For my second two nights in Sydney, I stayed at the Intercontinental Sydney. The hotel is the older of two Intercontinentals in the city, but more centrally located. It was a short walk from the Radisson, a bit closer to Circular Quay, the Opera House and the train, but a little farther from the restaurants and shopping of the CBD. I don’t have a lot to say about the Intercontinental, but it was very nice.
The hotel was definitely a 5-star hotel, feeling much more luxurious than the Radisson. It wasn’t cheap. The Ambassador Weekend rate was 419 AUD a night – about $320—far more than I’d typically pay. But it was a good use of my annual BOGO certificate, as $320 for two nights was a great deal.
Architecturally, the Intercontinental is stunning – an old building with a new tower built into it. The lobby level features a massive atrium in the older building, while the rooms were actually in the tower. The entrance was a little hard to find, as the main entrance is a car only entrance, but I found the pedestrian entrance and got to check in.
Intercontinentals, unlike Radissons, tend to be consistent in providing the appropriate benefits. I was actually given a double upgrade to a Harbour View room. On a high floor, the room was beautiful, with a huge window looking out onto the harbor (though not the most scenic part of the harbor). The room had a ton of natural light, requiring the use of motorized shades. (The view was particularly great for unexplained fireworks one night!)
The room was modern and had been updated pretty recently. There was seating along the window, a large desk area, and a chaise lounge, in addition to the comfortable king size bed. It felt a lot warmer than the Radisson, and not as bare bones.
The bathroom was only thing not as nice as the Radisson. It was perfectly fine, but it didn’t fit the room; it seemed that they didn’t renovate the bathroom when they renovated the rest of the room. It had some nice older tiling, so I wonder if that had something to do with it.
I only had one problem with my stay. Unlike the Radisson, the Intercontinental did not have free bottled water in the room, though I was supposed to get it as part of my Ambassador welcome amenity. It was a hot day, so bottled water would have been nice when walking around. I called twice during the afternoon to see the status, and was told it would be delivered. I ended up having to call again after dinner, and bought some bottled water in the meantime. Finally, a big fruit plate and bottled water arrived, along with a bottle of bad red wine as my welcome amenity. This really wasn’t a big deal, but I don’t have anything else to say.
The free internet was pretty solid, and I had no problems.
The gym was on the top floor of the hotel, and was very big. It was a bit oddly laid out, but had a ton of equipment. Fun note- I was working out at the same time as the Sri Lankan cricket team and their trainer. (Not a very athletic group.) The gym was privately operated, though there was no staff anywhere to be seen. Water was available for sale from a refrigerator, or from a fountain with no cups.
There were a lot of restaurants in the hotel, though I didn’t try any. The Club is supposed to be stunning, with a great view, but I didn’t even ask about purchasing access.
One thing to flag for folks who may be staying at this property. Since I’ve been staying at so many Hiltons as a HHonors Gold member, I’m used to having breakfast provided at hotels, though it generally leads me to overeating. In my days at the Radisson, the lack of this amenity wasn’t a problem, as I had bought muffins at the supermarket and there was a great coffee shop next door. At the Intercontinental it posed a greater problem, particularly on Sunday morning, as nearly everything neary was closed for the weekend or didn’t open until lunch. After 10 minutes wandering, I just settled on Pieface, an Australian chain that serves croissants and savory pies and coffee, which I’d known from their midtown New York location that I used to pass on my way to work every day.
There are lots of dates when the Intercontinental is not as expensive as during Mardi Gras and the Cricket World Cup. Even for those dates, it is a great use of 50,000 IHG Rewards Club points (far better use than 50,000 Club Carlson points for the Radisson). Although I didn’t experience much of the hotel but the room, I recommend it.