Along the way, I flew on some of the world’s best airlines and shared my thoughts on the ground and in the air. The cash cost for the airfare alone would have been well more than $17,000. Using miles and points, however, I knocked the cost down to around $500. Learn how to travel like I do with PointsAway: The Definitive Guide To Free Flights & Nights.
I looked to the right-hand side of the plane as we began our descent and could see it, centered in my window: the Sydney Opera House, nestled on a small peninsula, not far from the Harbour Bridge. This was, somehow, more unbelievable than seeing the Shire. To me, Sydney had always been The Farthest Place From Home, even if that wasn’t strictly true, geographically. Yet here it was, a few thousand feet below, and just an hour or two away from being explored.
My flight in with LAN was brutally early; given its 6AM departure time from Auckland, I had to wake up around 3AM for the flight, which was 1AM Sydney time, given the two time zones passed on the way there. That meant I arrived at the Hilton Sydney around 9AM. I rolled my bag up to the counter to find out when my room might be available and where I could leave my bags until that time.
Status Has Its Benefits
Once again, having HHonors Gold proved its incredible value. A room was ready for me right then, with a free upgrade to the 38th floor and an executive room, complete with access to the executive lounge in addition to free breakfast at the Glass Brasserie, the primary dining choice on property. Best of all, since breakfast was being served at Glass until 10AM, I had time to catch a third breakfast (first at the Qantas lounge and second on the flight) before heading out to explore the city.
The breakfast buffet features a wide variety of options sure to suit the tastes of guests traveling from both the US and elsewhere. For example, scrambled eggs, bacon, waffles, french toast and more will be a treat to an American traveler, but dim sum options, fried rice and a variety of mixed juices mint help Asian travelers feel more at home.
The room was gorgeous.
Though I enjoyed my very basic stay at Jucy Hotel just fine, it was nice to spend a couple nights in something much more luxurious. The bed was extremely comfortable and the office area was nice to write from during a few down moments:
The TV received a wide selection of local channels, which I always like to check out for just a few minutes during a stay anywhere abroad:
The bathroom was a bit small but very cleanly appointed, with an array of amenities that went well beyond soap and shampoo:
A separate shower and bathtub took up the majority of the bathroom’s space:
A well-stocked – but expensive – minibar was joined by an array of free teas and a nice tea set:
While the hotel is located well in from the harbor, the view of the surrounding city wasn’t half bad, either.
A small bottle of merlot was waiting as a welcome amenity; two free bottles of water magically appeared a few hours later.
The Marble Bar
I find that the best Hiltons find a way to integrate into their local environment, more-so than most other chain hotels. This one was no different. The Marble Bar, located on a below-ground level at the Hilton Sydney, is a prime example of this. It was built as the George Adams Bar in 1893, with no expense spared. “Corinthian columns with solid bronze capitals, 100 tones of the world’s best quality marble from Belgian and African quarries, cedar joinery and stained pictorial glass frames combined to create an opulent ambience unheard of in the colonies at that time,” the bar’s website states.
Of course, the bar wasn’t built inside the bowels of the Hilton Sydney in 1893. Instead, it was saved from increasing levels of dilapidation and dismantled, refurbished and reconstructed inside the Hilton Sydney in the early 1970s. It continues to serve as a fantastic bar today and is regularly used as a music venue for artists both from Australia and elsewhere. It’s impossible to believe you’re under the hotel and not in a building well over 100 years old once inside.
My stay at the Hilton Sydney reminded me why Hilton is my hotel group of choice when paying for stays. The benefits afforded to HHonors Gold members always – always – make for a truly exceptional stay, no matter where in the world I might be.
What’s great is that these benefits are attainable to anyone. PointsAway book readers know that HHonors Gold status is incredibly easy to earn, even if you don’t travel often. When combining those benefits with the Hilton’s overall quality, central location and a $50 statement credit earned through American Express as one of their Amex Offers, that made this stay a great value for the money.
This stay wasn’t particularly cheap, but it isn’t one I regret. With sky-high quality, a phenomenal set of upgrades and benefits and a central location, the Hilton Sydney helped me make the most of my short time in the city. The rate for these two nights should have totaled to $369.32, but thanks to a $50 statement credit offered by American Express through its Amex Offers program, this cost was knocked down to $319.32 for two nights.