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“Perfect romantic getaway” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Darling

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The Darling
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   80 Pyrmont Street | at The Star, Sydney, New South Wales 2009, Australia   |  
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Ranked #17 of 185 Hotels in Sydney
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Sydney, Australia
1 review
“Perfect romantic getaway”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2013

I stayed at The Darling for a special occasion with my husband. I wanted it to be romantic and the staff were amazing and helped me get every detail perfect from the artistically strewn rose petals, candles, massage oil, champagne, chocolates... you get the drift. The room was extremely well appointed and comfortable. Faultless. However it was the staff that really blew me away. They gave the impression that they were just as excited for me as I was for myself which was a nice touch. Even the guy who opened the taxi door when I first arrived knew all the details of what they had arranged for me. He did not have to look up my details - he just knew and he was so enthusiastic about everything I had waiting for me in my room. He handled everything perfectly and was just as good when I was leaving. The staff also liaised with me on the timing of each detail that unfolded. Nothing was too much trouble. I felt so special which I guess is what they were trying to achieve and goes way beyond good service. I am pretty ruthless when I analyse service but they aced it. I absolutely recommend The Darling if you want any kind of memorable experience. They will help make it happen.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Elisha Z, General Manager at The Darling, responded to this review, July 24, 2013
Dear Toni W,

Thanks very much for your kind words. I couldn't be happier that your romantic getaway here went off without a hitch. It's always a pleasure to provide our guests with a memorable experience!

We place great importance on having a team that goes that extra step, and to provide a level of service that meets expectations. I hope we get the opportunity to welcome you here again sometime in the future.

Best regards,
Elisha Zhin
General Manager, Hotels
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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504 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (152)
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Australia
Top Contributor
159 reviews 159 reviews
101 hotel reviews
Reviews in 92 cities Reviews in 92 cities
132 helpful votes 132 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2013

The Darling Hotel is a stylish newish hotel connected to the Star Casino. If you ignore the Casino and keep looking in the opposite direction it is quite a nice option. The hotel is located only 4 minutes walk from Darling Harbour. This makes it a good option for the conference participant or tourist wanting to avoid the tourist trap Darling Harbour precinct with its overpriced ugg boots and stuffed Koala shops.

The hotel is only a 10 minute walk from the CBD but 20 -30 minutes from Sydney Opera House and the Bridge. The surrounding suburb Pyrmont has some great local eateries and Jones Bay Wharf with the great Flying Fish Restaurant close by.

The Darling has a great design aesthetic with a light lobby full of stone, glass and designer furniture. Well presented desk staff handled check in efficiently. I wasn’t able to get a harbour view room as featured on the website. Instead I had a Pyrmont view room looking over the rooftops of the suburbs.
The room was nicely designed with a prominent bathroom sink area with separate shower and toilet cubicles. A nespresso machine, small but functional desk area, good sized TV and comfortable bed helped the room feel functional and attractive.
The hotel is connected to the Casino mall with it top class restaurants including Momofuku Seibo and Ezard Black. A range of other food options from food court to a supermarket close by help with catering. Good coffee can be found at a coffee shop just outside the rear entrance of the hotel.
The swimming pool is outside on a lower roof. It is long enough for lap swimmers and has an expansive area and bar for relaxation and sun bathing.

A few niggles with the staff emerged during my stay. One pet annoyance that I have commented on elsewhere in the world again reared its head when I was waiting for the Concierge. I was directed to the desk staff who seemed to have very little information on hand to answer my questions. The concierge is there for a reason and should have a higher level of knowledge and customer service capacity than any other staff member, so why palm off guests to other staff?
The other annoyance was when I stumbled out of a secondary door rather than the main door of the hotel and then went to the attendants at the entrance and asked for a taxi. I was told to walk 100m down to the Casino to get a taxi at the rank there. No problem for me, perhaps the staff member thought I was a random off the street. Whatever it was it was a slip that shouldn’t happen.
I recommended this hotel for a stylish option in Pyrmont. If you want a swish new designer hotel for casino or convention this is the place. Enjoy the aesthetics of the pretty, young staff but don’t expect faultless service.

Room Tip: Not all rooms are harbour view, ask and ask again.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Elisha Z, General Manager at The Darling, responded to this review, July 24, 2013
Dear DiboTraveller,

Thanks for taking the time to leave your review. As you mentioned our close proximity to Darling Harbour makes The Darling very convenient for conference attendees, and Pyrmont itself has some hidden gems in terms of nice bars and restaurants.

I'm sorry your experience with our Concierge wasn't what it should have been - we're always looking to improve our service and I'll be sure to pass on your comments.

