Victorians are well-versed in the charms of Mornington Peninsula, from its renowned wineries to quaint beach towns lined with Norfolk pines. Sorrento is one of those towns and, with doors to the new InterContinental Sorrento finally open, now is a perfect time to revisit it.
Centrepiece of reborn local icon ‘The Conti’, a heritage-listed building with sweeping views of the town’s long jetty and white sand beaches, the InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula is the epitome of seaside glamour.
Best of all, it’s just 90 minutes drive from Melbourne.
First opened in 1875, Hotel Continental was the brainchild of actor, philanthropist and businessman, George Coppin, who was regarded as the ‘Father of the Theatre’ in Victoria.
Coppin’s vision was a tourism heart for the Mornington Peninsula, where visitors and Melburnians could enjoy a premium resort experience in, what was then, only a few hours from the city.
It was a great success, sparking a local industry that included a steamboat ferry system transporting guests to the property.
The historic address has now been given a fresh lease on life, with renowned architects and designers Woods Bagot – also behind The Londoner in London – responsible for its stunning transformation.
InterContinental Sorrento signals a rise in the standard of hotels outside the capital cities, as the second InterContinental property to launch in regional Australia, following its sibling on Hayman Island's 2019 debut.
Each of the hotel’s 108 rooms and one and two-bedroom suites are housed within either the restored 1875 limestone building or newly built wing with private outdoor terraces. Both buildings offer very different aesthetics.
Inside, historic photographs and vintage-inspired artworks pay tribute to the building’s past, while warm timbers, plush velvet or leather bedheads and modern design touches help it feel firmly in the present.
Standard Rooms are angled for views of Riley Lane and Sorrento town, while Executive Rooms and Suites feature terraces overlooking the sea. Penthouses will be unveiled later this year.
Those checking into premium rooms can look forward to complimentary in-room minibars stocked with local spirits, wine and beer.
Staying true to its social roots, The Conti houses a Mediterranean-style guest-only pool deck fringed by sun lounges and cabanas, plus multiple food and dining options developed by publican Craig Shearer and Melbourne restaurateur Scott Pickett, which opened in late April.
Among them are The Atrium, a green-house style venue set beneath a soaring glass ceiling; the moody Coppins Lounge lounge; and the nocturnal speakeasy Barlow, serving up delicious drinks, luxe bar snacks and live entertainment including DJ’s and touring artists.
Signature seafood Restaurant Audrey’s – named after Chef Pickett’s grandmother, who inspired him to cook – features an array of local seafood on the marble raw bar and a contemporary mix of dishes inspired by the sea, paired with a sensational wine list.
Not to be overlooked, The Conti’s public bar, light-filled beer garden and al fresco dining promenade all feature a menu Pickett describes as ‘traditional pub fare with a twist’.
Opening later in the year, the InterContinental’s sprawling Aurora bathhouse wellness centre will also offer a range of therapeutic and sensory experiences and rituals.