The Novotel Darling Square might be Sydney’s best kept secret. No, it’s not a hot new laneway bar, but there’s a laneway full of cool bars and restaurants right next door. No, it’s not a glam new architectural marvel, but there’s one right next door. No, it’s not a historical quarter of the city, but there’s one right next door. No, it doesn’t have sprawling lush gardens, an oasis in the city, but there’s one such garden right next door.

As you can see, The Novotel Darling Square is right next door to a lot of things.

  • Steam Mill Lane, home to local cult favourites Bells Hot Chicken, 8Bit burgers, Bang Bang bar, is so close you could throw a stone at it.
  • The multi million dollar Darling Square development and it’s bird cage style façade rises up right behind the Novotel.
  • China Town is literally across the road.
  • The rooftops of the Chinese Garden’s traditional temple rising up out of the tree canopy is the lush view out of your room window.

And we could keep going. You can walk straight over to the International Convention Centre without crossing a road, you can stroll across to Paddy’s Markets in about two minutes, oh, and, Sydney’s historical Pumphouse, a historical pub that was one of the city’s first microbreweries is actually accessible without leaving the Novotel building, with an interconnecting corridor.

Whether it’s a weekend of wining and dining in the city, a conference over at ICC, or a few days sightseeing, you’re sorted.

Now you know what’s waiting for you once you step out the door, and there’s plenty waiting inside for you too.

Not too long ago the Novotel Darling Square underwent a $20 million dollar refurbishment that has given the entire space a serious facelift. Walk inside the lobby and look right, to the lobby bar, which makes the most of the intimate space it occupies with three chic gold frames that play two roles – holding a range of local and international spirits and separating the entranceway from the hotel’s Pier St Kitchen.

A visit to the bar for a pre-dinner tipple is popular with guests, even mid week, and there’s a steady crowd of diners popping in to try Pier St Kitchen’s evolving menu. When we dined, we scraped our plates clean, scooping up freshly made babaganoush and hummus with crispy fried flatbread served as moreish hot and cold mezze. Plates designed for sharing like pork belly or spinach pastries are snapped up just as quickly, and go down a treat with a glass of local Australian wine from the well stocked wine list.

After a night in one of the stylish, and extremely quiet guest rooms overlooking the Chinese Gardens, we’re back in Pier St Kitchen for a buffet breakfast – highlights are tiny pots of chia pudding and Bircher muesli drizzled with honey straight off the honeycomb, hot staples and a solid array of pastries. Plenty to keep you full for a day of exploring the city – which from the sounds of scattered conversations at breakfast, the guests take full advantage of the location to do.

Lisa was the guest of Novotel Darling Square.