I was bemused when I read an American travel blogger this week say Hotels are 80% the same and it’s location that matters most, reviews are pointless. Obviously he hasn’t reviewed the InterContinental Sydney Double Bay!
The former Ritz-Carlton is Sydney’s only 5-star hotel located outside of the CBD. Perhaps the most anticipated opening in Australia last year, the InterContinental’s European stylings make it seem like its always been part of Double Bay village. The InterContinental overlooks the sparkling bay dotted with tiny yachts and multi-million dollar motor cruisers.
The hotel in its former life was host to Princess Diana, Madonna, former president George Bush and his wife Barbara and it’s where Bob Hawke and Blanche d’Alpuget tied the knot.
Those lucky Club InterContinental guests also enjoy the very Parisian inner courtyard with manicured gardens as well as all the benefits of all day refreshments and a little bubbly and canapés in the evening. But it’s the Rooftop Pool and Lounge with a decidedly San Tropez feel that has Sydney’s beautiful people talking.
That view, private cabanas and a Champagne list by the glass, bottle, magnum or jeroboam is so very Double Bay.
The rooms and suites are welcoming and plush with a contemporary palette of dove through to steel grey with spots of colour. French doors open to Juliet balconies and more glimpses of the view. Marble is a design feature throughout the hotel lending a certain opulence not seen in other 5 star properties. The lobby and other public spaces are suitably refined but edgy – think New York’s Gramercy Park Hotel but bright and light.
The Stillery, surprisingly is one of Sydney’s few gin bars. The bar is chic but multi-purpose – ideal for coffee during the day or pre- dinner cocktails.
On the Tuesday night TML dined at Stockroom, the majority of diners were not hotel guests – which bodes well for the future. Executive Chef Julien Pouteau has worked in Michelin starred kitchens and brings a solid, classic French understanding to Stockroom. The kitchen pickles, cures and preserves many of the restaurant’s components.
The restaurant design is uniquely split between a casual pantry for buffet breakfast and brunch and a more formal richly furnished and carpeted space with comfortable banquette seating, with sofas for two, and soft lighting. Tables aren’t clothed but the setting is chic and low-key glam
The restaurant design is uniquely split between a casual pantry for buffet breakfast and brunch and a more formal richly furnished and carpeted space with comfortable banquette seating, with sofas for two, and soft lighting. Tables aren’t clothed but the setting is chic and low-key glam.
But, it’s the food we’re here for. Wild Ocean Tiger prawns with confit lemon, garlic butter and chargrilled gem lettuce is smoky and light enough to whet the appetite for more. The subtly sweet Hunter Valley peaches are just roasted and accompanied with earthy di San Daniele prosciutto, micro basil and torn mozzarella.
This entrée shows how dedicated the kitchen is to sourcing produce at its seasonal peak.
The Flinders Ranges saltbush-fed rack of lamb is perfectly cooked with a little sweetness courtesy of the caramelized fig and subtle garlic flower. A 12-hour slowcooked beef shortrib is so fall apart tender it doesn’t require the services of the handsome Laguiole steak knife. The Pepe Saya buttery mash with a few summer vegetables is all this stunning piece of beef needs. But we order sugar snap and garden peas with softly wilted onions and garlic that enhance the overall richness of the dish.
Chef Pouteau decided that 2 desserts were not enough to showcase the wizardry of his pastry chefs. So we tackled 4 and in the interest of our readers gave it our best.
The Peche Melba with white chocolate rocks and raspberry sorbet is served in a glass bowl and then our waiter pours warm rhubarb syrup onto a white chocolate ‘lid’. The result – a knockout fruity concoction.
The Stockroom Almond Pastilla with Chantilly, opalys and honeycomb is monochrome but magnificent. Offset with the crunch of a flourish of nuts, this may be a pastilla in name only. The pure white chocolate opalys is delicate and light and quite simply a work of art.
Caramelized Blueberry Tart is crumbly, fruity and delicious but presented simply with just vanilla bean ice cream. Chocolate lovers are well catered for with the delectable molten Manjari chocolate with lemon verbena ice cream.
With just 140 rooms and suites the InterContinental Sydney Double Bay retains a boutique feel. It’s easy to think of it as your own pied-à-terre; a retreat from a city just minutes away. A very cultivated and sophisticated pied-à-terre. www.intercontinental.com/doublebay
Disclaimer:ThisMagnificent Life were guests of the InterContinental Sydney Double Bay and Stockroom.