April 12, 2023
9 mins Read
Sydneysiders have watched on with increasing anticipation as Crown Towers Sydney rose to take its place in the city’s skyline. The 275-metre-high hotel (officially the tallest hotel in Sydney) with its glittering, intertwined facade has become a defining landmark of the new Barangaroo precinct, but does a night at Sydney’s newest luxury hotel meet expectations?
The $2.2 billion hotel, which opened in late December 2020 after four years of construction, is expected to follow in the footsteps of its sister hotels, Crown Towers Melbourne and Crown Towers Perth, and join the prestigious Forbes five-star hotel club. While it’s been billed as Sydney’s first six-star hotel the rating doesn’t officially exist – but if it did, we can confidently say that Crown Towers Sydney would tick all the boxes; a stay here is a lesson in exemplary service wrapped in luxury.
The award-winning British architecture firm Wilkinson Eyre is responsible for the elegant, curved geometric design of the hotel. The reflective beauty of the exterior (made possible by more than 8000 floor-to-ceiling glass panels) not only allows the property to fit harmoniously within its harbourfront surroundings, but also affords guests a perfectly framed view of the waterfront or city skyline from the inside. While the bespoke interior layouts and designs for each of the 76 residences are the work of renowned New York-based firm Meyer Davis.
My plus one and I are warmly greeted by two valet staff as we drive into the entry of 1 Barangaroo Avenue – yes, even the address sounds exclusive! Our bags are swiftly taken care of, held at the front desk until we are ready to check-in after our lunch at a’Mare (one of 11 dining venues at Crown Towers open for service). The staff are experts in making just the right amount of small talk, striking the balance between friendly and informative without being overbearing.
The first thing we notice when we enter the lobby is the commanding six-storey chandelier that circles its way up through the centre of the hotel, each of its 396 pole-length crystals light up the railing of the internal staircase of an evening with mesmerising results.
We are staying on level 15 in an Executive Opera Suite for the night. The hallway entrance to the room takes us past a guest powder room before opening up into a living and dining room where we are greeted with panoramic views of Sydney Harbour thanks to the floor to ceiling glass walls. The adjoining separate bedroom features a lush king-sized bed as its focal point, with Italian designer Frette linens in white with silver piping around the edges and a charcoal-coloured throw cushion.
But it’s the marble en suite and its deep, egg-shaped, freestanding bathtub and built-in television that really captures our attention. So much so, that we fail to notice the glass panelled wall is in fact two doors: one the entry into an enormous walk-in rain shower (with multiple water settings, an additional shower head and a marble bench) and behind the second is a toilet that comes with a remote control’s worth of operating functions and looks more high-tech than my car.
The state-of-the-art tech doesn’t end with the toilet; there are wireless charging stations for our phones, tablets that control just about everything that can be opened, closed and turned on and off in the suite – including ordering from the 24-hour room service menu, and we can stream entertainment from our devices to any of the suite’s three televisions. I should also note that I finally got to experience firsthand why everyone makes such a fuss about Dyson hair dryers – if your hair is as thick as mine, you will be familiar with the sheer pain of trying to dry it with the horrendous hair dryers most hotels have for use. Thankfully Crown Towers isn’t like most hotels.
The heated multi-level infinity pool on the fifth floor of the Crown Towers with its harbour views and anchored in-pool day beds (in addition to the ones that line the outskirts of the pool under white sail sun umbrellas) is as bougie as they come. Poolside attendants are on hand to take our food and beverage order – all from the comfort of our floating day bed of course.
We spot the private cabanas lined along the back wall overlooking the pool, they’re available to book in five-hour blocks for $250 to $450 (depending on the time of week) and guarantee you’ll be reserved twin day beds in addition to the cabana’s lounge, fridge stocked with complimentary non-alcoholic drinks, a platter, television and an exclusive cabana-only dine-in menu.
There is also a large heated jet spa for use – we made sure to sneak in a quick dip later that night 30 minutes before the pool closed. It was bliss!
Just upstairs, on the sixth floor of the hotel I find the exclusive Crown Spa Sydney with its private outdoor pool and terrace area. After being guided through a maze of soft-hued hallways past white leather doors that lead to various treatment rooms, I enter the much-talked-about Aqua Retreat. The retreat features a 37-degree Vitality Pool alongside lilac-tiled heated day beds, an Infrared Sauna made of cedar wood – the scent of which instantly transports me to Switzerland, a Morrocan Steam Room and an Experience Shower (which delivers a water pressure massage from all angles).
The designer of the spa, Blainey North, has excelled in creating a dreamy, light-filled space that is as serene as it is pretty. The colour palette is a soothing combination of soft lilacs and candy-floss pink contrasted by marble tiles and brass gold and silver accents.
Never has there been a more picturesque place to workout than the hotel’s fitness studio; its harbour-facing views are enough to turn exercise avoiders into gym junkies faster than you can say, “it’s time to checkout”. The gym is fitted with TechnoGym’s exclusive Artis equipment and guests can book a private training program or opt for a game of tennis on the open-air court. The striking cobalt blue surface of the court is decorated with bright pink iconography by Indigenous artist Reko Rennie. Find both on the sixth floor next to the spa.
The bar and restaurant line up at the Crown is varied enough to keep you from exploring the other offerings on your doorstep. Italian fine-dining at a’Mare; contemporary Japanese fusion at Nobu; an intimate sushi affair at Yoshii’s Omakase; authentic Cantonese fine-dining at Silks; the best of Australian produce cooked with wood, charcoal and steam at Woodcut; a culinary journey around the world at the buffet-style Epicurean restaurant, a traditional Chinese teahouse experience with a twist at the Teahouse; waterfront views, live music and a tantalising cocktail list at TWR (The Waiting Room) in the hotel’s lobby; and the highly anticipated 26th floor terrace bar, Cirq.
Unfortunately our stay wasn’t long enough to dine at them all, although we did make it to TWR to indulge in a couple of harbourside cocktails; Silks for dinner (the standout here was the lobster black truffle and mushroom spring rolls); and breakfast at Epicurean. But the most memorable of all our meals had to be at a’Mare.
Award-winning chef and restaurateur, Alessandro Pavoni (Ormeggio at The Spit and Chiosco by Ormeggio) is the mastermind behind a’Mare. The menu is full of mouthwatering traditional Italian fare and a long wine list to match.
We opt for the freshly baked focaccia dipped in Pugliese extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic (I am salivating at the memory of it) as a starter. Followed by the trofie al pesto pasta – the pesto was made fresh before our eyes using a pestle and mortar – and the casoncelli pasta filled with pumpkin and topped with hazelnut, sage, Parmigiano Reggiano and burnt butter, alongside a rocket salad. At this point we are well and truly full, but can’t leave without sharing the tiramisu al cucchiaio for dessert.
The hotel’s opening ushers in the next stage of transformation for the Barangaroo precinct, which has evolved from a former 22-hectare disused shipping container site into a hub of dining, shopping, entertainment and cultural offerings. The final stage, Central Barangaroo, is slated for completion in 2025.
Address: 1 Barangaroo Ave, Barangaroo NSW 2000
Website: Crown Towers Sydney
There are 349 total guest rooms, including various high-rise villas and two premium villas. The top villa will sit across two levels and will be the tallest habitable space in any hotel in Sydney. The Executive Opera Suite is one of five room types currently available to book at Crown Towers Sydney, including the Deluxe King Room, Harbour Bridge King Room, Opera King Room and Executive Harbour Bridge Room.
There are currently 11 bar and dining options open for business with three more to come. And you don’t need to be a guest to dine here.
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