Hot spots: The Darling, Sydney
With so many luxury hotels in Sydney, why should I stay here? Well, for starters, anyone planning to visit a casino will find the hotel conveniently located within The Star complex (something to bear in mind, perhaps, should the security situation in Macau continue to deteriorate). An A$870 million (HK$7.1 billion) refurbishment of the casino complex has recently been completed, delivering 20 new restaurants, bars and cafes, upmarket retail stores and a nightclub. And, of course, there's a pool. The service deserves a mention: Darling staff go out of their way to accommodate requests.
What's the design like? The gleaming lobby certainly makes a statement. A sculpture of a gliding swallow carrying two diamond-shaped cherries in its beak hangs over the entrance.
And the rooms? There are 171 rooms including three types of suite and five penthouses with views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and as far as the Blue Mountains. A hi-tech control system operates the suites' blinds, temperature and lighting and allows guests to programme the television and even the blinds.
Don't tell me, the food is pretty tasty, too? Well, there's plenty of choice in The Star complex, including noodle bars and the small Din Tai Fung dumpling kitchen. Fine-dining restaurants include Melbourne chef Teage Ezard's Black by Ezard and David Chang's Momofuku Seiobo. Judging by the crowd at Sokyo, located on the ground floor of The Darling, Sydneysiders are in love with chef Chase Kojima's creative contemporary Japanese cuisine. Think sirloin and foie gras robata with fig, plum and wine soy.
What about the nightlife? The Marquee nightclub has twinkling views of the skyline. The main room has an LED DJ booth, two dance floors and a more intimate, quiet room.
Anything special about the spa? The treatments are inspired by Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders' Dreamtime cultures.
What's the bottom line? A standard Darling room is A$399 a night; suites range from A$1,200 to A$15,000 a night. Until August 31, one night in a Darling room costs from A$279 (Sunday to Thursday) and includes two cocktails, breakfast in bed for two and free parking.
The Darling is at The Star, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont, Sydney, Australia, tel: 61 2 9777 9000; thedarling.com.au