ParkRoyal Darling Harbour executive room review, Sydney: the hotel equivalent of business class

Our rating

4 out of 5


The location

On Day Street, Darling Harbour, conveniently located between the Darling Quarter precinct and the Sydney CBD. Both are within five minutes' walk so you can enjoy the waterfront and the city during your stay, plus there is easy access to transport to other places around the city. The nearly complete International Convention Centre is also on your doorstep.

The place

The hotel became ParkRoyal Darling Harbour in 2013 after a previous life as a Crowne Plaza. The property underwent a major refurbishment to bring it up to a 4.5 star rating. The 340 rooms across nine levels surround a huge atrium that looks down to the restaurant. There is a large gym and levels 8 and 9 are "executive", with access to the level 9 executive lounge. As befits a hotel with a large business clientele, there are meeting and conference facilities.

The room

I'm in an executive room, which has a similar layout to the standard rooms but a different look and feel. The decor is a contrast of dark greys, blacks and whites, while the bathroom is similar without the bright swirling marble of the standard rooms. It's a little like flying business class, even if the size of the space is the same. There is a desk, an armchair and a wall-mounted television. The bed is spacious and comfortable. The lighting is better than in some hotel rooms, with overhead lights for the desk so you're not just reliant on lamps in the evening. The bathroom features good toiletries though there's no moisturiser, which is unusual. There's free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and the signal is strong and fast (a must for business travellers these days, but something many hotels still can't get right).

The food

There are two options for breaks – the Executive Club and the large Barkers Restaurant. The club offers great views of Darling Harbour and a stylish selection of dishes, including eggs benedict, salmon scotch eggs and chocolate croissants. Barkers has a larger range of options, including a juice bar where you can create your own mix.

The hotel's street-level restaurant, Adobe, is a long, stylish room catering to both diners and casual drinkers. The seasonal menu offers a variety of modern Australian dishes. I opt for a trio of oysters (each prepared differently) and the pork loin, which comes on a bed of black pudding, with a cut of pork belly on the side and a pea, apple and blue cheese accoutrement. It's delicious and the mix of flavours are perfectly complementary. It's also decadent so I opt for a lighter side salad of rocket and parmesan and skip dessert.

Stepping out

Darling Harbour is on your doorstep, with an abundance of restaurants and bars that make the most of the waterside setting. Over late spring and summer there are regular fireworks displays at the harbour – see for dates and details.

The verdict

The ParkRoyal is not a place of unique character or charm, but for those looking for a stay close to Sydney's heart, this is a fine option at a reasonable price.

The essentials

Rooms start from $195 a night. See 


Adobe is worth a visit even if you're not staying at the hotel



The rooms might be too generic for those looking for something a bit different.