It may have taken three years to get here but Sydney’s latest boutique hotel Aiden Darling Harbour was worth the wait.
Q: Sydney’s Pyrmont is:
a) An inner-city suburb
b) Historic wharf district
c) Currently going through the gentrification process
d) All of the above
A: d) All of the above.
The local Gadigal people called this area Pirrama. Once colonised, the English used convicts to quarry for sandstone. It became a busy addition to the Sydney port as well as an industrial hub. Pyrmont became a thriving suburb and home to thousands of workers.
It was 1938 when a brick Art Deco charmer was built on Murray Street to store grain and cereal. Later, with additional storeys added the building became home to Breville – of sandwich press fame and an international small appliance powerhouse success story.
But when business began to move away so did the people. The area became run down and forgotten.
In the 1990s, redevelopment began and today the area sits neatly alongside Darling Harbour’s restaurants, five-star hotels and parklands.
Next, 45 Murray Street was divided into suites and offices – for a while the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia and then the Australian Fishing Museum. In 2019, the building was closed for a monumental 3-year reconstruction and restoration.
Aiden Darling Harbour is the maiden Aiden hotel in Australia
The now 8-storey property will soon be an 88-room hotel with the finishing touches to the additional rooms (some with balconies to overlook the city) currently being made.
Aiden Darling Harbour faces the National Maritime Museum and Darling Harbour for a very different Sydney view. Just steps from the Pyrmont Bridge makes for an easy stroll to the CBD.
A scintillating piece of art greets you as you enter the foyer that also serves as a reception and casual eatery – Wayfarer’s Bar & Cafe. The 200-piece Arboreal silver and gold sculptural chandelier by Yellow Goat Design catches and dances with the light above the marble-topped bar.
Clever design makes the lobby space feel larger. Italian black and white rubato marble tiles anchor the space while intricate mesh lights that conjure white jellyfish hover above to remind you are in the Harbour City.
Meanwhile, amiable and helpful hosts greet you for self-check-in, whisk your bags to your room and fill you in on what’s nearby and what’s not to miss about the hotel.
As much as the new additions look to the future, Aiden Darling Harbour gives us a peek at her historic petticoat with original windows and patches of heritage brickwork.
Two extra-nice details are there from the moment you exit the lift. The super quiet corridors are punctuated with Moda still and sparkling water filling stations to fill your water bottle with chilled filtered water. Room numbers are custom-designed and feature reproductions of local flora sketches by the early botanist Sir Joseph Banks.
Rooms are snug including only what you need and not what you don’t. Erring on the side of comfort rather than height-of-chic interiors each room is minimalist in footprint – with rooms starting at 13 sq metres. These mural view rooms are in the centre of the hotel and are designed to show off the towering (out of sight to other guests) 25-metre-high evergreen wall of a deep, dark, lush, tropical rainforest.
But the hand-painted art doesn’t stop there. Archibald Prize finalist Jess Le Clerc and her team have also adorned the hotel with 10,000 black wattle blooms across every room. (The surrounding area was known as Blackwattle Bay).
In my larger Queen room, the blooms seem three-dimensional at times and offer a vibrant and natural respite from the city outside. Sumptuous, blue velvet bed heads end the extra comfy Sleepmaker beds dressed in crisp, white cotton.
Compact bathrooms feature B-Corp certified Rituals sweet-smelling shower gel, shampoo and conditioner which comes in oversized eco-friendly refillable dispensers. Hand soap is a divine combo of rice milk and cherry blossom. For those with straight hair, the Dyson Supersonic hairdryer is apparently the holy grail of coif-stylers.
Eats and Drinks
Unfortunately, s super-busy Sydney schedule sadly didn’t leave time to enjoy a cocktail at the lobby’s Wayfarer’s Cafe & Bar. Meanwhile, a reliable source tells me the SYP cocktails made with local ingredients are the bomb.
Breakfast was an absolute delight. Perfectly cooked scrambled eggs snuggled up to 2 crisp, thick slices of Pi0ik sourdough toast with some lightly sauteed spinach and cherry tomatoes. A cold-pressed, 100% pineapple, green apple and orange juice and just right flat white completed a great start to the day.
Altogether, Art Deco style and digital-connection work hand in hand to make Aiden Darling Harbour the perfect base camp for leisure and work. It’s the kind of place where bespoke meets high-tech; where native bouquet-adorned walls and crafted cocktails sit comfortably with Chromecast and self-check-in. With Sydney on your doorstep, it really is a winner.
For more information, visit https://aidendarlingharbour.com.au/