With 531 rooms, a newly-renovated club lounge (Lounge 32), sweeping views of Sydney Harbour, a modern restaurant and a sizeable 24-hour gym, the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney is poised to attract high-end travellers visiting Australia's business capital.
Join Australian Business Traveller as we explore the country's only Four Seasons hotel, from the perspective of a Club-level guest.
Location & Impressions
You'll find the Four Seasons towards the northern end of George Street, being roughly a five-minute walk from Circular Quay railway station – attached to the Airport Link train service – and within walking distance of many corporate offices, including those of Deloitte, NAB, AGL Energy and Ferrier Hodgson.
There's some construction taking place on George Street itself, but we had no issues accessing the property, nor was any construction noise audible from our room, which offered two distinct views: out to the north west from one side...
... and towards what you really came here to see – the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House (taken on a much clearer night):
Check-in was efficient, with the hotel adopting a 1.9% credit card surcharge for Visa and 2% for all other cards including Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club and JCB: slightly higher than some competing hotels, but still within a reasonable range for travellers using higher-end plastic.
We'd booked a Club Premier Full Harbour Room – which, at 53 m2, is closer to a suite than a typical hotel room: just without the separate lounge room or dining area.
What it does have is plenty of open floor space, a coffee table and a comfy sofa (pictured above), angled towards a large HD TV screen that offers access to an array of pay-TV channels, including in full high definition where available:
In the other corner: a king bed with useful power points on both sides, complimentary daily bottled water and a handy Bluetooth-enabled clock radio, which was easy to use and connect to at the press of a button.
If there's any confusion as to where you're staying, embroidered Euro pillows reflect the 'four seasons' by showing the leaves as they change throughout the year in summer, autumn, winter and spring:
Continuing around the room, an office desk in the far corner with ample natural and artificial lighting, plus convenient desk-level access to power...
... although with a view like this, we thought it a shame to face towards the bed – opting to work from the Harbour-facing other side, where your guest would normally sit if hosting a meeting.
Rounding out the room itself, a large closet with hanging facilities, an electronic safe, an iron and ironing board and a coffee pod machine. Just don't fill it with water from the bottles nearby, else a $10 charge will appear on your account.
The marble-clad bathroom is spacious, featuring a second mirror and bench with a hairdryer to avoid any arguments between couples, along with the main basin where you'll find a shaving mirror for the gents...
... which proceeds through to a separate washroom with a standalone bathtub...
... and a walk-in shower, with amenities by Appelles:
While there's little to fault in the room itself, the colours, faucets and overall style of the bathroom are somewhat dated, which we hope the hotel will address whenever the next round of property refurbishments take place.
... and a second, more chilled meeting space at the opposite end of the lounge, where it also tends to be quiet:
Solo work can be accomplished at the tables and chairs here – many of which provide access to power points...
... or, for a quick meeting without the elevator ride, several casual sofas can be found upstairs from reception:
Complimentary WiFi is available throughout the hotel, with both upload and download speeds measuring at 14.7Mbps during our visit – more than ample for sending and receiving large files like photos, presentations and email attachments, and for HD video streaming (which also ran smoothly).
As a Lounge 32 guest, start your day up here with complimentary breakfast between 6:30am and 10:30am (11am on weekends)...
... where you'll find everything from the usual breads, meats, fruits and yoghurts through to hot favourites like waffles, bacon, scrambled eggs, grilled tomatoes, potatoes and baked beans...
... along with an extensive pastry counter. Whether your taste is for croissants or Danishes, banana bread or muffins, you'll find your favourites here, plus a cooked-to-order omelette station where the chef brings their finished creation to your table so you don't have to stand and wait:
Machine-made espresso coffee is also at-hand throughout the day, along with a selection of drinks and snacks.
Once the clock hits 5pm, the bar opens: all drinks are complimentary until the lounge closes at 8pm...
... and a variety of evening canapés appear. It's an extensive spread, from which the sushi, prawns and dumplings were our favourites:
For the sweet tooth, there's no shortage of desserts around the corner, either.
For a full meal, venture down to Mode Kitchen & Bar, where Head Chef Francesco Mannelli has designed a menu around the concept of 'simple things done differently', while still being reflective of current food trends ('a la mode').
We began with salt and pepper school prawns – as opposed to squid which would be the more common choice – and Hiramasa Kingfish sashimi with macadamia, sweet and sour onions and crispy lettuce: both of which were incredibly tasty and easily devoured...
... with a fennel, orange and black olive salad plus fresh local burrata with broccoli and hazelnut on the side. Both were appetising, but the burrata proved the favourite...
... leading into the main course: Fremantle octopus with radish and a potato and leek mash, with the star of the dish cooked in a wood-fired oven to give it a lovely charred taste, yet without the 'burnt' notes that can often accompany it.
To finish the meal, a mille-feuille with wild berries and chantilly cream, and a simple scoop of ice cream. One word describes them both: "yum"!
There's also an impressive beverage list here with a line-up of house-created cocktails (try the rum-based Hemingway), Louis Roederer Champagne by the glass and a delightful Tyrell's Liqueur Verdelho dessert wine.
Speaking of drinks, the hotel's Grain Bar also specialises in cocktails and whisky, open from 2pm until late every day... and if you happen to stop by on Mondays, all whisky drinks are 20% off, and a whisky flights (4x15ml) are $30.
Need to work off your lavish dinner, or just making time for your regular workout? You'll find ample cardio equipment at the hotel's 24-hour gym...
... along with pulley machines and free weights. We also like that chilled water and cold towels can be found in the gym fridge, and disposable headphones are available as well if you forgot to pack your own.
Not far from there is a heated outdoor pool, open between 5:30am and 9pm daily...
... offering private cabanas, as well as food and beverage service from 10am until 6pm:
Or, use your Lounge 32 privileges to relax and unwind...
... whether in a group, or tucked away in the corner, simply enjoying the view, and perhaps a glass of something.
With renovated bathrooms, this hotel would be within reach of our five-star rating: but as it stands today, it's a well-deserved 4.5 stars from us.
Chris Chamberlin stayed as a guest of the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney.