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The Park Hyatt Canberra - "But I am a Diamond Guest" - OzFest 2012


The drive from the Canberra Airport to the Park Hyatt took about twenty-five minutes, though most of the delay was due to the traffic. Yingluck Shinawatra, Thailand's Prime Minister, was spending a few days in Canberra, which led to a couple of roads around the hotel being blocked off, as well as an increased police presence in the town.

As we pulled into the drive-way of the Park Hyatt, two employees came over to the car, and began unloading our bags. We had a minimal amount of luggage, so we opted to carry it inside, versus having the bell hop bring them inside on a cart.

While waiting to check-in, I got my first indication that this might be a disappointing experience. Despite having two guests waiting to check-in, we had to wait about five minutes for an agent to come out of the back office. Though I was the second person in line to check in, I could tell that I was going to run into the same problems as the first guest. Both of us were Diamond members, which the sole agent did not seem to understand when stating benefits. One example was when it came to internet access. The agent began the conversation by saying that internet access would be charged after every twenty-four hour access period. This is obviously wrong, as internet access is complimentary for Diamond members.

When it came for my turn, I presented my Diamond card, credit card, and passport, and received the same talk from the agent. I was presented with a list of Diamond benefits, as well as the information for the Ambassador lounge, though the agent tried to insist that the internet would not be free for me. I did not tell her that she was wrong, figuring that I would deal with any potential issues at check-out.

With our check-in formalities completed, we walked over to the elevator to see our respective rooms. The layout of the property is a bit confusing, depending on where your room is located. In my case, I had to walk past the restaurant, and take an elevator to the third level. While it sounds easy, the property could certainly use some better signs to help guests navigate to their rooms.

Inside my room, I learned that I had been upgraded to a Club King room, despite booking a standard room with my Gold Passport points. I had originally reserved a revenue room at the Hyatt, though I decided to switch to an award reservation a few days before I arrived. I lost the opportunity to use a suite upgrade, though the savings were certainly worth more than an upgrade.

The room was large enough for more than two people to share, and was more than enough space for my three night stay.

tv and mini-bar

Although we had eaten at the Qantas Club, we decided to head back to the lobby level for lunch. After fifteen minutes of waiting for a staff member to seat us, we were given a table next to a large group of foreign journalists. Most of the group appeared to be from Europe, based on the language they were speaking, and the items they had ordered for lunch.

It took another twenty minutes for a waiter to appear, at which point we placed our orders. I chose the steak sandwich, cooked to a nice medium-rare.

The meal also came with french-fries chips

I was pleased with the steak sandwich, although the service at the restaurant was not up to the standards of a restaurant that is located within a Park Hyatt. My friend suggested that this was the standard Australia work ethic, which I am not sure I completely agreed with.

We had another five hours until the meet and greet was scheduled to begin, so we returned to our respective rooms. When I opened the door to my room, I noticed that the Diamond Amenity had been delivered.

the fruit was replenished each day of my stay

With five hours until OzFest began, I had plenty of time to take photos of the room and the hotel property. On most of my trips, I am always on the go, so it was nice to have a few minutes to just relax and focus on a hobby of mine (photography).

mini-bar

as is typical of a hotel mini-bar, all of the items pictures above were grossly overpriced.

The bathroom was nicely appointed, though my biggest issue was with the shower. The rubber seal at the bottom must have come loose some time before my stay, which meant that most of the water from the shower ended up flooding the rest of the bathroom. I did alert the hotel staff to this issue when I checked-out, so I'm hopeful that they fixed the issue.

oversize bathtub

While the soap was not the Blaise Mautin product that I have experienced at the Park Hyatt Paris, and Park Hyatt Dubai, it was a locally made product that I enjoyed. The hotel staff were nice enough to leave me some extra bottles to take home.

view from my room - chilly afternoon in Canberra

Canberra is the capital city of Australia, and as such, attracts a lot of politicians to the area hotels. Throughout the afternoon, I started to notice an increase in traffic at the back of the property. First there was a convoy of Australian Federal Police, then a bomb squad truck, and then some high-end cars. I later learned that the Thai Prime Minister was in Canberra to celebrate the 60th anniversary of relations between Australia and Thailand. The PM was also staying in the top suite at the Park Hyatt, located one floor above the Ambassador Lounge.

AFP Convoy

room for a member of the Thai delegation

Unlike most Park Hyatt's, the Canberra property features an Ambassador Lounge. The lounge, similar to a Grand or Regency Club, features a breakfast service, some light snacks throughout the mid-morning, and then re-opens in the evening for canapés.

Breakfast

Salmon!

Beyond the photos, the breakfast service also featured a large table with a selection of fruits and some small breakfast items. The lounge did have some hot items available, although the selection varied from day to day.

Although I had been disappointed with my initial experience at the hotel, the lounge attendant was very professional, and made me feel as though I was actually staying in a Park Hyatt, and not a $99 Hyatt Regency. While somewhat unnecessary, she would check on each table every few minutes to see if they needed their drink topped-off, and even offered to bring guests extra meal items. The attendant even offered suggestions of restaurants and other places to visit in Canberra. This kind of service certainly turned around my initial reaction of the property!

The lounge also has a nice deck that overlooks the back entrance of the hotel.

Park Hyatt Atrium - Thai PMs suite on 4th floor, Ambassador Lounge on 3rd floor

Once I had finished my photo journey throughout the hotel, it was time to freshen up for the start of OzFest.

I'll be sharing some more thoughts about the Park Hyatt in my next post, including an exchange where I had to say to the agent "But I am a Diamond Guest". Stay tuned!

Comments

I'm disappointed. Wondering if I should even bother to go next June.

@Matthew: I would still recommend visiting this hotel. Besides the incompetent agent at the front desk, it was a beautiful property, and the only Hyatt in Canberra ;-).

Great TR. That steak sandwich looks a bit too rare, no? :P :D

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