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Sofitel Darling Harbour is Sydney's first new build luxury hotel in 18 years

03-Sep-2017


Images by Belinda Rolland Photography

Fiona Carruthers, Financial Review

 

Part-time Sydney cosmetic surgeon and Australia's biggest private hotel owner, Dr Jerry Schwartz, doesn't do things by halves.

In just over a month, he'll finally open his $500 million, 35-level, 590-room Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour to guests. Not only is it the first new build luxury hotel in Sydney's CBD since the Westin Hotel opened in 1999 at No 1 Martin Place, but Schwartz is taking a novel approach to marketing the new property.

On the night of October 3 (ahead of the October 6 official opening), Schwartz will give over the hotel to 28 charities to take out as many rooms as they can with the aim of raising $1 million. Charities taking place include the Glenn Mcgrath foundation, WorldVision and Starlight, with each charity's respective CEO and celebrity ambassadors expected to be in attendance on the night.

"We're giving people the chance of being the first to sleep in this brand new luxury hotel and also give to charity, that's a great combination," Dr Schwartz told an industry journal.

"On October 3, just days before the city's biggest hotel opening in almost 20 years, 28 charities will each take a floor of the hotel in one of the most unique charity drives Australia has ever seen."

The hotel features a striking glass exterior with triangular accent. Rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, there's also an outdoor infinity lap pool looking across Darling Harbour, three bars, a signature restaurant and the airy Club Millesime lounge for members with benefits, located on the top floor with sweeping city and harbour views. Dr Schwartz also hopes to add a helipad.

Chief operating officer for Accor Hotels Pacific, Simon McGrath, told AFR Weekend his team had nicknamed Darling Harbour "Accor alley: because you have an Ibis, then a Novotel and now a Sofitel – all in a row." "Sydney is now a two Sofitel city – not many cities can boast that," Mr McGrath said.

Dr Schwartz owns a number of hotels managed by a suite of Accor brands, including Mercures in Sydney and Canberra, but this is his first high-end hotel venture.

Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour's General Manager, Greg Brady, said it was strange Sydney hadn't had a newly built luxury hotel this millennium. He said  part of the reason was that "the city had to reach capacity in the luxury segment before that could happen. Occupation rates in Sydney are now 90 per cent plus. It's more than time."

 


Financial Review
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