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Sydney Harbour Marriott puts finishing touches to a $15 million transformation

Refurbishment of Sydney Harbour Marriott hotel is part of a changing hotel sector in the capital. Photo: supplied “Part of the repositioning of the hotel is the arrival area for the guests, which is now seen as one of the most important for travellers,” said the general manager of the Sydney Harbour Marriott, Jennifer Brown. Photo: Supplied
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The Sydney Harbour Marriott in Circular Quay gets two more restaurants, a fresh lobby and a new reception. Photo: Supplied

The Sydney Harbour Marriott hotel has undertaken a $15 million refurbishment as it prepares for a busy few years as visitation increases at the new International Convention Centre.

The hotel sector is one of the busiest with a number of new developments across the Sydney city area, in what is described as an undersupplied market.

These include the soon-to-open Sydney Sofitel at Darling Harbour, the new Hyatt Regency, formerly the Four Points Sheraton, the Ribbon site and the planned Ritz-Carlton at The Star, also at Pyrmont.

The new ICC will allow a vast increase in the number of conferences and exhibitions, which will lead to a rise in demand for hotel rooms in coming years.

The general manager of the Sydney Harbour Marriott, Jennifer Brown, said with the rise in social media, hotels needed to be ahead of guests with connectivity, up-to-date food and beverage and offer services for travellers of different generations, from Baby Boomers to Millennials.

“Part of the repositioning of the hotel is the arrival area for the guests, which is now seen as one of the most important for travellers,” Ms Brown said.

“We offer a booking app, to make the arrival and departure as seamless as possible, so guests can start enjoying the hotel without standing in a queue and filling out forms.”

Ms Brown said having technology, such as WiFi, phone and other device charging stations and other connectivity, was as important as having a bathroom or bed.

“With the rise of social media, first impressions count more and the experience of the rooms and hotel is a priority,” she said.

“Opened in 1989, Sydney Harbour Marriott has been a long-standing Sydney institution for 28 years. Drawing on both local and international expertise, this transformation will position the hotel as a serious contender in Sydney’s food and drink scene.”

Included in the new development is a 120-seat restaurant called Silvester’s, as well as a laneway venue called Three Bottle Man. Custom’s House Bar will also be relaunched.

Ms Brown said the redevelopment of the nearby Circular Quay with the AMP tower and the Dalian​ Wanda project at the former Gold Fields House will attract a wide range of people to the area, from new residents to corporate travellers and local tourists.

International arrivals to continue to increase with the largest growth originating from China, according to Gus Moors, head of hotels at Colliers International.

“Chinese visitor arrivals have increased exponentially from 100,000 in the year 2000, to over 1 million for the year ending June 2016,” Mr Moors said.

Ms Brown said the hotel had Mandarin-speaking staff to cater for the growth in the inbound Chinese tourists.

She said all hotels must offer bilingual staff to ensure all guests were welcome and felt at ease.

Mr Moors said the new supply of hotel rooms was considered to be an overall positive for cities with strong overall market fundamentals such as Sydney and Melbourne and would “further help to revitalise these cities”.

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