Jason Brighton from Ackerfeld and Goldberg Travel Associates recently returned from an entertaining and informative experience in New South Wales, where he visited The Darling in Sydney and Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort in the Blue Mountains.
Staying at Sydney's
most detailed hotel 'The Darling', I discovered the complex has undergone a truly incredible transformation. It now offers a one-stop destination for shopping, gaming, dining, theatre, nightlife and conferencing. Having not seen the complex for several years, I was incredibly impressed with the hotel's achievement; you can really see the results of their 860 million dollar refurbishment program.
Our rooms at The Darling were chic or as the hotel likes to refer to them "'Distinctively Darling". We were treated to a meeting with the Chanel retail store where the staff explained all of the great services they offer their customers, including a private fragrance analysis.
It was then time to visit Sokyu, the Japanese restaurant where 'Sydney meets Tokyo'. We experienced the gaming area of the Cherry bar, where you can hold your own Blackjack tournaments just for fun. The Star promotes this bar as a place where you can "be all you want to be" and it was refreshing to find it really did entertain your every whim.
Our night ended in the newly opened, Marquee Club Sydney operated by the famous Tao Group. I couldn't help but feel The Star complex has now become our local version of a Vegas getaway, complete with everything an individual or group could want for an entertaining escape.
The agenda then turned from entertaining to informative, as we moved on to the Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort, located three hours drive from Sydney. Wolgan Valley is the only properly in the world to be proudly certified as carbon neutral. The hotel prides itself on connecting guests with the incredible nature which surrounds it. The stunning landscapes of the Blue Mountain are scattered with native wildlife like wallaroos and wombats.
We enjoyed fresh and organic produce, which is locally grown and served on-site in the charming dining room, as part of their inclusive meals.
Although my stay was just for one night, I was lucky enough to spot the famous resident albino wallaroo! I was also introduced to the oldest living fossil in the world, the Wollemi Pine. I could choose from a vast array of complimentary activities such as horse riding, nature walks, historical tours, wildlife safaris and mountain biking. If I was feeling less adventurous, I could go for a massage at their day spa, laze by my private indoor pool or soak up some sun at the resort pool. My Heritage Suite was incredible; it boasted a separate living and bedroom area and a fireplace.
Our meals were first class and the international cheese selection accompanied by a matching glass of local wine was a great way to end the night.
Having visited more than 100 hotels throughout Australia, I can honestly say the Wolgan Valley Resort offered me something I simply have not experienced at any other property in our country.
- Jason Brighton
What impressive resorts have you come across in your travels? We'd love to know. Share your experiences with us in the comments section below.