Review: Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel At Circular Quay

Sydney Harbour Marriott

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For details of how I got to Sydney, how I booked this stay and how much everything cost please read the introduction to this trip which you can find via this link

I only had three nights in Sydney on this trip so it was important to me that I booked somewhere central and within an easy walk of most things I’d like to see and do while I was in town. I was also keen to spend as little as possible while still enjoying a good amount of comfort so that meant booking a property with points and with a chain at which I have status. All of this made the Sydney Harbour Marriott a logical place to stay.

The hotel sits within yards of Circular Quay which boasts Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Rocks district on one side and Sydney Opera house on the other and the property is just 2 -3 minutes walk from the Sydney Metro which you can catch to/from the airport without the need to change trains. It’s a fantastic location if you only have a limited time to see some sights.

Sydney Harbour Marriott

Sydney Harbour Marriott Entrance

Arrival & Check-In

I arrived at the hotel around 7pm and there was a short line for check-in. After a 5 minute wait I was at the head of the line and being checked-in by a very pleasant member of the front desk team.

As I noticed that the room I was allocated wasn’t an upgrade from the entry-level one I had booked I asked about the chances of a superior room (I have no qualms asking politely for an upgrade if Marriott says I’m entitled to one). I was told that the hotel was just about full and there weren’t any rooms for me to be upgraded into.

Unlike when I visited Hong Kong and Singapore earlier in the year this time I hadn’t bothered to use the Marriott app before I arrived to check to see if the hotel was selling any superior rooms for the duration my stay but, as the signage in the lobby indicated a fair number of conferences were being held in the hotel that week, I was happy to take the front desk’s word on this and I didn’t push the point any further.

Sydney Harbour Marriott Lobby

Sydney Harbour Marriott Lobby

My Room At The Sydney Harbour Marriott

I was allocated a room on the 14th floor of the hotel and had I known the size of the room before I approached the front desk I wouldn’t have bothered enquiring about an upgrade – it was more than big enough for my needs.

The room was at the end of the corridor so it may differ slightly from other rooms on this floor but this should still give you a good idea of what to expect.

The main door to the room opens up to a corridor which runs from right to left.

Sydney Harbour Marriott Room

Immediately to the right is the bathroom (which I’ll come on to later) and, to the left, the corridor houses a space for suitcases and a closet before opening up into the sleeping area.

Sydney Harbour Marriott Room

The main area of the room is a very good size for a city-center hotel and it houses a king-size bed…..

Sydney Harbour Marriott Room

Sydney Harbour Marriott Room

….a relaxing chair and stool alongside a side table….

Sydney Harbour Marriott Room

Sydney Harbour Marriott Room

…..a cabinet containing the mini-bar, a widescreen TV and a desk and chair:

Sydney Harbour Marriott Desk

The room has quite a few power-outlets dotted around but, while the desk is well catered for, I could only find one outlet beside the bed….and even then I had to unplug the alarm clock to make use of it.

Sydney Harbour Marriott 

It’s also worth noting that the power outlets in the room are of the Australian two-pronged variety so, if you’re not from down under, you’ll probably need an adapter.

Sydney Harbour Marriott 

The room’s bathroom is a reasonable size but it felt a little old-fashioned.

Sydney Harbour Marriott 

The shower is especially old-fashioned in style but it actually worked very well (good power and temperature) so I can’t complain.

Sydney Harbour Marriott 

The bathroom comes with all the usual toiletries that you’d expect of a good Marriott property….

Sydney Harbour Marriott 

…but one notable thing that absent is a bath tub.

This isn’t in any way an issue for me but if you like having a bath while on vacation (or while you’re on a business trip) be aware that you can’t have one in one of these rooms.

The last two things to mention about the room are the in-room safe (which is a good size and can just about take a 15″ MacBook)…..

Sydney Harbour Marriott In-room Safe

…and the view…..

…which, from this room, really isn’t anything to get excited about.

The Executive Lounge

The Executive lounge is found on the first floor of the property and a lot of the things you need to know about it can be found on this welcome letter that I was given while checking-in:

The lounge itself is a reasonable size but does get crowded at peak breakfast times (although I never failed to find a seat).

There are a number of seating options including long, bar-style tables & chairs…..

Sydney Harbour Marriott Executive Lounge

….two-person tables and chairs….

Sydney Harbour Marriott Executive Lounge

….four-person tables and chairs….

Sydney Harbour Marriott Executive Lounge

…and some more relaxed seating too:

Sydney Harbour Marriott Executive Lounge

The chiller cabinets in the lounge hold fresh juices (in bottles), water and sodas but, outside of the hours during which there’s a scheduled service in the lounge, these cabinets are locked.

Breakfast, which for Gold and Platinum members is complimentary and served in the lounge, was a nice surprise.

The welcome letter describes breakfast as an “enhanced Australian continental buffet” but it’s actually quite a bit more than that.

The chiller cabinets are stocked with fresh fruit (sliced and whole) and Bircher muesli…..

Sydney Harbour Marriott Executive Lounge Breakfast

Sydney Harbour Marriott Executive Lounge Breakfast

…there are toasters and a variety of breads together with jams, preserves, honey and marmalade….

