Is Pullman Sydney Penrith worth the hype?
The new Pullman Penrith Hotel, the town’s first 5-star hotel, has been hyped as a gamechanger for the Western Sydney town known more for its NRL team than fine dining and luxury. Ellen Hill was one of the first guests to stay over and dine in Marcel Restaurant, so we asked her to share a detailed review.
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Where is Pullman Sydney Penrith?
At the front of the Penrith Panthers precinct and across the road from BlueBet stadium (home of the Panthers football team). While the hotel has two bars, a restaurant and café, and the adjoining 1000-seat Western Sydney Conference Centre if you’re there for a wedding or business event.
Is Pullman Sydney Penrith in a good location when you visit Penrith?
Yes. It’s within a 20-minute walk of the CBD and will take about 4 minutes in a taxi or Uber and about 20 minutes on the bus.
Pullman Sydney Penrith is the town’s first 5-star hotel. We experienced the hotel with two questions in mind:
Is Penrith ready for 5-star?
The simple answer is yes. Not only is Penrith ready but it is deserving. Like other areas on the Sydney fringe, Penrith has experienced a changing demographic of city slickers used to more upmarket accommodation and dining. Just before Covid in 2018-19, more than 1.5 million visitors stayed the night in the town compared to less than 700,000 in 2010-11.
When Western Sydney International airport opens at the end of 2026, the town will be inundated with tourists from around the world, many of them well travelled and expecting at least one 5-star option.
Does Pullman Sydney Penrith deliver a 5-star experience?
This Pullman brand hotel, owned by the French-headquartered Accor Hotels, certainly delivers – in a non-pretentious way. There’s nothing scary about Pullman. You will recognise the food in the restaurant and many of the beverage brands. The room we stayed in had a view of the Panthers club, iFly attraction and Harrys Café de Wheels food truck.
The 5-star difference was the quality and attention to detail such as valet parking, 24-hour reception and room service, attentive staff, a sleep menu and high thread count in the sheets.
The hotel has 153 rooms. We slept in a Junior Suite (an extra bed or crib is available on request).
Complimentary raspberry gin cocktail and tray of sweet treats delivered to our room were welcome. While the minibar was well stocked, we’re looking forward to see the growth in hyper local products making their way in as Pullman settles into the area and forms deeper relationships with local brewers, artisans and manufacturers.
I’m not the savviest with technology, so coffee machines always make me nervous, but the Nespresso machine was easy to use and that crucial first cup of the day was robust. It was great to see the bottled water was glass, not plastic.
The desk was large and complimentary wifi was easy to connect to, although the gorgeous looking low backed desk chair was not quite comfortable for desk work.
As well as the bathrobes and slippers, hair dryer and straightener, the bathroom is accessible.
One of the first of its kind in Australia, guests can access a bespoke sleep therapy menu on their in-room tablet. There’s face and eye masks, aromatherapy, soothing teas and a range of pillows as well as a pre-programmed selection of background sounds, colours and room lighting settings to help you sleep – or wake up.
We like to be woken by the sunrise, especially when there’s a sweeping view to the Blue Mountains through the floor-to-ceiling windows, but you will need to pull the curtains if you like a darkened room to sleep.
Pullman Sydney Penrith also has an elite fitness centre developed in league with the high- performance Penrith Panthers football team and sauna.
Marcel Bar and Bistro
Pullman’s dining offering in Marcel Bar and Bistro and lobby bar Tori takes the Penrith food scene up a notch but again, is not overwhelming if you’re new to fine dining.
Rather, it’s a good introduction. It feels like executive chef Colin Chun’s can’t wait to lead guests on a food journey into the future that educates and grows their palette and confidence.
Chun is collaborating with ethically driven local producers including Sun’s Fresh Farm and Heng Fresh Farm in Western Sydney Parklands, certified organic Rita’s Farm at Wallacia, and free range and organic egg supplier Clarendon Farms.
General Manager Glen Erickson says Marcel aims to set new standards of culinary excellence for Western Sydney and “attract a new level of critical and customer acclaim to Penrith’’. From the first bite, it seems Marcel is on track to attain that goal.
The modern European restaurant offers a refined but welcoming atmosphere with elegant, light dishes that celebrate the area’s abundant produce.
We were treated to a dinner of share dishes: burrata with green tomato jam and grilled sourdough; tuna crudo with light soy ginger oil and cucumber salsa; beef tartare with egg yolk jam and horseradish; king prawns with bisque butter and curry leaf; market fish and golden school prawns with green pea and king brown mushroom; Kiewa Valley rack of lamb with chimichurri; and Ranger Valley 5+ rib eye.
Dessert was creme brulee and biscotti.
Pullman Breakfast Buffet
The continental breakfast buffet was beautiful, stacked with fresh fruit, pastries and breads, followed by an a la carte menu of favourites. And while the restaurant’s name might sound more Paris than Penrith, it celebrates a little-known local story of Marcel’s design inspiration.
Just five minutes away from the restaurant once stood the 1976 Torin Factory building, a collaboration between Harry Seidler and late great modernist architect and designer Marcel Breuer, famous for his mid-twentieth-century Bauhaus chair designs. It was New York-based Breuer’s sole Australian project.
Marcel pays homage to Breuer with its name and stunning Bauhaus-influenced design. Located atop a sweeping central staircase, with floor-to-ceiling views of the Blue Mountains, the restaurant sports subdued primary colours and sleek modernist outlines, with Breuer’s iconic Cesco chairs dotted around.
Wine takes centre stage in Marcel’s open cellar, where you can browse, select and chat with sommeliers to re-introduce old-school hospitality, elegance and attention to detail. The intimate space also features curated cocktails anchored by premium Australian spirits. Again, we’re looking forward to seeing more hyper local collaborations in future.
Downstairs in the Tori bar, there’s a more unbuttoned vibe, with locally roasted coffee beans and pastries first thing in the day, before becoming a daytime hub for drinks and light bites, then live entertainment amping up the atmosphere for sunset drinks.
Related: Check out Ellen’s guide to Penrith’s Best Bars while you are in town.
What is there to do nearby?
Penrith Panthers club is in the main complex across the carpark, with numerous dining options and a theatre with live entertainment. BlueBet Stadium is across the road, where you can watch a Panthers football game.
iFly indoor parachuting is across the carpark, there’s escape rooms, aqua golf, whitewater rafting, indoor golf, the Penrith CBD shopping strip, Lewers Gallery nearby, and numerous eateries along the easy Great River Walk circuit along the Nepean River. This is just the start for Penrith, with new activities cropping up every few weeks.
So would we stay again?
Yes. Pullman Sydney Penrith is unpretentious, convenient and at around $248 a night, makes a 5- star bed well within reach. Whether you’re visiting for a Panthers home game, a business conference or wedding in the adjoining 1000sqm Western Sydney Convention Centre or a multi-night holiday in Penrith, Pullman Sydney Penrith is definitely worth the stay.
Our stay at Pullman Sydney Penrith was hosted in exchange for our honest review of the property.
Check out these Penrith Bars while you are in town.
About the Author: An award-winning travel writer, Blue Mountains-based Ellen Hill traipses the country with photographer partner David in search of new experiences and interesting characters, usually in a grubby hatchback piled high with gear and, sometimes, a pampered pet rabbit called Callum.