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“Fantastic views, great location, nice room, terrible food” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Shangri-La Hotel Sydney

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Shangri-La Hotel Sydney
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   176 Cumberland Street,The Rocks | Sydney 2000, Sydney, New South Wales 2000, Australia   |  
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Ranked #20 of 184 Hotels in Sydney
San Francisco, CA
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Fantastic views, great location, nice room, terrible food”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 2009

I stayed with a friend of mine for three nights in May, 2009. We had booked a Deluxe Water View Room. Upon checkin (at 7:30AM) we were told our room was ready and was upgraded to an Opera View...excellent! We were escorted to the room, shown the features and the fantastic view and promptly received our luggage.

Room:
Awesome View!
Decorated in a classic style
Basic tv (not that it really mattered)
Bathroom was very nice and spacious
Free High Speed Internet (not wireless in room though)


Food:
As part of our Amex rate, we received a $100 Food/Beverage credit and daily breakfast via room service or at Cafe Mix.

Altitude Restaurant:
On the first afternoon, we stopped by Altitude Restaurant (restaurant on the top floor) and asked to see a menu as we stated that we were interested in dining there the following evening (Saturday night). Note that all items on the menu we were shown were A-la-carte...at no point were we told that there was a mandatory prix fixe menu. The following morning (Saturday), we contacted the concierge to book a table at Altitudes. When we returned from our sightseeing at around 5pm, we were told that we had been confirmed for a 4 course dinner. I made a call to the concierge only to find that there is always a mandatory 4 course dinner for Fridays and Saturdays...would have been nice for the hostess to show us the correct menu! Because we only had 1 hour and 15 minutes to dine (we had a show to catch at the Opera House), they told us to just go to the bar where we could grab a table and order off the bar menu. The bar menu was extremely basic, but we were able to convince them to allow us to order off of the regular a-la-carte menu. Service was fair, and the food was a 7/10.

Cafe Mix:
The first morning, we decided to dine at Cafe Mix. They had a pretty wide variety of choices served buffet style. Unfortunately, almost everything (except the muffins) were fairly close to inedible. The omlet station had no one working at it (I had to politely yell to the back of the kitchen for someone to come after a line of 5 people had formed), there was no one around to clear plates (I just put the dirty plates on another empty table), and I had to ask twice to get coffee.

Room Service:
The second and third mornings we decided to try room service for breakfast. The first time around, breakfast was served on time and was hot. Unfortunately, the quality was just as bad as Cafe Mix (same food choices). The third morning, we had a flight out at 8am, so we needed to get the breakfast as early as possible. I called down to room service and was told to just put a note on the breakfast door hanging card indicating that you wanted it delivered at 6:00 (there were 15 minute increment choices beginning at 6) and that it wouldn't be a problem. At 6:14, I received a call that breakfast was going to be another 5 minutes...I told them to not even bother. At 6:22 I received the breakfast and literally had 2 minutes to eat what I could...food was equally horrible.

Concierge:
Overall, excellent. Always polite and provided good suggestions.

Front Desk:
Very nice. At checkout, the front desk person understood my frustration with the food, but there wasn't much she could do.

Overall:
Great location, nice views, spacious rooms. Terrible food with room service and Cafe Mix, above average food at Altitudes (but obvious misinformation with the menu). This is a nice property, but should not be compared to hotels like the Four Seasons or Park Hyatt which are just a few blocks away.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FOMSYD, Front Office Manager at Shangri-La Hotel Sydney, responded to this review, June 23, 2009
Many thanks to the author for your feedback regarding your stay at Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney. It is with great regret that I am writing to express my disappointment regarding the experience you had at Altitude Restaurant, Cafe Mix and with our room service department. I would firstly like to take this opportunity to apologise to you for any confusion you may have encountered with our Level 36 staff regarding the Altitude menu. I have addressed this issue with the Altitude restaurant manager and from now on any guest enquiring about weekend dining will automatically be shown the four course menu and informed of our weekend dining options. I am glad though that our staff showed enough flexibility for you to be able to enjoy the Altitude menu in the bar.
Secondly I would also like to apologise for the poor quality of food you experience in Cafe Mix & Room Service. Please rest assured I have taken your comments very seriously and relayed them to our Executive Chef, who will conduct a thorough investigation in to the fact that the omelet station was not manned and why your room service breakfast order was so late. Cafe Mix is a busy and fast paced dining room and whilst the current set up works well during quieter services, the work flow for our team members doesn't always allow for the high standard of service we pride ourselves on. However this doesn't excuse the fact that you did not have your plates cleared or coffee served on first request.I have addressed this matter with the Cafe Mix manager and he has reminded his breakfast team on the importance of prompt, attentive service. During the months of July through to September Cafe Mix restaurant will undergo extensive refurbishment. We have worked hard on the design plans to ensure that the space is both customer and employee friendly - ensuring good work flow that allows for fast efficient service.
Please rest assured that this is not the type of experience we pride ourselves on and I sincerely hope that this experience has not damaged your impression of the hotel.
On a positive note thank you for your kind words regarding our rooms, front desk staff and concierge. As he hotel is perched on top of a hill, it allows our guests unsurpassed views of the harbour, Sydney City, Darling Harbour and Blue Mountains. Out televisions are in the process of being replaced with more modern flat screen tv's and at the same time wireless internet will be installed throughout the hotel. We currently have wireless internet available in our reception and lobby areas as well as in our Horizon Club lounge. Internet, broadband and wireless, is complimentary for all hotel guests - a great advantage for the business traveller.
We do pride ourselves on our front desk staff and will certainly pass on your compliments to the staff and concierge.
Kind Regards,
Ashley Hunt
Front Office Manager
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Los Angeles
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 2009

I was here over the long weekend for the Queen's birthday June-8. Had a great view from our room in room 3016 which is on the horizon club floor.
Everything was great though the lines getting into the cafe Mix for breakfast were very long over this busy holiday weekend and the horizon club was also busy and long lines over this busy weekend. I also wonder if they should really be letting small children in the club room even during cocktail hour as it detracts from the mood/environment with kids running around screaming.
The way to get down to the rocks and circular quay and back without climbing up all those hills is as follows;
Depart Shangri-la on the LG (lower ground ) level. Walk outside and across street to the Quay West Building and take the elevator down 1 floor. Again go outside and walk across street and into the 4 seasons hotel and take the elevator down 2 floors from level 3 to level 1 and you are then right on george Street. VERY convenient. Repeat for the harder way up.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FOMSYD, Front Office Manager at Shangri-La Hotel Sydney, responded to this review, June 11, 2009
Many thanks to the author for their review and comments. Our Horizon Club rooms, situated on the 30 - 35th floors, offer some of the most stunning views of the harbour. These rooms also offer more modern facilities & amenities and Horizon Club room guests have access to our exclusive Horizon Club located on the 30th floor.
Being such a busy weekend for the hotel, there were some delays in turning around tables in our breakfast and lounge outlets, however in July/August of this year we will be undertaking a full refurbishment of our main restaurant - Cafe Mix - located on the 1st floor of the hotel. This will greatly improve the seating & ambiance as well as the quality & accessibility of the food for breakfast, as well as lunch and dinner.
As we are both a family and corporate hotel, children are welcome in the hotel, however I do apologise if they did take away some of the more 'lounge feel' of the Horizon Club area.
I would also like to thank the author for their detailed directions of how to get from the hotel to the Rocks area - there is also a set of easy steps located to the left of the rear exit of the hotel which lead down to Harrignton Street, and then take another set of steps beside Duty Free Outlet store to get to George Street.
Kind Regards,
Ashley Hunt
Front Office Manager
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Sydney
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 2009

Lived in Sydney for 40 years and this is by far the best CBD hotel we have stayed in. We stayed in the Executive Grand Harbour suite and it was the nicest Sydney accomodation we have ever used (and we have used a few). The staff, food, accomodation were outstanding.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FOMSYD, Front Office Manager at Shangri-La Hotel Sydney, responded to this review, June 8, 2009
Many thanks for your recent review - I was thrilled to hear you enjoyed your stay with us here at Shangri-La Hotel Sydney.
Our spacious Executive Grand Harbour Suites offer fantastic views of Sydney's harbour, The Harbour Bridge, Darling Harbour and extend to the Blue Mountains. They also offer that extra space for longer stay travellers, or simply somewhere to spread your legs and relax.
Thank you also for your comments about our staff and food - we train our staff to represent true Shangri-La Hospitality and offer a broad range of delectable cuisines to please all guests and customers.
We do hope to welcome the author back to Shangri-La Hotel Sydney sometime in the near future and continue to offer a true Shangri-La Experience.
Kind Regards,
Ashley Hunt
Front Office Manager
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Dublin, Ireland
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2009

I'd researched and selected this hotel because of it's location, and the reviews here on TripAdvisor. I've previously lived in Sydney so I knew the location.

I selected the Premier Grand Harbour View room for the view and the welcome luxury after a series of long-haul flights.

The problems started with check-in - the receptionist didn't understand that "Advance Purchase" meant "purchased in advance" - basic English, I would have thought. I insisted that the room was already paid for and my card was to be used just for incidentals, and showed her the hotel confirmation email. She insisted that it wasn't already paid for and my card would be billed the entire amount. After a 27-hour journey, this wasn't the way I wanted to start my stay in Oz.

Eventually a supervisor appeared from a backroom on another errand, and sorted the problem out (card details for payment are on another screen...), but this bad start put me completely off using any of the hotel facilities - including the upgrade that started the whole discussion. The receptionist then got shirty with us and brushed off her mistake saying "Oh! It's so complicated!" Um, no, it's not, Advance Purchase means just what it says on the tin.

For a 5-star hotel, there are remarkably few concessions - the bottled water on the night-stand was $3.50, which annoyed me - I've frequently had complimentary bottled water at 3-star hotels, and it's precisely the sort of customer-care that I expect at a 5-star establishment.

And that seemed to be the theme for the entire stay - not so much "what can we do for you?" but more "what can we charge you extorbitant fees for?".

