What do women want? It’s an age old question, one could argue it’s the million dollar question. Well, it turns out MGallery by Sofitel have been asking the same question, and listening. The luxury hotel brand proves it has its finger on our pulse with Inspired by Her, a new program designed to give women what they want, when they’re away from home. We’re not just talking great hair dryers and good lighting (although they’ve covered those bases too). Inspired by Her is about little touches, like T2 tea bags on the pillows with turndown, healthy additions to dining menus and even a few fun things like cocktails.
We checked out Inspired by Her for ourselves at Sydney’s very own CBD MGallery by Sofitel property, the Harbour Rocks Hotel.
Tucked just one block back from the hustle and bustle of The Rocks, around the corner from the Argyle and the markets, this beautiful boutique hotel is one of Circular Quay’s best kept secrets. With just 59 rooms, it’s an intimate space that dates back to the late 1880s. The site itself began life as a hospital, the building has had many lives as stores, art galleries and then hotel. Much of that history has been retained – through quirky design features, beautiful sandstone bricks and charming old photos displayed on the walls. There’s all the mod cons you’d expect in a luxury hotel but the character of a smaller property – it’s dark and moody, yet warm and cosy all at once. Although there is no elevator, staff are quick to whisk luggage up a dumb waiter and the central staircase provides quick, easy access to rooms.
Evenings start out at Eric’s Bar. Tucked behind check in, it’s the perfect spot for a happy hour wine, or better yet, the hotel’s new Inspired by Her cocktail, the Suzette Royale. A new take on a Champagne Fizz, with gin, bubbles, sugar and lemon, you won’t be disappointed by this baby. The bar is quite snug, but guests spill out into the laid back open plan library/reception, where books and an extensive range of Appelles Apothecary & Lab products line the shelves. The Aussie brand is stocked in all the rooms so if you like the shampoo, pick up a bottle of skin care or a candle to take home.
Dinner takes place downstairs in the sandstone-lined Scarlett Restaurant, an intimate space where the chefs are busy serving up modern Australian fare. Try dishes like baked scallops with parmesan and caviar, or prawn and lobster ravioli with basil sauce, with an Aussie wine or two. In the restaurant, Inspired by Her appears with a very special dish, a barramundi fillet served with asparagus, tahini and pomegranate. This light, flavoursome dish is inspired by Maggie Beer, one of our most influential women. Keep it healthy, or add in a side of chunky truffle oil and parmesan fries that are the right amount of OTT. Just make sure you save room for a zesty passionfruit panna cotta that still has us smacking our gums.
After a peaceful night’s sleep, we’re back downstairs for breakfast, where the menu really hits the nail on the head when it comes to Sydney brunch – we’re talking baked eggs, cinnamon porridge, buttermilk pancakes, and of course smashed avocado and poached eggs. It’s not Sydney without smashed avocado.
An Inspired by Her is a joy for those of us who appreciate little touches that make a big difference. We’re big fans of the new Emergency Kit amenities menu for all those little things we just might need – complementary make up and nail polish removers, hair ties, bobby pins, pads and razors, along with a range of items available for a small fee, like cleaners, moisturizer, hair spray, stockings, lip balm and deodorant that means we might just move in!
In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, kindly left on a bookmark in our room, ‘the purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences’.
Harbour Rocks Hotel, MGallery by Sofitel
34 Harrington Street, The Rocks