As the year moves into the festive Christmas season, I often find myself in winding down in one of my favourite leisure hotels in Sydney. While the Westin Sydney and Sheraton on the Park often serve as my office and meeting venue, Four Points by Sheraton Darling Harbour is my home in Sydney for a couple of weeks of play. The hotel is no architectural marvel with luxurious interiors but it focused on what matters most to me as a regular guest – a simple and stylish room, comfortable bed, daily bottled water, complimentary internet access, satisfactory quality of in-dining, excellent service and the best location for my weeks of vacation in Sydney. I can rely on Four Points to deliver a consistent standard of facilities, amenities and service at an affordable price for my extended stay every year.
Hotel exterior on Sussex Street / Image courtesy of Four Points by Sheraton Sydney Darling Harbour
To ensure the hotel remains a market leader in its category, the owners M&L Hospitality invested AUD20 million to refurbish the rooms and make enhancements to the Corn Exchange Restaurant and The Grand Ballroom.
The Four Points Difference
Although the hotel is always busy with incoming and outgoing leisure and business traffic, arrival is always a welcoming experience with personal greetings from familiar faces at concierge like Gary and Michael. Together with their team, they deliver an unsurpassed level of service including handling my festive mails, organising my reservations and even making sure the pizza delivery guy gets appears at my door.
Then there's the relatively quick and painless check-in at the SPG counter. Despite the property not having a cub lounge, there's always the offer of a coffee and pastry at the Lobby Lounge while waiting for my room. And I know I can count on Joe to make a mean cup of java there.
The hotel's location in the shopping district and overlooking Darling Harbour is central to my vacation routine. Retail therapy in Queen Victoria Building, Myers and Westfield is just 5 minutes up Market Street from the hotel, which means I can break the day's shopping with a reprieve back in my room before changing and heading back out for further entertainment and dining in the city.
With Darling Harbour a bridge-link away from the hotel, I can be down by the water in a jiffy and enjoying the iconic Christmas tree and lights with throngs of families and kids just outside the Harbourside Shopping Centre and Sydney Convention Centre. There's also various harbour cruises or visiting the Sydney Wildlife World, Sydney Aquarium, the National Maritime Museum, IMAX Theatre and a diverse selection of restaurants and bars lining King Street Wharf and Cockle Bay.
15 minutes from Darling Harbour into Pyrmont and I'm at one of my favourite lunch venues, the Sydney Fish Markets. Another favourite area for good feed just 15 minutes down Sussex Street from the hotel is Sydney's Chinatown.
I always get a spacious room with uninterrupted views of Darling Harbour which is excellent for catching some glorious sunsets and watching the series of mini-fireworks display in the centre of the harbour leading up to Christmas as well as the Christmas Eve pyrotechnic display.
Harour View Room / Image courtesy of Four Points by Sheraton Sydney Darling Harbour
After the major refurbishment, the hotel now offers a premium category to their City Side and Harbour View Rooms whilst the larger Deluxe Harbour View Rooms and Premium Maritime Suites feature balconies with panoramic views of Darling Harbour. The new rooms come with contemporary furnishings, renovated bathrooms featuring walk-in showers, wireless access and iPhone/iPad connectivity to complement the new LCD televisions. I look forward to enjoying the new Harbour Suite in my next visit.
Food and Beverage
The Corn Exchange / Image courtesy of Four Points by Sheraton Sydney Darling Harbour
The Corn Exchange restaurant and Lobby Bar provide quality meals including a seafood buffet with an outdoor grill section in a casual modern setting. The selection for breakfast, lunch and dinner is limited but satisfactory for a relaxing in-dining.
During the Christmas season, the buffet bar is transformed by festive decorations and deserts. In the recently completed renovation, a new outdoor setting was added to the improved Corn Exchange restaurant.
The Dundee Arms pub outside the hotel provides another casual but historic space for pub fare and an adequate selection of beers and wines. Built in the 1840's, The Dundee Arms was one of Sydney's earliest pubs.
The Dundee Arms / Image courtesy of Four Points by Sheraton Sydney Darling Harbour
Four Points has 13 separate meeting and function spaces featuring views across Darling Harbour that can accommodate conferences and banquet of up to 450 people. Small meeting rooms on Level 1, 11 and 15 can accommodate 4 to 80 people. The pillarless Grand Ballroom has received a complete makeover of all finishes and technological upgrade to include the latest Audio Visual technology.
Grand Ballroom / Image courtesy of Four Points by Sheraton Sydney Darling Harbour