TRAVEL - INTERVIEW
Thursday, November 8, 2018
Jeroen Meijer, General Manager at PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney
TRAVEL - INTERVIEW
by Melisa Kaya
The first buildings that come to mind when talking about Sydney are the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. PARKROYAL Darling Harbour is located very close to both of them. With its elaborately decorated 340 guest rooms, the award-winning ABODE Bar & Bistro, the Club Lounge, and its unique location, PARKROYAL Darling Harbour offer new experiences to its guests who would like to live Sydney. I talked with Jeroen Meijer, General Manager at PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, about PARKROYAL Darling Harbour and Sydney.
Jeroen, before talking about PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, could you tell us about your background and your career in PARKROYAL Hotels & Resorts?
I joined PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney after working for almost two decades at Hilton Hotels both here in Australia and abroad.
I was born and educated in the Netherlands, where I attended CHN University in Leeuwarden before undertaking a variety of sales and commercial roles at various Hilton Hotels properties throughout the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, and South East Asia.
After helping open the new Pan Pacific Melbourne in South Wharf mid may through last year, I moved up to Sydney to take up the role of Hotel Manager at PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney, and I am currently the hotel’s acting General Manager.
PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney
PARKROYAL Darling Harbour is located in the heart of Sydney. Could you tell us about PARKROYAL Darling Harbour and the overall concept?
PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney, is PARKROYAL Hotels & Resorts’ Flagship Australian property, and really does, I think, provide an urban oasis in the heart of the city.
Offering uncomplicated, warm, efficient service and the PARKROYAL Club experience, the hotel is passionate about creating real connections and joyous moments for its guests, consistent with its brand proposition - The Best of You By Us.
Boasting interiors by internationally acclaimed designers HASSELL, the property offers a comprehensive range of accommodation options and services suitable for both corporate and leisure travellers including the PARKROYAL Club Lounge.
PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney also offers the complete Residential Meetings and Events package, with a range of flexible event spaces. Likewise, its dining offerings - Barkers Restaurant and the award-winning ABODE Bar & Bistro, can cater for small to large events from casual meetings over coffee to large-scale conferences and dinners.
What type of different rooms and suites do you offer to your guests? What are their design concepts?
PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney offers 340 guest rooms including the 31sqm Superior Rooms and Darling Harbour Rooms. Plus, the hotel’s 71sqm Executive Suites feature lounge rooms with sofa beds, making them perfect for families.
PARKROYAL Club Rooms also offer exclusive access to the Club Lounge where guests can enjoy complimentary executive breakfast, refreshments throughout the day and twilight drinks and canapés. Club Room guests can also access a comprehensive range of amenities including business facilities, a concierge service, the Club Boardroom, and a complimentary daily laundry service.
PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney - Darling Harbour View
Could you tell us about your rooms and suites? What are their features?
All rooms and suites have been furnished to create a luxurious residential feel, making guests feel instantly at home. Each one features elegantly comfortable interiors, including marble bathrooms, widescreen TV and Bluetooth connectivity, complimentary Wi-Fi as well as a sensational location and stunning views across the Sydney CBD and the Darling Harbour precinct.
PARKROYAL Darling Harbour is host to ABODE Bistro & Bar. Could you tell us about ABODE Bistro & Bar and awards that your team won?
Having been recognised by the industry for the past two years as the Superior Hotel of the Year at the prestigious TAA NSW Awards for Excellence, PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney has continued its winning streak in 2018 - with its ABODE Bistro & Bar named as Restaurant of the Year (Mid-Range - Superior Hotel) at the 2018 awards announced in August.
PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney - ABODE Bistro & Bar
After first winning Restaurant of the Year in 2015 and for a second time this year, ABODE has continued to provide guests with unique food concepts and fantastic service. This award has further cemented the restaurant as a leader in food and beverage space within the hotel industry.
ABODE Bistro & Bar offers up a fantastic dining environment with a lounge, a bar, and decking area, along with a stylish dining room, combine to create a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere. Open daily for lunch and dinner, its distinctive menu featuring delicious fresh and seasonal locally sourced produce, along with a selection of boutique wines, craft beer, and signature cocktails.
What kind of special services do you offer to your guest for making their stay unforgettable?
There is a wealth of amenities and offerings at PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney that are guaranteed to put a smile on the faces of our guests - excellent value leisure packages; kids can stay and eat free; complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, including in the guestrooms, lobby and dining outlets; and our Club Rooms which provide automatic access to the Club Lounge with complimentary breakfast, all day refreshments, evening drinks and canapés, and sometimes even fireworks!
Plus, we have an amazing concierge team who are brilliant at assisting our guests and helping them navigate and prioritize their precious time in Sydney. I’ve already mentioned our award-winning restaurant ABODE Bistro & Bar a couple of times, which is not just a great place to eat, but is also the perfect spot to soak up the atmosphere and some great live music on Thursdays and Fridays.
PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney - Lobby
You have a wide range of meeting and corporate events features and options. Could you tell us about meeting and event services that you offer to your corporate clients?
Whether you are talking 3 people or 300 people, with over 1,100sqm of event space and 7 meeting rooms, including the pillar-less Blackwattle Room, we definitely have a space to suit every type of meeting and corporate event.
All our function rooms have access to the latest audio-visual technology, on-site technical support, complimentary Wi-Fi and the expertise of our professional planners. Plus, we have the space to cater for every type of function. BARKERS Restaurant and ABODE Bistro & Bar are also ideal spaces for hosting bespoke private functions.