Best regards,
Elisha Zhin
General Manager, Hotels
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Sydney, Australia
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2013

I booked The Darling on the winter special rate which was great value. We decided to upgrade to the Jewel suite due to the great price. The room itself was nicely appointed and spacious. The super size TV in the living room was great, along with the floor to ceiling windows.

The big let down was the view. The website photos are much better than real life. The Astral Apartment building is adjacent to The Darling so you look into a wall of other rooms. Also the theatre is directly in front of The Darling and this obstructs the view of the harbour. When making our booking we requested a high floor. When we checked in we were assigned a room on the 8th floor, I was very disappointed when I looked out the window. I rang reception to see if they had a room on a higher floor and sure enough one was available on the 11th floor. Still not the best, but a definite improvement.

The service was also a little lacklustre. We left a carry bag with the valet and assumed it would be left with our other bags. When we returned to the hotel it was left unattended by the valet desk, instead of locked away. We also had a problem with the TV reception and it took a while for a call back from AV.

If you want a bath make sure you start running the water about half an hour before you want to get in, it takes a long time.

It was also disappointing that only one casino restaurant was open on a Sunday night.

The pool was large, but the area surrounding it was cold, no sunshine in winter.

Room Tip: Must be a high floor if you want harbour views
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Elisha Z, General Manager at The Darling, responded to this review, July 24, 2013
Dear AussieChickSydney,

Thank you for posting your review on your recent stay with us. The Winter offer has indeed been very popular and I'm glad you had the opportunity to take advantage of it, and also to experience our Jewel Suite.

Regarding the view from your room, these do vary depending on the side and floor of the hotel you're on. We'll take on board your comments and see if there's anything we can do to better communicate this to our website visitors.

Impeccable service is always our goal, so I'll make sure your feedback is noted.

Kind regards,
Elisha Zhin
General Manager, Hotels
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MD
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2013

These notes are intended to provide guidance for wheelchair users considering this hotel. If you are looking for comments on the hotel experience see the other reviews. The conclusion: a lovely hotel with interesting and elegant features, but the high bed in the accessible room means I would not recommend it for wheelies.

The hotel is located close to Darling Harbour. We arrived without a car, walking up Union St. Access to the hotel was a little hard to find. You can go through the Star Centre but you can also access the hotel from Union St. directly. Looking from the street you see a rotating door, with steps behind so it does not look accessible. In fact, there is a button operated automatic door and a lift to the lobby hidden from view. It's a lot clearer if you arrive at the front by car!

The lobby area is fully accessible with hard floors. Sokyo restaurant and bar are directly accessible from the lobby

The wheelchair accessible room I booked was a King bed. I was told that they do not offer any other configuration in an accessible room. The room was close to the elevator with carpet flooring in the corridor. The room is large with sufficient space to get around. The work desk is at the end of the bed, and a circular utility table was also placed at the end of the bed. The table had to be moved in order to make room for the chair between bed and desk. There is plenty of access around the bed. All light switches are easy to get to, as is the control for the blinds and the air conditioning. The TV remote control was left in a leather pouch by the bed.

The minibar and its accoutrements is easy to get to. The closet has two sliding doors. The hangrails are not lowered but I could still reach them. The iron was out of reach from a wheelchair. While there are light switches placed close to the bed to control all light in the room, it is quite a challenge to reach them from the bed without falling out! However the TV remote had a "room off" button which turns off every light in the room. Unfortunately there is no equivalent "room on" button!

The bed was about 28" (700mm) high and was nearly impossible to get into from my chair. It is disappointing to see The Darling following the current trend for very high beds. This one was way too high for a comfortable transfer and the act of getting into bed was exhausting and risky.

The bathroom is large with plenty of circulation space. The toilet has plenty of space around it and would support anything from a 0 degree (parallel) to a 180 degree transfer. It is very far from the wall with no back support which makes sitting on it and balancing very tiring and ultimately dangerous. However, this seems it be an Australian access regulation requirement more than a specific design of the hotel as I have seen it in many public toilets. The grab rails were well placed which helps. The sink was easy to access with ample under sink knee room. The shower was large with a good solid large fold down shower seat. All controls were easy to reach from the seat. There was a hand held shower rose and a centre ceiling mounted "rain shower". The rain shower kind of misses you when you are on the seat though. The hand held rose was clipped to a rail on the wall that had a clever lever coming down which meant you could adjust the rose right up to even it's highest level. Towels were placed in easy reach and there were plenty of them.

