When we look for where to stay in Sydney, we’re always looking for somewhere with a difference. From its rooms and location to the new restaurant and bar, the Four Seasons Sydney has so much to offer new visitors or those of us up for a staycation.
When it comes to staycations, you’re always likely to be a bit more critical of where you’re staying. You know the area, you know the people and your expectations tend to be a little higher than if you were staying somewhere new.
So for our stay in the Four Seasons Sydney, we had our microscopes out ready to inspect one of Sydney’s most premium hotels.
Four Seasons Sydney, Mode restaurant and Grain Bar
Like all good hotels, the Four Seasons Sydney isn’t just about the hotel; its new restaurant Mode, and whisky and cocktail bar Grain complete the experience.
Here’s what to expect when you stay and dine at the Four Seasons Sydney:
Four Seasons Sydney – location
If it’s convenience you’re looking for, it doesn’t get much better than the Four Seasons Sydney. In a quick walk, you’ve got the CBD, Circular Quay train station and main ferry terminal, and best of all, The Rocks.
The Rocks is the oldest part of Sydney and has some amazing pubs and historic buildings to check out. There’s also a great market here at the weekend that’s a must-see.
Four Seasons Sydney – our hotel room
We were lucky enough to be staying in one of the hotel’s Junior Suites overlooking Sydney Harbour.
The Junior Suite is everything you’d expect from a world-class hotel: stylish yet professional. Plus there’s that understated luxury of space that makes all the difference: the room is 570ft² (53m²), an enormous, comfy bed and a well-equipped neatly-appointed spacious bathroom.
And of course there’s the view. Being able to see both the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House at the same time is very special. Waking up to this view is almost as impressive as going to sleep to it.
Seeing the comings and goings of the ferries from Circular Quay and feeling the city thriving beneath you is amazing.
– Room 15 on each level has the harbour view.
– Although the hotel provides ‘multilingual’ power adapters, there are no USB charging points in the room. However, you can plug into the USB point at the back of the room’s (pleasingly large) smart TV.
– Bring your swimmers – the rooftop pool and bar area is pretty cool and not to be missed.
Four Seasons Sydney – Mode Kitchen and Bar
Many top hotels have restaurants attached to them, and room service as standard. However, the newly established Mode Kitchen and Bar is where the Four Seasons Sydney shifts gears to nose in front of its competitors.
It has also changed how we feel about hotel restaurants, which are usually only there for busy people on work trips or guests who don’t feel like going too far from their room.
But Mode, discreetly at the back of the hotel’s grand lobby, is a dining experience in its own right. In fact, a large number of the diners here are not guests of the Four Seasons.
The elegant 1920s feel to the place makes you quickly forget you’re a few steps from the hotel’s front desk. The only thing to remind you that you are is the level of service here that mirrors the Four Seasons brand.
From the moment we walked in, manager Simone made us feel incredibly welcome, and our Italian waiters Alessio and Stefan gave the meal an authentic impression. In fact, Mrs Romance brought a tear to Alessio’s eye when she chatted with him in Italian.
As for our meals, here’s the playlist:
– Beef tartare – tender, wholesome, spectacular texture and plating – especially with such a difficult food to make look good
– Zucchini flowers – perfect balance of textures with crispy pancetta and creamy ricotta
– Kingfish sashimi – macadamias, marinated red onions, sultanas, olive oil – light, fresh and generous plate. It’s understandable why this is a signature dish here.
– Lamb shoulder, Japanese eggplant and sticky thyme glaze – the eggplant is almost liquid it’s so well cooked and the lamb falls apart as your fork touches it.
– Yellow fin tuna, seared cos lettuce, fresh peas and radish – the tuna transcends what meat tastes like – not like fish, not like chicken, pork or red meat; tender, flavourful and fresh. Your knife simply sinks in as you cut. Perfect.
Desserts here are good, but I wouldn’t say the best part of the restaurant.
– Dark chocolate delice & raspberry sorbet – worth getting just for the sorbet.
– Lemon tart – fresh and zingy yet good sweetness. The pastry was a little soft but sweet.
By the way, if you stay in the hotel, you get to eat in Mode Kitchen and Bar anyway. Breakfast is served here, and it’s bloody excellent!
– Mode has a pretty good cocktail list, but if you see a cocktail on Grain’s menu next door, Mode can get it for you.
– Grain also does some amazing desserts that are well worth thinking about rather than Mode’s.
Four Seasons Sydney – Grain Bar
Beautifully lit and artfully styled, Grain fools everyone who comes here into thinking it’s an independent small bar of the likes of Eau de Vie in Darlinghurst or even Baxter’s in the city.
It certainly doesn’t feel like any hotel bar I’ve ever been to. And according to Bar Manager Roderick Boerma, the majority of his patrons are walk-ins and not hotel guests.
Meanwhile, the staff are all invested in the drinks they make and the food they serve, and treat everyone with the same high level of professionalism.
The bar itself is impressively stocked with mainstream and Aussie craft spirits, beer and wine to accommodate all tastes.
Clever use of timber and leather decorate the bar and the interior, and provides those soft surfaces to reduce unpleasant acoustics. The well-chosen music is kept at that perfect level.
And the lighting is so forgiving that if you don’t use this place as a date night, you’re missing an opportunity.
In fact, the only sign that this bar is part of a hotel is you can room-charge your tab when you’re ready to leave.
– Talk to the bar staff about what drink you like and do not overlook their signature drinks. The Mr Watson No.2 is exceptional and the My Life Is A Movie is one of the most complex cocktails I’ve ever drunk. It’s like you’re drinking a popcorn cocktail.
– Check out the food menu – the desserts are insanely good, but so are the savoury dishes. If you don’t feel like a sit-down dinner at Mode, Grain will certainly have something to satisfy you.
– Score a seat at the balcony overlooking the street for some awesome people watching and also the ability to spy out the rest of the room while you drink.
Staying at the Four Seasons is something everyone should experience at least once. It really is wonderful. It would make that special occasion even more special.
Even just dinner here for a long-awaited date night is something special. In fact, dinner here and then a surprise stay in the hotel would be a pretty romantic thing to do.
But even if you just pop in to Grain for a quick drink one evening, you’ll see that this is more than just a hotel. It’s a special part of Sydney.
Have you had a hotel bar or restaurant that surprised you? Tell us about it in the comments.