The Four Seasons Hotel Sydney name has an international reputation to uphold as one of the world’s leading luxury 5-star hotel brands, where personalised service is at the forefront, yet comfort, convenience and traditional amenities are also of the utmost importance. For tourists, locals and visitors alike, choosing a hotel with sweeping views of the Harbour and its landmarks are a high priority and it’s easy to see why, with Sydney Harbour often ranking high as the best worldwide. Upon your entry into a Four Seasons Harbour View Suite, it’s difficult to take your attention away from the breathtaking views that stretch as far right as Mosman and as far left as the Lower North Shore with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge front and centre. While the hotel location is positioned so views steal the show, the wine and dine options are also what can only be described as world class, more on that later. Here, we explore all corners of the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, and if the prestigious Four Seasons name precedes itself.
Four Seasons Sydney is nestled in what I like to call the ‘Golden Triangle’ of Sydney – the southwest corner of Circular Quay, north end of George Street and south end of The Rocks, flaunting front row seats to the very best of Sydney. Due to its prime position, over 60 percent of Four Seasons rooms boast views of either the Opera House or Sydney Harbour Bridge, some both. Step outside the front doors (although it may be hard to leave) and immerse yourself in the recently revived energy of the city as you explore nearby attractions, including the 2023 vivid light show which I was lucky enough to experience during my stay. Morning walks can be no longer than 5 minutes and you’ll find yourself looking up at the Harbour Bridge or in the heart of Martin Place. Stroll through the historic Rocks precinct which hosts some of the oldest buildings in the country – where colonial history and gentrified suburbia meet. The hotel’s central location ensures easy access to Sydney’s cultural landmarks, shopping districts, and entertainment venues. It also proves to be a hotspot for businesses to host conferences, seminars, meetings and conferences due to its close proximity to office precincts.
Checking-in was a pleasure within itself, having been offered refreshments while in a 2-person line to greet reception. After checking in and being escorted directly to my Full Harbour View Club Suite, my attention was immediately drawn to the corner window which undoubtedly is a front-running competitor for the best view in town. My generous 53 square metre suite was extremely spacious particularly given its central CBD location where rooms can often be tight. The bathroom included dual sinks, a deep bathtub, two robes, toilet and a shower. The suite included a lounging area with a large smart-TV ready for a Netflix Original right before you’re off to snooze-ville. There was also a sun-drenched corner lounge with a small table that could be used for work, dining or simply relaxing. The bed lived up to my ridiculously high expectations. The king size oasis was inviting me as soon as I walked into my suite to drop everything and just launch onto it, and so I indulged. Luxury comfort at its best. I made my way round exploring all the nooks and crannies of suite 2215. Slippers, umbrellas, an abundant minibar stocked with beer, wine, spirits and snacks alike were a few of the touches that truly warrant 5-stars. After settling in and a surprise knock on my door which was greeted with a bottle of red and a mega-sized macaron, it was time to explore the rest of the hotel.
The building itself, well-known for its distinctive appearance, was built in 1982 on the former site of a colonial jail and originally opened as ‘The Regent’. In 1992 Four Seasons took full managing control and it wasn’t until 2002 that the hotel was officially rebranded to Four Seasons Hotel Sydney. Since then, the hotel has undergone countless renovations to all its rooms and amenities, most recently, the renovation of over 517 rooms in 2019. These days, the hotel holds its traditional charm in the elements of a grand central staircase and a plethora of mahogany wood yet in all the rooms there’s a modern feel that binds for the perfect combination of old and new. There is no shortage of things to do and see during your time at the Four Seasons, amenities such as a 24-hour state-of-the-art gym which includes a sauna and steam room, the largest outdoor pool in Sydney and an endota spa can have you working out, swimming or pampering yourself. Your choice!
If your stay is of a more serious nature, there is a large 683 square metre exhibition space or ballroom for conferences and events alike, as well as over 12 meeting rooms or breakout spaces. On levels 2 and 3, there are over 100 artworks mounted on the walls themed contemporary and traditional Australiana.
Wine & Dine
There is a perception in Australia that restaurants within a hotel or casino are often a bit of a rort, and I’d be lying if I didn’t once believe in that. I’m here to tell you that it’s a myth, well, in this case it is. MODE Kitchen & Bar curated and executed to perfection by Executive Chef Francesco Mannelli is something special. So much so, that locals call in to ensure Francesco is in the kitchen that night before confirming their reservation. Let’s get into Grain first however, the cocktail bar with some of the most knowledgeable mixologists in town.
Grain, unironically, places a strong focus on liquors that are organically grown, such as rice or rye. Pablo, my attentive bartender, introduced me to the first whisky in Australia made from quinoa. The team at Grain are perfectionists, and don’t settle for just good cocktail creations. In fact, a gin collaboration between Grain and the Bondi Liquor Co. took over 7 attempts to find the perfect strong gin because Grain needed a specifically powerful taste for their crowd favourite Martinis. Pablo gave me a tour around the hanging shelves that housed some elite whiskies and liquors from around the world. The most prized possession at Grain was their beloved’ ‘The Macallan’ trolley, which exhibits some of the very distinguished and desirable ‘The Macallan’ whiskies. The dimly lit, New York cross Dublin aura paired with the chilly weather made it the perfect night for a carefully crafted negroni.
Drifting ever so slightly into the lobby was the scent of a wood fire oven from MODE Kitchen & Bar. My interest was peaking. After a penicillin cocktail recommendation, it was time to explore the menu. One thing stood out to me, it’s truffle season. Exec. Chef Mannelli incorporated truffles throughout his menu in a range of creative ways. Exec. Chef Francesco Mannelli takes on an important role in building team chemistry, he once took the entire culinary team truffle hunting at Turalla Truffles just outside of Canberra. We opted for the Tomino baked cheese and the Blackmore Wagyu Tartare & caviar and finished with the Truffle Rigatoni Alla Carbonara. While the food had us in awe, a common theme throughout the different hotel departments stood out to me, high-quality service. Our waiter was accommodating to my content-driven needs and made excellent recommendations for entrees and mains. After a successful dinner, it was time for some sweets. The culinary staff do a great job at incorporating vivid and its theatrics into the hotel using glow sticks in the plating and presentation ensures that the festival of lights follows you everywhere. I will be passionately recommending truffle carbonara to anyone and everyone.
Perched high in the sky is Lounge 32. This suite-dedicated area is a cocktail lounge by night and buffet breakfast bar by morning. After a quick G&T overlooking the lights of Walsh Bay and Northern Sydney, it was time for a walk through vivid, although you can avoid the crowds simply by looking out your suite window.
After enduring the chaos while simultaneously admiring the exhibitions, we retreated to our sanctuary, only a minute from Circular Quay. It was lights out in Suite 2215. After a lengthy and uninterrupted sleep (which I can thank the electric block-out blinds for), it was back to the Lounge 32 for breakfast. Made-to-order omelettes and eggs to your liking, a range of pastries, cereals, fruits, coffee and freshly squeezed juices were just some of the treats on offer.
After checking-out and reflecting on the last 24 hours, I had to admit to myself that the Four Seasons Sydney lived up to its international 5-star reputation, and it’s no wonder that celebrities and high-profile guests choose Four Seasons Hotel Sydney when in town. Not only is that due to the calibre of the rooms and amenities, but the unwavering and synergetic service from all departments to ensure your stay is not only enjoyable, but memorable.
Four Seasons Sydney
Address: 199 George St, The Rocks 2000
Phone: (02) 9250 3100