Grand reopening of the Park Hyatt

I have been to numerous hotel openings during my many years in the hospitality industry, but nothing has ever been quite as grand as this week’s relaunch party at the Park Hyatt Sydney. Hostesses welcomed guests in Giorgio Armani gowns and a fleet of Audi’s were available for private chauffeur transfers.

Catriona Rowntree, General Manager Andrew Mensforth, Taryn Fiebig (opera Australia)

With 300 VIP guests, including government ministers, fashion celebs, Park Hyatt clients and media, attended this very glamorous black tie event to celebrate the much-anticipated reopening, following a $60 million refurb. After being closed for 16 months, the revamp incorporates a stunning new bar, restaurant, lobby and spa, as well as the rooftop Presidential suite.

In between sips of Krug champagne and sampling a range of dishes prepared by Hyatt chefs that had been brought in from Singapore, Shanghai and Paris, guests were invited on a short tour of the Presidential Suite and Spa on the rooftop. This tour gave us a peek of what it would be like to stay in their new 352 square metre suite. Just a few of the features include a wrap-around balconies looking straight across to the Opera House, a sauna, Jacuzzi, 24-hour butler –  and a $9,000 toilet, this suite adds another meaning to the word luxury.

The Presidential Suite and Spa

Despite our probing questions, the very discreet concierge would not even give us a clue as to who had been staying there or who was booked in. Was it Kylie, Miranda, Elle, a President, Prime Minister, or a mining magnet? We all had a few vicarious moments – imagining staying there for the night (or rather two, as you have to book for a minimum of two nights). At a cost of $16,500 a night it seems like a bargain, especially considering the Four Seasons in New York has a Penthouse suite that costs $41,000 a night and the Royal Penthouse Suite, Hotel President Wilson, Geneva, costs around $65,000 a night. I am off to Europe this summer, I wonder if they would give me an ‘industry’ rate’?

Jo Ferguson, Hyatt PR Manager Lara Dawson, Sophie Faulkner, Catriona Rountree

The very vivacious Catriona Rowntree introduced the Mr. Rakesh Sarna, Chief Operating Officer for Hyatt International who thanked everyone for coming and spoke about the hotel’s dramatic transformation. Catriona then introduced the Sydney Children’s Choir whose exquisite voices rang out through the hotel.  Catriona asked if anyone remembered what was originally at this location before the hotel was built in 1990. (I knew this but didn’t want to admit it). Throughout the evening, I spoke to many of the guests including the Hon. Bruce Baird, Les Shirato, Judy Sarris and Hyatt PR Manager Lara Dawson.

Maureen de Groot and Massimiliano Ziano, Head Chef at Park Hyatt Shanghai

The final performance for the evening was from Opera Australia’s Soprano and lead Singer Ms Taryn Fiebig. With the Opera House as the backdrop and as Taryn sang ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’ From My Fair Lady and Granada, all the pressures of publishing, internet updates etc., seemed to fade into oblivion. It was a magic moment.

I ended this wonderful evening with a cognac sitting on a sofa looking out towards the opera house and I thought to myself, now I know why the Condé Nast Traveller Readers Choice Awards, held in New York last September, voted Sydney their favourite spot in the world.  If your budget doesn’t stretch to staying here, you can experience the new restaurant The Dining Room, bar or Spa (but not the Presidential suite toilet), but my recommendation would be to have a holiday here in Sydney and save on the air fares and stay at the Park Hyatt.

Maureen de Groot

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