Q&A: Reopening the doors at Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park

GM Krister Svensson says a successful stint as a quarantine hotel has further elevated the property's service standards.

Following a successful stint as a quarantine hotel, Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park now offers even higher standards of service, hygiene and event expertise, says general manager Krister Svensson.

This article originally appeared in the Autumn issue of Spice Magazine.

Tell us about Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park’s experience as a quarantine hotel and how it has benefitted the team and the hotel during this time?

The hotel is proud to have played a part in the safe return of Australians and provided a comfortable stay as part of their mandatory 14-day quarantine period. To date, the  hotel has accommodated more than 11,000 guests and served more than 460,000 meals as part of the program as well as provided opportunities for guests to join interactive virtual activities such as wine tastings and fitness classes.

The program has allowed the hotel to continue to provide employment to over 170 associates and this has been the most significant benefit. In addition, we have been able to enhance and upgrade the hotel driveway and lobby as a result of the lower business demand and  this will provide a grand welcome to our customers as they return to the hotel.

Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park general manager Krister Svensson.
Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park general manager Krister Svensson.

The hotel’s hygiene standards would have to be extremely high for a quarantine program. How will those standards be translated throughout the hotel as normal business resumes?

The hotel has taken preventative measures in line with Marriott’s Commitment to Clean protocols which include increasing cleaning frequencies of kitchen and guest public areas, implementing strict food handling processes and tableware disinfection, offering contactless menus and payment options and providing hand sanitisers for guests and staff. All staff members are also required to wear masks and undergo daily testing for symptoms when on duty.

There are also new standards for food and beverage service for events from facilitated buffet service to bento-style delegate lunch options, which still allow for delicious meals, yet eliminate self-service by guests. We discuss all of these protocols and more with our customers pre-event to ensure they are comfortable their event will be executed with confidence.

With conferencing now open, what can business events planners and delegates expect when they visit the hotel? What has changed?

Our team has worked hard to bring to life new event protocols as guided by Marriott’s Commitment to Clean, to provide confidence to event planners and delegates when  meeting with us. Planners and delegates can still expect the highest level of service execution that we are known for, together with more detailed pre-event discussions that address everything from delegate arrival and flow, to food service and table settings, so as to ensure each event is executed within the guidelines provided by NSW Health in addition to our own protocols.

Guests will also notice a higher frequency of cleaning across the hotel’s public areas and event space, our associates wearing masks, distanced seating, hand sanitisation stations, strict food handling processes and contactless experiences.

What is your outlook on the year ahead? Are you confident Sydney will see a reboot in the business events sector?

We are confident business events will bounce back in Q3 and Q4 this year as domestic borders reopen and consumer confidence to travel and do business increases. As Australia continues to implement and explore travel bubbles with international markets, this will give greater confidence and provide opportunity for business events and corporate travel in the future.

It’s important that our industry continues to be given the opportunity to demonstrate its ability to execute events within this new framework to restore confidence in event planners to secure business events back into Sydney.

This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2021 issue of Spice Magazine.
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