The Darling Sydney
THE STAR, 80 PYRMONT STREET, PYRMONT
NSW 2009 AUSTRALIA
RESERVATIONS: 1800 800 830
INTL PH: +61 (0)2 9777 9000
My Rating: 89%
Price Rating: $$$$
Summary of Stay: I specifically handpicked this hotel after my first hotel experience in Sydney was disappointing. I wanted to ensure that this stay would end my Australian holiday on a high note and I got exactly what I was hoping for. If you are young, stylish and monied, The Darling is the place for you. Even though it’s only been open a few years, the hotel has won a collection of awards including most recently the International Five Star Hotel Standard.
The staff are young and attractive and are the perfect fit for this hip modern hotel. Upon arrival you’re welcomed by a group of attentive staff. Porters will assist with luggage, the valet will greet you and the doorman will walk you in directly to the front desk. The lobby is more of an art installation than a place to conduct business.
Check-in was a breeze and before I went to my room, I was introduced to the head concierge who inquired about how he could make my stay memorable. I told him that I was a bit of a foodie and his eyes lit up. Seeing his eagerness, I mentioned that I had tried but wasn’t able to get a reservation for Nomad, the hottest restaurant in Sydney at the time. A flash of panic and excitement blazed across his eyes. He asked me to leave it with him.
Up to my room with the porter and I was welcomed to a warm and bright room with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the pool and the rest of the STAR complex. Everything was new and shiny and there was an overabundance of lighting. The bathroom had an open concept sink and mirror area with a private room for the toilet and another private room which housed the shower, both behind blacked out glass. The toiletries were exclusive Molton Brown products that were to my taste.
Connected to the hotel is the STAR complex; a multi-entertainment complex that includes an international shopping mall with stores like Gucci and Ferragamo, high end food court and top restaurants, the Lyric Theatre, several clubs, lounges and a casino. During my stay, I took in a show at the Lyric Theatre, played at the casino and ate at several of the restaurants. The most notable restaurant was Momofuku Seiobo which is overwhelmed with culinary accolades.
The hotel has a full spa which I did not have time to enjoy but which had a variety of treatments, many of which were original and intriguing. The hotel does also have it’s own pool - which never seemed busy. I did not see a gym but I believe that guests have access to a gym offsite.
Highlight of the Hotel: Attention to detail. The pool is installed with underwater speakers and is infused with white tea and eucalyptus. The room has several lighting options including one dedicated to the consumption of martinis. Toiletries are exclusive to the hotel and were refreshing. My room had a bowl of candy which was refreshed daily. Electronic blackout blinds ensured you could get your beauty rest after a wild night out on the town.
Highlight of the Stay: The concierge came through for me and was able to get me a coveted reservation at Nomad. The concierge team also assisted in helping me select a Hunter Valley vineyard tour and provided several options including a private car and driver that they had personally used to rave reviews. I also had a tuxedo custom made in Australia that unfortunately was not able to be completed before I left. The concierge team, who was expecting the tuxedo to be delivered to them, offered to make arrangements to have it shipped home to me if required. The staff went above and beyond to ensure I was well looked after.
Drawbacks: The hotel is located approximately ten minutes from the CBD (Central Business District) and a bit further to the main nightlife and shopping of Oxford Street. However, that is a small price to pay when taxis are readily available and inexpensive.