Review: Four Points by Sheraton Sydney Darling Harbour, Sydney, NSW, Australia
With a large selection of hotel rooms, there are lots of places to stay while in Sydney, Australia. On this visit, we ended up in Sydney’s Darling Harbour, a location that is a just little way’s away from the downtown Central Business District of Sydney. While we don’t normally stay in this area of Sydney, it was pretty handy to meet our needs for our 4 day stay in Sydney.
This post is one chapter in our trip to Australia on Air Canada & Qantas Business Class and United Airlines. This trip was booked using British Airways Executive Club Avios and Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) points. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read more from this trip:
- Trip Introduction: Hitching a Ride to Australia via Air Canada & Qantas Business Class and United Airlines,
- Plaza Premium Lounge International – Vancouver International Airport
- Air Canada Business Class: Vancouver – Sydney
- Four Points by Sheraton Sydney Darling Harbour, Australia
- The Historic Landmarks of Sydney, Australia
- A Harbour Front Walk Past the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House
- A Day at Shelley Beach, Sydney, Australia
- Bondi Beach and the Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk, Sydney, Australia
- A Day at Camp’s Bay by Watson Cove, Sydney, Australia
- Calling on the Koala Bears at Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia
- Qantas Business Lounge, Sydney Kingsford Smith Domestic, Australia
- Qantas Business Class: Sydney – Adelaide
- Sipping the Wines of McLaren Vale Region, Adelaide, Australia
- Restaurant Review: The Star of Greece, Port Willunga, Australia
- Exploring the Wines of The Adelaide Hills, Adelaide, Australia
- Tasting an Australian Icon “Penfolds Grange” Wine
- Qantas Club Adelaide, Australia
- Qantas Business Class: Adelaide – Sydney
- Trying to Fly Standby out of Australia’s Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport
- United Airlines: Sydney – San Francisco
- American Express Centurion Lounge: San Francisco International Airport
- Air Canada Rouge: San Francisco – Vancouver
Review: Four Points by Sheraton Sydney Darling Harbour, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Booking and Getting There:
We ended up at this particular property as I had a free weekend night certificates gained from meeting a minimum annual spend on the Canadian Starwood Preferred Guest (now Marriott Bonvoy) American Express Card. Being a Starwood Category 4, it was the only hotel in Sydney where we could use up the expiring certificates, which are issued annually and given a one year usage duration.
Arriving to the Four Points by Sheraton Sydney:
We took the Airport Link train from the airport into the city. We walked to the hotel from the Town Hall Station with our rollie suitcases. It took a few blocks to get there (5-8 minutes) over mostly flat sidewalks with a slight downhill grade. We sure noticed this grade going the other way when we headed back to the airport. We arrived to the hotel entrance on Sussex Street. The main entrance is actually at the rear city side of the property.
Overall, the hotel is somewhat of a strange location. The hotel sits beautifully on Darling Harbour with half of the rooms having a terrific water view. What the brochures don’t show is that the hotel sits on top of a freeway interchange, and that there is no direct access from the hotel to the water without walking around a city block and a freeway to get there. There was a direct walkway, however it was closed for refurbishment on our visit. The back side of the hotel overlooks a quiet 2 lane city street. The hotel is the white building structure here interlaced amongst the freeways. Unfortunately, there’s no way to take a great photograph of this building. It lacks the beauty, of say, the Burj Al Arab.
The hotel exterior is undergoing a large scale upgrade and the hotel has a few cranes on the roof, which takes away from the idyllic décor somewhat.
You can see the freeway running underneath the hotel in this shot. Thankfully, we never noticed any strong vehicle noise or vibration from the freeway.
Checking into the Four Points by Sheraton Sydney Darling Harbour:
On check in, points were offered as a Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Amenity, along with free wifi in the lobby. Since I was staying on several back to back reservations, the hotel was kind enough to apply the points bonus for each reservation, despite only one check in and check out.