Sydney Harbour Marriott Executive Lounge Breakfast

….cold cuts, cheeses and pastries (which varied slightly from day to day)…..

Sydney Harbour Marriott Executive Lounge Breakfast

Sydney Harbour Marriott Executive Lounge Breakfast

Sydney Harbour Marriott Executive Lounge Breakfast

Sydney Harbour Marriott Executive Lounge Breakfast

…and there was hot food too.

On my first morning we had scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns and beans.

Sydney Harbour Marriott Executive Lounge Breakfast

On day two this changed to scrambled eggs, sausages, grilled tomatoes and waffles.

Sydney Harbour Marriott Executive Lounge Breakfast

And on day 3 we were back to bacon, scrambled eggs and beans….but this time with roast potatoes.

The food was nicely cooked, flavorful and plentiful and there was always an ample number of staff clearing tables and replenishing supplies.

With the sun shining outside I especially enjoyed all the fresh fruit that the lounge has and I must have tried every type of juice and smoothie available!

Throughout the day the lounge offers a good selection of teas….

…and the industrial-sized coffee machines are available too…and they produce a surprisingly good cup of coffee.

Lastly (on the food front) there are snacks available too and these appear to range from a selection of nuts to a variety of candies.

One corner of the lounge is home to a PC, an iMac and a printer but that’s all the business facilities I saw on my visit.

Sydney Harbour Marriott Executive Lounge

Dining & Drinking

Outside of the breakfast in the lounge I didn’t try any of the dining facilities that the hotel offers but I did make sure I took some pictures to give you an idea of what’s available.

The main restaurant, Silvester’s, is on the ground floor of the property…..

Sydney Harbour Marriott – Silvester’s Restaurant

…..but, thanks to the architecture of the hotel, it can be viewed from the levels above:

Sydney Harbour Marriott – Silvester’s Restaurant

The breakfast here is a buffet offering and, on my visit, appeared to be quite extensive:

Sydney Harbour Marriott – Silvester’s Restaurant

Sydney Harbour Marriott – Silvester’s Restaurant

Here’s a snapshot of the a la carte menu that the restaurant was offering during my stay (click to enlarge).

Sydney Harbour Marriott – Silvester’s Restaurant

If you walk through Silvester’s you come to “Customs House Bar” which is a gastropub doubling as the hotel bar.

It leads out to the area behind the hotel and, from the outside, it looks like a standalone pub/bar:

Sydney Harbour Marriott – Customs House Bar

Inside you can order a variety of drinks and food…..

Sydney Harbour Marriott – Customs House Bar

…and there’s an impressive selection of beers on tap too:

Sydney Harbour Marriott – Customs House Bar

While there’s some seating inside the bar the area set up outside looks a lot more tempting…especially when Sydney is basking in beautiful weather:

Sydney Harbour Marriott – Customs House Bar

Sydney Harbour Marriott – Customs House Bar

Lastly, to one side of the main restaurant inside the Marriott is a small coffee shop/bar called the “Three Bottle Man”.

Sydney Harbour Marriott – Three Bottle Man

The seating inside is pretty limited….

Sydney Harbour Marriott – Three Bottle Man

…but there’s a great seating area in the alleyway outside:

Sydney Harbour Marriott – Three Bottle Man

The Gym

“Level 4” is the hotel “health club” housing a gym, a sauna and an indoor pool. The gym is open 24 hours a day while the sauna and pool hours are 06:00 – 23:00.

The gym is arranged over two floors, is a pretty good size and is well equipped.

Sydney Harbour Marriott – Gym

The pool isn’t exactly huge but for an indoor hotel pool it isn’t too bad.

Sydney Harbour Marriott – Pool

At its deepest point the pool is a little over 4.5 feet deep (1.4 metres) so most adults will never be out of their depth and the loungers to the side of the pool are pretty comfortable (despite looking quite basic).

Sydney Harbour Marriott – Pool

If you’re worried about leaving any valuables lying around as you work out or take a swim you can use the lockers provided.

Sydney Harbour Marriott

Overall it’s hard to find fault with these facilities – there’s more than enough equipment to keep most people happy and considering this is a city center property the space dedicated to the gym and pool is generous.

Thoughts

The location is the hotel’s biggest asset at it’s so incredibly near to some of the most iconic sights the city has to offer. Added to that, the convenience of the nearby metro (direct access to the airport), the friendly staff, the good breakfast in the Executive Lounge and the fact that this property can be booked for just 40,000 Marriott Rewards points per night (13,333 Starpoints) makes this a great place to spend a few days.

If I’m looking for negatives I could say that the bathrooms could do with an update, the views aren’t anything to write home about (there’s no view at all from the Executive lounge) and the lounge gets a bit crowded at peak breakfast hours….but I think it would be a bit mean-spirited of me to focus on those.

This is a very solid property and, as I really enjoyed my stay, I’d return to the Sydney Harbour Marriott in a heartbeat.

For more information on this property or to check rates you can access the hotel’s website via this link

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