The Intercontinental Hotel in Sydney

The Intercontinental stands mighty and tall against other buildings surrounding the Circular Quay in Sydney. We heard that Oprah treated her 300 guests to a room here during her Sydney visit and the likes of presidents of the U.S.A have also enjoyed its luxury that we felt it was time we also basked in its glory too.

I had booked an internet special of a Bayview King Room and was given a room on the corner of the building looking onto Elizabeth Street and the Conservatorium of Music. There were bay views; however the water can only be seen by turning our heads sideways toward the awkward corner of the window for a glimpse of the bay.

The room was spacious, with ample lounge space between the bed and flat screen TV. The pillow was oh-so fluffy, however the bed was slightly stiff and minutely uncomfortable. The bathroom was small and had the shower over bath-tub layout, which was disappointing compared to hotels of its class in the city which had separate showers and baths.

Being 13 floors above ground the room was surprisingly noisy. Noticing that the windows were not double glazed and soundproof, we were woken up a few times by loud music and shouting from the streets below.

The pool area was located on level 31, with great views of the harbour in a small indoor heated room. Do not expect to be able to lie down on a bench and relax the hours away, as the air is filled with strong sense of chlorine and the heat makes the place feel more like a roman bath area. The size of the pool is nothing to write home about, you would feel more comfortable sitting in the small bathtub in the privacy of your own room.

Breakfast was included in our room rate, which was great considering it comes with a price tag of AU$45 per person. The buffet had plenty of fruit and cold cut choices, but the hot food section lacked imagination. Nevertheless, the dining room at Cafe Opera was clean and orderly, and things were done when requested.

Throughout our stay, staffs at the hotel were courteous yet distant. They greeted us like a machine, saying what they have memorized from their hospitality handbook, lacking warmth and rapport. A mechanical smile and a cold “have a nice day” after our check out was immediately followed by a quick glance behind us and a sharp “next please”, leaving us scrambling with our bags, feeling like we’ve over-stayed our welcome by 2 seconds.

Luxury as it may be, the hotel really lacked personality in every way. After a bit of research we realized that perhaps all the rich and famous have not stayed in a Bayview Room, but in their Australia Suite instead, a full level suite located on the 29th floor with its own access elevator, complete with a baby grand piano. Perhaps the service provided to customers in those suites would be different, and perhaps we simply just have to admit that commoners like us should never be expected to feel special, no matter how much we think we’ve paid – unless you can pay the $7000 per night price tag, you are just another customer.

Intercontinental Hotels – www.intercontinental.com