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.
- 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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