Upon completion, Sofitel Darling Harbour was the first newly built hotel in Sydney in 20 years! Darling Harbour has seen somewhat of a drastic makeover in the last few years with Sofitel leading the way.
Since its opening day, it's been high on my to-do list of places to stay. I'm a big fan of the Sofitel brand which is one of the five-star properties within the Accor group of hotels.
Booking Sofitel Darling Harbour
Booking your Accor Plus free night is easy; all you need to do is log in to the Accor Plus website and select the option to use your "Stay Plus" benefit.
Part of the Accor Plus program is Accor Silver status, this gives you 2 welcome drink vouchers, late checkout and sometimes an upgrade.
We arrived early at 12PM, and even though the official check-in time is 3PM, the room was ready for us, and early check-in was granted.
Sofitel (and maybe other Accor brands?) have something called "guest of the day" where they upgrade someone to Club level. Fortunately I was selected as "guest of the day" and upgraded to a corner room on the 34th level (top floor) just underneath the amazing club lounge (more on that later).
The Room – Corner Club
The first thing you notice walking into the room is the fantastic view over Darling Harbour and the Sydney CBD.
There are no walls, just floor to ceiling windows. The interior design of the room is typical Sofitel, and that's a good thing. It's very stylish, functional and tastefully decorated.
I love the Sofitel beds, super comfortable and there's a pillow menu in case the ones on the bed don't cut it for you. For me, the sign of a good hotel is a pillow menu, not even kidding.
The pièce de résistance is the bathroom, a huge standalone bath with outstanding views over the surroundings.
The only place with no views is the shower while the toilet enjoys vistas for days.
The Club Lounge
Unfortunately, I had planned my Velocity Platinum status run on the same day which meant I got back 5 minutes before the happy hour drinks and canapes at the club lounge finished. I did have a quick look, and wow, it looked terrific.
Not only does the club lounge enjoy stunning views, but the food & beverages on offer also seemed well worth the upgrade. No real champagne but a French sparkling wine, oysters, a range of cold meats, cheeses, pastries, sweets etc.
I did get to try the club lounge in the morning for breakfast which offers an outstanding buffet (and I'm not a buffet person) in addition to an a-la-carte menu. I opted for the eggs benedict which was tasty and well executed.
Unfortunately, there's no real barista on hand so the Nespresso machine in the lounge is the best you will get.
The design of the lounge is once again 100% on point. It's far from your average boring club lounge, and there's plenty of seating for guests to chose from. When I return to Sofitel, I'm definitely paying the extra for club access. The club lounge is open all day, serving drinks and light snacks. Club guests can also make use of the lounge to check in or out.
The Sofitel Darling Harbour has an infinity pool on level 4 overlooking the harbour. It's a favourite selfie spot for many guests and who can blame them…
Next to the pool is the Le Rivage bar which is open during the day to serve those enjoying the pool.
The gym is also located on this level, but unfortunately, I didn't have time to check it out.
Food & Drinks
The hotel's main restaurant is called Atelier, here's where you can put you Accor Plus card to work. As an Accor Plus member, you get 50% off dining when your with 2 or 25% off when you're flying solo.
Sofitel also has a bar called Champagne Bar, which is open to everyone. The bar has some great harbour views for guests to enjoy and over 50 champagnes to choose from.
During our stay, service was outstanding. The staff were both professional and friendly. Check-in was fast, and the same was the case for the check-out. I like it when hotels allow guests (especially those that book direct) an early check-in when the room is available, even though it's not always a status benefit. Small gestures like this go a long way and make you feel valued as a guest.
The Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour is a fantastic property and a great way to spend your Accor Plus complimentary night stay. Regular prices go from anywhere between $275 to $500 a night for a basic room, so you get instant value. Upgrading to the club lounge is well worth it, especially if you're planning to stay around when the happy hour is on.