Aiden Darling Harbour Hotel Review


Aiden Darling Harbour

45 Murray St, Pyrmont NSW

Aiden Darling Harbour is centrally located in Sydney’s harbourside Pyrmont village on the fringe of the CBD.

Step through the front doors and you are engulfed in a ground-floor lobby with a quick self-serve check in. It’s a sleek and simple operation with two kiosks and a host to help nearby.

The boutique hotel has been well thought out by the owners who love to travel. They have dispensed with things that don’t really matter in a hotel but included those extra things that do.

It comes under the Best Western umbrella with a character of its own, as I soon discover.

Pyrmont has evolved from an industrial hub with bustling wharves and sandstone quarries into a charming harbourside destination.

Think waterfront restaurants, tree-lined streets, lush green parklands, charming heritage terrace houses, designer shopping boutiques, art galleries and buzzing cafes.


The hotel is the creation of Sydney globetrotter Nicolas Chen and his father Frank, a seasoned property developer, who together purchased the building at 45 Murray Street back in 2006.

The attractive art deco building dates back to 1938. In another life it was a cereal storage facility and in the 60’s and 70’s, the building was the headquarters of appliance company Breville.

Drawing on his personal travel experiences, Nicolas worked with Sydney interior design studio Tom Mark Henry. The building, maintains its original Art Deco features to honour its heritage with contemporary interiors inspired by the local area.


Rooms and interiors

There are 88 thoughtfully curated compact guest rooms set across seven accommodation floors. My King City View Room with a harbour and city view is compact but has everything you want.

“Who needs a huge room, it’s about your needs and most people don’t spend a lot of time in them- it’s about comfort and efficiency,” according to Chen.

Those little extras include a Dyson Supersonic Hairdryer … I’m told only one has gone missing since it opened. There’s also a JVD clothes steamer and iron.

There’s a mini fridge, organic Love Tea, Madhouse Bakehouse cookies which are simply addictive, Moda Sparkling water and refillable bottles.

The bathroom features Rituals luxurious skincare products in eco-friendly refillable containers. It’s the only Australian hotel featuring these products which were carefully researched by Nicolas

The bed is a super comfortable Sleepmaker and there’s a pillow menu and black-out curtains.

Lots of thought has gone into the design and décor – check out the Sydney Harbour blue plush velvet bedheads and the fluted glass touches mirroring the shape of Pyrmont Bridge.

The “old-meets-new” design combines exposed brickwork, original windows and a curved Art Deco facade with new Art Deco motifs such as reeded glass, curved furnishings and bronze fittings.

Rooms feature light and bright interiors with bespoke wall murals blooming above the bedhead depicting the flora from the local area, hand-painted by award-winning Australian artist Jessica Le Clerc.

She also created the hotel’s secret internal Ever-Green Wall mural, soaring 25 metres high and visible only from a handful of rooms, providing a private art exhibition experience to select guests.

Every guest room at Aiden Darling Harbour is a little different. The balcony rooms have large terraces and great views.

Check out the compendium – it’s written with humour and is not the typical boring compendium you find in many hotels.


Wayfarer’s Bar and Café on the ground floor serves breakfast dishes, tea, coffee and all day and evening snacks. It’s open from 6.30am to 10pm.

It’s an attractive space with black and white rubato mosaic flooring and a black marble-topped bar with walnut wood panelling trimmed in brass and white marble-topped tables.

A 200-piece sculptural light features in the lobby emulating dappled sunlight through eucalyptus leaves, which is impressive.

It’s all about stopping, recharging and refuelling at this pretty bar and café. It’s a café by day and a glittering wine bar at night where you can enjoy a locally crafted beer, cocktail or sweet treats. The all-Australian wine list has been handpicked by the team.

Signature Cocktails include Gold Fashioned, Firecracker Margarita and I Love Negroni.

Looking to try a local restaurant – head to Oxalis, Nodaya, Bistro Clementine or Umami Dojo.


This is the only hotel in Australia to offer state of the art Merv-13/F7 filters in air conditioning units and continuous 24/7 hydroxl supply and dispersion through the ventilation system. That translates as clean air and lots of it. It’s as free of nasties that you can get, and the air is not shared or circulated to any other rooms.

Art lovers are in for a treat with design features and artwork of the area as well as room numbers with etchings of native flora inspired by botanist Sir Joseph Banks.

What I loved

There’s great use of compact space – even if it is not expansive and my room was cleverly designed with everything you want.

What I liked: Quick free WiFi, digital room keys and mobile check-in plus you can switch off the lights easily which is a bonus.

Art has been incorporated into the hotel design from the outset, sharing stories of the neighbourhood, past and present, in fascinating pieces throughout its spaces.

The catchcry here is compact in nature and curious in character and it works.

Staff are trained in everything, not just one role – they are all porters, baristas, wine pourers and local travel guide experts.

The Hood

The harbourside inner-city village of Pyrmont is on the fringe of Sydney’s CBD and a great base. There are lots of Instagram-worthy water views and quirky local characters. Get out and walk to discover the delights of the area.


Each guest room includes a dual compartment bin and recycling bin.

Single-use plastic bottles have been banned, and replaced by refillable glass bottles in every room. They can be filled with complimentary Moda sparkling and still water from stations on each floor.

Rooms also come stocked with full-size pump dispensers in the bathroom.

Slippers have soles made with a biodegradable material and wrapped with a recycled paper band instead of plastic. Guest laundry bags are made of cornstarch and LDPE (sugarcane) and pouches for amenities (shower caps, cotton buds, etc) are made from recycled materials.

Double-glazed windows reduce the need for cooling and heating in rooms, while sensors and a door energy management system have been installed to turn off air-conditioning and lighting when rooms aren’t occupied.

The hotel also has a strong focus on contactless, paperless technology.

The Verdict

I love this hotel – such great thought behind the design and it’s living proof good things come in small packages- it’s compact, comfortable and convenient.


Aiden Darling Harbour Website: