Sydney: From Opera to Opulence

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For a city founded by convicts, Sydney has transformed itself into one of the top luxury destinations in the world. From well-known classics like the Four Seasons to the brand-new spa retreat Elysia Golden Door, Sydney touts a level of opulence that will satisfy even the most discerning traveler. Located in the heart of Sydney Harbor, The Four Seasons Hotel Sydney (www.fourseasons.com/sydney) not only boasts incredible views, but also an amazing location, only minutes from the famed Sydney Opera House.

For those seeking true decadence, look no further than room 3306, the Presidential Suite, which features two large bedrooms, a living and dining room, and two bathrooms. Windows are abundant in this suite: Most guests who stay there leave the drapes open at night in order to wake up to the sun rising over the Sydney Harbor and the Opera House. Private butler service is available. Entourages can stay in the Deluxe Royal Suite, which has one master bedroom and bathroom, a separate powder room and a large dining and living room. All rooms can be booked over GDS. Agents can also contact General Manager Stephen Lewis (stephen.lewis@fourseasons.com).

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VIP guests are greeted by management upon arrival and are checked in curbside to ensure a seamless, hassle-free stay. VIP guests are sent a note and gift upon their arrival and are contacted throughout their stay to make sure their needs are met.
Spa Director Karen Millar (karen.millar@fourseasons.com) managed several top international day spas before coming to the Four Seasons, and her experience shows. Ask for massage therapist Crystal Gullifa; her legendary rubdowns book quickly. For a real treat, get the Four Seasons Signature Treatment, a combination of massage, facial and hot-stone therapy.

To get the most out of the city’s sights, Chef Concierge Jorge Sousa (jorge.sousa@fourseasons.com ) can obtain last-minute tickets to sold-out performances in the Sydney Opera House; book kids (and adults) on Sydney’s highest-rated attraction—the Bridge Climb over Sydney Harbor; and he’s even arranged for a violinist from the Conservatory of Music to play in a guest’s suite as part of a marriage proposal.

To follow in the footsteps of celebrities would mean staying at the InterContinental Sydney (www.ichotelsgroup.com). From heads of state like Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela to celebs like Tom Cruise, Matt Damon, Pierce Brosnan and Renée Zellweger, all have enjoyed the hotel’s famed Australia Suite on the 29th floor. Kate Bligh (kate_bligh@interconti.com; 612 9240 1205) handles all VIP bookings.

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The Australia Suite features an open-air terrace with dining area; large living and dining room with grand piano; a full kitchen and serving station; a bathroom featuring shower/steam room, a spa bath with panoramic harbor views and a walk-in dressing room. The experience is one of sheer luxury and indulgence with plush, oversize furniture and contemporary Australian artwork. Private butler service is available for guests of the Australia Suite.

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The Australia Suite connects with a standard room and a Governor Suite, essentially allowing guests to take over the entire front section of the 29th floor. The concierge team, along with General Manager Jordan Rodgers (Jordan_rodgers@interconti.com) recently organized a romantic escapade for a couple, including an afternoon flight to the Hunter Valley wine region, a candlelit dinner in the vineyards, a return flight to Sydney at sunset and limousine transfer back to the hotel.

Sebastian Reese runs the five-room Fusion Hair and Body Spa (reach him via fax: 61 9247 3030 or phone: 61 9247 3030).  Treatments include rejuvenating body treatments and facials and anti-stress massages. Book your clients’ appointments ahead of time, particularly if you’re looking for massages and pedicures.

VIPs can be chauffeured throughout Sydney in a Bentley or Rolls Royce by reserving with Australia in Style (contact Vivien Reed at info@australiainstyle.com.au). Request Keith Sole; his knowledge of Sydney knows no bounds. Drive through the historic Rocks District (the first colony in Australia), now a blend of hip cafés and historic buildings, before heading to Rose Bay.

At Rose Bay, a must is a seaplane ride with Seaplane Safaris (www.seaplanesafaris.com/au; contact Maureen Fitzgerald at Maureen@tourismnetwork.com.au). A real treat for families is the flight and lunch package. The flight takes off from the Sydney Harbor and includes amazing views of the city and coastline before landing at Cottage Point Restaurant—an exclusive, culinary find—not accessible by car.

For day trips outside Sydney, Hunter Valley (Australia’s version of Napa Valley), is ideal for wine aficionados. Visit Golden Door Health Retreat Elysia (www.gold
endoor.com.au/elysia
). Built one year ago, Elysia is ideal for those looking to experience the ultimate in pampering. Accommodations range from one- to three-room villas, all with expansive views of the wineries. Rooms, with spa-size bathtubs, have balconies overlooking the vineyards.

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Boasting 26 wet and dry treatment rooms, the spa has an extensive menu; most guests experience four to seven treatments during their stay. Spa Director Julie Thompson consults with VIP guests to create an itinerary suited to their needs (including a host of pregnancy treatments). Signature treatments include the Watsu Aquatic Bodywork treatment. Thompson can also book private one-on-one activities such as yoga, meditation, personal training or swimming lessons. Contact General Manager Matthew Graydon (61 2 4993 8500) or visit www.elysia.com.au to book
VIP guests.

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The Hunter Valley wine country has more than 132 wineries. Contact Pick of the Crop Wine Expeditions(www.wineexpeditions.com.au), where owner Heather Jeffery (info@wineexpeditions.com.au) will drive clients around in classic 1960s Pontiacs. Tours are catered to clients’ wine tastes. Visit Bimbadgen Estate (www.bimbadgen.com.au); it’s a unique environment in which there are four distinct working wine areas that guests can tour all in a stunning vineyard setting. Be sure to stop for lunch at Roberts Restaurant (www.robertsrestaurant.com), one of the highest
rated gastronomic experiences in the region.