W Hotel Sydney, the latest addition to the W Hotels brand, has finally opened its doors after several delays and anticipation from travellers. The hotel in the Darling Harbour waterfront precinct boasts a distinctive wave-shaped building that houses an IMAX theatre. The hotel claims to offer a luxury experience inspired by Sydney’s energy, beauty and free spirit, with a playful and unconventional style123. But is it really worth the hype and the price?
The hotel has 585 guestrooms and suites, ranging from $300 to $1,500 per night. The rooms are designed with a modern and eclectic flair, featuring colourful artwork, quirky furniture and custom-made amenities. Some rooms have balconies with views of the harbour, while others have floor-to-ceiling windows that showcase the city skyline. The hotel also offers a rooftop bar and pool, a spa, a gym, a lounge bar, a restaurant and event spaces123.
However, not everything is as rosy as it seems. Some guests have complained about the poor service, the lack of cleanliness, the noisy environment and the hidden fees. One guest wrote on TripAdvisor: “The staff were rude and unhelpful, the room was dirty and smelled like smoke, the pool was overcrowded, and the food was overpriced and bland. I paid $500 for a night, and I felt ripped off. Never again!” Another guest commented on Facebook: “The hotel is a joke. They charge you extra for everything: parking, wifi, breakfast, minibar, etc. The noise from the IMAX theatre and the construction next door was unbearable. The room was small and dark, with no view at all. I wish I had stayed somewhere else.”2
According to Executive Traveller4, the hotel’s opening was delayed several times due to construction issues and COVID-19 restrictions. The hotel was initially scheduled to open in 2019, then pushed back to 2020, then to early 2021, then to mid-2021, before finally opening on October 12, 20234. The hotel’s general manager, Craig Seaward, said the delays were “frustrating” but were “determined to get it right”4.
The Urban List5 reported that the hotel’s restaurant BTWN features a menu by head chef Chris Dodd, who has worked at Aria, The Blue Door and Bistrot Plume. The restaurant offers dishes made with local and sustainable ingredients, such as poached Murray cod with pickled Eden mussels, slow-cooked Gundagai lamb shoulder rubbed in yoghurt and spicy mushroom ragout5. The restaurant also has a late-night dessert bar by Singaporean dessert queen Janice Wong, called 2 a.m. Dessert Bar. The dessert bar serves creative sweets such as chocolate balloon sculptures, edible terrariums and liquid nitrogen ice cream5.
The hotel’s rooftop bar 29/30 spans two levels: one with cocktails and Champagne and one with an infinity pool overlooking the harbour45. The pool area has cabanas and lounges for guests to relax and enjoy the view4. The bar also hosts live music and DJ sets on weekends5.
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