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Keeping pace with Adelaide's rapidly changing luxury accommodation scene, the Sofitel is the city's first internationally-recognised five-star luxury hotel. The $150 million project opened its doors in November 2021 and has been custom designed to incorporate distinct elements of South Australia's heritage with French luxury and style in mind.
The hotel is centrally located on busy Currie Street, just east of main thoroughfare King William Street and is part of the Adelaide CBD, from which everything is in walking distance. There's close access to the River Torrens Linear Park recreation area with the Exhibition Centre and Festival Centre nearby.
What's that smell? That would be the sweet smell of luxury, in the form of a signature fragrance that wafts throughout the hotel. There's no expense spared here; each of the hotel's public spaces are grand, starting with the red wine-inspired sculpture that leads guests from the front entrance through the lobby. At reception, guests can admire the backdrop of lampshades, candelabras and other artistic oddities while the check-in process completes. On the above floors, there are 251 guest suites and rooms, a fitness area decked out with the latest machines and equipment, and an indoor pool - a beautiful corridor of marble and pale blue, softly lit by three blue chandeliers. There are also three food and wine offerings, including Deja Vu, a ground-level champagne bar, and on the ninth floor, the spectaculaire Garcon Bleu restaurant. But more on that later.
The rooms are sophisticated and luxurious, monochrome with a splash of oxblood from a modern chandelier. Fleur de lis decorate the carpet; on the walls, framed sketches depict Notre Dame and there are pictures of vineyards, another nod to the state's wine heritage.
I am in a luxury king room, a step up from superior and deluxe. The first thing I notice is the free-standing bath, the centrepiece of a marble bathroom that's only separated by the rest of the room by privacy partitions - an element that will no doubt be a contentious aspect of the room's design. The bathroom's toilet and shower are housed behind well-frosted doors, separating them from the rest of the room. There are Balmain Paris toiletries and the shower includes a mosaic depicting a stained-glass window on the back wall; these elements represent cathedrals from both Paris and the "city of churches".
Outside the bathroom, the room is very comfortable and spacious, with easy-to-manage light switches and plenty of USB ports. Guests can enjoy floor-to-ceiling views of the city or hills from the daybed or sip wine from a leather chair at a marble table. The healthy-ish mini bar is not included in the the cost of the room but features Adelaide's own Charlesworth Nuts and Shaw and Smith wine, Seppeltsfield port, Tattinger Champagne, soft drinks, coffee and tea.
From the warm "bonjour" whenever you step into the lobby, the Sofitel's service is impeccable. A near booking disaster was taken on board with such professionalism I felt unfazed, leaving staff to resolve the issue while I pressed on with my busy day.
The exquisite space encapsulating the Garcon Bleu restaurant on the ninth floor embodies a Parisian bistro, with luxe soft blue velvet seats matched with orange-themed framed art on wooden panels. I only stop in for breakfast; which was deserving of the hotel's five-star rating, featuring a buffet of fresh and exotic fruits such as lychee and blackberries, natural yoghurt and pastries to piles of smoked salmon, fresh bread with Breton butter, Beerenberg jam or vegemite. You'd be wise to go easy on this though, as the cost of breakfast includes an item from the menu, such as light and fluffy pancakes with creme Chantilly and a berry compote.
Step into Sunny's Pizza directly behind the hotel for late-night pizza and revelry. But if that's not your thing, then it's also only a short walk to the Leigh and Peel Street dining centres, which includes smash-hit New York-inspired eatery Fugazi Bar and Dining Room, where MasterChef alumni Laura Sharrard serves Italian-inspired dishes in a striking space.
When you're missing France, this is a touch of Parisian luxury in the heart of Adelaide.
Rooms start at $320 per night.
Is it the service, the space or the food? I can't decide.
I loved the gym with its shiny new equipment but if you want to get your sweat on, ventilation is an issue (seems to be the case no matter where you stay or go). Make use of the supplied towels.