The Darling Hotel has views of the harbor and city skyline, 171 rooms and suites, an infinity pool and a 16-room spa. It is the first five star boutique hotel to be built since the Sydney Olympics and is a central feature of The Star Casino’s $870-million redevelopment.
Designed as a stand-alone hotel, with its own entrance, reception and aesthetic, The Darling brings the total rooms and suites at The Star to over 650 across three towers, and is home to Sokyo, the contemporary Japanese restaurant and bar.
Following the Australian tradition of “Design and Construct”, Cox Richardson Architects was commissioned to design the hotel, and the designs were then interpreted and built by Brookfield Multiplex Building with interiors by DBI Interiors and Laurence Lee.
The role of lighting designer, taken by POV, is to interpret the interior design and enhance the aesthetic using light. According to Elliott, in a casino hotel, designers can “often go further with lighting elements than with a city hotel.” The biggest challenge for the company was the double height atrium that occupies half of the lobby space. In such a high space, creating intimacy is hard, so POV used light sources at low level: floor lamps, integrated joinery lighting and in-ground luminaires. The feature wall behind the reception desk shows a red tone, drawing the eye through to the low ceiling zone.
Chandeliers were hung to add luxe to the space and help to fill the triple height void, without competing with the architecture of the atrium roof. POV also up-lit the flanking sandstone walls, bringing the lighting to a human level, and drawing the eye down from the sky beyond.
Elliott lit the spa space for comfort rather than function. Integrated light plays a huge role, for instance where light spills from the slots in joinery and provides an indirect illumination that promotes relaxation.
POV worked with interior designers, DBI. POV also worked with Cox Richardson Architects on The Sydney Convention Centre.
The client, Echo Entertainment, wanted to create a destination hotel to compliment the new casino development. Since opening, The Darling Hotel has been successful in attracting Asian tourists to the Star Casino complex. Opening late in 2011, in April 2012 The Darling won “Best New Hotel Construction and Design 2012” at the Asia-Pacific International Hotel Awards in Kuala Lumpur, where 18 countries took part.