Checking In: I don’t think I’m going back to the Hyatt Regency Sydney


My room was nice. The staff was lovely. The location was pretty darn good. And yet I’m not expecting that I’ll return to the Hyatt Regency Sydney. Why? After three missteps, one which was pretty severe, I’m not sure I’d be so comfortable there again.

A pretty normal looking room at the Hyatt Regency Sydney.
A pretty normal looking room at the Hyatt Regency Sydney.

I arrived early at the hotel after a flight in from the USA. And I didn’t book the room for the night prior. I fully expected to not have a room available on arrival at 10a and that was the case. I was given access to the gym shower which was most welcome and then handed my bags over for storage. I headed out to explore the Darling Harbour area near the hotel and scope out my commute for the next few days, the walk to the convention center across the way. Around noon I called to hotel to see if my room was ready and I got lucky; it was. I asked the operator to request my bags be delivered and headed back over to check in for real. I received the keys and asked again for the bags to be sent up, just in case the first request was missed. I was assured they’d be delivered promptly. They were not.

Strike one

After an hour of waiting (and very much wishing I was napping) I headed downstairs to claim the bags myself. It took all of 30 seconds once down there so not a big deal. But I also confirmed that the request to have them delivered up to my room never went through. I don’t know why that happened but it did not make for a great first impression. That alone isn’t enough to write off a hotel – far from it – but I was now a little on edge.



Strike two

The checkout process was reasonably smooth, save for the attempt to charge me for mini-bar consumption. Just a soda and chocolate bar and it was quickly removed when I explained I didn’t really take anything. But I remain confused about how that inventory/audit came about given that I had the do not disturb tag hanging the duration of the stay and housekeeping never entered the room. The front desk clerk did not have an answer for that one, though I didn’t really push the issue. Again, this is not enough to write off the hotel if in isolation. But it definitely wasn’t great.

The bathroom at the Hyatt Regency Sydney. Again, just a regular room. Which is fine.
The bathroom at the Hyatt Regency Sydney. Again, just a regular room. Which is fine.

Strike three

I forgot my room key when I went out on the second day of my stay. It was sitting on the desk in the room when I finally got back late that night. But I needed a replacement to discover that. The good news is that getting a replacement is typically easy. Show an ID and name the room number at the front desk and a new card can be issued quickly. The bad news in my case was just how easily and quickly it happened. I showed up, said my room number and a new key was handed to me immediately. No questions asked. That’s bad.



I had a copy of my passport available on my phone as a means to prove identity. I was never asked. I wasn’t even asked the name on the room to verify that I was supposed to be the guest staying there. I walked up to the front desk, asked for a key to a random room number and was provided with such.

I mentioned it at check out. The clerk tried to downplay the incident. I mentioned it in the post-stay survey. The Assistant Manager assigned to answer my less than favorable review apparently didn’t read the part where I explained all of this, choosing instead to send me an email asking what was wrong with my stay. Eventually a follow-on email did arrive, but I’m still disinclined to show up again.

You’re Out!

This is not a case of swearing off a company, promising to never do business with them again. For one thing that rarely is a practical approach to life. And it is a solid property in a good location. But I definitely am indisposed to bring future business to the property given this sequence of events. I can get over little things pretty quickly. But the big things are big, and this one was a doozy.

More from my 2018 RTW Adventures

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

10 Comments

  1. Random mini-bar charges are my current pet peeve with hotels. It’s so prevalent and there is zero incentive for them to correct it. Just remove the charge from the bill, right. But what if you had a large bill and didn’t check it line by line? Imagine the additional revenue hotels are making with these fraudulent charges. I’ve asked for the minibar to be removed or emptied but the request is usually denied. However, during those stays I never get extra charges.

  2. Doesn’t matter if they recognized him or not. One of the reasons to stay at a hotel, if not the main reason, is your personal security. If you have no assurance that you or your belongings would be reasonably secure then you can’t stay there. I don’t care how harmless Seth may have looked , he shouldn’t have received a key without identification. Absent that, he should have been escorted to the room and provide some proof that it is indeed his room at that point.

    I agree 100% with Seth. That was a HUGE lapse and would rule out my staying there.

    1. I agree. Shoot, I’m even supposed to ask coworkers to see their badges to get in our building, even if I know who they are. And a hotel will just hand over a new room key to anyone who asks?

  3. I know! While you were out, someone walked up to the front desk, asked for your room key, and then raided your minibar!

  4. Wow, I used to like reading Seth because he was insightful. But now? Just silly stupid stuff like everybody else. Clickbait.

  5. Last time I stayed there I just pushed hard on the door and the lock popped open. You don’t even need a key to get in. I hope they fixed the that door by now.

  6. That’s just horrible. I just had a complete opposite experience this week in Auckland. I arrived at 5:30 am from SFO, a 13 hour-ish flight. After waiting for a long time to get my bags, and eating breakfast, taking a cab, etc, by the time I got to the hotel it was almost 8:30 am. I paid for early check in, not expecting to get the room until 1 pm or so. I went to check in hoping to just leave my bags. The check in hostess said , oh you must be exhausted after flying so long, I’ll upgrade your room and get you the keys now so you can take a nap. She even sent up some cold bottles of water. The staff the entire time was so friendly and helpful. The hotel is the M Social Auckland by the Viaduct. Great location and they really care about guest service.

  7. OK, I guess I’ll offer a somewhat different perspective. There are still many hotels that offer a physical key – maybe not the kinds of places Seth stays, but they’re out there, and I stay in them fairly often. Typically when you leave the hotel you drop off the key at the front desk; they often have something large attached to them to make it cumbersome to carry them out of the hotel anyway. When I get back I state my room number and they give me the key. They almost never ask me for my name or ID. Sometimes they see me coming and reach for the key before I get to the counter. I guess I should be more worried about it than I am, but if they recognize me by face, I’m fine with getting the key that way.

    1. I’ve been in that style hotel many times. Smaller properties are more my style than the Hyatt Regency most of the time. But the key (heh!) there is that it is a smaller property with a staff that actually knows the guests. I had checked in 36 hours prior and, while I’m memorable, I don’t believe the same rules apply in a property that has several hundred rooms.

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