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Eli Orzessek checks into the Sofitel Darling Harbour, Sydney.
Getting there: I took a hire car from the airport to the hotel’s Darling Harbour location. I often take the train from the airport, but it would be a little more difficult to get there this way, as there isn’t a station nearby.
Check-in experience: Friendly and easy. While I was checking in, I spotted Suzanne Paul checking out and she spoke highly of her stay. The lobby is very opulent, all the staff greet you with “bonjour” and the whole space smells heavenly — it must be the Sofitel’s signature scent as I smelled it in their Wellington branch too.
Room: A Luxury Room with Darling Harbour view.
What’s so good about this place? The location is gorgeous and everything is shiny and brand new. The hotel was completed a few months ago, alongside the recently opened convention centre next door.
And the bad? The only thing I can think of is being far from the train — but if you’re staying here, you’re probably not catching public transport anyway.
What’s in the neighbourhood? Darling Harbour and the convention centre, obviously.
Sydney CBD is about a 15-minute walk away and The Star casino and theatre are also very close by.
Food and drink: I had the buffet breakfast at the Atelier restaurant every day and it was delicious, with plenty of options. You could even make your own fresh juice from a selection of fruit and vegetables.
The bed: King-sized and extremely comfortable — I slept really well every night, which can be rare for me in hotel beds. There is also a pillow menu, but the pillows on the bed were just right.
A room with a view? What a view! It took my breath away when I first entered the room, which looked right over Darling Harbour and the city. Though it was spectacular on a perfect summer day, it also looked incredible at night with the ferris wheel and buildings all lit up. If I’d stayed on a Saturday, it would have been the best place to view the weekly fireworks.
Bathroom: Spacious, with a huge bath tub — a great place to soak and admire the view.
There are several bath treatments that can be delivered to your room.
Wi-Fi? It cost up to A$20 for 24 hours, depending on speeds. I used the basic option and found it fast and reliable.
Noise: There was a bit of noise one night, as the Aria music awards were held nearby, but otherwise quiet.
Room service: On offer and suitably expensive.
Value for money: It’s pricey, but definitely worth it.
Exercise facilities: The gym looked good, but I didn’t use it — it’s all about the pool.
Grab a drink and relax by the infinity pool looking out over the harbour — when Sydney’s at its hottest, it’s the best refuge imaginable.
Perfect for: Anyone who enjoys the finer things in life.