The first new-build, international luxury hotel to open in Sydneyâ€™s CBD in more than a decade, Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour forms part of a new crop of hotels revitalising the vibrant waterfront precinct.
Standing along the waterfront, the five-star hotel Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour features 590 guestrooms and suites spread over 35 storeys. I was assigned a 35m2 Superior King Room Darling Harbour View on the 27th storey.
The room was elegant and tasteful, and there was ample space to fit in a long sofa, round table and chair. I loved the full-length windows that afforded a 180-degree view Darling Harbour and the city, not to mention an abundance of natural light.
The lights and air-conditioning are easily controlled by a touchpad on the wall next to the sumptuous bed. The curtains, however, were not automated, and I had to manually close them when I wanted to take a catnap.
The spacious bathroom comprised a walk-in closet with a dedicated luggage rack space â€“ no more bending down to retrieve items from my luggage, yay! The toilet and shower were separated, and bath products were from French fashion house Lanvin. For higher-end suites, there will also be bathtubs.
I did find it odd that the minifridge was placed in the bathroom, as the coffee machine was outside in front of the swivel-out TV.
The hotel offers nine meeting spaces ranging from the 497m2 Magnifique Ballroom to the 19-pax Jones boardroom, as well as a 200m2 pre-function area. In addition, thereâ€™s a 24-hour business centre on level one with computers and printing facilities.
The property stands just across from the ICC Sydney, which boasts an impressive range of meeting and event venues including a 8,000-pax theatre, 35,000m2 of exhibition space, 70 meeting rooms, a 5,000m2 open-air event deck and a 2,000-pax grand ballroom â€“ the largest of its kind in Australia. In total, the centre has over 240,000m2 of total gross floor area, and the buildingâ€™s unique configuration allows three major conventions to run simultaneously.
A Novotel and an ibis â€“ both under Accor â€“ are located across the road from Sofitel. Event planners may make use of all three properties, housing VIPs in the Sofitel, with other delegates staying in the other two properties.
I had my buffet breakfast the following morning at the Atelier by Sofitel, the hotelâ€™s vast and only F&B venue on level three decked out in warm wooden tones. The spread was reasonably extensive, ranging from freshly-baked pastries to cold cuts to made-to-order omelettes.
A gym on level four offers workouts with views of the city skyline, as well as an outdoor, 20m-long infinity pool that opens out to the same stellar view. Unfortunately, there is no spa on the grounds.
Also adjacent to the gleaming skyscraper is the Harbourside Shopping Centre, offering business travellers more options for waterfront dining, entertainment spots, or some retail therapy.
Regardless of time of day, every hotel staff I had the pleasure of coming across greeted me cheerfully with “Bonjour”. Check-in was smooth and painless, and the lady at the front desk took the extra effort to search the system for a higher room in the same category; my original room was on the eight floor. She quite literally gave me an upgrade which I very much appreciated.
Magnifique. A darling of a hotel that has almost everything a business traveller could need and want, and would appeal to those who needs to be in close proximity to the ICC Sydney and the CBD.