What to expect
- Sleep Quality
Last 5 reviews
A Bit Dated
A well located hotel. Arrived late and could not find the room service menu which I later found out was a virtual menu accessed through the tv but there were no clear instructions advising of this. Ended up raiding the mini bar to find around half of the snacks out of date - to the hotel’s credit they did not charge for them after I advised them of this. Shower above bath with a shower curtain is not acceptable for a hotel in this brand category and is for me the biggest turnoff.
Is there service after Covid?
The border shutdowns have made travel so difficult, so we were super excited that we could actually get away for Easter. It was our first trip since January 2020 and was a return to the hotel. The check in process was easy and touch free, with Covid safety in mind. We were disappointed the Club was no longer operating and never made it to the public bar it now is. This meant that being a Spire Elite Ambassador was of no advantage at all. We didn’t get an upgrade either. We had two rooms - a suite and a twin room. The rooms were immaculately clean, and no staff enter the room when you’re there. You needed to book a time for breakfast each day. The first two breakfast experiences at Cafe Opera were terrible. One queue with served food, clearly understaffed an unprepared. So, for three of us we had to join a long queue to get orange juice. Then join the queue again, wait until everyone in front of us had their toast and condiments served to them, then get to the cereals/yoghurt/fruit/cold meats to be served to us individually. Then we went back - end of one long queue again - to be served cold ore-toasted bread and condiments, swing by baked goods or hot foods. Heaven help you if you forgot to get butter (or were given one small pat only) as it was to the end of the queue. The coeliac was bought safely prepared toast separately, and it was a bit warmer. The second two days were an improvement - which was just as well as the hotel was at capacity. The toast was still cold, but they had changed the setup so we could join four different and much shorter queues. The hot cross buns and croissant were excellent. Choices for coeliacs were extremely limited compared to previous visits - no pancakes or similar. Thanks to Easter we were no disturbed by the renovations, but there were warnings in each room. The rooms have nice views and will respond well to a freshen up. The staff were friendly. They’ll have to fix breakfast - Covid is a poor excuse for the significant decline in the options - as there are new fancier hotels, which we may try next visit in June.
Poor Customer Service 'Because we are busy'
Unfortunately, our experience at the Intercontinental Hotel was not up to our high expectations we otherwise had for a five-star hotel with such an international reputation. Disappointingly, the problems we encountered during our stay were not related to the overall facilities provided, rather were to do with poor communication and lack of the personalised service that the Intercontinental apparently prides itself on. We initially arranged to check-in at 3pm, having made the booking through booking.com for a King Room with a view of the Harbour Bridge at $390 for the night. After arriving at the Intercontinental a couple of minutes after 3pm, I paid for the room, noticing that I was charged $490 instead of the advertised $390. Whilst I assumed this was some sort of bond or holding fee, this was not mentioned on the website nor explained at the front desk when it was charged – not wanting to cause any embarrassment for the staff member I decided I would simply wait until check-out to clarify the charge. We were then told that the room was not quite ready and that the front desk would call us to inform when the room was available. Despite the accumulation of slight inconveniences this still didn’t bother us too much, and we asked if we could leave our bags before we headed to Circular Quay for a drink while we waited. After we had been in Circular Quay for approximately 45 minutes, I received a phone call informing me that the room was ready. Excitedly, we finished our drinks and made our way back to the Intercontinental to finalise check-in. On arriving we were given the keys to the room, and when I asked about the bags I was told they had already been taken up. We proceeded to our room to find it had not been cleaned at all, with the previous occupant’s sheets and towels strewn all over the room. This was concerning to us noting the otherwise heavy Covid-safe measures in place at the hotel (and its history as a quarantine hotel), and we had entered a room that had obviously recently been occupied. Our bags were also nowhere to be seen. We went to make our way back down to the check-in desk and were met in the lift by a member of staff who apologised that the room was not ready. To us, this was very unusual, however, as easy-going people we accepted the staff member’s explanation in the lift that there had been a mix-up of our room and it wasn’t yet ready. As we waited in reception, a frantic discussion occurred just behind the counter between what we could assume was staff and management. The same staff member that met us in the lift came back and ushered us to follow him to the ‘Panorama’ Bar on Level 31 without any further explanation as to why. We were both a little unsettled at this stage, with my partner having hoped to have a rest