A touch of Paris off Collins Street

Jul 11, 2022 – 10.11am

The lowdown: Sofitel Melbourne, a landmark at the Paris end of Collins Street, has refurbished its 360 guestrooms in a $15 million renovation overseen by A+ Design Group, the studio behind the interiors at its sister hotel Sofitel Darling Harbour, opened in 2017.

Designed to feel like Parisian apartments, the rooms have been refreshed with state-of-the-art fixtures, contemporary furniture and carpets, and French-inspired photography hung in the traditional French “salon” style.

Sofitel Melbourne has finished a $15 million refurbishment of its 360 guest rooms.  

The refurb is Sofitel Melbourne’s first since a $14 million makeover in 2007 but did not include the hotel’s offering of suites on level 50. Formerly known as The Wentworth and The Regent, the Collins Place landmark was rebranded Sofitel Melbourne in 1996 after being taken over by Accor Asia Pacific.

The hotel is designed to feel like a Parisian apartment in the heart of the Victorian capital.  

Described by The Age as Melbourne’s “hotel in the sky” on the day it opened in May 1981, the building was designed by the late, great Chinese American architect I.M. Pei (who died in New York in 2019, aged 102). The glazed space frame topping its six-storey sunken plaza is the same structure Pei used for the Louvre Pyramid six years later – immediately transporting one’s mind to Paris.

Selling point Sofitel Melbourne’s restaurant, No35, has some of the most impressive views of Melbourne on offer, whether you’re enjoying them over a buffet breakfast or à la carte dinner. “From the windows of the grill, the railway yards below look like a child’s train set and on a good day, it is possible to see well out into the bay,” The Age reported in its May 1981 dispatch. The vista also captures Melbourne’s sporting treasures, including the MCG, the Rod Laver Arena and AAMI Park.

Sofitel Melbourne’s No35 restaurant, run by head chef Rony Parienty, offers diners a knockout view of the city.  

The restaurant, renamed No35 in 2009, is now run by head chef Rony Parienty, formerly of Quattro in Tel Aviv, who joined in January 2020. Dinner includes two courses for $75 or three courses for $99. For those who aren’t vegetarian, you can’t go past the Victorian grass-fed eye fillet steak with mushroom and foie gras parfait, mashed potato and confit onion for a main. Diners with a sweet tooth will appreciate a combination of the Baileys mint chocolate cocktail with the Snickers bar-inspired peanut parfait, dulce de leche, chocolate ganache and berry gel dessert. The braised leek with crispy prosciutto, burnt butter sabayon, brioche, Thai basil and pomegranate is a winner among the entrées.

On the downside Unlike its rivals in five-star space, the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins has no swimming pool.

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