Adelaide has seen a raft of new hotels and lodges open in recent years. Of them is the five-star Sofitel that occupies the first 24 floors of a 32-storey glass tower on Currie Street in the CBD.

Step inside the lobby and you’ll immediately notice a cascading chandelier designed to mimic both the River Torrens and a stream of red wine. It hangs above a floor of Italian marble and oak, which has been painstakingly arranged so that the grain of the two materials matches. The marble was sourced from Carrara in Tuscany, and the nearby lifts are upholstered with the same leather used by Ferrari for the interior of their supercars, but almost every other design feature takes its cue from either Adelaide or France.

Every Sofitel is linked with a region of France (in this case, Bordeaux) and wine is unsurprisingly a recurring motif throughout. But inspiration also comes from much closer to home. For instance, Adelaide’s “city of churches” moniker gets a nod within the showers of each of the 251 guest rooms, with mosaics depicting details of local stained-glass windows. The rooms themselves are dominated by a minimalist black-and-white colour scheme broken only by a striking burgundy chandelier. They range from smart Superior rooms to a lavish 110-square-metre Presidential Suite with a dining room, walk-in robe and study.

Guests staying in the hotel’s suites will also have access to the light-filled Club Millésime lounge where they can enjoy a complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea accompanied by a selection of desserts, and evening drinks featuring local wines like Wirra Wirra and Thorn-Clarke. Back at ground level, the champagne bar Déjà Vu is attached to the lobby and serves coffees and light meals during the day, before the lighting turns moody and the house pour of Perrier-Jouët starts flowing freely.

Every Sofitel holds a candle-lighting ceremony each evening. In Adelaide, the daily ritual sweeps through the lobby led by a staff member elaborately dressed as Madame de Pompadour – the flamboyant chief mistress of Louis XV, who inspired Alexia Sinclair’s eye-catching Field of Dreams photograph hanging by the reception.

It’s just one of many striking artworks scattered throughout the hotel. Brooding images of Kangaroo Island line the entry to a gym that includes a pool illuminated by four peacock-blue chandeliers. Bold contemporary artworks are among the first things diners will notice when entering ninth-floor restaurant Garçon Bleu, which is reached by walking past an open kitchen and raw seafood bar. Especially eye-catching are Emmaline Zanelli's photographs showing gravity defying towers of food, which will be instantly recognisable to regulars at Parwana and 1000 Island.

The art is surrounded by reflective brass surfaces and mirrored gold ceilings that shed light on the interior of the 90-seat restaurant. Under the eye of executive head chef Justin Dingle-Garciyya, who trained at Oxford’s Michelin-starred Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, the food at Garçon Bleu plays with conventions.

Like many of the Sofitel’s design elements, the menu draws inspiration from near and far, combining local produce and time-honoured French techniques: think chicken liver parfait with house-made brioche, foraged saltbush and orange gelée, Clare Valley Angus steak frites and a Paris-Brest with Adelaide Hills peaches, Woodside goat’s yoghurt cremeux and caramelised milk.

The food is accompanied by an extensive wine list compiled by Trevor Maskell (Mother Vine) with sections on French regions including Champagne, Alsace, Jura, and of course, Bordeaux, along with corresponding Australian drops that fall into similar categories. By-the-glass offerings might include a Vinteloper fumé blanc and Ministry of Clouds picpoul alongside chablis, burgundy or if you really want to splash out, 2009 Chateau d’Yquem sauternes.

And if you can’t sit down to an entire meal, there’s plenty of space at the broad marble bar where you can order snacks like whitebait with garlic aioli and honey soy chicken wings.

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Updated: July 7th, 2023

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