New South Wales

The Darling

The thought of staying in a casino makes my stomach a little churny and conjures up visions of 1970’s carpet redolent with old cigarette smoke and sad old people with plastic cups waiting for pennies from Heaven.

However, my usual favourites in Sydney were looking heavily booked and I thought I would give The Darling a spin, having never stayed around Pyrmont or Darling Harbour.

On this occasion, arriving at dusk, I made my way in near-blindness down a dimly lit hallway to a small reception desk with quite a queue. The cavernous lobby was off to one side, guarded by equally dim-looking security guards muttering importantly into their earpieces. The lobby was swinging with a party thrown by a local radio station. The kind that plays Deltra Goodrem. Just sayin’. Anyway, I found myself in a hurry to get up to my room.

My check in assistant, Sarah, was a girl with a nose ring and a tattoo, and she was a delight. She could not have been friendlier or more helpful.

When I finally did settle into my room, what a pleasing surprise it was. I had taken a Jewel Suite which had good views of the bridge, city skyline and harbour although it was a little industrial in the immediate area. Directly below me was the too cool for school pool with its blue and red halogen lights lit up like a landing strip.

The room itself was huge with a sexy bedroom portioned off from the sizeable living room by a wall partition housing not just the ubiquitous plasma (on both sides thankyou very much) but with interesting artworks and photography surrounding them. The finishes were sleek: purples, browns and timber combined with sharp cabinetry and nice touches like pearlised mosaics in the bathroom and glassine floor to ceiling drapes. The carpet was very plush, as was the 40’s style wallpaper. It may date but for now it looks pretty impressive.

My only grizzle was that the Minibar was weighted. Now, having a hair-trigger minibar made me feel like a criminal, and I was peeved enough to entertain thoughts of swiftly replacing the vodka mini with a shampoo mini, Indiana-Jones style. However rather than risk the release of a large boulder from the lofty ceiling, I settled for taking myself off in a huff to the local 7-Eleven to buy snacks and drinks.

As it turned out, I didn’t get there as I found Din Tai Fung and Adriano Zumbo patisserie just under the hotel; happiness all around.

I ended up having a great stay, so when the Park Hyatt is too full of brides, it’ll be the Darling, darling.