after a busy day prior to proceeding to our dinner later that evening. We obligingly followed, assuming that we were being taken to ‘Panorama’ by some way of an apology for the mix-up, which at this stage we had been informed was caused by a ‘communication error’. After being seated, we were soon asked by Panorama staff if we wished to order anything, however it was clear we were expected to pay for whatever it was we ordered. This was frustrating, as from our perspective we had been incorrectly summoned from our spot in Circular Quay to be bought up to the Hotel’s own bar to spend our money. This was compounded by the fact that we had already been waiting for an extended period for our room to be ready, and then exposed to a room that had not been cleaned despite the supposed strict Covid-safe cleaning requirements Intercontinental employs. We had been expected to accept this by way of a verbal ‘we are very sorry, its because we are busy today’, and somehow the view at Panorama was expected to dazzle us into forgetting what happened. We would however, like to point out the excellent work done by Mei, a member of staff working at Panorama. She asked us what had happened after noticing we were a little unsettled at the table and didn’t want to order anything but a glass of water. We told her what had happened, and that we didn’t want to pay for drinks when we thought that we’d been led to Panorama for some sort of compensatory reason. She apologised profusely for the situation, and personally chased up the status of our room and served us a glass of sparkling wine each. Despite this being a lovely gesture and obviously at the extent of Mei’s remit, it didn’t seem like it was an adequate compensation for such a major set of mistakes on the part of the Hotel. By this stage we had been waiting approximately two hours extra from the original check-in time, when I received a phone call informing me the room was now ready, and that someone would come up with the keys. Again, Mei stood out for her customer service as she ended up going down to personally retrieve the keys to the room as no one appeared after 20 minutes. The rest of the evening was pleasant after eventually getting into our room, however by this stage there was no opportunity for us to enjoy the facilities we otherwise intended to as we had to get ready to proceed out to our dinner. We had breakfast in the morning at the Hotel prior to checking out. This was non-inclusive in the fee paid for the room. Upon check out, which we did at around 10am, we were asked by the same staff member that checked us in how our stay was. I explained that it was okay as the room was nice, but that the miscommunications relating to check-in were not very good and that we were disappointed we had to basically ask for both an explanation and some sort of recompense for our trouble. I also expressed my concern that if we had not asked, we would have been charged for anything we might’ve otherwise ordered at Panorama. In response to this, the staff member told us that we needn’t worry as we would not get charged anything aside from the cost of the room. I was therefore slightly surprised when charged a further $85 on my account after arriving home, having been led to believe that the hotel was at least happy to pay for breakfast after such major failings on the part of customer service. In our view, aside from the nice facilities and the service provided by Mei, the experience was significantly below what can be reasonably expected of any hotel, let alone a five-star international chain owned by a multi-billion-dollar company. Miscommunication, poor teamwork and a lack of customer service led to us having to wait much longer than can be reasonably expected of a guest paying $390 for single night, as well as myself and my partner entering an unclean and therefore unsafe room in the middle of a global pandemic. The only compensation we were offered this entire time was a glass of sparkling wine and a verbal apology, which is plainly unacceptable for any organisation claiming to have outstanding personalised customer service. I have never experienced such a grievous collection of errors being treated with the same laxness as would otherwise be expected of a minor common mistake of no consequence. The sheepishly delivered farewell, ‘hope you stay with us again soon’ at check-out truly summarised this experience in a nutshell.
Last minute roon cancellation
I booked Opera house view room last November for Easter break and 5 days before our flight contacted hotel for possible early access which was noted by them but 3 days before flight room became unavailable due to renovation. So basically they wait till last minute to leave me with no choice to downgrade or cancel no need to mention they charged me full on November. Extremely low level of customer service, 5 star for this hotel is a joke don't waste your time and money.
Fabulous hotel with great views if you get a harbour view room
We stayed on a Sunday night in March 2021 when the hotels in Sydney were offering great deals. Everything about the hotel was fabulous as you would expect from a five star hotel. Just two small gripes, you only get two regular tea bags for the one night stay AND the television does not have free Netflix or small range of Foxtel channels, only free to air channels, compared to most three star motels who offer these for free.
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