Review: Four Seasons Sydney is elegance at its best

A veteran of Sydney’s harbourfront skyline, Four Seasons quietly goes about its business setting a high bar for sophistication.

Overall Rating

By Matt Lennon, June 20 2022
Four Seasons Sydney is elegance at its best
Country

Australia

City

Sydney

Hotel

Four Seasons Sydney

Rating

5-star

Room

Full Harbour King Room

Notes
The Good
  • Incredibly spacious with a killer view
  • Comfortable club lounge with a living room feel
The Bad
  • No in-room desk means doubling up on the dining table
  • Outdoor pool sits right next to busy city railway line
X-Factor
  • In-room corner seating really maximises harbour views
Location
Rooms
Meals
Overall

Introduction

Standing tall since 1982 in a prime location overlooking sparkling Sydney Harbour, the allure of Four Seasons Sydney is embedded in its exclusivity as the brand’s only hotel in Australasia, for now.

Executive Traveller recently checked in to dig deeper and discover some of the more enticing and exciting aspects of Four Seasons Sydney.

Location & Impressions

Featuring 531 rooms and suites across 34 floors, Four Seasons Sydney exudes elegance with its grand three-storey lobby and atrium, mahogany panelling, marble flooring and charming décor.

You'll find Four Seasons Sydney at 199 George Street, roughly a three-minute walk from Circular Quay railway station, where you can catch the train to the airport or join Sydney’s famous ferries to Manly, Darling Harbour and other harbourfront locales.

The three-storey atrium makes for an immaculate entrance.
The three-storey atrium makes for an immaculate entrance.

Sydney’s light rail linking the Quay with the city’s eastern suburbs runs past the front door, with two stops a short stroll away.

Fans of history will love Sydney’s immersive convict and colonial past on display at The Rocks precinct, just outside the hotel’s front door. Here, many relics from the city’s earliest days remain – some preserved and others thoughtfully repurposed as energetic dining and nightlife venues.

Room

It would be unfair to label our Full Harbour King accommodations on the 20th floor as just a room – it’s more like a suite.

There's no shortage of space in the Full Harbour King Room.
There's no shortage of space in the Full Harbour King Room.

On entry, it’s difficult not to be immediately drawn to the corner window seating to admire the postcard view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Opera House and the vast harbour between and beyond.

The room is furnished with a sumptuous king bed and while there’s no separate dining or living room, there’s a clear separation with a couch parked away from the bed in front of the television, alongside an amenity cabinet stocked with glassware for the inbuilt minibar.

The hotel places its slippers right at the bed, not in the wardrobe.
The hotel places its slippers right at the bed, not in the wardrobe.

As an added touch, the coffee table features a pair of binoculars, not just to use from the window but to borrow during your stay. Take them out on your daily adventures but remember to leave them behind when you check out.

There's plenty of room for your personal effects in the bathroom.
There's plenty of room for your personal effects in the bathroom.

The bathroom is equally expansive, with a separate bath, shower and single vanity leaving plenty of space for your toiletries and the Christian Lacroix amenities provided.

The Four Seasons app is your direct connection with the hotel during your stay. You can use the inbuilt chat function to communicate your housekeeping preferences and request an evening turndown service.

Work

While there’s a definite appeal about working from the dining table and corner perch, another opportunity awaits at Lounge 32 which, as the name suggests, can be found on the 32nd floor, open from 7am to 9pm daily if your room includes access.

Table for two with a view? Why not.
Table for two with a view? Why not.

The lounge offers a fresh perspective, instead overlooking the western side of Sydney Harbour. Seating options are laid out sparingly, meaning the space is not overcrowded.

If there’s a group visiting, there’s a separate dining room with space for 8, along with a 10-seat boardroom for meetings.

The Executive boardroom is a great spot for meetings.
The Executive boardroom is a great spot for meetings.

