Lonely Planet Writer

Sydney has opened its doors on the first new luxury hotel in 15 years

In need of a luxurious, pampering experience? The much-anticipated five-star Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour has opened its doors in Australia. It’s the first new-build, international luxury hotel to open in Sydney’s Central Business District in over 15 years.

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View of the hotel from the harbour. Image by Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour

The new $500m hotel is said to play a major role in the revitalisation of the Darling Harbour area. Forty hotels are scheduled to open in the next five years to support the city’s tourism.

There are 590 guestrooms in the luxury hotel including 35 suites with floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the harbour and the city. The Bellerive suite is the hotel’s pinnacle of accommodation and features a separate living room, dining room, and butler’s pantry.

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Crisp, clean rooms. Image by Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour
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View from the tub. Image by Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour

Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour was designed by renowned architect Richard Francis-Jones of architecture firm fjmt. They’re the only Australian firm to have won the World Building of the Year Award (2013) and to have concurrently won the Greenway Award for Conservation and the Sir John Sulman Award for Outstanding Public Architecture (2005).

Paying tribute to the Eora, the indigenous Australian people of New South Wales, who lived around Tumbalong, the hotel’s design aims to reflect the surrounding heritage with a strong focus on the sea and the wharf.

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The Champagne Bar at the Sofitel Image by Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour

The Champagne Bar in the hotel is the largest Champagne bar in Sydney and the Sofitel will be the only hotel in Australia to acquire a special edition 3L Jeroboam of Cristal Brut valued at $22,000. The bottle is encased in 24-karat gold-dipped latticework handcrafted by two master goldsmiths over four days.

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The infinity pool. Image by Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour
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Views of the harbour from Club Millesime. Image by Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour

The Sofitel brand is known for being culturally linked with a city or region with similar attributes, landscape, and design in France, and this new building is tied with the French city of Marseille.