Sofitel Darling Harbour, Sydney

Old Oct 9, 17, 4:43 am
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Sofitel Darling Harbour, Sydney

Hi all,

I don’t usually write reviews however I thought people might like some first hand info on the newly opened Sofitel Darling Harbour. The hotel is Sydney’s first all new five star hotel build since 1999 which is in contrast with Sofitel Sydney Wentworth which is the city’s oldest five star hotel!

After hosting winners of charity auctions at the hotel from the 3rd of October, the 590 room property officially opened on Friday the 6th. My wife and I stayed the night of the 7th and were upgraded to a junior suite after booking a luxury corner room with Darling Harbour views (no doubt due to my Platinum status).

Check in
I called the hotel directly the afternoon of our stay to ask a few questions. After ten minutes on hold the Accor call centre answered. Apparently the hotel was having issues with their phone lines and I was told to try again later.

At about 4pm I missed a call from the hotel stating our room was ready. Check in was reasonably quick and they had proactively upgraded us to a junior suite.

I asked if Platinum members were granted Club Millesime access regardless of room type as is the case with other Sofitels in Australia. I was told that while they aim to upgrade Platinum members to a room with club access, if this doesn’t happen you will not have access to the lounge in order to curb overcrowding. Thankfully on this occasion we were upgraded!

We were offered two drink coupons as is standard for Accor status members, however no gift was offered. When staying at the Sofitel Wentworth for example, I’m offered a welcome gift and often opt for the bottle of red and cheese board. A small tray of chocolates were however delivered to our room later that evening.

Club Millesime
The lounge is situated on the top (35th) floor of the hotel and has fantastic views of the city and Darling Harbour. Canapés and drinks are offered between 5.30pm and 7.30pm. There was a large selection including smoked salmon, scallop sashimi, spring rolls, mini burgers, cheeses (I thoroughly recommend the quality brie), meats and a few other items. Beer, several wines and sparkling were also offered however no spirits were served, a shortfall compared to the Sofitel Wentworth in Sydney.

I found Club Millesime to be more festive than the equivalent lounge at the Sofitel Wentworth and it certainly has a more spectacular view. The lively atmosphere might have been due to it being opening weekend and a full hotel, however it certainly felt more like a holiday crowd than the business focused Wentworth.

Breakfast the following day was served in the lounge with the usual spread of items. I found the ingredients to be of good quality and well cooked, which makes a difference between bland scrambled eggs and something memorable. I think you could have eggs to order (I saw a chef deliver poached eggs) however as the lounge staff were run off their feet I decided to stick to the buffet selection. Complementary espresso barista coffee was also offered, something I find lacking at Hilton’s Glass Brasserie breakfast offering for their Diamond members.

Just about everything ran out at some point during our visit, including cutlery. This was clearly a factor of it being opening weekend. A staff member kindly thanked us for our patience and encouraged us to return in a month when they had ironed things out.

The Rooms and Décor
The hotel has a vibe of understated elegance. Our room on the 26th floor benefitted from expansive harbor views (not all rooms have this) and a separate bath well placed to take advantage of these views, with floor to ceiling windows.

I found the hallways rather dimly lit but I think this of most hotels I’ve stayed at.

Pool and Gym
These are located on the fourth floor. The gym overlooks the harbor and has about 8 weight machines, 5 treadmills, a pair of elliptical machines, a rower and a set of barbell weights. All machines were the latest technology – it’s the first time I’ve been able to search youtube while using an elliptical! Somewhat predictably I chose to search flight reviews…

The pool is uncovered, outside to the side of the main tower. There is a bar, a dozen or two lounge chairs and a smallish infinity pool with views over the harbour. All in all I found it a nice place to relax with a gin and tonic.

Check out
You could check out by dropping off a form in the hotel foyer or simply leaving if you had no outstanding charges, however I chose to do so manually which proved painfully slow.

Overall Impression
The hotel understandably has some teething issues however the staff were all very pleasant and helpful. I liked the hotel décor and ambiance, and it is clearly modern in its design. I particularly liked the view from the floor to ceiling windows in every room.

On the weekend we stayed it had a more of a high-end holiday vibe than the business centric focus of the Sofitel Wentworth. In the Wentworth’s favour is a higher level of service refinement (this may be equaled in time) and additional amenities in the form of Accor member gifts and higher end beverages in the executive lounge. As a Platinum member I am also grateful of lounge access regardless of room type rather than facing the newer hotel’s lottery.

