text by Giulio Saggin (unless otherwise stated)
© Use of photos/text must be via written permission

Flying back to Brisbane after our stay at the Hilton Sydney, I photographed this. Even though I had been away for the weekend, I still wished I was on that plane flying off into the distance as our plane began its descent into Brisbane. The grass is always greener...

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