Review: The Darling Hotel, Sydney shows a winning hand

As the more luxurious of The Star’s two hotels, a stay at The Darling could be the ace up your sleeve on a visit to Sydney.

Overall Rating

By Matt Lennon, April 14 2022
The Darling Hotel, Sydney shows a winning hand
Country

Australia

City

Sydney

Hotel

The Darling

Rating

5-star

Room

Adored Suite

Notes
The Good
  • Separate bedroom and living spaces
  • Guests have access to The Star Grand's facilities but not vice-versa
The Bad
  • Poor wayfinding to some restaurants
X-Factor
  • On-site casino, theatres, restaurants, and boutique shopping
Location
Rooms
Meals
Overall

Introduction

The Star Sydney is an ‘all-in’ showcase of entertainment, activity and leisure for locals and visitors to the NSW capital, located in a corner pocket of Pyrmont, near Darling Harbour.

It’s a major drawcard for high rollers and non-gamblers alike looking for a glitzy night out with a world-class selection of fine dining, theatre entertainment, or a stay at one of two luxury hotels - The Star Grand and its more glamorous sister, The Darling.

Welcome to The Darling, Sydney.
Welcome to The Darling, Sydney.

Let’s roll the dice and take a closer look at what The Darling has to offer.

Location & Impressions

The Darling is part of The Star Sydney, by far the dominant development in the inner-city suburb of Pyrmont. You'll find it around five minutes’ walk from the famous Darling Harbour and a further ten or so to the CBD.

It’s easy to miss the main entrance to The Darling. An address search will direct you to 80 Pyrmont Street, however entry is actually via Jones Bay Road at the other end of the block.

Find The Darling at the end of The Star's main Jones Bay Road driveway.
Find The Darling at the end of The Star's main Jones Bay Road driveway.

There’s a light rail station underneath which can take you to Darling Harbour, further into the city or to Sydney’s inner-west and of course, there’s no shortage of taxis either.

The lobby is enormous but light on seating if you need to wait for your room. Unfortunately, there’s no digital key function so you’ll need to collect it the traditional way.

Room

At only 114 rooms and suites, The Darling is about one-third the size of The Star Grand, but what it lacks in overall room numbers is offset by the generous space within them. We’re checking in to #988, an Adored Suite on the ninth floor.

The large living room features a couch, executive armchair and dining space for four.
The large living room features a couch, executive armchair and dining space for four.

The front door opens to a somewhat underwhelming foyer and corridor which leads to a spacious main living room.

In the corner is the bedroom door, inside which you’ll find a king bed and a walk-in wardrobe.

The walk-in wardrobe is positioned behind the full-size mirror.
The walk-in wardrobe is positioned behind the full-size mirror.

The bathroom features twin showers and a huge spa tub overlooking the harbour and some adjacent office buildings.

The bathroom is almost as big as the bedroom.
The bathroom is almost as big as the bedroom.

While the view is welcome, it's a bit exposed so thankfully there's a button at the bathroom door to lower the automatic blinds and protect your privacy.

Work

The Adored Suite features a desk built into a cavity to the right of the living room television. Here, you’ll find HDMI, USB, VGA and AV connections for an external device and a universal power point. There’s also a QR code where you can order in-room dining from three of The Star’s restaurants.

Technically, the desk is the cavity to the right of the television.
Technically, the desk is the cavity to the right of the television.

While Chromecast is the more widely-known method of viewing your own entertainment on a hotel television, The Darling’s televisions are instead compatible with a system called ‘MyAway’. Download the app before you arrive and instructions on how to connect are available through the screen itself.

Eat

Dining is a mastered art form at The Star and The Darling. There’s no fewer than 11 restaurants open, so whatever you’re craving, you’ll find it. Eventually…

While most of the restaurants are clearly signposted, the entrance to Harvest Buffet was frustratingly inconspicuous, hidden at the top of an unmarked staircase within the food court.

The stairs to the left mark the inconspicuous entrance to Harvest Buffet.
The stairs to the left mark the inconspicuous entrance to Harvest Buffet.

Once you find it and enter, you'll see Harvest Buffet rivals any of the famous smorgasbords you’ll find in Las Vegas. Breakfast featured copious quantities of all the usual hot brekky staples plus a selection of Asian dishes.

There's plenty to go around at Harvest Buffet
There's plenty to go around at Harvest Buffet

In the evening, we booked a table at Cucina Porto – The Star’s casual Italian pizza parlour. The menu features an excellent selection of cheese, antipasti, pasta, pizza, seafood and dessert and all well priced too.

The Star's casual Italian eatery, Cucina Porto.
The Star's casual Italian eatery, Cucina Porto.

Other dining options at The Star include Japanese at Sokyo, the classic Black Bar and Grill steakhouse, luxury seafood at Flying Fish, Cantonese at The Century, 1980’s burger joint Bar Nexus and coming soon, an element-based sensory dining experience at ‘Ele’ by Federico & Karl.

Relax

For as much as The Star is about activity and excitement, it also does serenity and tranquility very well. Tucked away on Level 2 of the hotel, you’ll find The Darling Spa.

Treatment rooms for both couples and singles are available at The Darling Spa.
Treatment rooms for both couples and singles are available at The Darling Spa.

There are 11 treatment rooms, including a couples room, an authentic Moroccan Hamman, steam room and jacuzzi.

The pool and spa are excellent places to catch some rays.
The pool and spa are excellent places to catch some rays.

Higher up on Level 5, there’s a 25-metre swimming pool heated to a comfortable 26 degrees year-round and a bubble spa, both open from 8am - 8pm daily.

The Verdict

The Star is abuzz with activity almost every night of the year. Whether you’re catching a show, enjoying a delicious meal or trying your luck in the casino, there’s a highly energised and social atmosphere at every turn.

The lobby at The Darling is warm and inviting.
The lobby at The Darling is warm and inviting.

But unless you know your way around, locating some of the facilities can be time consuming. If your heart is set on a particular restaurant prior to showtime, it may be wise to scout your surroundings in advance.

If combining work with play, some modifications may be needed in the room to make your stay a little more comfortable. But if space to stretch out is what you’re after, The Darling’s oversized rooms deliver this in spades.

The writer stayed as a guest of The Darling and The Star Entertainment Group.

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Feb 2022

Total posts 6

Great review! Separate living and bedroom is always a huge plus! Wonder how this compares with Crown's new offerings.....


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