In a city like Sydney, where citizens are used to the daily dazzle of sun off the Opera House sails and the spectacle of watching the sun set on the commute home across the Harbour Bridge, it’s hard to make a splash. That’s what makes the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour so special.

Smack bang in the middle of Darling Harbour, the Sofitel was built from the ground up to fill the gap in the luxury downtown market and the locals are lapping it up. On a regular mid-Winter Saturday afternoon, when check in time rolls around you’ll see plenty of overnight bags rather than long haul holiday suitcases. The Sofitel is the new weekend getaway for locals and tourists alike.

And what is catching their eye? Well, first of all the 590 room property is hard to miss. At thirty five storeys high, the building stands tall above the rest of Darling Harbour, giving its rooms uninterrupted views out over the city and across to Western Sydney. Then there’s Sofitel’s internationally renowned knack for nailing French je ne sais quoi – here that’s impeccable service at every turn, extra touches like deep freestanding bath tubs and bath caddies with built in wine holders, or perhaps a full range of newspapers in the state of the art gym for early risers. The outdoor infinity pool might have something to do with it too. Perched on the fourth floor, the pool’s views out over the harbour make it popular year round, even in winter. Expect the poolside bar to be hopping in Summer.

So we know the Sofitel ticks quite a few boxes when it comes to Sydney hotels, it also excels at catering to Sydney’s foodie crowd. In a city where there’s a new restaurant, cafe or bar opening every night of the week, it takes serious muscle to make a name for yourself. Sofitel has done just that, with its Atelier by Sofitel restaurant. Oh, the attached champagne bar helps too. Start your evening with a glass of French bubbles – there are 12 different champagnes by the glass, from $25 all the way up to a glass of Krug for $99. After a tipple or two looking out over Darling Harbour, move across to Atelier, where you’ll be wooed by traditional French cooking techniques paired with fresh, local Australian produce. Opt for shucked oysters by the half dozen, or a substantial confit pork belly before moving on to Muscovy duck breast and celeriac or Black Angus rib eyes. Those who don’t mind sharing, and are extremely hungry, can try jumbo char grilled prawns or take on a mighty 1.6kg Black Angus tomahawk. Save room for dessert, where the pastry chefs certainly embrace the brand’s roots. Delicate creme brulee is served with passionfruit sorbey and almond biscuit, while the La Framboise berry tart almost too good to share.

After a peaceful night’s sleep high above the hustle and bustle of the city, head back down to Atelier where the space is transformed into a buffet breakfast that covers all bases. Try fresh nutella waffles, design your own omellette, quench your thirst with fresh fruit smoothies or check out the salad bar. There is absolutely no way you’ll leave hungry.

Whether you want to wine and dine or lay out by the pool, Sofitel Sydney is wooing over Sydneysiders one guest at a time.

Lisa was the guest of Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour.