Hotel Review: Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour


Oh la la – be prepared for lots of swooning the minute you enter the chic Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour Hotel. The gleaming 35-story tower rises above Darling Harbour and takes centre stage in this revitalised part of Sydney. The hotel sits opposite the new International Convention Centre in Darling Harbour and is accessible by light rail. It is a short 10-minute walk to the city centre with bus and train connections. The Australian National Maritime Museum is a short stroll away and it is close to Cockle Bay, King Street Wharf and Barangaroo.

Back story

Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour is the city’s first newly built international luxury hotel since the Olympics – the Westin was opened in 1999. The $500 million hotel opened in October 2017 three weeks ahead of schedule. It features a striking glass exterior with triangular accent and stunning porte-cochere. It is also the first new-build Sofitel in Australia and it’s impressive.

The Interiors

The interiors, by Dreamtime Australia Design and A+ Design Group, combine four influences – maritime, industrial, indigenous and foreshore with sandstone and bronze tones used throughout.  Check out the lobby’s jellyfish installation.


There are 590 rooms including 35 suites, spread over 28 accommodation floors. All up the hotel can accommodate 1200.

My sleek room overlooks Darling Harbour with magnificent views across the city and beyond. It’s mesmerising standing looking out of the floor to ceiling windows. Earthy tones feature with a nod to Sydney’s sandstone and the attention to detail creates a warm ambience. But it’s that Sofitel MyBed that makes it difficult to leave the room – it’s just so comfortable. The bath is also a great time waster and perfect for relaxing after a busy day.

All 35 suites feature an in-bathroom television, double shower heads and luxurious soaking tubs for the ultimate pampering experience.

Want to lash out? Book the spacious Bellerive Suite which has top-floor views of Sydney, one king-size Sofitel MyBed, separate living room, butler’s pantry, separate shower and bath, and access to Club Millesime on level 35.


Indulge in fabulous dining at the signature restaurant, Atelier by Sofitel. With a cultural link to Marseille, Atelier by Sofitel, takes its cues from the traditional culinary influences of the South of France.

The French inspired grill restaurant, is where Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour Director of Food and Beverage, Nicolas Mercier, promises a refined yet casual dining experience.

For lunch and dinner, hotel guests and Sydneysiders can enjoy a fusion of Australian and French favourites with a fresh seafood focus such as Tiger prawns “a la Provençale” cooked in a ratatouille emulsion, local Merimbula Pacific oysters or ocean trout crudo.

Sharing plates are also available and you can’t do better than the grilled split jumbo prawns or charcoal beef Tomahawk steak cooked to perfection.

Mercier says that there’s a focus on artfully crafted cuisine, combining classical techniques and a modern culinary philosophy.

“With its spectacular setting, the restaurants offer a stunning backdrop for a complete sensory dining experience,” he says.

“The menus will change seasonally and are created using the very best local produce. Our philosophy is to retain the natural aroma and taste of the finest ingredients available and delicately blend them with the culinary techniques that highlight the origin of our heritage and the authenticity of our location.”

The well-curated wine and champagne list includes 20 different champagne and vintage cuvee from the smaller champagne houses like Canard-Duchene and Dom Perignon to the houses of Louis Roederer and Pommery. An extensive range of Australian and international wines are also available.

These are featured in the 800-bottle wine and champagne wall that connects Atelier by Sofitel to the Champagne Bar.


Champagne Bar

You can’t help be impressed by Sydney’s only hotel Champagne Bar. It exudes charm and style and you will find a special signature Louis Roederer Champagne from the 2009 vintage in collaboration with artist Philippe Starck, representing the mix of innovation and French heritage. Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour is also the only hotel in Australia to have acquired a special edition 3L Jeroboam of Cristal Brut valued at $22,000. The bottle is encased in 24 carat gold-dipped latticework handcrafted by two master goldsmiths over four days.

Other Bars

Head to Esprit Noir lobby bar, located on the ground floor. It offers an elegant space to relax and enjoy a cocktail. Le Rivage Pool Bar (for hotel guests only) is on the fourth floor. It’s an idyllic place for hotel guests to laze the day away while sipping cocktails or swimming in the inviting 20m infinity pool.

Club Millesime Lounge

Located on level 35 is one of Sydney’s most luxurious lounges, accessible only to the Club rooms and Suites occupants. Exclusive benefits include private check-in/out, healthy deluxe continental breakfast in lounge, light food and beverage refreshments throughout the day, complimentary French tradition of Le Gouter or High Tea (3pm-5pm) and early evening canapés.

Signature cocktail

The signature cocktail is The Marseille inspired by the South of France – with spiced grapefruit syrup, rhubarb and Champagne.

Keep Fit

Work out at the gym facilities in the SoFit gym on Level 4, plus the 20m pool with great views.

 Sofitel Rituals

Plate Shining

Every morning at 7am one of the Concierge staff will polish the hotel’s name plate anti-clockwise in the Southern hemisphere and clockwise in the Northern hemisphere, which reflects the rotation ofthe Earth. The cloth that has been used is then folded five times representing the continents of the world. This cloth is stored and controlled by the concierge.

The polishing of the Sofitel Name Plate is an established brand standard for Sofitel worldwide. This brand standard demonstrates the commitment present throughout all Sofitel addresses as well as the ambition, pride and pleasure Sofitel ambassadors experience as they strive for perfection.

Candle Ritual

Paris was the first city to flood its streets with light after dark, allowing nightlife to flourish vibrantly.

As its boulevards and streets were illuminated by more than 56,000 gas lamps, the city became known as “La Ville Lumiere” (The City of Light). Paris remains one of the most beautifully lit cities in the world today. The Paris lights inspired Sofitel to create the Sofitel Candle Ritual. The warm glow from lit candles throughout the hotel enhances the welcoming environment Sofitel wants guests to experience.

The Sofitel Candle Ritual is a defining part of the Sofitel brand experience, becoming a symbolic sight, time, space and memory of its own. It is staged every day at sunset in every Sofitel hotel around the world.

What I loved

The French flair, those drop dead gorgeous views,  a bed you never want to leave, excellent service and that signature cocktail – tres bon!