By Rhonda Bannister
There’s no doubt that Sydney is the star for a romantic honeymoon, holiday or short break. It’s got the harbour, the bridge, the opera house, the beaches, the zoo — and now the state’s only luxury hotel to score a prestigious Forbes five-star rating … six years in a row!
With a Sydney weekend well overdue, we had to investigate further…
First impressions count. So, when you’re treated like royalty from the moment of arrival, with a porter ushering you into the jaw-dropping lobby for a very personable check-in, you know you’re staying somewhere exceptional. Recognised as the gold standard in luxury accommodation, sharing rarefied air with the world’s most iconic hotels and resorts, The Darling offers guests an elevated level of, well, everything. From the sophisticated design and impeccable service to countless well-considered details, it’s easy to see what enamoured Forbes Travel Guide (the only independent global rating system for luxury hotels, restaurants and spas).
The Darling Spa has also been awarded a four-star rating from Forbes and offers Sydney’s ultimate urban escape on the hotel’s second floor. Spoil your darling with a Couples Bath Ritual in a private duo treatment suite and linger longer to enjoy the saltwater Jacuzzi, Moroccan hammam chamber and Tea Room. You can also peruse the gym’s high-tech fitness equipment (“later” we promised, with fingers crossed behind our backs) or chase the sun to the fifth floor to dip in the heated swimming pool.
Best room for two
At 115m2, our seventh-floor Adored Suite was as big as our home apartment! Wrapped with floor-to-ceiling windows and a gloriously unobstructed 180-degree view, the living room included a plush lounge, dining suite and bar, and a big-screen TV that proved almost redundant considering the compelling day-to-night vistas. The sumptuous feel flowed through to a generous bedroom, complete with comfy king bed dressed in 100% Egyptian cotton linen and a walk-in closet.
For me though, the star of the show was the marble bathroom with twin vanities (I hate sharing a sink!), Balmain amenities and, delight of all delights, a sexy circular spa bath where I spent many pleasurable hours sipping Champagne and soaking in the views. Heaven on a stick.
If you want to take your stay to the next level, go ahead and splurge because life doesn’t get much sweeter than in an Adored Suite.
As part of The Star complex, you’ll have excellent wining and dining options right on your doorstep. My tip for a Sydney short break is to pre-book at least one of the signature fine-dining restaurants for a romantic dinner. Try the beautiful Sokyo for innovative modern Japanese, BLACK Bar & Grill for wood-fired steaks and seafood or the new ELE by Federico & Karl for a sensory degustation-style experience from esteemed chefs Federico Zanellato and Karl Firla.
It wasn’t an easy choice, but BLACK Bar & Grill won out for its reputation as one of the country’s finest steakhouses, helmed by international star and master of the grill, Dany Karam. We knew we’d made the right call when we saw the glittering harbour view from our front-row table, witnessed the hive of activity in the open kitchen and smelt the premium cuts of beef cooking over the charcoal flames — perfection! If you love a good steak, I recommend putting this high on your cuisine bucket list.
When it came to a delicious morning treat, we couldn’t go past the breakfast menu at one of Sydney’s most beloved Japanese restaurants, Sokyo. The Chilli Crab Omelette is sensational, and their star dish, Dengakuman (miso-glazed toothfish, Japanese pickles, miso soup and nori), had me fondly reminiscing about our last trip to Japan, shortly before the P-word grounded us all.
Couples will love
Settle into a velvet lounge at The Star’s very stylish G&Tea for their High Tea of delicious cakes and sandwiches washed down with a glass of Möet. When the stars come out to play, enjoy evening drinks in the glamorous Sokyo Lounge, where bartenders conjure up the most delectable cocktails from exquisite Japanese ingredients. Much like a stay at The Darling, one is never enough!
The Star Sydney
80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont