Review: The Westin Sydney

Since we’d booked a Cathay Holidays package for our trip, our ticket included a four-night stay at The Westin Sydney. The Westin Sydney was right by Sydney’s central business district, and it looked pretty modern, so all else being equal we decided to go for it for our four-night stay. Our flights to Sydney in Cathay Pacific business class were retailing for HK$24,300 per person, so the overall cost breakdown from the package brought the hotel price to around ~HK$2,500 per night. The hotel was retailing our room type for ~HK$2,700 per night, though I’m not sure if Starwood was doing their fourth-night free promotion at the time – if they were, that would’ve saved us quite a bit of money, though the promotion never crossed my mind at the time of booking.

The Westin Sydney is a category 5 hotel, so an SPG redemption would cost 12,000 points. In this case we weren’t staying in an entry level room (though the biggest difference was probably the floor we were staying on). An entry level room cost ~HK$2,100 for our dates, so paying cash would’ve been a marginally better deal.

The Westin Sydney is integrated into the No. 1 Martin Place complex, so the general impression of the hotel’s exterior is the classic, dainty building that No. 1 Martin Place is. That’s where most of the public areas of the hotel are housed, though the real hotel is in a more corporate-looking, though still nice building located behind the complex.

The hotel is located right at the intersection of Pitt Street and Martin Place – two huge streets if you’re looking to shop or eat. There’s also a side entrance by George Street, another huge shopping street. It’s a couple of minutes from the Martin Place subway station, and a 10-minute walk from Circular Quay, so location-wise this hotel gets full marks.

The Westin Sydney Exterior

The driveway to the hotel is large and rather modern, and upon leaving we were assisted by a few keen bellmen.

The Westin Sydney Driveway

The lobby of the hotel looks rather cookie-cutter for a business hotel, though I did like the airy feel, the splash of colour from the art near the ceilings, and the amount of natural light.

The Westin Sydney Lobby

There were a few individual reception desks lined up along the side of the lobby, where we were checked in by a friendly lady that confirmed our rollaway purchase of AUD 110 (~HK$675) per night, and assigned us room 1503, a Tower Premium room on the 15th floor of the hotel. While the bellmen took care of our luggage, we were given our keys within five minutes of checking in, so we made a beeline to our room, which required a single elevator ride to the 15th floor.

Due to its integration into the No. 1 Martin Place complex, the hotel’s rather rectangular in shape – based on the diagram below, it looks like we got one of the bigger rooms on the floor, which I’m happy about.

The Westin Sydney Floorplan

Our room, room 1503, was located near the lift lobby. The hallways were warm but uninteresting.

The Westin Sydney Hallway

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room Entrance

The Westin Sydney
Check-in: Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Room Type: Tower Premium Room
Room Number: 1503
Stay duration: 4 nights
Check-out: Saturday, February 24, 2018

The room featured a rather long entryway that bypassed the bathroom to get to the room. The bathroom was featured on the left side, while the room was straight ahead.

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room Entryway

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room Entryway

The room itself was really nice and much bigger than we were expecting. It featured two really comfortable Westin Heavenly Beds, a comfy armchair, a desk and chair, a TV, and a few other comfortable properties.

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room

The hotel advertises these rooms as being from 33-50 square meters, and we probably got a room from the mid-to-upper range of that scale, provided we were given one of the bigger rooms at the hotel according to the floorplan.

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room

While I came in knowing that the beds would be comfortable, I was surprised to see how plush and comfortable the armchair was. It wasn’t made of the most modern material, though I’ll take an ultra-comfortable lounging chair of a slightly ugly green hue than a glitzy, modern chair that’s rock-hard.

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room Armchair

The chair by the desk was very comfortable, and the desk itself was more than large enough for working. My one issue is that while the room looked ever so slightly past its prime as a whole, the chair’s upholstery was hideously dated.

I don’t like desk chairs that don’t face the room, as I like to have my privacy while working. That said, this was an easy fix this time round, as I simply moved the chair over to the other side of the desk.

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room Desk

I’d emailed the hotel a few days prior to arrange a rollaway in our room, which was delivered. I wasn’t expecting the rollaway mattress to be outfitted with Westin Heavenly bedding, but it was, and it was every bit as comfortable as I’d remembered it from the Westin Singapore.

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room Rollaway

Special touches to the aesthetics of the room included a framed picture of what presumably was the building’s exterior many years ago.

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room Picture on Wall

The TV was located in front of the bed.

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room TV

Below the TV was a cupboard that mostly housed the minibar, which I’ll talk about later.

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room Cupboard

Next to the TV and the cupboard was another chair similar to the one by the desk. I found it to be rather awkwardly placed, though eventually we made use out of it as a backpack storage platform.

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room Chair

The Tower Premium rooms stretched from the 14th to 27th floors, so technically we got probably one of the least impressive views from a Tower Premium room. I normally love city views from high above, so in that regard the views were nothing special, and the windows were dirty.

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room View

However, I found it kind of cool that the room was basically on eye level with the GPO campanile clock. Initially I had concerns that the clock would chime throughout the night, though it’s silent from 9 PM to 7 AM. That’s not great if you’re trying to recover from jetlag, though even during daytime naps I didn’t find the chiming to be that disruptive, as the windows are double-paned and particularly sound-insulating.

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room View

The view was even cooler during nighttime, since we basically had a single, round, Mike Wazowski-esque light glaring into our room. At least we had no excuses for not waking up on time, and blackout curtains were present and appreciated.

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room Night View

The bathroom was located near the entryway behind an opaque door panel.

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room Bathroom 

I thought the bathroom was really well-equipped. It featured a sink, a separately enclosed toilet, and a separate shower and tub. It was large, though couldn’t be locked (neither the separately enclosed toilet nor the “main” bathroom door could be locked, which was a little annoying since there were four of us).

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room Bathroom 

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room Bathroom Tub

The bathroom was separated from the room by a glass wall, so you could see into it. Thankfully there were blinds so you didn’t feel like you were on display – it let a little natural light into the bathroom, which I enjoyed.

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room Bathroom Room View from Tub

While the blinds by the windows were manual, the blinds between the bathroom and the rest of the room were electronically controlled.

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room Bathroom Blind Controls

The shower was large, and featured a separate handheld showerhead and a rainforest shower. The temperature fluctuated a little bit, though the water pressure was amazing.

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room Bathroom Shower

The bathroom was also well-stocked with amenities, including a dental kit, body lotion, and mouthwash. While not pictured below, I thought the towels were rather nice too.

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room Bathroom Amenities

But then, while the Westin Heavenly beds are some of the best beds that a hotel could offer, I can’t say the same thing about their Heavenly Spa toiletries, which were featured in the room.

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room Bathroom Toiletries

Also featured in the bathroom was water, which the hotel tried to sell to us at 7 AUD (~HK$43). Thankfully the hotel also provided six bottles per day of complimentary water, which I really appreciated, though it’s kind of sad to see that the hotel is trying to nickel and dime when it comes to water.

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room Bathroom Water

While there were no universal power ports provided throughout the room, I liked the fact that the power ports were conveniently placed by the desk and by the bed.

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room Power Ports

In addition, I appreciate that there was a luggage rack by the door, which is an increasing yet still unabundant trend in hotel rooms.

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room Luggage Rack

The minibar was very well stocked, though it was paid, and the prices weren’t cheap either. In the fridge there was fresh juice, soda, tonic water, as well as a box of full-cream milk.

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room Minibar

In another drawer there were snacks, including nuts, cookies, and Pringles.

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room Minibar

In another cupboard there were spirits, as well as red wine.

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room Minibar

Below that was glassware, tea, cups, and a kettle.

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room Glassware

The Westin Sydney Tower Premium Room Boiler and Cups

Overall I thought the room was nice. It was comfortable and fully functional. I thought some of the decor was slightly past its prime – the room might have been state-of-the-art ten years ago, but in 2018 it just felt slightly too dull and birchwood-y for my tastes – though overall it was an amply sized, comfortable and well-appointed room, so I have no complaints.

Our package rate included breakfast, which was served at the hotel’s main restaurant, Mosaic, on the first floor.

The Westin Sydney Mosaic Restaurant

The restaurant is integrated into the interior of Martin Place, so naturally it’s stunning. The colours of the seats also provide a splash of colour, so overall I thought the restaurant was beautiful.

The Westin Sydney Mosaic Restaurant

The Westin Sydney Mosaic Restaurant

I can’t say the same about the food, though – I found the food choices to be unoriginal. None of the choices were particularly well executed – apart from the standard breakfast buffet food such as soggy bacon, poached eggs, etc., as well as juice that came straight out of a carton, there was congee, as well as noodles that were served in a broth that I believe was pre-packaged.

The Westin Sydney Mosaic Restaurant Breakfast Spread

The Westin Sydney Mosaic Restaurant Breakfast Spread

The Westin Sydney Mosaic Restaurant Breakfast Spread

The Westin Sydney Mosaic Restaurant Breakfast Spread

The Westin Sydney Mosaic Restaurant Breakfast Spread

The Westin Sydney Mosaic Restaurant Breakfast Spread

The Westin Sydney Mosaic Restaurant Breakfast Spread

The Westin Sydney Mosaic Restaurant Breakfast Spread

The Westin Sydney Mosaic Restaurant Breakfast Spread

The Westin Sydney Mosaic Restaurant Breakfast Spread

The Westin Sydney Mosaic Restaurant Breakfast Spread

Service at breakfast was terrible for the most part – when one of the people we were traveling with asked a waiter for a glass of water one morning, she was told to “get it herself” from the buffet. Only on the second request was her request granted. I’m not one for taking advantage of waiters for small tasks, though I really didn’t think that getting water was too big of an ask.

Plates also took pretty long to be cleared, though that wasn’t as much of a problem since one plate at this breakfast spread for me was one plate too many. Overall a rather disappointing showing, though I haven’t stayed at a hotel in Australia for quite a while prior, so I’ll give them some leverage since I’m unfamiliar with the industry standard.

On the plus side, their coffees were good. I had a latte one morning, and it tasted like barista-made coffee.

The Westin Sydney Mosaic Restaurant Latte

While service at the restaurant was abysmal, service elsewhere was much better. For such a big corporate chain hotel I was impressed by how friendly the staff were – they sure were hospitable. The first time we exited our room after checking in we were quickly approached and asked if we would like a taxi (we weren’t asked subsequently, though we were still smiled at), and a request for a third key card was easily granted. A request to photograph the Executive Club after closing hours was declined with politeness and a smile. Whenever we called room service from our room telephone, we were addressed by name.

That said, room service was rather slow. Our beds were made very late in the day for two of the three nights that they had to be, to the point where we had to call someone to make them prior to going out for dinner. Also, when we got takeaway one night from a Chinese restaurant, we asked for some tissues and a fork, since we’d run out of the former and couldn’t locate the latter. The tissues came ten minutes after we called – long after we resorted to using some of our own stock from our luggage – and the forks came three minutes after.

While the lifts are key-card-access-only, you can access any floor with your key card (not just your own), so I peered into the Westin Executive Club on the 28th floor. It was rather crowded, and despite featuring a nice L-shaped sofa, it was quite small.

The Westin Sydney Executive Club Exterior

While the hotel doesn’t have its own gym, there’s a fitness center by No. 1 Martin Place that all hotel guests have free access to. While it isn’t the most secluded workout experience (it tends to get crowded in the mornings as visitors tend to visit before work), the variety of equipment is second to none compared to any other hotel I’ve visited. There are plyo boxes, separate bench and squat racks, a multitude of machines to choose from, etc..

The Westin Sydney Good Life Fitness Gym

There’s even a separate area with cardio equipment – it’s much less crowded on weekend mornings than weekday mornings.

The Westin Sydney Good Life Fitness Gym

It’s the first time I’ve been to a hotel gym that spanned two floors, with the second floor being mostly open space for crossfit training and a bunch of treadmills. It’s worth noting that this area is off limits when yoga classes are happening, which coincided with most of my stays, though I wasn’t looking to run that much during my stay anyway. I’ve written about the pros and cons of partnerships between hotels and gyms, so I won’t rehash it again. The Hilton Sydney seems to have a similar fitness center setup that I’d be excited to try out given the chance.

The Westin Sydney Good Life Fitness Gym

In terms of other hotel facilities, there’s a lobby bar.

The Westin Sydney Bar

The hotel itself is also connected to No. 1 Martin Place, as referenced a few times earlier. It’s directly connected to the hotel lobby, so serves as an entrance point. The lobby of No. 1 Martin Place is stunning, and connected to quite a few parts of the hotel – some suites are housed as part of the “heritage wing” on the first few floors of this building.

The Westin Sydney Connection to No. 1 Martin Place

Bottom Line: The Westin Sydney

The Westin Sydney is a solid option for those who are looking for a decently priced luxury option in Sydney. It’s very centrally located, and I was really impressed by the size and functionality of the rooms. I did find the property to be slightly past its prime, though it’s slightly more of a classic option than it is a heritage option, so you can’t have everything. Everyone at the hotel was very friendly, which I appreciate for such a big hotel by Sydney’s central business district. While it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, I also loved the gym setup of this hotel, which was another highlight that I took full advantage of.

If anything, my biggest complaints are the breakfast spread and the inefficiency of room service at this hotel. I can live with the latter, since it’s a big hotel that covers quite a bit of area (keep in mind that there’s the heritage wing by No. 1 Martin Place that houses suites as well), though the breakfast restaurant really needs to up its game if it wants its breakfast offering to be competitive. For those planning a stay here soon, I’d forego the breakfast offering, since it’s a substantial price premium from the room-only option, and the actual offering’s quite lackluster.

Despite the setbacks, The Westin Sydney offers a very solid lodging option for business and leisure travelers in Sydney alike, and I wouldn’t hesitate to stay here again.

Have you stayed at The Westin Sydney? Did you enjoy your stay?

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