“Are you staying in a hotel 500 metres from your house?”
This was the comment left by a friend on the humble brag I uploaded to Facebook from the PARKROYAL Darling Harbour on Friday night. And indeed I was, all in the name of research, of course. After experiencing the Ultimate Day Out In Sydney, PARKROYAL Darling Harbour invited me to check out one of their swish Club Rooms. So because I like to review these type of things just for you ( and, lets be honest, who doesn’t like a good excuse to have someone else cook breakfast and make the bed in the morning?), I readily accepted.
PARKROYAL Darling Harbour is more accessible from Sydney public transport than I imagined. It has superb views of Darling Harbour but sits just back from the waterfront, which means the entrance is only a short walk from Town Hall or Museum train stations.
I was immediately impressed in the lobby by the fast and courteous service and the combination of modern white and teal furnishings (international design firm Hassell gave the hotel a Sydney-inspired new look in 2013). Our Club Room on the 9th floor came with a whole list of perks, which the check in staff took me through, and then thankfully handed me a document which reiterated everything I’d struggled to remember. The Club Lounge, she said, was on the same floor as us and was just about to serve complimentary twilight drinks and canapés. This I duly noted.
The decor in the bedroom was as bright and fresh as the lobby. Light streamed onto the bed and warmed a reading chair in the corner. There was a neat writing desk near the window and this Brit was delighted to find a range of teas and a kettle tucked into a draw. (I get sad if I can’t have a cuppa before bed.)
The bathroom was massive; chicly decorated with grey tiles and a Scandinavian stool. It took me a while to realise that there wasn’t a bathtub – I always gets excited when I see a deep tub in a hotel room but 9 times out of 10 don’t have time to use it. It seems PARKROYAL have decided to offer a double-headed shower and ample floorspace in the Club Room instead of a bathtub and for Justin and I that worked really well (no fighting over the mirror if there’s room for both of us to use it at the same time).
In the Club Lounge the complimentary drinks and canapés were far more generous than I imagined. The lounge, which you have to swipe your Club Room key to access, was buzzing with guests enjoying the drinks and harbour views on a Friday night. No sooner had we found a seat when a member of staff found us and proffered a drink. We ordered two glasses of the bubbles and perused the canapés whilst the waiter kindly poured the drinks.
The central island had a range of wines and beers on ice alongside a very tempting Australian cheese board, as well hams, salads, and miniature sticky toffee puddings. There was also a bread basket with dips including hummus and tsatziki on the side board and a selection of hot dishes including some delicious baked salmon. Twilight drinks and canapés run from 5.30 to 7.30pm and by the time 7.30 arrived we felt like we’d had a great night out.
In the morning the lounge converts into the Club breakfast room. Wine and salads were replaced with smoothies, mueslis, breads, bagels, muffins and a pancake machine. Hot food on offer included really good bacon, eggs, sausages and you could help yourself to as many coffees and soft drinks as you wished. Breakfast is served until 10.30am on the weekend and when we snuck in close to 10am there was only 1 other table occupied. We sunk into sofas, browsed the papers and felt as comfortable as we do at home, but with even better food.
Another perk of the PARKROYAL Club is complimentary late check out at 12pm. You do need to let reception know you plan to take advantage of this (our key card stopped working at 10.30 but was quickly reactivated) but its lovely not to have to rush your morning. After lazing around the room a little longer we finally left the soft bed to do a bit of sightseeing in this part of the city.
The day before I’d had the chance to sample the High Tea at the hotel’s ABODE Bistro Bar. I can’t recommend enough this tower of tea-infused treats. The savoury snacks are as innovative as they are delicious – finger sandwiches sit next to mini lettuce cup salads, pies and finger rolls. A highlight for me was the generous sized duck rillette pots infused with lively lime & orange tea, which we spread on parmesan crostini. The next level had more pots of goodness (don’t ask me to choose between the bitter chocolate mousse or Eton Mess because they were both SO GOOD) as well as ABODE’S opera slice and a little square of white chocolate & spiced chai fudge, which I’d like to know where I can get more of (please!). The top layer had a pastel-coloured selection of macaroons, which my friend and I thought we couldn’t possibly fit in but did a great job of polishing off! The High Tea menu has a great selection of teas but I like to keep it traditional and we sipped on a big pot of Brilliant Breakfast Tea. (Find the full ABODE High Tea Menu here.)
All in all I had a fantastic 24 hours at the PARKROYAL Darling Harbour. I may have been moments from home but it felt like a great getaway.
Club Rooms at PARKROYAL Darling Harbour start from $319 a night. For more information see parkroyalhotels.com/darlingharbour.
My stay was provided as part of the Ultimate Day Out In Sydney. Thanks very much to PARKROYAL hotels for the hospitality.