Debra McLennan checks into the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour.

Getting there:

We wanted a long weekend away and Sydney called. Departing Queenstown at 12.10pm we arrived in a warm, sunny Sydney three hours later.

Check-in experience: As our room included the Club Millesime, we were directed to the exclusive check-in on the 35th floor to be personally taken care of away from the busy front desk.


Location: Fantastic location only a 10-minute walk across the historic Pyrmont Bridge to the CBD.

Being on the Western side of Darling Harbour meant the views of the city from the hotel were stunning, especially with a glass of champagne in hand as the sun went down.

Hotel history: This is the first five-star, purpose built hotel to open in Sydney in 15 years.

A striking silver and glass tower, it is Darling Harbour's tallest building.

Room: Our Junior Suite had a spectacular view over the harbour and CBD. And a bottle of champagne on ice, magnifique! The room was spacious, with a subdued contemporary aesthetic.

Price: Sofitel, Darling Harbour offers 590 rooms from a NZ$315 Superior Room to the premium Bellerive Suite at $1965. Our Junior Suite was $610.

What's so good about this place? The views were amazing, whether from the bar, the pool or our room, and combined with the luxury of the whole experience made for a memorable stay. The Club Millesime privileges were a real treat, especially complimentary evening drinks and canapes on the 35th floor with breathtaking, almost 360-degree views of the harbour. And the bad? Teething issues with key and lift access, most likely due to it being so new. However, all were resolved efficiently.

Toiletries: Hermes toiletries complimented the elegance of the room.


Food and drink: We had a superb meal at the main restaurant, Atelier, with a French inspired menu featuring local ingredients. Desserts and service were outstanding.

Bed: King bed, very comfortable with quality linen.

View? Private and serene, with magnificent views by day and night.

Bathroom: Deluxe amenities were modern and sleek. Double vanity, shower and standalone bath overlooking the city.

Free Wi-Fi? Yes.

Noise: Minimal.

Exercise facilities: We didn't use the hotel's busy gym facilities; however we had a morning swim in the 20m infinity swimming pool overlooking the harbour — a perfect way to start the day.

Perfect for: This luxurious, elegant hotel is for those who love a sophisticated experience and want an indulgent city weekend escape with fabulous views.