Hilton Sydney's $25 million refurbishment rethinks the business desk

One of Sydney’s most prominent hotels for business travellers replaces its business desks with "custom tables".

By Chris Chamberlin, February 2 2021
Hilton Sydney's $25 million refurbishment rethinks the business desk

Visitors venturing to Australia’s business capital will find the revamped Hilton Sydney hotel waiting for them, where all 547 rooms and 40 suites have now been redesigned and refurbished.

Step inside Hilton Sydney's refreshed Junior Suite...
Step inside Hilton Sydney's refreshed Junior Suite...

Beyond new carpets, curtains and tapware, the $25 million renovation also introduces new recliners, bedside lights, and 55-inch smart TVs in every room.

Hilton Sydney's new-look Executive Rooms step into the modern era.
Hilton Sydney's new-look Executive Rooms step into the modern era.

However, the biggest change for business travellers is the removal of traditional in-room work desks and office chairs.

These have been replaced with a “custom table” positioned in front of the TV, where guests can work or dine, and with space-saving seating.

Smaller leather-wrapped seats replace ergonomic office chairs in all rooms and suites.
Smaller leather-wrapped seats replace ergonomic office chairs in all rooms and suites.

“A fundamental design decision was an overhaul of the traditional desk setup, which took up considerable floor space,” said Mike Watson of A+ Design Group – the firm in charge of the makeover.

“In its place ... is an oversized Italian armchair and ottoman, coupled with a custom table, at which guests can work or dine.”

Power points for laptops and other gadgets can be found up next to the TV.
Power points for laptops and other gadgets can be found up next to the TV.

The hotel has also introduced two room types: Corner Rooms, which provide an extra window for taking in the view, and Family Rooms, whereby two guestrooms can be interconnected.

Travellers booking two Family Rooms can link them together for added space and personal privacy.
Travellers booking two Family Rooms can link them together for added space and personal privacy.

“Hilton Sydney is an iconic property, and we are so pleased to offer a reinvigorated product to our guests in 2021,” said Hilton Sydney’s General Manager, Hayden Hughes.

“Providing an upmarket guest experience while offering a gateway to Sydney’s CBD has always been a priority for the hotel.”

Hilton Sydney's Master Suite adopts an elegant, modern design.
Hilton Sydney's Master Suite adopts an elegant, modern design.

The hotel will continue to offer an Executive Lounge (albeit currently closed) for guests staying in Executive-level rooms – plus Hilton Honors Diamond members booked in any room type – as well as an indoor swimming pool, and guest access to the Fitness First Pitt St Platinum gym.

Food and beverage venues remain available including the heritage-listed Marble Bar, Luke Mangan’s Glass Brasserie restaurant, Zeta Bar (also currently closed), and Caffe Cino.

Tucked underground, Marble Bar opens on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.
Tucked underground, Marble Bar opens on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

Rates begin at $209 per night, with Hilton Honors members able to earn and spend points at Hilton Sydney.

Also read: Hilton status match unlocks fast-track to Gold, Diamond

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

JTG
JTG

Singapore Airlines - The PPS Club

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 47

This new concept doesn't suit me. I tend to do a minimum of 3-4 hours work in the hotel room a day and I need an ergonomic chair. If Hilton provided the option of swapping out the chair depending on if the stay is business or leisure then this could work. 

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 179

Like the new Junior Suite  -stayed here Dec19-Jan 20 and again Jan 20  as a Diamond upgrade - I like the smaller table  by the TV  in the Executive rooms which are very small , so space saving by removing the old giant desk is a good idea.  Reeminds me of many hotels, first coming to mind with this small table setup being Radisson Blu Zurich Airport 

I don't mind the smaller, more stylish table compared to the big old desks which so many hotels have, because not everybody really uses the desk as a desk, for working. But business and corporate travellers are usually the exception, for me the hotel room is a part-time office when I am on the road, and so Hilton needs to be able to swap that casual chair for a proper ergonomic chair at the guest's request. I've used those normal chairs in a few hotels and you end up with a killer lower back ache. So, fine with the smaller desk but make sure you can give me a proper ergonomic chair.

vfm
vfm

26 Jul 2015

Total posts 18

Is this Hilton still a quarantine hotel?

