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“Wheelchair Access Notes - Good but pity about the bed...!”
Review of The Darling

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The Darling
Ranked #6 of 178 Hotels in Sydney
Certificate of Excellence
MD
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Wheelchair Access Notes - Good but pity about the bed...!”
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank WheelchairTravelNote
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Sydney, Australia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed July 7, 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
Helpful?
5 Thank K B
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
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank silentguest g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed July 3, 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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank WCMI-Manager
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nsw central coast
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed July 3, 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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank auzziegal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mordialloc, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
86 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed July 3, 2013

The Darling is a good hotel in a great quiet location. The staff are quite aloof though and probably need a lesson in courtesy considering the price one pays to stay here. The coffee machine in the room is rather good as are the teas that are provided. We had coffee each morning with scones or Danish pastries which we purchased daily from the mall across the road.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank isaaustralia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed June 23, 2013 via mobile

Rooms are average size with the typical amenities. Great location for getting around the city. Casino is just a quick 5minute walk inside the hotel. I liked the hotel overall except checking took to long. Waited for room for 45min after flying over the pond. We were late arriving too.... which should have given them more time to clear rooms. There are a ton of great restaurants in the hotel area. Plus shopping. Business stay was fine. Not sure I would select for a family get away.

Stayed June 2013, traveled on business
Helpful?
Thank Mlbmc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Darling

Property: The Darling
Address: 80 Pyrmont St, Sydney, New South Wales 2009, Australia
Phone Number:
Location: Australia > New South Wales > Sydney
Amenities:
Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 178 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):
The Darling is located at The Star Sydney and is a key feature of Sydney’s leading entertainment destination. The hotel was designed as a stand-alone structure, with its own arrival experience, amenities and alluring personality. Housed in a distinctive inverted glass tower resting on a sandstone podium, the hotel features 171 stylish and spacious rooms, suites and penthouses, a 25-metre outdoor heated swimming pool, world-class cuisine and an indulgent day spa. The Darling is honoured to be the first Sydney hotel to be awarded a prestigious Forbes Five-Star rating. A Forbes Travel Guide Star Rating is the most coveted award in the global luxury travel sector. Properties awarded Five-Stars are considered outstanding and are often iconic with virtually flawless service and facilities. ... more   less 
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