As you head into the twilight years of your twenties, something weird happens: you start waking up with more aches than you went to sleep with. No matter how pain-free you were before you hit the hay, it’s common to arise with a shoulder ache where there wasn’t one before, or tingling in an ankle that was functioning at full capacity last night. It takes a top-tier bed to actually soothe, rather than sabotage, weary limbs, necks and backs.
The new beds at The Star’s Grand Hotel and Residences (known as Astral Towers and Residences before the refurb) are so gloriously comfortable – not too firm, not too soft – that they’ll somehow knead all the aches out overnight as you snooze.
The beds are part of an impressive $100 million upgrade of The Star’s foyer and hotels. Rooms at the Grand Hotel have been remodelled, with new bathrooms, fresh furniture, speedier wi-fi, motion sensors and new carpet. The Grand Residences have likewise had a complete strip back and overhaul. The precinct’s Grand Foyer entrance has undergone a lavish $22 million transformation, replete with a 25-metre-long screen displaying 8736 hours of digital art a year, a water sculpture that recycles 13,000 litres of water each day, and 6000 square metres of marble – enough to cover the floor area of the White House.
But you can’t sleep on a White House-worth of marble. And nor would you want to, when the casino has installed “Darling” beds in all its rooms – a sleeping situation exclusive to The Star Entertainment Group’s properties. There’s a plush mattress topper and a deluxe pillow menu so you can tailor your sleeping environment to your needs.
Before you go to bed, though, you need to check in. The reception area of the Grand Hotel is luxe to the max, and while you’re waiting for the paperwork to go through, you’re offered a glass of sparkling wine.
Even if you didn’t stay at the pre-refurb Astral Towers, you’ll appreciate the swanky new touches. The blinds may open of their own accord as you walk in. If you want privacy, simply press a button and they’ll close again. There are USB ports everywhere you need them. At night, the lighting is automatically softer than it is during the day and the very plush carpet (and sizeable room) means you can’t hear your neighbour, let alone the gambling, debauchery and drinking that’s occurring on the floors below you.
On that – as well as the plush new rooms and opulent foyer, there’s a host of recently opened drinking, dining and retail options. There’s Flying Fish, which moved from Jones Bay Wharf into the casino last year; hotel lobby bar G&Tea, which is a tea house by day and gin bar by night; and Chuuka, The Star’s first standalone restaurant. Old favourites are still there, continuing to impress – including Sokyo, with its sophisticated Japanese; Momofuku Seiobo, where you’ll find chef Paul Carmichael’s lauded take on Caribbean food; Black Bar & Grill; and The Century, a fine-dining Golden Century. For breakfast, Harvest Buffet does a solid smorgasbord.
And as always, The Darling Spa offers treatments inspired by Indigenous techniques, which are coupled with aromatic oils made from native ingredients.
Staying in a casino might not appeal to a lot of people. But once you enter the elevator and escape the madding crowds of gamblers, theatregoers and diners splashing their cash around downstairs, it feels like any other quiet, handsome city hotel.