The Darling is a high end hotel with great design, great finishes and lots of attention to detail. The electrics in the room suffer a bit from design over function. Ultimately, a well designed and functional accessible room was completely negated by an inaccessible bed. Not recommended...unfortunately as I loved so many things about this hotel.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

I stayed here on my wedding night close to six months ago. Valet at The Darling reversed my car into a pole whilst trying to get the car out. The gentleman who crashed the car was very apologetic and provided me with an incident report of what had happened. After a long six months of a number of phone calls, The Darling/The Star have decided not to accept liability, when the incident report CLEARLY states that Valet had crashed my car. Worst customer service ever. It wasn't even an expensive car... I don't know how they think they can get away with this. All in all don't bother staying here if you want your car to stay in one piece!

Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Elisha Z, General Manager at The Darling, responded to this review, July 19, 2013
Dear K B,

I'm sorry to read about your experience at The Darling earlier this year. I've looked into this situation and have been informed that this has indeed been resolved with liability admitted on our end.

We'd greatly appreciate you calling our Guest Services team on 02 9657 8744 to discuss further.

Kind regards,
Elisha Zhin
General Manager, Hotels
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2013

I find myself in Sydney only 2 or 3 times a year, but have now come to make the Darling my Sydney hotel of choice.

Front Desk Customer Service/Duty Managers
The Darling has succeeded in creating one of the most welcoming experiences of a 5-star establishment on arrival, and continues this sense of exemplary Customer Service in a unique way - casual and friendly; without missing a beat.
Particular mention of excellent service (from both previous and current visits) should be made of:
•Ti (not sure of spelling; the lady who just married 2 weeks ago, back from leave on 3-11pm shift)
•Jaydn (spelling?) - on night shift
•Renato - Assistant Duty Manager various shifts
•Shaun (not this visit, I think he's been transferred to Astral?)

Renato is simply the best Hotel Manager I have ever encountered. He takes out time for the guest, anticipating their needs, demonstrating lateral thinking in options to solve any problem and a level of warmth that is rarely seen in the competitive world of hospitality. I have noticed this exemplary customer service attitude and ethos in Renato previously, and would imagine that his professionalism will be the singular factor in many return-visits of existing guests. I personally have/will advise friends/associates to "when in Sydney, stay at the Darling" based on Renato's unique delivery of Hospitality!

Jaydn is new to me but is fast approaching a combination of "so personable" whilst being "so professional" - possibly under the mentorship of Renato and Francis. At one point, we couldn't locate Hot Chocolate sachets ( could that be remedied?), but before I could protest, Jaydn had arranged complimentary delivery of two Hot Chocolates, made by Room Service. Simple, little gestures like that = return visits!

I unfortunately did not see Shaun this visit (as he was not rostered at the Darling), but his previous Customer Service was excellent. This time we spoke only on the phone, and he was very helpful, as expected.

Ti also demonstrates the personable qualities, so rare in this sector, because many staff "put it on' whereas Darling staff really demonstrate authentic interest in the Guest, thus their customer service is sincere, leading to happy guests.

Also, wish to point out that I was very pleased my "Silent Guest" status was immediately activated from my Profile setting - something that often doesn't work so efficiently at other establishments.

Ambience
The casualness of the Darling suits me perfectly - whether it's staff with open-neck shirts, signage, artwork, etc.
The rooms/suites are wonderful, not just the amenity (which I really enjoy) toiletries, pillow choices, technology (but why are the curtains electronic but not the sheers?), telephone facility, etc etc

Little things I've noticed: I love the scrabble board design in the room, the old books (without covers) in the Lobby, the darkness of the lobby at night - just needs a bit of candle-light, and it would be perfect!

Signage/Access to Level 1
A little item - signage was unclear at 2 places:
Now that you are not using Ist Floor access to the Star, signage is needed (other than at foot of stirs in Lobby). I have previously appreciated Ist floor access, and do feel this should be reversed, soon. However, in the meantime, the lift simply does not respond to "pressing 1" - but there is no sign explaining "temporary lack of access" etc.
(Likewise in the casino, there needs to be more signage/explanation about access to Darling, I feel). You may have gaming guests who would appreciate discretion in being able to access gaming floor from the Darling more discreetly.

On Level 2 at the Spa, the sign outside the lifts still says "Casino - 1" (currently untrue!).

At the Ground Floor, the sign tries to say "Spa on 2"... but the "2" is broken at the bottom, so reads like a "9", implying the Spa Floor is on Level 9, instead of Level 2(where it is actually!) Little things, but simple, I hope, to remedy.

General comment about Spa entry - no signage at all pointing to the door! We walked left from the lift, left at the Entrance (no signage!), and right down the corridor to the fire-door! Eventually knocked and knocked at the correct door, because it was not clear that it would open. Giving up, we left the door, when staff arrived, explaining "others have had this problem". Management, please fix! A simple "please push/pull" would have sufficed!

Reservation system
On-line system did not work for us. We tried to book on-line, found the Winter Special (only on-line) but IT system crashed several times. Eventually was able to still this promo on the phone, but IT should be addressed. Otherwise, website is very good.