Which services and features of PARKROYAL Darling Harbour make it different from other hotels in Sydney?
PARKROYAL’s brand proposition is The Best of You By Us and I think this is clearly reflected in everything we do, but especially in our passion for creating real connections and joyous moments for our guests, coupled with and our very strong service culture which actively celebrates inclusivity, flexibility, and empowerment.
This attitude has definitely underpinned our recognition by the Industry. In the past two years alone we have won the Superior Hotel of the Year at AHA 2018 National Awards for Excellence and the Superior Hotel of the Year TAA 2017 NSW Awards for Excellence, with several team members also winning individual awards.
What kind of additional services do you offer for business travellers?
As well as complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, we offer workspace in rooms, concierge services, a business centre, plus the previously mentioned Club rooms and Club Lounge access. We are also in a fantastic location, just 8 minutes’ walk from the Sydney Convention Centre and also close to Sydney’s CBD district.
PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney - Club Lounge
How can travellers make their individual or business/group reservations? Do you have any advantage packs that you offer to your regular and long-term guests?
Earlier this year our parent company, Pan Pacific Hotels Group(PPHG), launched Pan Pacific DISCOVERY, its guest loyalty programme, which offers members a great selection of benefits, personalised services, including an exclusive members’ rate, late check out till 3 pm and upgrades to the next room category with direct bookings.
Pan Pacific Hotels Groups by-invitation-only bookers’ programme, Pan Pacific Connections, also rewards loyal corporates bookers for booking rooms, meetings, and events at all hotels, resorts and serviced suites within the Group’s portfolio including PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney. Membership is open to both corporate accounts and individual booker accounts, with members able to earn points for every eligible stay and meeting. As well as negotiating special corporate rates, they can enjoy instant reward points for bookings, which can be used to redeem a comprehensive selection of benefits including hotel stays, dining, wellness, lifestyle and shopping products.
What can your guests do when they step out of the PARKROYAL Darling Harbour and step into the streets of Sydney? What are the most famous attractions near you?
Sydney is undoubtedly Australia’s most cosmopolitan city and offers up a huge range of attractions, from the sublime Sydney Opera House and the iconic Bondi Beach to the marvellous Taronga Zoo, plus an amazing program of annual events including the Royal Easter Show, the annual VIVID Festival and the Sydney Film Festival, not to mention magnificent national parks, an extraordinary heritage and much more.
PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney is the ideal base for exploring Sydney. Located in a premium position in the heart of the city’s bustling Darling Harbour precinct, the hotel is located close to some of Sydney’s most popular tourist attractions including The Rocks, the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, as well as the City Centre, not to mention an array of numerous award-winning restaurants and unique retail offerings right on its doorstep.
Sydney Opera House
If you have only one weekend in Sydney as a first-time visitor, in this limited time, what are the best things to do?
If time is limited here are PARKROYAL Darling Harbour Sydney’s top 5 things to do in Sydney.
Take a dip at Bondi Beach. Definitively Sydney, Bondi is one of the world’s great beaches. It’s the closest ocean beach to the city centre (8km away), has consistently good (though crowded) waves, and is great for a rough-and-tumble swim (the average water temperature is a considerate 21°C). If the sea’s angry, try the child-friendly saltwater sea baths at either end of the beach.
Explore the Sydney Opera House. Designed by Danish architect JørnUtzon, this World Heritage-listed building is Australia's most famous landmark. Visually referencing a yacht's sails, it's a soaring, commanding presence. The complex comprises five performance spaces for dance, concerts, opera, and theatre. The best way to experience the building is to attend a performance, but you can also take a one-hour guided tour. There's also a two-hour 'access all areas' backstage tour ($169), which departs at 7 am and includes breakfast in the Green Room.
Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House
Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge. Sydney siders love their giant 'coat hanger', which opened in 1932. The harbour bridge is a spookily big object - moving around town you’ll catch sight of it in the corner of your eye, sometimes in the most surprising of places. Its enormous dimensions make it the biggest (if not the longest) steel arch bridge in the world.
The best way to experience this majestic structure is on foot. Stairs climb up the bridge from both shores, leading to a footpath on the eastern side (the western side is a bike path). Climb the southeastern pylon to the Pylon Lookout or ascend the arc on the popular Bridge Climb.
Check out some great Australian Art at the Art Gallery of NSW. With its neoclassical Greek frontage and modern rear, this much-loved institution plays a prominent and gregarious role in Sydney society. Blockbuster international touring exhibitions arrive regularly and there's an outstanding permanent collection of Australian art, including a substantial Indigenous section. The gallery also plays host to lectures, concerts, screenings, celebrity talks, and children's activities. A range of free guided tours is offered on different themes and in various languages; enquire at the desk or check the website.
Head to Taronga Zoo. A 12-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay, this bushy harbour hillside is full of kangaroos, koalas and similarly hirsute Australians, plus numerous imported guests. The zoo’s critters have million-dollar harbour views but seem blissfully unaware of the privilege. Encouragingly, Taronga sets benchmarks in animal care and welfare. Highlights include the nocturnal platypus habitat, the Great Southern Oceans section and the Asian elephant display. Feedings and encounters happen throughout the day, while in summer, twilight concerts jazz things up (see www.twilightattaronga.org.au).
How do you describe Sydney in one sentence?
Exciting, dynamic, vibrant and stunning, offering up a plethora of thrills and attractions, not for nothing is Sydney known as Australia’s Emerald City.
Thank you Jeroen for this enjoyable interview.