It'd be hard to improve on the view from Sydney's Shangri-La Hotel, perched as it is atop a hill in The Rocks district overlooking both the harbour and the city, so Shangri-La set about improving the rooms instead.
This week's completion of an extensive room refresh – a six-month project which cost some $20m and refreshed 477 deluxe rooms and executive suites – sees a rich new 'modern oriental' design inspired by oriental blossoms, where soft gold features are balanced by chocolate, cream and rich woods.
A centrepiece of the makeover is purpose-built window seating designed by leading interior design company Hassell to ensure that guests make the most of the harbour view.
The bedhead is also designed for Shangri-La Sydney, with bedside tables, lights and operation panels all integrated into the dark timber frame.
Each room also has a bedside iPhone/iPod dock; a media hub for connecting MP3 players, tablets and laptops to the flat-screen TV; sensor lighting to reduce energy consumption; and with air conditioning that automatically returns to its standard setting after you leave the room.
Last year the Shangri-La updated its in-room technology with free broadband and Wi-Fi, LCD televisions and Foxtel pay TV channels.
Business travellers increasingly value fast and free Wi-Fi as a must-have, despite many upmarket hotel brands still charging for Internet access, so it's refreshing to see a luxury brand like the Shangri-La is listening to its customers.