The original Sydney 5-star hotel, Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, continues to shine, 65 years on. With a level of style and sophistication you’d expect to find in Continental Europe.
Traveller: Cathy Wagstaff
Room: Superior King
Address: 61/101 Phillip Street, Sydney, 2000
Date: 3 August 2022
Price: from $400 per night
Best for: a chic CDB stay over within walking distance from all the central Sydney attractions
Entering the hotel lobby I’m struck by the beautiful botanical displays inspired by the gardens of Versailles. The scent follows you to the check in making for a sensory arrival.
Interiors throughout the hotel have a French theme with 436 guest rooms (45 of which are suites) set over fifteen floors within an iconic curved horseshoe façade.
Claim to fame
Sofitel Sydney Wentworth has been a mainstay since opening in 1966, welcoming royalty (Queen Elizabeth II), movie stars (Audrey Hepburn, Marlon Brando, Sophia Loren) and politicians alike (Margaret Thatcher and George W Bush). Today it continues to charm with its chic French styling and central location that is made for city exploration.
The grand crystal chandelier in the foyer is worth stopping for a pretty picture. The unique curved facade is unlike hotels built in the 21st century and oozes curb appeal. While The Garden Court Restaurant, on the fifth floor, looks out over a formal, European-style garden bringing a little French floral style to central Sydney.
Just moments from Circular Quay and the Royal Botanic Gardens with Wynyard Station a short walk should you desire a destination a little further afield. Yet there is no need, as Sofitel Sydney Wentworth is right in the heart of central Sydney’s business and shopping districts and many of the city’s most famous attractions.
Within a short walk, you can find…
The Sydney Opera House and the best art spaces in Sydney. The museum district with the Arts Gallery of NSW, Museum of Sydney and Sydney Conservatorium of Music are all within easy reach. Plus, the ferries by Circular Quay will zip you to Manly and beyond.
My Superior room overlooking the Garden Courtyard was very pleasant. I also like that you have access to fresh air with doors that open onto a Juliet balcony. Rooms have been returned to their former glory, being renovated in March 2022, with deep navy and crisp white tones offset against oak and chrome fixtures. Sofitel King MyBed and a pillow menu ensure slumber is deep. Bathrooms feature marble floors, tiles, a bathtub, and a shower filled with Balmain beauty products. While in the main room a flat-screen TV, high-speed WiFi, mini-bar, and executive writing desk add to the luxuriously contemporary design.
Beyond the rooms
Soirée by the lobby is ideal for an early evening cocktail, plus has a modern French menu in a retro 60s setting. This bar has long been a favourite of mine and I have spent many enjoyable evenings here with a glass of Veuve in hand. Club Sofitel is a private lounge for regular guests or those staying in suites. Hair@Wentworth caters to beauty desires while access to Elixr Health Club, a world-class fitness studio offering yoga, Pilates, Dance, and HIIT classes, is part of your hotel stay.
Dish to dine for
The 1960s-inspired Soirée is warm and inviting space with deep red and gold hues with retro decor touches. Offering contemporary French cuisine alongside international dishes plus delectable gin cocktails and a heady champagne list.
A fruity Framboise Pétillante is the perfect aperitif, made with Tanqueray gin, raspberry sorbet and bubbles. Or keep it pure with a glass of Verve Clicquot Brut.
On the menu Tuna “Duo” Nicoise is tuna done two ways: tartare and carpaccio that makes for a light accompaniment to a plate of French cheese (Camembert, Pont-l’Eveque) and charcuterie selection of Jamón, truffled salami and Paris saucisson.
But the star: Lamb Shank Bourguignon braised and slow cooked in red wine with button mushrooms on a stack of fluffy mashed potatoes. Paired with a Dourthe No.1 Cabernet Merlot from Bordeaux. Magnifique!
Club Sofitel is an exclusive lounge for guests in Prestige Suites, Luxury Club King Rooms and Wentworth Suite. Nestled on the garden level on floor five, it has a members club feel that continues the chic yet sleek Euro design. Afternoon tea is served daily with drinks and canapés après 5.30pm.
Sydney’s theatre district and Opera House are nearby making a stay at Sofitel Sydney Wentworth ideal to catch the latest stage show. The hotel has partnered with major arts institutions and organisations to offer exclusive and discounted tickets to musicals and events reserved for hotel guests, from the Australia Youth Orchestra to Opera Australia and Australia World Orchestra.
Balmain Paris amenities are on the mark. The French fashion label goes beyond the catwalk with its hair care range, that’s been a beauty leader for 45 years. Shampoo and conditioner are enriched with pure organic Argan oil and come in sleek monochrome bottles that complement the style of the suites.
I wish I could take home…
Floral displays from the foyer would suit my home to perfection. They are made even more fragrant by the signature fragrance, Essence de Sofitel, that scents the space. It’s guaranteed to transport you to the south of France in a nano second.
Garden Court Restaurant was open beyond breakfast. This elegant dining room overlooks the tranquil landscaped European courtyard, which would be ideal for a dinner come dusk. But note, there are plans afoot to open in the evenings in the near future.
Ask for one of the Superior rooms with a garden view overlooking the courtyard and that iconic curved façade.
V&T expert rating
7 out of 10: Joie de vivre! The French flair, location and lobby bar are divine. However, my rating is lower based on the room that I had on this occasion. Also, as the main Garden Court Restaurant was closed.
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