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Live like a star at The Darling

Miserable rain pursued us down the coast. And the forecast was no better. Despite the grey outlook, nothing could prepare me for the 180-degree sweep from the Gold Coast hinterland to Broadbeach. In a ‘pinch-myself-moment’, home for the night was a penthouse at The Darling Gold Coast penthouse. We had certainly arrived.

Valet parking made off with the feisty Fiesta, and we were now in the sumptuous but low-key lobby. Booking sorted, our check-in consultant/concierge/reception person uttered three magic words, “spa penthouse upgrade”.

We made it to an elevator in a nanosecond, magically waved our key card across the panel, and were whisked to our floor. Delicate fragrance, plush carpet and muted lighting lead us to our door.

The Darling at the Star Gold Coast This Magnificent Life
Image: Tim Bond Photography

It was surreal. We opened the door, and beyond the wall-to-wall marble, we could sightsee the Gold Coast without leaving the 6-star comfort of our outrageously luxurious digs.

It was a glittering start, and it was only 2.33 pm. The GC’s high-octane glitter strip and beach views still looked good in the rain, but it was time to explore our two-bedroom spa penthouse built for four. Or more.

The Darling Gold Coast

Fronting the Star’s Broadbeach Island property, The Darling’s elliptical exterior doesn’t give much away. Not over-the-top, The Darling was designed by architects Steelman Brothers. Based in Las Vegas, we think they might know a thing or two about excessive high-roller design. Despite the restraint, The Darling is undoubtedly the Star’s solid gold cherry on top.

There are 57 suites over 17 storeys. Suites range from 78 to 328 square metres. And then there are the luxury suites – four Penthouse Suites and three Penthouse Spa Suites. Seven Penthouse Deluxe Suites also offer guests the choice of a dedicated Billiard, Media or Exercise room.


Designed to impress, the decor is attention-grabbing from the moment you open the door. Custom woven carpets are inset into the limestone floored corridor. Monumental swathes of marble. Flashes of ruby and topaz break up the predominantly cream and gold palette. Custom artwork adorns the walls. Plush custom rugs and lacquered cabinetry lend an extra layer of chinoiserie.

The Darling at the Star Gold Coast This Magnificent Life
Image: Tim Bond Photography

There are few sharp edges, from the oversized furniture to the show-stopping semi-circular terrace. A gigantic chandelier made of concentric golden rings is the centrepiece. The sleek marble waterfall and timber kitchen space are ideal for catering staff to feed a party, just like the space was built for.

The Darling at the Star Gold Coast This Magnificent Life
Image: Tim Bond Photography

Release your inner mogul (or Bond villain) and make the ultra wide-screen television or 24-metres of curtains disappear at the touch of a button.

For a 360˚ view of the penthouse, scroll to the bottom.


The principal bedroom is more extensive than most hotel rooms. The walls are textured fabric, and the bedhead is cushioned cream leather backed with amethyst and mother-of-pearl surrounds. The carpet pampers tootsies, and the bed pampers weary heads.

The vast primary bathroom’s mosaic walls and glass is etched with large camellias. (Or are they peonies?) Amenities are Balmain and go way beyond the usual shampoo, conditioner and soap to include subtly scented hand lotion, bath salts and body lotion. Within the deeply veined marble double vanity, a GHD hairdryer and straightener have their own space.

The Darling at the Star Gold Coast This Magnificent Life

The 2m circular spa bath resides in an etched glass space alongside the rainfall and hand-held shower. Meanwhile, another glass closet houses a remote-controlled Japanese toilet and bidet

The double wardrobe reveals super soft Frette bathrobes to complete the spa experience. Frette linens have graced the Italian royal family’s beds, the altar of St. Peter’s Basilica to the Orient Express dining car. More than 500 European royal families have slept beneath its sheets.

Nineteen at the Star

Next, Breakfast at Nineteen at the Star is a mandatory indulgence.

Sitting next to the bar and Infinity pool, The Darling’s fine diner is perched nearly 220 metres above ground and extends 16.5 metres beyond the side of the tower. Ceilings soar, and the views are endless.

The Darling at the Star Gold Coast This Magnificent Life
Image: Tim Bond Photography

Deep teal velvet banquettes work with and not against the deep green marble walls and ocean-coloured swirling carpet. The two-storey, glass wine room, while not front and centre, can’t be missed. Nineteen at the Star’s high-roller approved wine list ranges from Grand Marque Champagnes to less expensive bottles that will still impress.

But it’s breakfast, and it looks like it’s Bellini and Mimosa time for us. The Mimosa is delightful, but the Bellini is legendary. The Marionette peach liqueur doesn’t cloud the Prosecco or make the cocktail too sweet. Perfection.

We both take the Darling Breakfast option: Juice, a proper Southern Buttermilk biscuit with housemade butter and seasonal jam, and then a breakfast item.


The Darling at the Star Gold Coast This Magnificent Life
Image: Tim Bond Photography

The buttermilk biscuit is sublime, flaky warm and topped with just the right amount of butter (churned in-house) and housemade preserves.

The menu ranges from Bircher Muesli to French or Avocado Toast, eggs and more. The Bacon Sandwich with Comte cheese and green bean chutney intrigues. Likewise, the Queensland Spanner Crab Omelette with tarragon, hash brown and fermented Chilli.

It’s the Nineteen Breakfast – Eggs, Mushrooms, Bacon, Sausage, hash brown, tomato and toast for him. I can’t go past the corn fritter with Jalapeño salsa, Avocado Mousse, and scrambled eggs subbing for poached. Both provided a delicious protein boost to last the day, while the fritter and eggs were flawless.

The Darling at the Star Gold Coast This Magnificent Life

And as the rain continued to fall, our dispositions remained sunny. Living the lives of the rich and famous is fun while it lasts.

For a 360˚ view of the penthouse, click the image and move your mouse any which way.


The Darling, The Star and The Star Grand offer guests access to the landmark property’s award-winning restaurants and bars, including Kiyomi, Cucina Vivo, and Garden Kitchen & Bar,

DISCLAIMER: This Magnificent Life were guests of The Darling and Nineteen at the Star.

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Liz Bond

Liz Bond comes from a PR background and loves fine wine, great food and rewarding travel - all the magnificent things in life. She prides herself in meeting famous celebrities at baggage carousels.

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We acknowledge the Turrbal people, as well as the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, as the Traditional Owners of the land on which we live and work. We respectfully recognise Elders, past, present, and emerging, and that Indigenous Sovereignty was never ceded.

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