Daniel Howe, the Chief Concierge at the recently refurbished PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney, shares with us some insider tricks and tips for travellers visiting Sydney.
The items people most commonly forget to pack
Guests have forgotten just about everything from shoes to belts, mobile phone charges even suit jackets for events they are attending. We always offer to solve the issue straight away and retrieve what it is they have forgotten even if it means sourcing a dinner jacket to hire on their behalf.
What’s the oddest request you have received from a guest?
That would have to be to purchase a live koala on behalf of an overseas guest. They thought that every Australian had a koala in their backyard and therefore it would be easy to obtain. I had to explain to the guest it is in fact illegal and managed to get them to settle on a toy koala instead.
What’s the most difficult request you have received from a guest?
It’s usually sideline tickets to popular sporting events at a reasonable price. This can be tricky as events can be either sold out or the prices are expensive.
The secrets to getting show or concert tickets last minute
It’s all about having good connections, reliable sources and building relationships and networks domestically and internationally. An experienced concierge has built these relationships over numerous years and will be able to source some of the toughest tickets for popular events….be mindful though that last minute tickets can come at a higher price then what you would normally pay if you purchased them before time.
The best way to get good hotel deals – well in advance vs last minute
On most occasions you will receive a better deal if you book directly on the hotel’s own website rather than a third party website. PARKROYAL Darling Harbour have a best rate guarantee policy which guarantees that every reservation booked through their website is the lowest rate publicly available online.
The rule of thumb is the earlier you book the better deal you tend to receive. Speak to the concierge or the reservation department at the hotel and they will be able to assist you.
The Sydney attractions you won't find in the guide books
These days you tend to find just about every attraction in guidebooks or online. However there are a couple of attractions and tours that are more under wrap that are worth seeing, such as the behind the scenes tours of the Wharf Theatre where you are able to access back of house. The Coogee to Bondi walk is my favourite activity to recommend to guests and not only is it beautiful but it gives them the opportunity to see the lifestyle that we live – free and exhilarating
Daniel’s Top 5 places to visit while visiting Sydney
1. Taronga Zoo – I’ve been to many different zoos internationally and Sydney’s Taronga zoo come out on top as it is world class with a lot of history
2. Sydney with a View – take a Seaplane or helicopter ride over Sydney, it’s a view you can’t miss
3. Sydney Harbour Cruise – the harbor is extraordinary and really must be experienced first hand
4. Take a trip – Sydney city is amazing but if you have time to venture out you must visit some of beautiful places on the outskirts of Sydney such as the Hunter Valley for their stunning vineyards or the Blue Mountains for a bush walk.
5. Sydney Harbour Bridge – The bridge is a popular attraction for visitors and the best way to experience it is by doing a bridge climb with amazing views of the whole harbour.
Can you get hotel room upgrades the same way some people get airline upgrades?
Absolutely, however it all comes down to different variables on the day such as the season and the availability.
However if you are platinum member with GHA Discovery loyalty program you can receive an instant upgrade to the next room category at check-in.
Hotel loyalty programs – The benefits guests can make use of that they probably don't know about
PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney is with the GHA Discovery program, which has a tiered system that rewards with local experience. Members can select from upgrades to an executive class suit, receive a complimentary trio of wine and cheese platter on arrival or receive a ticket for one on a tall ship cruise departing from Circular Quay when they stay at PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney. With nearly 300 properties worldwide the program provides you with a special selection of benefits and personalized services.
Last thoughts on Sydney
Sydney is very lifestyle based and there is so much on offer from shopping in the city to surfing at the beach. Sydney’s cuisine is so good it rivals every other city in the world with their contemporary food and the recent addition of small bars scattered across the city. It is truly a unique city that should be on everyone’s bucket list.