Walked past it the other weekend, there was security in the lobby and no access to general public. So yes, seems like it is.

I suppose they refurbished half the rooms while the other half is being used for quarrantine?

vfm
vfm

26 Jul 2015

Total posts 18

Thx ps

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Jun 2016

Total posts 42

Yes it is a quarantine hotel. I did two weeks in one of those rooms (turquoise chair) from 4th - 19th January.   I somewhat rearranged the furniture to make space for a workout but it was really comfy and the tv was superb for the cricket!  I found the desk space sufficient and the chair was quite comfy, though totally understand comments about ergonomic seating. 

On a side note, the Hilton staff were amazing throughout the 14 days of quarantine. 

18 Jul 2018

Total posts 28

Thanks, good review. Guarantees I'd never visit with that useless workspace. May as well go stay in an Ibis if we want a useless table and chair setup.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 784

The large desk is a great idea, lay out the computer and all the work things. Looks like it isn't bolted down, so would pull it back away from the TV and dial up for an ergo chair or something without sides. They can't assume everyone wears 38 trousers.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 424

I note there are no promo pics of the bathrooms. I'd be interested to see what they've done there, as the bathrooms in most of the rooms in the old configuration were miniscule.

26 Jul 2015

Total posts 62

John whilst the bathrooms were on the small side, I always felt they had a good layout and were very functional. The old chairs were nice but did take up a lot of real estate so the new look seems a reasonable compromise.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Jun 2016

Total posts 42

John, I didn't think they'd been refurbed from my last visit a number of years ago. That said, they were perfectly adequate. The bathroom sink served multiple purposes.... washed dished, washed clothes, ice bucket for white wine and occasionally as just a bathroom sink!  the shower was great - superb water pressure.  Yes, it's on the smaller side but who lives in a bathroom? and I say that as someone who lived in that room for 14 days non-stop!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 603

A fixed height chair rarely suits everybody - mainly because we are all different heights and sizes, so I am not a fan of this option either. I always tend to prefer an adjustable height swivel chair without arms. It also takes up less space than a fixed sized living room chair.

The other point I'd make is that the positioning of the desk directly in front of the TV may suit a single business traveller, but is certainly not ideal if you are travelling with a significant other.  One trying to watch TV and one trying to work usually results in an obstructed TV view with someone's head in the way ~ and for the other,  the annoyance of TV noise and flickering pics directly above your head if you are trying to do some work.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Jun 2016

Total posts 42

kimshep you can move the desk. I pulled it well away from the window and moved the swivel chair to that spot while I was in quarantine. I didn't like having the tv directly in front of me when I was working on my laptop, etc. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 603

I appreciate your comment lafleche, but I note that in a lot of Hilton properties, the location (and number) of power points often becomes the defining factor in the ability to move certain items. This particular revamp makes the room look almost identical to the layout of the Millennium Hilton rooms in Manhattan - cosy and well appointed, but beware of trying to adapt the layout too much.

The other point that I find relevant is that hotel chains pay mega-dollars for designers to do their 'thing'. Thank you Iain Schraeger. The trouble is, when I book into a hotel, I am not there to do impromptu design work for Hilton (or any other chain, for that matter). In many cities, I will preference a particular function - sometimes, it will be a balcony with an opening door, other times, it may be a heated pool (almost non-existent in most Manhattan hotels). I suppose that this is now why we are starting to see the benefit of multiple-branded hotels under most chains' headline name. 

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

20 Jun 2013

Total posts 33

Good to hear you can at least move the desk...of course all rather odd and would be good if designers could get it right the first time with having to re arrange things. (Detest a desk/table right under at TV)

15 Mar 2018

Total posts 41

Ergonomically those chairs with the table don't work for anyone trying to work.  Obviously with the new emphasis on windows and family rooms, the Hilton is moving away from business clients.  Makes it easier to pick one of the Accor hotels or one of the Marriott hotels.  The desk and it's position was one of the reasons I stayed at Hilton for business.  Not being able to work comfortably will be a stay stopper and will out play the convenience.  When you add the position in front of the TV, which makes a two person stay uncomfortable, plus the parking fees, I think Hilton has decided on a different client base.


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