Sofitel Darling Harbour reaches sustainable heights with a new sky high luxury spa

How long does it take a person to recover from a massage coma? At my local massage joint, not long, the bed isn’t comfy, my head is squeezed into an oval cut through which either pressures the airway or leaves marks on my face and there are the constant interruptions of a door chime going off or other patrons giving instructions to their therapist. Don’t get me started on those who snore…

Sofitel is nothing like that. My massage coma has lasted days as I waft through life with a giddy glow. I arrive mid-week at Sofitel Darling Harbour Hotel ground floor reception and with a swipe of the conceirge super pass, the elevator takes me to the fourth floor. I arrive at a large wooden door marked ‘Spa’. This is my Lion,Witch & The Wardrobe moment as I enter a new happy, alternative universe.

reception area

Mmmm, it smells so good. The receptionist is already crossing the floor to greet me by name, the room has low intimate ceilings with soft woods, curves, green seating and a natural feel to the space. Everything says calm, sustainable luxury with warmth and purpose.

changing room and showers

I fill out my paper forms (electronic coming soon). I am escorted down the corridor to a small communal changing room fitted with light sensors. It has two showers that open straight into the room, a sauna (coming soon) and a small wooden bench with a generous array of eco full size toiletries from shampoos to moisturisers. Sheer curtains allow in the light but retain privacy. My locker reveals goodies of compostable slippers, knickers (size XXL is a size 8 so don’t be fat shamed!) and oh la la the BEST most delicious robe. If Rocky Balboa had his own brand of spa robe this is it. I am not sure if I should take it for walkies or wear it. Super soft cuddly velvet inside and sleek exterior with a hood. I am a happy camper.

Kana greats me and takes my upstairs to one of the seven treatment rooms, designed by award-winning design firm, PikeWithers. I love that it has its own bathroom with a shower, sink and toilet which elevates the feeling of privacy and decadence. It’s a beautiful room, with warm natural tones, a marble sink and wrap-around harbour views. The room is a little chilly and with a flick of a button Kana changes the room’s temperature (something not offered in many hotel spas whose system is centrally controlled). The massage bed is heated for me too. I am already feeling the stress sink away and I am not even on the bed yet.

I could have opted for an organic Apple Collagen Facial that revitalises skin with botanicals and gentle fruit enzymes, or a Waterlily phyto-therapy facials which include the Triple Berry, a deeply hydrating, nourishing blend of exotic berries layered with an active infusion of niacinamide, panthenol and folic acid. Even the luxury French beauty brand Biologique Recherche, offers a clinical approach using specialised equipment to determine a guest’s Skin Instant© then tailors the facial based on an assessment of pigmentation, hydration, sebum, elasticity and barrier function. But alas, facials are not my thing, my face, ummmm, just doesnt really like them!

Instead, I am having a Basil and Mint & Lime and Caviar Skin Smoother. Sounds like something that might be whisked up in a Nutri bullet. I lie face up on the bed which is now deliciously warm and cosy.

Then it begins. At first it feels like my feet are being eaten by a cheese grater, however its a body brush (clearly, I am a complete wimp!). Kana softens the pressure which is now bearable, in a kind of tickly itchy way as she works up my body to stimulate the circulation and smooth my skin. I turn over mid way. She instinctively pops supports under my ankles and under my knees providing supportive comfort. Next, the sugar scrub is applied to my back and feet (you can opt for hands if you don’t like your feet touched). It’s a calming scrub which melts into my body, unlike a salt scrub which has to be washed off.

Then the finale! The massage is slow, as long strokes apply a Waterlily body and bath serum mixed with oil to give it an unusual silky richness. It’s a generous texture which forms a thicker barrier between Kana’s hands and my body and has a velvety feel to it. Somewhere about here, I think my mind and body separate in a harmonious release of pure happiness and gratitude. The rest of the massage is divine.

Sadly its all come to an end as I pop my jewellery back on and am accompanied to the spa lounge. I pick a lounger as I drink warm tea and eat my complimentary pumpkin snack. I chase it down with a little dish of nuts and dried fruits which are complementary as I try to re-merge body and soul again into one functioning human.

Sofitel SPA Darling Harbour, 12 Darling Drive, 2000 Sydney
Hours – Monday to Sunday 10:00am – 6:00pm

New: The Spa is launching with its five-hour Autumn Wellness Journey  which includes an invigorating swim in Sofitel’s outdoor swimming pool or a Peloton bike session with views of Darling Harbour.

About the author

Karen’s corporate job back in the UK had included entertaining clients in some of the best restaurants. This ultimately sparked a curiosity 'Just how do they do that?' (she confesses she was brought up on meat and vegetables, so this was all very exciting). Currently a Mr & Mrs Smith 'Tastemaker', she’s flashpacked around the world, learning about wine, experiencing different cultures and cuisines and had a two- year love affair with it all. Originally from England, she finally settled in Australia and continues to be besotted by food, wine and travel preferring to focus on the luxury end of town (thread count does matter).


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