A hot and cold breakfast buffet is available in the lounge from 7-10:30am weekdays, extended to 11am on weekends, with a cooked-to-order eggs and omelette service from the house chef.

Breakfast in Lounge 32 is a highly colourful affair.
Breakfast in Lounge 32 is a highly colourful affair.

At the other end of the day, afternoons feature a selection of canapes and drinks available from 4-8pm. Outside of these service windows, there’s a stocked refrigerator with cold drinks, basic snacks and fresh fruit on a self-service basis.

Eat

Outside the lounge, Four Seasons Sydney’s dining revolves around Mode Kitchen and Bar, found in the ground floor lobby.

The creatively named restaurant sees patrons seated in one of several small enclaves, each delivering a feel akin to a boutique dining environment.

Mode's menu is fine dining with the flavours of comfort food.
Mode's menu is fine dining with the flavours of comfort food.

Mode’s menu by Executive Chef Francesco Mannelli bridges the gap between casual, comfortable fare and fine dining. Favourites of ours included the wood-roasted king prawns and the truffle-topped, flavoursome acquerello risotto.

The chocolate mousse was heavenly in its texture.
The chocolate mousse was heavenly in its texture.

For dessert, we recommend the ‘Ile Flottante’ poached meringue. While delicious in its own right, the course starts spectacularly with wait staff pouring boiling water onto its dry ice bed, creating a brilliant scientific display as cool steam envelops the table and quickly dissipates.

A natural gravitation for a post-dinner beverage is Grain Bar, found to the side of the main reception and open 4pm to midnight Thursday through Saturday. This neighbourhood-style cocktail bar serves locally sourced craft beers and spirits along with kaleidoscopically colourful cocktails.

Relax

Head up to the third-floor lobby where you’ll find the Endota Spa, home to an extensive menu of facials, massages and revitalising treatments designed to finesse the stress out of your body.

There are six treatment rooms, including two for couples, so with space being limited compared to some of Sydney’s more expansive hotels, make sure you book your session in advance. There’s also a steam room, sauna and fitness centre if getting a sweat on is more your idea of personal time.

The pool is unmanned but service can be accessed via a QR code.
The pool is unmanned but service can be accessed via a QR code.

On the same floor is the discreetly labelled entrance to the hotel’s outdoor swimming pool. While refreshing, the serenity is somewhat impacted by traffic on the nearby Cahill Expressway and railway line directly underneath.

If you’d like a bite to eat here, snacks and plates from Mode and the in-room dining menu can be delivered to your lounge via a QR code ordering system.

The Verdict

Four Seasons Sydney delivers a seemingly effortless decadence without any hint it is trying too hard to impress. It’s a luxurious environment designed to delight at your own pace.

Mode delivers a high-capacity venue yet with boutique vibes.
Mode delivers a high-capacity venue yet with boutique vibes.

The menu at Mode is a flavour hit at every bite, emblematic of comfort food but prepared and presented with a fine dining level of delicacy.

All the services of a five-star hotel are there, but not every day while mid-week business demand remains low. Hopefully as corporate travellers return en masse, all hotel venues will be back at pace soon.

Matt Lennon stayed as an invited guest of Four Seasons Sydney.

21 Jun 2022

Total posts 3

This review needs pricing added (standard room, club access etc) and dining costs, otherwise its just a series of pretty pictures.  

27 Jun 2020

Total posts 18

I stayed at the four seasons a year and a half ago. The room was incredibly small and cramped and the lighting was either full on or full off. I asked for a blanket instead of a Doona and they did not have one. Also the sheets were very strange on the bed and all folded over and when I asked them about that they said that’s the way guess prefer it. I actually wrote them a letter after my stay.  I also found that the staff were not particularly helpful. At that time only two of the eating places were open but maybe that was due to Covid. I went back to staying at Shangri-La where the rooms are much bigger and the staff extremely attentive 


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Four Seasons Sydney is elegance at its best