It is at least fifteen years since we last stayed at this hotel. We have just spent the weekend there, arriving Friday night, and checking out today, Sunday.
We chose the hotel as we love the old world feel it has and because it is well positioned for access to galleries and the city centre. The reception rooms are stylish, warm and comfortable. Sadly, however, there is such an emphasis on making money out of them, with high teas and such, that it is not possible to find a sofa to curl up and read the paper and most times of day.
We stayed in the old section of the hotel. This was much more expensive than the rooms in the modern additions, but I am unsure what we were paying for, unless it was the noise of plumbing when those in neighbouring rooms showered. When the people next door filled their spa bath the sound was if the spa was in our room - it was so loud!
The room had been refurbished, but was a little bland. However, it was of a good size, and the fittings and furniture were stylish and reflected the thirties feel of the hotel, especially the unit that contained the 'fridge, minibar, and Nespresso machine.
The bathroom was, like the bedroom, very clean. It was also large, and marble covered every surface. It has an art deco feel, complimenting the era the hotel was orginially established. The soaps and toiletries provided were of a high quality, as one would hope, as this hotel is expensive.
On our first night we ate in the hotel dining room. The Pavilion, I believe it is called. We chose the à la carte menu, as I find buffets appear great value, but only if you stuff yourself silly. Many in the dining room appeared to be doing this, and if you liked prawns, it would be possible to get good value for money dining this way!
The waitress was very bright and keen to help. This was true of almost all the staff who served us during our stay. She knew nothing about the wines on the dining rooms wine list. Eventually we were offerred a Lucinda Estate 2005 Shiraz, which wasn't even on the wine list. The poor waitress removed the cork but had no idea about smelling it. It might sound a bit wanky to expect this, but when you are having a $78 bottle of wine it is not pleasant to taste it if it is 'corked'.
The scallops I started with were excellent, and well cooked. My beef cheeks were overseasons and made me gag. The accompanying vegetables, eventually taken off the bill by the Maitre d', were adequate except that they were missing key ingredients, promised on the menu. The brocolli was supposed to be with slivered almonds, which would have offerred texture and a taste lift. The mashed potato was supposed to contain garlic, but did not (admitted by the staff), and was bland.
Our desserts were very good, but one took a while to make, which meant we were the last to leave the dining room, and we did feel as though the staff felt that we had outstayed our welcome (I think it was 10 pm).
The bed was comfortable, but the pillows gave me a stiff neck. In the morning, the shutters did help to keep the morning light out, but if greater darkness is required, there are screens that can be rolled down, using an articulated rod.
We met friends for brunch and also went to the Fred Williams exhibition at the National Gallery. We left the hotel around 9.30 am. We arrived back around 3 pm, and our room had still not been cleaned. The maid came about the time we arrived back, so we left her to do her work, taking coffee and cake in the main lobby. Great staff in elegant black 1920 style dresses, great cakes and coffee, too, but all we really had wanted to do was to go back to our room and crash, exhausted by our day.
The girl at reception was very helpful in ascertaining that our room had finally been clean. I do not wish to blame the maid, but one wonders if the hotel has enough cleaning staff. On our return, our room looked good, but for what we were paying this did not seem an unrealistic expectation!
We ate out in Canberra with friends at Mezzelira, which was very good, on the Saturday night. Our sleep was again affected by noises from other rooms. Our room was on the ground floor, at one stage it sounded like someone upstairs was tap dancing!
We had breakfast at the hotel on Sunday morning in the pavilion area where we had had dinner on the Friday night. Again the staff were very willing to please and were very efficient at taking used plates and utensils away when they were finished with. The buffet breakfast that we had had a good selection of different foods : cereals, sweet cakes, fresh and stewed fruits, hot foods, such as sausages and hash browns in bain marie style heating vessels, but the best point was it was possible to have your eggs made fresh when required. The coffee was also good.
We would not stay at the hotel again because of the noise in the room. Also, although the staff were keen to help and really did seem to have a good spirit of service, I felt several did not seem well trained. I worked at the Sydney Hilton in the 1970's, and we had compulsory training sessions on matters such as serving wine. I am unsure if the Hyatt has such a policy.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Heritage Listed Hotel which retains many of the classic Art Deco design elements of the original building built in 1924. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hyatt Canberra
- Canberra Hyatt