The service of the concierge was very proactive in dealing with matters. When I approached the front desk, I was remembered by name each and every time. It was a bit of an unusually high service level for a Four Points.
After our Air Canada Business Class Vancouver – Sydney flight which arrived at 8 AM, our room was not immediately available on our arrival to the hotel at 12 PM. We ended up going for lunch down the road, which I’ll expand on in a bit. I had read that many people were upgraded to the water side views when staying here. Regretfully, today, no room upgrades were available – unfortunately the hotel was totally full. On check in, a Starwood Preferred Guest Gold late 4 PM checkout on a weekday was offered without any negotiation or complications.
There was also complimentary wifi in the lobby of the hotel. It required a sign in on each visit.
The Room: A Premium City Side – Two Doubles
Returning to the room after lunch, our room was assigned. The room was functional, if not a little compact. The room was well equipped with minimal scuffing or wear and tear. Surprisingly, the usual complimentary water for SPG floor guests was missing. I didn’t notice it the first day, but after the second day, it became something that was a bit lacking about the property compared to other Starwood hotels.
There was a small mini bar fridge with enough space to store some of your own bottles (duty free) and ample plug ins to allow for charging of devices. There was also an Ipod alarm clock and in room safe and instant coffee dispensing service
A Compact Bathroom:
The washroom was fairly tiny. It featured a stand up shower and and single vanity. It was perfectly utilitarian and met our needs.
Around the Property:
There was a full service, unattended gym located on the property. The gym offered windows to the outside and had daylight, unlike many city hotels that relegate gyms to the basement.
Roof Top Patio Bar:
The hotel also offered a rooftop patio bar, which was very sunny on our visit. The highlight was the views.
There was also a Starbucks coffee shop located within 5-7 minutes walk from the hotel on the waterfront with complimentary wifi with purchase.
Around the Hotel:
Darling Harbour itself is an interesting venue. It’s a bit of a Las Vegas’y style set up of Darling Harbour. It reminded me of a poorly designed and disowned cousin of the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town. Darling Harbour appeared to have planning in various phases without any overall synergies that bands the area all together. The hotels of the area don’t really appear to connect to the harbour without running through various access points. There appeared to be a monorail running through the area at one point, which was now in the process of being decommissioned. The tracks are all gone, but the stations remain all boarded up.
On one hand, despite the odd nature of this place, you can’t beat the convenience of having lots of restaurants available at your doorstep. My sister found the area to be a bit over the top touristy, but I certainly appreciated the availability of any restaurant under the sun. During our stay, we went for lunch and a Victoria Bitter beer at the nearby Cargo Bar which was a great spot that we would visit several times on our stay while we waited for the room to become available. Darling Harbour itself, is an interesting collection of patios and restaurants.
On the other hand, it’s a bit of a touristy experience of older couples and families out for a night out on the town, complete with a Hard Rock Café and a Margeritaville bar with the “it’s five o’clock somewhere bar” in bright signage. Despite the entertainment venue concept, we got stuck one evening with all the kitchens closing on a week night at 9 PM.
Did I mention that Darling Harbour was complete with 20 floating Santas, proclaiming Ho Ho Ho and a tipped over South Pole? It’s either your idea of paradise or an eternal kitschy nightmare.
My thoughts the Four Points by Sheraton Sydney Darling Harbour:
The Four Points Darling Harbour provided good accommodation for our visit. While not the nicest place to stay in Sydney, it was fairly well situated and appeared to be among the newer properties compared to the legacy buildings of the Shangri-La, Four Seasons and the Sheraton on the Park. Redeeming points here would have been good value with an upgrade. Unfortunately, we weren’t as lucky this time around. I’d consider visiting again if I wasn’t able to get in at the Westin Sydney or other properties closer to the city centre.
The Four Points by Sheraton Sydney Darling Harbour was de-flagged as a Marriott Property in 2016, and is now operating as the Hyatt Regency Sydney.