Occupying a prime waterfront location opposite ICC Sydney – Asia Pacific’s newest integrated convention, exhibition and entertainment centre – when the new AUD350million Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour opened a month ago, it was the city’s most anticipated luxury hospitality opening for a number of years. In one of the world’s most photographed cities, the Sofitel was somewhat surprisingly the first new-build luxury hotel to open in Sydney since before the city hosted the Olympics in 2000.
Owned by hotel magnate Jerry Schwartz, operated by Accor and boasting 590 contemporary French styled rooms including 35 suites, the new Sofitel is now Darling Harbour’s tallest building, and guests sipping bubbly in the hotel’s exclusive Club Millesime Lounge on level 35 look down on the Hyatt Regency on the opposite side of the harbour, presently Australia’s largest hotel with 892 keys.
Designed by renowned and multi award-winning UK-born Sydney-based architect Richard Francis-Jones, the hotel’s design draws inspiration from the area’s waterside heritage, reimagining iconic motifs in a vibrant modern style, and the architecture pays tribute to the maritime industries that formerly occupied the site. Luxurious touches, artistic detailing and an obvious sense of style have been skilfully woven throughout the hotel, artfully combining French elegance and sophistication with local culture. Whilst this detailing is evident in the hotel’s public spaces, as well as the hundreds of guest rooms in various categories, it is in the property’s 35 covetable suites, which boast some of Sydney’s best views, where most of Francis-Jones’ deluxe frills come into play.
As well as the aforementioned top floor champagne bar, where premium guests soak in spectacular harbour vistas with a glass of vintage cuvee in hand, there are two other bars, an all-day dining “Atelier by Sofitel” signature restaurant, nine meeting spaces, a grand ballroom, an infinity pool and a state-of-the-art gym. Sydney may have waited a long time for a brand new 5-star property, but Darling Harbour’s swishy new Sofitel delivers slick facilities and designer accommodation in spades.