Hilton Sydney Hotel

, Sydney, Australia
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Hilton Sydney Hotel

5 star

Rooms: 577

488 George Street - Sydney - New South Wales - 2000 - Australia Hotel Website | | 2 9266 2000
968 Traveller

Reviews - Hilton Sydney Hotel

Fantastic Stay!
Submitted by: Tammi in 23/02/06
  • Age Group: 26 - 30
  • From: Australia
  • Traveller type: Young Couple
I celebrated my 30th birthday at the Hilton Sydney. We had an unbelievable stay! From the friendly staff to the extremely sleek and modern bedrooms, the entire experience made my birthday weekend really wonderful. My partner and I celebrated with dinner in Glass which was divine! The food was delicious as was the selection of wines. Head Chef Luke Mangan greeted guests and the overall service from all staff was great. We then headed upstairs to the amazing Zeta Bar.The atmosphere there is great. We bumped in to a few familiar Sydney Celebrities as we sipped on amazing cocktails! As we made our way back to our room to relax after our eventful evening, the room and bathroom had candles and rose petals everywhere! My partner had organasied with the hotel a "romance bathmaster" for me! It was the perfect ending to a perfect night!
What a disappointing Debut stay.
Submitted by: Glen Stephens in 06/09/05
  • Age Group: 51 - 60
  • From: Australia
  • Traveller type: Adventurer
Bit of a stay report that may interest others. I'll have quite a few stays here, so paid far more attention than I usually do at Hotels!

Some background.

Revitalising the iconic 1970's Hilton building and 1980's interior into a new look was a near 3 year, A$200 million dollar undertaking. A disaster of a time frame financially of course.

The London-based Hilton group has said the combination of the $200 million purchase price it paid for the site about five years ago, and the $200 million fit-out, make the property its biggest single-site investment - ever.

And the renovation I am sure was the LONGEST in any Hotel's history! It was closed totally for the duration. The penalty costs to the builders for the ~year over-run were rumored to exceed the GNP of Africa.

Personally I think they should have imploded the old girl entirely and started again from scratch. Right now they are stuck with all the silly tiny room windows in the original shell from 30 years back. In the case of our room, both bathrooms remain untouched, so you wonder where the $200m all went!

Booked a Junior Suite using a Hilton Diamond Club discount voucher. Bit of a hassle getting it confirmed as they did not believe such a deal existed, but I am rather persuasive when I know I am correct.

Checked in about 11am yesterday. (Saturday.) Check-in/Cashier area is way too small for such a place, (only 4 or 5 positions it looked like) and was very "cold" in appearance. Very "cold" on your body too - it is right opposite sliding doors from car drop-off/taxi area. When those open, a rush of frigid air like the Arctic roared in. No idea why, as it is kinda sheltered out there - but it did. Staffer agreed - she said it is a horrible position to work. They really need one of those circular panel 4 segment doors that many airports use for that reason.

We found the floor buttons on all lifts really weird. You can't readily see numbers on them at all, as number is colourless embossed in the circular metal buttons. They light up beautifully in blue when you select them though. Lynn thought she had it figgered after about 6 trips and that floor 32 was top left button, but each lift button panel is configured differently. Wacko system.

The suite was not ready, but they invited us to wait in Executive Lounge upstairs on floor 37 as I am a Hilton HHonors Gold Member, and they'd let us know when room was ready and do keys for us there. That went without a hitch. Folks up there went and made us coffees very happily.

Executive lounge is LARGE, and does have a lot of nooks and crannies. Seems to be open all day. 3 x free access working computers there - great idea for folks like us with no lap tops. Wish that was more common in USA and Europe.

Like the guest rooms, the windows in lounge are appalling. Just a hangover from the old building, but dumb they ever did that on the old girl. Little vertical slits of glass like archer positions in an old castle and yards of wall in between. 'Medieval archer window slits' I called them. The view from up there in the Lounge should be great, but nowhere in there can you sit and experience it.

Same with rooms. We had 5 "archer slits" in the room. Crazy. Should have been near all glass expanses being a high floor.

