HOW’S THIS FOR A VIEW, DAR­LING

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - DESTINATION NSW - KARA IRV­ING

Syd­ney has a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing our “shiny” city – there’s al­ways some­thing sparkling. By day it’s the blue green hues of the har­bour. At dusk, the glow of cruise lin­ers and high-rise build­ings dance along the sky­line. And when Sof­i­tel Syd­ney Dar­ling Har­bour opened its flashy new $500m lux­ury ho­tel last month, it in­jected some raz­zle daz­zle back into this tourist precinct.

LO­CA­TION, LO­CA­TION

The ho­tel is a fit­ting ad­di­tion to the har­bour, lo­cated con­ve­niently at the doorstep of Syd­ney’s new In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­tre and Har­bour­side Shop­ping Cen­tre. While other lux­ury ho­tels ce­mented their stake in Cir­cu­lar Quay, SSDH is one of the first to pro­vide un­ri­valled views of Dar­ling Har­bour, Syd­ney’s CBD and Botany Bay, es­pe­cially from the ho­tel’s top floor.

SSDH gen­eral man­ager Greg Brady said the ad­di­tion was long over­due. “I think Dar­ling Har­bour has been a real fu­ture de­vel­op­ment hub and the Sof­i­tel is nec­es­sary to sup­port that growth,” he said. “This view is like you’re look­ing into the city, like Hong Kong.”

JOIN THE CLUB

You could lose a day drink­ing in the views from the ho­tel’s Club Milles­ime Lounge, perched on the ho­tel’s top floor. Pre-din­ner cock­tails and canapés in­clude curry puffs, cro­quettes, rice paper rolls, sushi and pies. Wait staff are at­ten­tive and quick to re­plen­ish wine glasses. Buck­ets of Cham­pagne scat­tered around are free pour, but if you ask you can try a red or white from the cab­i­net.

In the morn­ing, a cooked and con­ti­nen­tal break­fast keeps hunger at bay. Ba­con and eggs with all the trim­mings, cheese, salad, ce­real, toast and a spread of freshly baked pas­tries.

BAR HOP­PING

Af­ter check-in, head to Le Ri­vage Pool Bar on level 4 where the sun­shine, mu­sic and sounds of cock­tail shak­ers give off beach re­sort vibes that make you for­get you’re in the city.

Af­ter a for­mal din­ing space? Head down­stairs to French-in­spired ro­tis­serie and grill Ate­lier by Sof­i­tel. Ex­ec­u­tive chef Matt Coates, for­merly of Mel­bourne’s Crown Casino, serves con­tem­po­rary French cui­sine.

Have a cheeky drink at Esprit Noir or the ho­tel’s Cham­pagne Bar be­fore­hand. It’s the largest bar of its kind in Syd­ney, serv­ing the spe­cial 2009 Louis Roed­erer Cham­pagne in col­lab­o­ra­tion with artist Phillipe Starck. The more ad­ven­tur­ous can splurge on a 24 carat gold-dipped, three-litre Jer­oboam of Cristal Brut cost­ing a cool $22,000.

ALL THE TRIM­MINGS

The ho­tel’s French touch doesn’t stop at the cui­sine – ev­ery Sof­i­tel around the world is cul­tur­ally linked with a city or re­gion in France that shares sim­i­lar cul­tural at­tributes.

Dar­ling Har­bour takes its in­spi­ra­tion from port city Mar­seilles, in the south of France, which trans­lates in the ar­chi­tec­ture, in­te­rior and fit­tings. The en­trance sees wispy white rope, jellyfish-like lamps and framed prints of beach­side happy snaps, and the nau­ti­cal theme con­tin­ues in our Ju­nior Club Suite.

Ev­ery­thing we need is lit­er­ally within reach. Touch pads on each bed­side al­low us to open and close the cur­tains, dim the lights and ad­just the air­con. There are even USB ports on each bed­side, per­fect if you’ve for­got­ten your phone charger.

Con­ve­nient in the­ory, the bed­side touch­pads were a tad sen­si­tive, light­ing up at the slight­est move­ment.

The ho­tel oozes el­e­gance in its golden trim­mings, mar­ble floor and glass pan­elling. Even the Grohe bath­room fit­tings re­sem­ble the Sof­i­tel’s “o” mo­tif.

SOF­I­TEL SYD­NEY DAR­LING HAR­BOUR

GET­TING THERE

Sof­i­tel Syd­ney Dar­ling Har­bour is a 20-minute drive (13km) from Syd­ney Do­mes­tic and In­ter­na­tional Air­port, which costs about $40.

STAY­ING THERE

Rates start at $499 a room a night. Guests on lev­els 28 and above can en­joy club ac­cess.

MORE

sof­i­tel­syd­ney­dar­ling­har­bour.com.au

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