Bell Boys/Concierge
Always a pleasure - polite, efficient, incredibly friendly and helpful - especially the older gentleman (Anton?). This creates a first impression that is priceless!

Breakfast Dining
Always a problem! I do NOT like Garden Buffet (by the way, where's the Garden??) It is a simple Cafeteria, not at all fitting for a 5-star property! Food is medium, staff individually are ok-good, presentation is terrible! Looks cheap, food is thus not expected to be good. We would never return if we want coffee. I don't mind this being breakfast buffet eatery for Main gaming floor Gaming patrons - but it is TOTALLY NOT APPROPRIATE as Breakfast Room for the Darling. Sadly, this totally spoils an otherwise fanatastic Darling experience!

I had previously used "Bistro?something....? 80", at Astral - which was top-level breakfast experience, just a little far from the Darling. You really need a better breakfast choice, of your standard.

Thus I discovered Antidote! No Buffet, not much choice for food, absolutely wonderful coffee (thanks Karin?). Food was only pastries and pre-made meat-wraps/sandwiches, but as I am vegetarian, they organised me especially cheese and tomato option, thank you very much to Christian? Atmosphere wonderful, more non-smoking tables outdoor urgently needed, and their coffee and customer service is 10/10. Maybe they could/should take over Garden Buffet as well...

The Star
Usual experience - no feedback here, except Vegetarian Spring Rolls at Fat Noodle are excellent, and their customer service is really very good. Bella is another story, not for now.

Telephone answering - Customer Service
We frequently had too wait far too long when using the room telephone, just the ringing and ringing, and sometimes the length of time the "hold" messages play. One time we timed 4 minutes til we got an answer, another time was longer. It is not the fault of the operators as far as I can tell, perhaps Star needs to simply hire more people!

Most were helpful, one (Suzanne?) particularly so. However some made our life harder, finding is numbers "which were the number you are seeking" which were quite wrong! Sadly, all of that does not reflect well, and is frustrating.

Housekeeping Department
One of the best-kept secrets! They are fantastic, and prompt! Three times we requested something - 3 times it arrived within moments! Pillows, a kettle, something else. And at regular tasks, staff were polite, efficient - and the room was so clean! They are to be congratulated! A question though- do they wipe remotes and other gadgets with antiseptic every day? Regarding hygiene, I have read that more germs are found in hotel rooms than anywhere else!

Overall 9/10

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2013

Wow this was the nicest room I've stayed in. From the time we pulled up to vallet parking our experience was wonderful. we felt special. it was nice to be treated so professionally but warm and friendly at the same time. Beautiful extras in the room such as lilac sateen sheets luxurious towels, robes, bedding and extra touches such as the electronic opening blinds mood lighting and rain shower etc, has style, very modern and luxurious. It has a coffee machine big screen tv and is very quiet and so clean and smelt clean. The lobby was spotless smelt fresh and staff were lovely. We got an online special of $210 a fair rate when u compare to other hotels. Definitely plan to stay again.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about The Darling

Address: 80 Pyrmont Street | at The Star, Sydney, New South Wales 2009, Australia
Phone Number:
Location: Australia > New South Wales > Sydney
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #17 of 185 Hotels in Sydney
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Darling 5*
Number of rooms: 171
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to The Darling. 171 rooms and views from the Sydney Harbour to the Blue Mountains, Sydney's most lovingly detailed hotel is now open at The Star.***Named one of the Top 60 Best New Hotels in the World by Condé Nast Traveller******Winner of Best New Hotel Construction and Design 2012 at the Asia-Pacific International Hotel Awards***DISTINCTIVELY DARLING FEATURESFloor-to-Ceiling GlassOur rooms feature floor-to-ceiling glass and windows that open to showcase what are possibly the best views in Sydney.The Darling BedOnce you've slept on a Darling bed, you'll be reluctant to leave it. Every one features a customised 1000 spring mattress, 400 thread count 100% Egyptian cotton bed linen and a goose down comforter. A menu of 12 luxury pillows is offered for your comfort.Molton Brown ProductsEvery bathroom contains a range of Molton Brown products, exclusive in Australian hotels, to The Darling.Rain ShowerheadsEvery bathroom comes with a relaxing rain showerhead and a European wand.Control Four Integrated SystemComplete control is at your fingertips. One touch of a button and you can do anything – from lower your blinds to adjust the air temperature.EXPERIENCE THE SPA AT THE DARLINGOur spa has 16 private rooms – including an intimate couples suite – and every one of them is devoted to making you look incredible, and feel even better.We offer signature Asian and European treatments, a hamam and a level of pampering that is unparalleled ... more   less 
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