Walked into room (3325) 30 minutes later. Highly disappointed. All the years of pre-hype about the "Six Star Flagship Hotel" had us expecting a STUNNING and breathtaking new room, in line with what we encounter in flagship Hotels in USA and Asia. Nope.

It just looked boring and un-inspiring and dis-connected right from the moment you walked in.

Both bathrooms are exactly as they were 10 years agoI'd bet, or at last makeover. The myth that this hotel was completely gutted inside is just that - a myth it seems. Floors had the original old heavily worn/scuffed marble tiles, ditto the wall tiles and wide basic top bench top and basins. Grouting on floor and walls was old and dark, as was sealant along all edges old and original.

Both toilets were old and a very dated style. The tap-ware in main bathroom MAY have been new - but that was about it. Old style 1970s bath. They should have installed Jacuzzi types in this type of premium room - the space is certainly there.

Neither bathrooms had fans, or phones or input of audio from TV/radio. The latter I like if you need to visit the loo in middle of TV news or a movie etc. Every half decent hotel on earth has had in-bathroom phones for 20 years I'd guess. Toiletries were BVLGARI but very sparse - Lynn went looking for body lotion and there was none there. Even Best Westerns etc have that.

Room decor was like the staff uniforms - absurdly "modern" and totally out of place for a leading Hilton.

The Male staff have been issued these stoopid looking Space Cadet suits in a colour I'd call "gloomy green-grey". They look like unwanted studio extras from a Star Trek movie.

Far more suited to a yuppy/hip targeted Starwood "W" type hotel - and not a leading Hilton.

Room furniture was a total mis-matched mess. A silly looking art nouveau and totally non-functional puke yellow Italian styled "chaise lounge" was rock hard. Huge square shaped lounge and matching chair were also hard and uncomfortable, and being a light cream type fabric will be ruined in 6 months I'd guess. You'd think hotels would learn about dark colours one day.

A strangely placed desk in centre of suite with a bizarrely modern black leather and chrome chair that swivelled back dangerously that was totally out of place. And matched nothing else.

Very large plasma type moveable TV screen, with separate DVD player both had a ton of really ugly wiring running from them. Really visually intrusive. Both SHOULD have been professionally mounted on the wall above where they sat untidily, adding a classy and functional look to the gear. Rather than the present look that they had achieved, of being a hasty afterthought from some kind from an audio shop, and just dumped onto a cabinet top.

There were 3 music CD's there, (clever choice of titles I must say) and a couple of interesting looking movie DVD's. There was no note whatever on mini bar menu as to what these cost - pretty dumb, as I am sure now and again guests would buy them if they liked what they saw/heard and prices were sensible.

I probably would have bought Michael Buble if price was around usual retail. Ther ewas no mention of it, so I did not bother to ask. And I bet a few honeymooners/1st time big hotel visitors will cheerfully souvenir the lot, along with their soap and toiletries and newspaper, and get a $200 charge on their credit card next day.

We decided to play a Michael Buble CD. It took us at least 30 minutes of wrestling with the quite misleading instruction sheet to figger out how to do that. There are 2 remotes and either was working the way we needed.

User sheet pointed to some little buttons on far right outer edge of TV screen to adjust. We hit one and the whole thing went dead. 15 minutes later we got it back with high volume you could hear 5 rooms away, we could not change.

We hit the "Magic Button" and asked if someone could come and show us how, and maybe bring a new remote as this one seemed to be defective. ("Magic Button" is their way of stopping you phoning departments separately - you use that one button for all enquiries - also strange for a major hotel.)

Cheery young kid arrived who was generally as confused as us. He had new batteries, had new remote, and nothing worked. He decided the only thing that worked was the tiny buttons at side that we could not see as TV was angled to wall with that site touching wall. A mad system. Another guest concurred.

All staff seemed exceptionally young for a leading Hotel. All those we encountered were friendly and keen to please, to their credit. Looking like reject Space Cadets wearing ill-fitting green sacks was not their fault.

The room has a little red/green light type deal outside the door you can turn on to indicate you are happy/not happy to be disturbed. However the 4 gang switch for that has no indication whatever about that. Or any info in room about it. As they have the standard door hang deals as well - "do not disturb" one system clearly seems redundant.

The 5 vertical 'Medieval archer window slits' are tiny as pointed out above. None open. We wondered why there were just flimsy see-thru curtains, as we wanted to sleep-in next morning. Then we noticed a kind of thick blind kind of deal built into the window frame. The top 12" of so on each was down. We tugged on one of these to pull it right down. Nothing happened. Odd. Tugged on all of them getting more frustrated on each one.

Hit the "Magic Button" again as asked how to lower the blinds. Cheery girl says there is a switch near bed marked "blinds". Huh? Went and played with that. Another 4 gang light switch type deal does in fact lower all blinds electrically. However it says "Press" on it, and nothing else - like "Blinds"! No note in room anywhere telling guests about this that we saw.

I tell "Miss Magic Button" I predict half their fancy blinds will be very soon torn and ripped and mangled out of frustration of guests trying to sleep, unless they place a little sign somewhere clearly visible in room. Cost of signs a few $1000 and cost of replacing with new blinds 100 times that. She seems to cheerfully agree.

Those blinds I must say were brilliant at keeping the light out next morning.

From 5.30-7.30pm the Executive Lounge serves booze and food, so we'd done most shopping by then and headed up.

VERY full, and it was tough to find 2 seats together. A lot of staff work there we noted, both earlier that day, and then. Ample drinks, and they had a nice Western Australian bubbly we liked. Friendly staff wandered around and topped them up several times. Service stops at 7.30pm with no advance warning - so hint - top up at 7.28pm.

They have quite a commendable spread of hot and cold food and sandwiches/snacks there - one of the better Hilton clubs you'll find in that regard.

At SYD Hilton I triple checked - there curiously is only ONE restaurant in the entire place. It is "Glass" - more a separate trendy business than a Hilton restaurant. i.e. it has "Star" chef Luke Mangan and if he moved next month their business would halve I'd guess.

I am amazed Hilton do not have anything else as an option, as "Glass" is not terribly cheap, and clearly too formal/pricey for many guests need for casual Hotel dining I can bet. (Main courses typically $30's mark but the lowest priced domestic bubbly, which is all we drink, runs about $45-$50 a bottle, and we usually get through a couple of bottles, so dinner here for 2 would typically be $100s.)

Plus, you simply can't get a booking some nights as we discovered. I doubt there is any other large city Hilton anywhere in the world with only 1 eating option?

The Old Hilton had 3 places for meals - the San Francisco Grill was top of the tree, but the America's Cup Bar offered decent food, and there was a more formal place too in between the two - "The Market Place".

We checked at Marble Bar when having a drink and no sign of any food there. Only very basic Cafe Cano, the surprisingly small espresso bar at street level as you walk in doors, and a "GAB" bar upstairs serving Tapas and bar snacks etc.

We tried to book "Glass" for dinner last night - did not mention any certs - just asked to see if there was space at ANY time.


We had the friendly concierge at the Executive Lounge ask them, and she really was getting the: "Nope - 100% full" response, it was obvious that was the deal. For ANY time of evening. In fact she had a lounge guest ask for her booking to move from 7pm to 9pm in the same call. So she cheekily asked them: "does that mean we can squeeze these 2 guests in at 7pm?" and also got a NIET.

We had breakfast in "Glass" this morning. Even at 10.45am the place was jam-packed - amazing. It gets so full for breakfast on weekends they usually refuse admittance to non guests they told me!

Probably the most comprehensive buffet breakfast I've seen anywhere on earth, and that covers a few 100 top rated hotels by now.

It is an expensive buffet breakfast ($76 for 2) but eating late it is basically an early lunch. Weird thing is there is absolutely no self serve coffee. You need to order it, and staff at an Italian machine pour it. As it was busy the girl there had about 50 orders and it took 15 minutes to get a coffee. Ridiculous. Having a few pots of self-serve brewed would help.

Asked politely if a later than usual check-out was fine, so we could do some more shopping, and they were happy to OK 2.30pm. We appreciated that.

The one thing Hilton really has going for it is LOCATION. Right in the centre of all the retail CBD shopping in Sydney. I walked there from busy Town Hall station - only 100 yards away. The Queen Victoria Building with its 100s of shops is right across the road in George Street. The Pitt Street Mall and huge Myer and David Jones department stores are also only a minute walk away.

The famous Marble Bar is still thankfully untouched. Originally built as part of the Tattersall's Hotel in 1893 it was faithfully re-installed when the Hilton was built on that site in 1975. We popped down to have a drink in this gracious old Victorian bar, and were pleasantly surprised to see bubbly was only $A6 a glass - pretty amazing for that kind of place. In the USA it would run twice that. A rock band with mega amplifiers then set-up and we vamoosed - a rather strange entertainment choice for that elegant kind of place.

In summary, the lobby and our room interior were VERY similar to a Sheraton Four Points Darling Harbour suite, where I have stayed a dozen times. However that place must be 20-25 years old now. And runs way under Hilton rates. And the 4 Points suites are superb with wide accessible balconies that look right over Darling Harbour with nothing between you. No Hilton window even opens.

This was not a room from a brand new "Six Star" Whizz Bang Hotel that was refurbished for $200 million.

It is EXACTLY the kind of room you will find at 100s of USA and Asian Hotels that are presently rated around 3-4 star. Most average Sheratons/Hyatt's/Hiltons equal or generally surpass this room's interior. We stay there again in a couple weeks and will be interested to see what we get then.

There is no feel whatever of "quality" or "discreet Class" to this Hotel. It is 20 un-connected styles and ideas all bolted together - badly. Everywhere.

Most great Hotels have an opulent feeling of taste and class and refinement oozing from them. From the lobby to the guest rooms. The public areas of the Waldorf Astoria are a joy to wander around. Ditto the Palace in San Francisco, or the Royal Hawaiian etc. They have "presence". The rooms are wonderful. The new Sydney Hilton has neither. IMHO.

We chatted to a very regular Hilton client in the lounge. He had stayed at the old place 100s of times it seems. This was his first stay and he agreed. "Cold" and "sterile" were words he used, and he agreed nowhere near as comfy a feel as the old place.

Staff were good and most helpful and cheerful as pointed out - and that goes a long way. Silly omissions in the room like instructions and signs will occur eventually when the damage to blinds etc costs 100 times more than the room signs will! Yes it has only been open 6 weeks and these details will get ironed out I feel sure.

The totally mismatched and tacky room decor however will stay the same. It all looked like 6 artistic folks had input and none of it worked visually. Design by committee never works. No "flow" and certainly no symmetry whatever in the one room we stayed in. The stock standard (and well worn) USA hotel style 10 year old bathrooms was a real shock. And great disappointment.
Glen Stephens
Castlecrag, Sydney, September 3, 2005.
No that great
Submitted by: Chrissol in 26/07/05
  • Age Group: 41 - 50
  • From: United Kingdom
  • Traveller type: Business Traveller
Small rooms, even smaller bathroom... After the refurb the hotel has good public spacers but lacks the requirements for the business traveller. The rooms are stark and univiting, small windows adds to the small room.
For the money head down the street to The Westin.

Historical Traveller Reviews of Hilton Sydney Hotel

Loved the experience

from A TripAdvisor Member
My partner and I stayed at Hilton Sydney for the first time in a Relaxation Suite for our anniversary. We had such an amazing time.

From the minute we walked into the hotel we were treated like royalty. The room was quite big and mindblowing. We had the Bath Master experience - what an ingenious idea! Our bed was the most comfortable we've ever slept in and Magic are an absolute gem. We forgot to bring toothpaste and they came running to our room to deliver the toothpaste.

If your looking for a romantic getaway - this is the place to go!

