Art de vivre at Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour
Sofitel’s newest Australian hotel, Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour brings a dash of French glamour to Sydney, as Cathy Wagstaff discovers.
Sydney’s first new-build international five-star hotel of the 21st-century towers over the buzz of Darling Harbour. The view from my suite takes in the tourist hive below, as well as stretching to the skyscrapers of the CBD, the flourishing precinct of Barangaroo and beyond to where ferries ply the harbour waters. The 500-million-dollar Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour feels at the vanguard of a new flurry of development; with more than 40 hotels expected to open in the next five years, the city’s hotel landscape is on the brink of transformation.
But that’s all in the future. Australia’s latest Sofitel (and the brand’s first new-build on our shores) opened with much fanfare in October thanks to its philanthropic debut, which raised $508,000 for 33 charities. The location could not be more central, whether you’re a leisure traveller soaking up the Sydney sights or a business traveller attending a conference next door at the International Convention Centre.
Bellerive Suite bedroom
The 590-room hotel is imbued with Sofitel’s signature French art de vivre, from the welcoming ‘Bonjour madame’ to the well-stocked Champagne Bar (choosing between the 20 champagnes on offer is one of the greatest challenges of my stay). Le Rivage Pool Bar, beside the fourth-floor infinity pool and SoFit fitness centre, brings the sophistication of a Côte d’Azur beach club to Sydney, while executive chef Matt Coates reimagines French classics with an Australian edge at Atelier by Sofitel. The deconstructed bouillabaisse, in particular, is a culinary tie to Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour’s “culturally linked” French city, Marseille.
Club Millésime on level 35
An elevated lounge provides a retreat for Sofitel’s Club Millésime guests at the top of the hotel. This 35th-floor eyrie offers all-day refreshments, an afternoon tea buffet, canapés and evening drinks, and a private reception area for club check-in and check-out. For those arriving early or departing late, there are even shower facilities.
My King Prestige Suite has a home-away-from-home feel, with everything I need at my fingertips. There is a capsule coffee machine and TWG teas, although I pass over both of these at first in favour of the welcome bottle of Veuve and a plate of macarons. The view from my bed is replicated in the bathroom, where I could easily watch the lights of the city while indulging in one of the MyBed Experience bath rituals. The Vitamin B3 Caviar Bath is one of the most popular menu items, combining caviar beads with scents of amber and patchouli and a Vitamin 3 Body Buff. Even without the pre-slumber soak, the signature Sofitel MyBed by Sleepmaker Hospitality practically guarantees a good night’s sleep.
Twenty champagnes are on offer at the Champagne Bar
This article appeared in volume 29 of Signature Luxury Travel & Style. To subscribe to the latest issue, click here.
All images © Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour