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Saturday 25 February 2017

A star Sydney hotel finds itself on top of the world

The staff were all wearing broad smiles when I checked into the ultra-luxe The Darling Hotel late last week. 

My arrival coincided with the announcement that The Darling had been named as the first five-star hotel property in Sydney by the venerable Forbes Travel Guide, which has been handing out its international ratings for 60 years.

To celebrate, perhaps, the hotel upgraded me to a $1400 a night suite - a ridiculous extravagance, but a gesture I was happy to accept.

So I was all alone in one of the finest suites in the country. Think 76 square metres of space; brilliant floor-to-ceiling views; large granite and marble bathrooms with massage jets and exclusive Molton Brown accessories, and superbly equipped mini bars. 

Gerard Inzerillo, chief executive of the Forbes Travel Guide, says: "Only the best properties in the world own our coveted five-star awards."

So I was flying high, alongside Jarryd Hayne and a couple of what appeared to be supermodels (separately). 

The Langham Sydney and the Park Hyatt were the only Sydney properties to earn four stars with the InterContinental Sydney (which I do not rate that highly), InterContinental Double Bay and Shangri-La Hotel were recommended. 

The Darling was described by Forbes as having virtually flawless service and outstanding facilities. The check-in and bar staff were impeccable, my suite (as you'd expect) superb with brilliant views, and the bar staff in Sokyo, the bar and restaurant, welcoming and knowledgeable. 

My only black mark went to the security staffer whose stern approach was in stark contrast to the hotel's otherwise happy vibe. 

Crown Towers Melbourne was the only other Australian hotel to pick up five stars and be rated alongside legendary hostelries like The Ritz in Paris and The Darling, which is part of The Star entertainment complex, but completely removed from the hustle and bustle.

The hotel has its own lobby and amenities, including 171 rooms, suites and penthouses along with a 25-metre pool and a day spa. 

"Being awarded five stars by Forbes Travel Guide is such and achievement - and puts The Darling among the most reputable hotels in the world," said The Star managing director Greg Hawkins. 

"We are thrilled to have received this rating and the team has worked incredibly hard to create a level of guest service that is truly first class."

The Darling, ultra modern with electronic curtains and blinds, bespoke furniture and state-of-the-arts TVs and music systems, also won the gold medal for luxury accommodation at the 2016 NSW Tourism Awards and was named one of the 60 best new hotels in the world by Conde Naste Traveler when it opened in 2012. 

The Forbes Travel Guide for 2017 has just 175 five-star hotels globally.

The Darling, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont, NSW 2009. (02) 9777 9000.  

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