Fabulous Hotel

from KJ39
My son (14) and I stayed at the Sydney Hilton for 6 nights, (20 Feb - 26 Feb.) We were on the executive floor and things could not have been any nicer. Every morning there was a lovely breakfast aand evenings we had light appetizers and drinks. The hotel was spotless, the staff was attentive, informative and friendly and the hotel was situated perfectly - near the bus, subway or you could get a taxi immediately. Great gym and all was perfect. The pool was not as great as the pool at the Hilton in Greece (which is glass sided), but I would not hesitate to recommend this hotel to anyone. We paid a very reasonable rate and certainly feel this hotel is a great value.

great place

from HipHotel
I've just spent the weekend at the newly updated Sydney Hilton (Feb 2006). The decor is clean and modern, lots of fresh white linens and glass. It's a great hotel, the rooms are small but have extra features like total block-out blinds, a "pillow menu" and coffee plungers. The hotel food wasn't the best but ok. The location is sensational, especially for shopping. It's directly opposite the Queen Victoria Building and right near the Pitt Street Mall. A short walk from Darling Harbour and Cockle Bay. I'd recommend this hotel to singles or couples but the rooms are too small for families.

Very Average

from Euro06
We stayed in a deluxe room at the Hilton in Sydney for our wedding anniversary and were a little disappointed with the size/standard of the room and with the hotel generally. The bathroom was particularly small, although the bed was great. Although the room appeared to be refurbished, the outside corridor left a little to be desired. We paid $265 for the room and have stayed in much better hotels in Sydney such as the Westin for the same rate. Overall, it wasn't worth the money!

Nice bed - Awful Service

from A TripAdvisor Member
I was about to come back to Australia from a very long international flight and I wanted to stop in Sydney for the night before continuing my journey. Qantas had included a piece on the “new” Hilton Sydney – including their Relaxation Suite – in their Frequent Flyer news and I thought that this might be the ideal ticket for an overnight stop to unwind and relax so I called through and booked their $650 room for the night.

Unfortunately for me – instead of unwinding and relaxing – my stay at the Hilton Sydney had me aggravated and disgusted thanks to the ---- poor management of this hotel. It all started when my companion and I first got to the hotel. The hotel had a security guard in the driveway – that without even bothering to ask us anything – waved us down a driveway to the hotel’s underground car park instead of the Valet reception area. This led to us having to lug our large collection of luggage up to reception (I had just come back from six months overseas so I was definitely less than impressed. When I got up to the lobby I informed both reception and the concierge/bellman desk about the stuff up by their guy in the driveway, informed them that the car was in the underground car park and that the keys were with the staff down their, and could they please fix up their mistake and properly valet check the car in. As I got replies in the affirmative from the concierge staff (check-in told me to tell it to the concierge staff) I figured all was OK, apart from that fact that none of the staff appeared to be apologetic about the fact we had been misdirected nor seemed to care that much. I took this promise to fix it up at face word, which I was to pay for later.

As to the room the furnishings were nice and the bed was comfortable, the toiletries were boutique, the shower had a rainfall head (with separate massage jets – although you couldn’t have both on at the same time), and the spa bath was a full-sized two person spa with a view of the city skyline. The thing that really ----- me off about the room though was that the TV at the end of the spa bath (which was the selling point for me because I though how relaxing would it be to just kick back in the spa and still catch up on the latest news) is that the damm thing wouldn’t change channels with any remote in the room and was permanent stuck on the god awful Hotel travel channel program – it really sucked any joy out of the experience and, as the spa bath wasn’t really a very powerful one, there was much point staying in it for more than 10 minutes especially since I really wanted to catch up on the news (that I couldn’t watch). One other problem with the room was that the sliding panel between the lounge space and the bedroom screeched like a wounded banshee when opened and closed. These two things turned an otherwise quite good mini-suite into an unimpressive experience.

To top my d-e-l-i-g-h-t-f-u-l stay it took almost an hour to get the car brought up and we were left sitting around in the lounge for more than 25 minutes without anyone bothering to let us know what the hell was going, which was only resolved because I waylaided on of the staff to tell me why our car wasn’t ready yet. It turned out that, despite assurances from the staff on duty that the clustered handling of our arrival at the hotel would be fixed, it hadn’t been, and the hotel had managed to misplace the car. It was extremely bloody lucky that I had a late onwards flight booked otherwise I would have missed my connections thanks to the god awful way this hotel is run. Sydney Hilton needs to pull its socks up – service of this level is way below that to be expected from a 5 star hotel – especially when you’re paying more than $500 a night for the privilege.

My recommendation – stay somewhere else.

Tiny rooms

from A TripAdvisor Member
Well I had possibly the best hotel breakfast ever here! Complete with a shot of wheat grass ! I stayed in a Deluxe room it was very small, with a claustrophobic bathroom, I thought the room was pretty generic. Service was good enough
and the location great for shopping, not much of a view other than of more buildings, try the Shangri-La for a view and a bigger room

Very Happy at the Hilton

from A TripAdvisor Member
Wow. Beautiful rooms, excellent location, very nice executive facilities. We stayed here for a night, then off to another destination, checking back in for another night...We were able to leave our very large scuba bags with the concierge in the interim. Busses to Circular Quay left just about every 2 minutes from the bus stop across the street. Chinatown and Darling Harbor were an easy walk. Additionally, a stop for the Sydney Explorer was across the street, as well. Not only was this a beautiful, clean hotel with a modern interior that put you at ease the moment you walked in the door, the bed was incredibly comfortable, the dark shades made it easy to recover from a 16-hour flight, and the bathroom included a great shower, bathtub, and all the toiletries you need (minus the toothbrush, but I'm sure that someone would have brought it had you asked). If I have to mention an area for improvement...it would be the elevators. They were painfully slow at times.


from A TripAdvisor Member
Hilton Sydney certainly looks great with new makeover, rooms very modern and excellent location handy for shopping especially.

Main concerns would be if you are staying on a weekend reconfirm your room category with the hotel (room type & smoking or non-smoking). Hotel was fully booked and given smoking floor no alternative provided.

If you are wanting a room with a view, do not stay here, buildings and more buildings.....

Hotel needs to lift act with service level for 4 to 5 star standard. Check-in/check out very slow and restaurant staff too.

Beyond Brilliant

from A TripAdvisor Member
This is the best hotel ever. what are people thinking when they give it a rating less than 5, at least give it a 4. i would never turn down a trip to the Hilton Hotel. it is the best place and would love to go back soon.

i think everyone should enjoy the experience. the facilities are great - including the pool - it is so pretty. the rooms look great and are very roomy.

in more simple words it is the best hotel.

Brilliant service

from ithaki
First time back at new Hilton since its makeover. Several of the staff recognised me which impressed me as I have not stayed there for 5 years - I had a near fatal accident. The doorman must be the best in the business - nothing was any trouble. Love the new look of this place all glass and stainless steel but a real warmth in the colours and textures. I stayed on the executive floor and my room was more than adequate for business and pleasure.
Bed extremelly comfortable and no outside noises to disturb you. Executive facilities all excellent. Hotel had very knowledgeable and helpfull staff particularly their late night manager. Glass restuarant excellent and the food was amazing, not your usual meat and three veg - some real flair in the kitchen. Would thoroughly recommend a stay at this fine Sydney icon.

Top Local Tips for Sydney

Taxi from airport Between $30 and $40 AUD -- on the higher end at rush hour

Vegetarian restaurant Mother Chu's Vegetarian Kitchen, just a few blocks south down Pitt Street from the Hilton. Yummy.

See the New Elephants at Taroonga Zoo. Catch the ferry early to Taroonga Zoo and see the new attraction, the Asian elephants, we saw them having their "Day Spa" which occurs every day.


Other names for Hilton Sydney Hotel

  • sydney hilton international
  • sydney hilton
  • hilton sydney
  • hilton international sydney
  • hilton hotel sydney
  • Address: 488 George Street - Sydney - New South Wales - 2000 - Australia
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