Downtown Sydney is increasingly becoming a city of many colourful parts. Sure, it's still home to the central business district and a a whole lot of sky-scraping buildings - but dotted around this CBD, within minutes' walking distance are strips - villages, even - with their own character, buzz, vibe and feel.
Pyrmont is a historic village immediately to the east of the downtown area, and adjoining Darling Harbour. On the ground level, it's all historic stone buildings, cosy cafes and bars and foot traffic that seems to be less in a rush than just over the Pyrmont Bridge that connects this area with the CBD and Kings Wharf.
Seriously, if you are looking for full-on CBD action, it's a 10-minute walk and you're in the new Barangaroo area. But if you fee like a gentle stroll around the harbour front, with a view of ferries and historic wharves, eat at "hatted" restaurants or visit a museum or two, stay put in Pyrmont.
You'll need more than a weekend to even feel like you've "done" Pyrmont. But here are some ideas to get you started.
Hey, it's your time to look after you so check into one of the most renowned spas in the area, The Darling Spa, part of The Darling, a five-star hotel within the Star Sydney complex.
The spa features 11 treatment rooms, two exclusive couples suites, a Moroccan Hammam chamber, steam room and Jacuzzi. So book a treatment, bring your swimmers and allow yourself time to make use of all the extra spa facilities. You can spend hours in this zen space just chilling and drinking their teas made from fresh ingredients.
Also in the Star Sydney complex is the Lyric Theatre, which has a constant calendar of world-class shows happening from musicals and theatre to opera and the ballet. Find out what's on and book yourself into a show.
Pyrmont is a dining mecca. Just in Star Sydney alone there are heaps of places to eat ranging from fine dining to more casual food court fare, and everything in between.
The Star Sydney has just launched it's first off-property restaurant called CHUUKA - just across the road from The Star, perched on the end of one of Sydney's prized piers, Jones Bay Wharf.
CHUUKA's marketing material describes the menu as "a unique interplay" between the two head chef's Chinese and Japanese heritage. What I can share is that the food is the sweetest fusion of two delicious cuisines.
The go-to dishes are anything to do with seafood, particularly its sashimi and raw dishes, and its unique "roe service" in which caviar is served with cashew cream, shallots, tea eggs and crackers.
And for land animals, you can't go past the tempura yuzu chicken (think sticky, lemony, battered and deep-fried poultry goodness), wagyu short rib served with sides like carrot kimchee and lettuce cups to wrap the tender.
The desserts are exquisite, by all accounts - and I saw mountains of freshly churned yoghurt sorbet be delivered to tables, along with a whole lots of tiny bowls of extra ingredients. But I could only manage the Kurozato brown sugar ice cream mochi - a delicate and truly delicious rice pastry parcel that I still think about today - often.
The Star Grand Hotel is surrounded by city skyline and water views - so basically every room has something to look out of the window at and marvel. It's in the middle of entertainment, retail and casino complex, but manages to give off a luxe "resort" vibe.
It's plush and stylish - and while the lobby leads to all sorts of bright lights and glittering entertainment, once in the actual hotel, it's all serenity and peace.
Make sure you book a package that comes with the buffet breakfast, because, possibly thanks to its high number of international guests, this spread is next level in diversity, heritage and quality. There's even a chocolate fountain.
Fiona Baker stayed as a guest of The Star Sydney
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