Four Seasons Sydney: Oh, so this is why “meh” is in the dictionary



I read an article the other day on a flight to Singapore about the entry of “meh” into the common vernacular. The author posited all sorts of outlandish theories about the derivation of the word, from Ancient Hebrew to blah, blah, blah. We all know who we have to thank for this lovely adjective…The Simpsons.

When something is described as “meh,” it generally means it doesn’t evoke any strong emotions. It’s not great, it’s not horrible, it’s just not worth getting worked up over or really considering in general. If I were tech savvy enough to photoshop a faux advertising poster for the Four Seasons Sydney, I would take an exterior shot of their dated and not particularly aesthetically pleasing physical plant and stamp “meh” across the front. No caps, no exclamation point…not worth it.

The hotel is pretty much across the street from the Shangri-La, so the location is great for The Rocks, Opera House, etc…The first impression of the hotel, is the lobby, which looks like it belongs in a convention hotel. It is of the tacky type that opens upwards so that the second floor is tiered around the empty gaping space. The banal canvas is replete with overly bright lights and tacky furnishings. The check-in experience is a bit akin to arriving via Delorean at a mall in 1987 and approaching the reception desk.

Upon actually approaching that reservations desk, the poor girl first told me I had club access, then changed her mind, I did not have club access but instead a food and beverage credit. If I wanted club access, it would be $85 (get real). In the end she realized she was wrong both times. I had club access and a food and bev credit. I understand computers make mistakes, but after getting off one plane, sitting a cab, with the prospect of a long haul flight on the other end of the night, the last thing I want to do is spend 30 minutes at the desk while an employee of a “five-star” hotel trips over her own shoelaces.



With the check in farce complete, I went up to my room. The rooms are spacious and nice, but they just felt worn compared to the Shangri-La rooms. Something was off about the whole hotel. The views at the FS were virtually identical as those at the Shangri-La,  but they were marred by dirty windows. The gym was adequately stocked with machines, but they were poorly maintained and cleaned so that cup holders became collection pools for sweat. It’s as if the FS could be a good hotel, but instead they are shrugging their shoulders and saying “meh.” They know they’ll get by on name alone.

Pros: Great location. Rooms with views of the Opera House, harbor, bridge, etc…Large rooms, much better club floor than the Shangri-La

Cons: Ugly lobby, worn common areas, unhygienic gym, unrealistic prices, feels like a convention hotel

Verdict: I wouldn’t come back to the Four Seasons. They were charging significantly more than the Shangri-La and delivering an inferior product in the same location. I understand the Four Seasons brand has cache, but who wants to pay several hundred dollars more a night to stay in a worse hotel?


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