Base room rates seem to be about $100pn more at Sofitel Darling Harbour vs Sofitel Wentworth. Which would I prefer? Well I’ll definitely return to Darling Harbour but the old Wentworth has life in it yet!
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Old Oct 9, 17, 7:32 am
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Wonderful!
Thanks for this review Plane Crazy
Did you manage to take any pictures?
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Old Oct 9, 17, 1:48 pm
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Thanks gilbertaue. I did take pictures but as it's my first review and I don't have a blog elsewhere I couldn't work out how to upload them.
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Old Oct 9, 17, 11:07 pm
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Originally Posted by Plane Crazy View Post
I asked if Platinum members were granted Club Millesime access regardless of room type as is the case with other Sofitels in Australia. I was told that while they aim to upgrade Platinum members to a room with club access, if this doesn’t happen you will not have access to the lounge in order to curb overcrowding. Thankfully on this occasion we were upgraded!
Thanks for sharing.

I sincerely hope they drop this thinking immediately. This is NOT how it is supposed to work.
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Old Oct 23, 17, 5:01 am
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Amazing new Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour

Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour

Map| 1 Review | 100% Recommended

Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour

12 Darling Drive Sydney, NSW AU 2000

Amazing new Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour (4 Photos)

Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour

I stayed here for 2 nights last week - and it was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!

The hotel was only a week into it's opening, and it wasn't perfect, and they are still working some things out, but this hotel will be my new Go To hotel in Sydney.

When booking, I had issues with the Accor Website - I have Accor Plus membership and the publicly available price on the website was cheaper than the Accor Plus price, but I called the hotel and they were able to get me a members rate which was appreciated.

2 days before check in, they called me to confirm I was coming, and wanted to know if I had any specific requests. I enquired about a room upgrade and lounge access and any other Accor Platinum Perks, and was advised I'd be getting an upgrade and lounge access. (I had booked a standard room).

Check in was very easy in the foyer, and we were quickly on our way to the room, and then to the lounge for afternoon tea.


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The lounge was on the top floor - 35 - and had magnificent views across Darling Harbour and Sydney.


The lounge at night time was very full - and on Saturday night it was standing room only. Probably one of my main criticisms of the hotel is that they haven't built the lounge big enough as it is very crowded if the hotel is full (Saturday night it was over booked apparently). 

But there was a great selection of wines, spirits and canapés, and the service was very efficient.

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Unfortunately there was no 'Platinum Welcome Amenity' as you would expect at a Sofitel (we had spent the previous 2 nights at the Mercure Goulburn and received a welcome amenity there) but one of the staff members did make mention to me that they were still working on that happening.

We did receive 2 drink vouchers but I forgot to use them!!

I didn't get the usual welcome letter until late on the last night. I don't know if this is one of those things that they were still getting up and running or they just forgot - but both my rooms got this letter later Saturday night with 2 more drink vouchers - but as we only found the letter on Sunday morning before checking out (it was slipped under the door) we couldn't use the drink vouchers.

Location

The location for me was perfect - we were there for leisure and not business, so Darling Harbour suited really well. It is metres from the International Convention and Exhibition Centre and also the Shopping Mall at DH, and views over the harbour.

Room

We were upgraded to a Club Room on the 34th Floor, and I was really happy with what we got. (I requested a room with 2 double beds as we had our kids with us). I had also booked a room for my In-Laws and they were also upgraded to the Club floor and were given lounge access as well. Very happy with that.

The room was really nicely done. I felt like it was a modern version of the Sofitel Wentworth - it felt like a Sofitel with that French Luxury, but it was modern and fresh.

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One annoying thing in the room at night are the light switches. They must have sensors in them and light up if they think someone is trying to turn them on. Really good if you are looking for the light switch in the middle of the night, but I had a light switch right next to the bed and every time I rolled over the light switch lit up and woke me up. I had to try and cover it so I didn’t keep getting this light in my eyes. Not sure how they fix that but a bit of a design fail on the light switches next to the bed. 

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Beds didn't necessarily feel like the normal Sofitel beds - they were a lot harder - but they were still comfy. 