The room had the expected fantastic view, at least from one side. The other side looked out onto neighbouring apartment blocks and hotels, so the curtains on that side remained closed for the entire stay. Due to this I rather regretted not getting one of the rooms to the side, and saving a few hundred dollars a night. So if you are thinking of getting a corner room, do ensure it's one with views of the harbour from BOTH sides.

The room was was very nice and spacious with a big comfy bed and excellent bath-room. The hotel is modern enough, but due to the above billing problem I didn't bother trying out any of the bars or amenities, including the spa.

Location-wise it's at the top of a steep hill, not far from Wynyard, except that the usual route from Wynyard is closed due to building works.

All in all, the next time I think I will be checking out the Four Seasons or something like that, same view, same cost, but hopefully better trained staff.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cairns, Australia
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 25, 2009

I booked the club room with a view of the Opera House - what a great view (but seriously how long can you look out the window?). Very nice comfy room with a nice big marble bathroom with huge bath. I'm a big fan of the club lounge where you get free buffet breakfast, hors d'oeuvres, etc. The only thing I am disgruntled over is the disgraceful spa area - the sauna was pretty ghetto and you can hear the spa reception noise during your massage! Terrible. Going to the spa from the club room was like descending from the heavens into a war-ravaged ghetto. Don't come here for the spa.

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FOM1Sydney, Front Office Manager at Shangri-La Hotel Sydney, responded to this review, May 26, 2009
Thank you to the author for your review. I'm pleased to hear that you enjoyed your stay with us on the Horizon Club floor. I have worked at this property for some 5 years now and I can still stare endlessly over Sydney Harbour from those windows on the 30th floor! An ever changing view over one of the world's most beautiful harbours.
I am pleased to inform you that we will begin our renovation of the spa this year and create a wellness floor on level two which will incorporate Shangri-La's famous Chi Spa. Please watch this space as the spa will be one of, if not the best spa's in Sydney.
Thank you again for your review and I do hope that I can welcome you back to Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney soon.
Regards,
Leigh Shepheard
Front Office Manager.
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Seattle, Washington
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 25, 2009

We stayed at this hotel for 4 nights with our 3 kids. We have traveled all over the world and I have to say we really enjoyed this hotel. Great location, great service, great view, helpful staff, comfy beds, and quiet. Even though there seems to be a lot of business travelers at this hotel- we did not feel out of place with our three children. The only thing we didn't care for was the breakfast buffet - we noticed some of the guests touching the food instead of using tongs provided (which probably happens at all buffets) but it was a tad bit disconcerting since we just happened to be visiting when the media was focusing on the arrival of swine flu in Australia. But the hotel did offer a-la carte menu so we chose that instead. Overall a great stay and we would definitely choose this hotel again!

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FOM1Sydney, Front Office Manager at Shangri-La Hotel Sydney, responded to this review, May 26, 2009
Thank you to the author for your review. I'm thrilled to hear that you enjoyed your stay with us. We do welcome children into the hotel at all times and treat them just as we would treat our adult guests. We realise that the children that come in with their parents today will hopefully be our guests tomorrow.
I'm sorry to hear that you didn't choose the buffet due to other guests using their hands. We do of course try to avoid this but I would have to ask you to indulge us on this occasion.
Thank you again for your review and I do hope to welcome you back to the hotel soon.
Regards,
Leigh Shepheard
Front Office Manager.
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Cleveland, Ohio
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2009

We stayed in the Deluxe Grand Harbor View room with a fantastic view of the Harbor Bridge, Opera House and Sydney Harbor. The rooms are huge and well appointed. The hotel is located in the Rocks and we easily walked to all the sites we wanted to see. My wife and I both loved the breakfast buffet. The fresh fruit was bursting with flavor! The staff is freindly and efficient and we highly recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FOM1Sydney, Front Office Manager at Shangri-La Hotel Sydney, responded to this review, May 26, 2009
Thank you to the author for your kind review of the hotel. We enjoy the most commanding views over Sydney Harbour and we are positioned just a short stroll from all the attractions. I'm glad you chose the Deluxe Grand Harbour View Room for your stay which enjoys the uninterrupted views over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
Thank you once again for your review and I do look forward to welcoming you back to the Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney in the near future.
Regards,
Leigh Shepheard
Front Office Manager.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Shangri-La Hotel Sydney

Address: 176 Cumberland Street,The Rocks | Sydney 2000, Sydney, New South Wales 2000, Australia
Location: Australia > New South Wales > Sydney
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Business Hotel in Sydney
#7 Spa Hotel in Sydney
#14 Romantic Hotel in Sydney
#16 Family Hotel in Sydney
#17 Luxury Hotel in Sydney
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Shangri-La Hotel Sydney 5*
Number of rooms: 563
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney is perfectly positioned between the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge in the historic Rocks district. Within walking distance of the city's major shopping venues and tourist attractions, the hotel offers panoramic views of Sydney Harbour. A wide selection of dining options including Australian cuisine at award winning Altitude Restaurant, Mix and Grill in the all day dining restaurant Café Mix and fabulous cocktails at the glamorous Blu Bar on 36. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Shangri La Sydney
Shangri La Hotel Sydney

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