Darling Harbour’s recent renaissance has been spearheaded by the addition of the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour, a superb hotel offering on the doorstep of the new International Convention Centre. Looming over the once tired tourist trap, the $500 million Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour officially opened its doors in October 2017 making it the first new-build, international luxury hotel to open in Sydney’s CBD this millennium.
Aside from lovely rooms boasting expansive views of Darling Harbour, Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour features a world-class Champagne bar and Sofitel’s exclusive Club Millesime Lounge, located at the very top of the hotel on level 35 with unbeatable views of the Sydney skyline and harbour. I was extended the opportunity to spend an evening at the hotel, paired with a bottle of Pommery’s finest in the Champagne Bar and am pleased to confirm that Sydney’s newest 5-star destination is one of the city’s best.
The interiors, handled by A+ Design group, are fresh and sophisticated, with an airy beach house vibe that isn’t taken too far. Bespoke furniture, fittings and contemporary wallpapers add character to the floorplan but don’t detract from the main event – the bathroom. Our Luxury Room with Harbour View, situated towards the top of the tower, featured a spectacular bathroom with a free standing tub and vanity looking out over Darling Harbour, Barangaroo and the hotel’s pool below – even the toilet provided an exceptional outlook.
Downstairs at level three is where the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour comes to life, in the form of the La Rivage Pool Bar and inside, the Atelier restaurant and adjoining Champagne Bar. I can’t speak for the fare at the lively French bistro but the Champagne Bar is a must visit for anyone who deems themselves a fan of the region’s greatest export. The dedicated Champagne Bar offers 13 different champagnes by the glass including the Krug Grand Cuvée Edition One Hundred and Sixty Six ($99) and an unprecedented selection by the bottle, including releases unavailable elsewhere in Australia. The pièce de résistance, however, is the Jeroboam of 2002 Louis Roederer Cristal, three litres of the good stuff for a paltry $22,000.
As the sun retreated and the bar filled up, we enjoyed a bottle of the NV Pommery Brut Apanage ($180) alongside five freshly shucked and very delicious Pacific Oysters ($23) before making the short walk to The Star for a cracking meal at Sokyo (highly underrated!).
The following morning we headed to breakfast at Atelier and were told we had access to the Club Millesime Lounge on Level 35, which also served breakfast. I assume club access would have also entitled us to an evening tipple the night before, but wasn’t told about it when we checked in. Club Millesime is a delightful, secluded space, with a far smaller capacity than Atelier downstairs. We sampled a few items from the buffet and then ordered from the menu, the Eggs Benedict was great but was marred by the effort required to keep the plate from sliding off the tiny table.
Whether it’s a weekend staycation, a quick Sydney jaunt or a recommendation to colleagues or friends, the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour is a formidable offering against the city’s elite hotels. At roughly $278 a night (Superior Room), it slides in well below its competitors and eclipses the majority of them. Even at circa $440 for the room I stayed in, it’s quite a compelling package, especially when you consider complimentary access to Club Millesime which includes daily breakfast, food and beverages throughout the day and complimentary afternoon tea and early evening alcoholic beverages with canapés.
And finally, for the Champagne lovers among you, the bar that bears the name is Sydney’s new home of bubbly, allowing you to indulge in some absolutely incredible wines by the glass, but don’t expect to find a table at 6pm on a Friday.
For more information on the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour and to book visit the hotel’s website.