The pillows weren't great - either rock hard or very soft - but the pillow menu hadn't made it to the room yet so I'm not sure if there were other pillows you could choose from (when we rang up for alternative pillows we just asked for firm ones and were sent rocks!!)
 

Service

Service at the hotel was exceptional. Everyone was very friendly, and still had that 'new hotel opening buzz'. The lounge staff were exceptional - not overbearing but available for service when needed.

Pool

The pool was great - quite busy when we were there but really nice area with a bar behind it. 

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Gym

As for the gym, it was basic but enough. Nothing mind blowing about it, but if you wanted to do a workout, you could. I used it on the Saturday morning and had a good workout although if you wanted to do anything more than a few weights, you'd need to go find a proper gym. Only let down here was there was no water in the Gym, so not sure if they had run out (although I was there at 7am) or just haven't gotten around to adding it yet.

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Dining

For breakfast, we were told that we had a choice of either having it in the lounge or in the restaurant on the 3rd floor. Both mornings we had it down in the restaurant.

It was ok - not mind blowing - but there was a good selection of hot and cold foods - cereals, breads, bacon etc - what you come to expect in an Australian hotel. Service was very good, and the atmosphere in the restaurant was great. (I forgot to take photos though).

Only challenge I had with the restaurant was that I was charged $80 per person for breakfast both mornings (Because I had Club Lounge Access, breakfast should have been free). These charges were subsequently removed, however on check out, I was advised that we were not entitled to have breakfast in the restaurant - only in the lounge. This is one of the little teething issues the hotel is having as I had about 5 staff (including Club Lounge staff) tell me that we can choose which place to have breakfast in as someone with lounge access, but there are obviously some staff that feel differently about it.

Having said that, there is no way I'd pay $80 to have breakfast in the restaurant - that is massively overpriced and no worth it.
 

Overall

Overall, I absolutely loved this hotel. I was pretty forgiving for some of the little things they missed as it had only been open for a week, but if I’m paying $400 a night next time, I may not be as forgiving. 

Having said that, I have already booked our next stay.

Amazing new Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour

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Old Oct 23, 17, 1:56 pm
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Thanks for the review PabloM
Looks nice indeed and it's very impressive reading that the hotel is already overbooked one week after opening !
Looking at your room picture, I have the impression they are a bit small, are they ? And no desk, just this small table with no lamp and no plugs ?
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Old Oct 23, 17, 2:29 pm
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Thanks Goldorak

the room was a “normal” size I’d say. Not big but not small. It was probably a bit tight for 2 doubles (they were touching) but I didnt feel it was small.

Good questions about the desk but to be honest I didn’t pay much attention to it as I was there with family. So can’t comment on PowerPoints etc but it wasn’t a large desk.
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Old Oct 30, 17, 11:22 pm
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Nice review. Not impressed with the room though. Could have been a Mercure.
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Old Oct 30, 17, 11:24 pm
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Originally Posted by RJ77 View Post
Nice review. Not impressed with the room though. Could have been a Mercure.
Room definitely felt Sofitel - not Mercure. I did have 2 doubles in the room though so it was a little tight but it did feel like a sofitel
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Old Nov 12, 17, 10:39 pm
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Places by Accorhotels

Seems that the Sofitel DH hotel is not yet listed in the App. Does anyone know? Or Amy could help out? thanks,
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Old Nov 12, 17, 10:52 pm
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Originally Posted by babyjohn123 View Post
Seems that the Sofitel DH hotel is not yet listed in the App. Does anyone know? Or Amy could help out? thanks,
The Places app does not find Sofitel DH when you pick the "Check-in" option however it does find it if you type "Sofitel Darling Harbour" in the search.

Source: I was there yesterday
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Old Nov 12, 17, 11:04 pm
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It worked for me a few weeks back. See below
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Old Nov 14, 17, 1:06 am
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Originally Posted by PabloM View Post
It worked for me a few weeks back. See below
thanks, i found and checked it in via facebook version
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Old Nov 30, 17, 5:00 am
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Here’s a professional review:

http://www.traveller.com.au/sofitel-...r-hotel-gzvfdt
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Old Feb 9, 19, 4:15 am
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Does anybody know if this hotel offers Club Millesime access to Platinum members booked into non-club rooms? The OP says this isn't the case unless you are upgraded to a club room, but I wanted to check if it's changed?

Thanks
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