Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall described the official launch, which was attended by 33 specially chosen charities who were granted access to the hotel for a day to raise over $508,000 for a variety of causes ranging from medical research to Indigenous mentoring, as “an incredible occasion.”
“This is a significant day for our global city and state,” he said. “It is the first time we have seen a new luxury 5-star hotel opened in this city since before the Sydney Olympics, which is amazing when you thing about the enormous growth in the visitor economy we have seen. Thankfully this hotel won’t be the last with 40 new [hotel] proposals either on the go or in the planning.”
Simon McGrath, AccorHotels’ Chief Operating Officer – Pacific, was also on hand to welcome in the new hotel which has been developed by hotel mogul Dr Jerry Schwartz.
“The hotel boom in Sydney is about to begin and this hotel leads the way,” said McGrath.
“The revitalisation of Darling Harbour is also an important catalyst. The infrastructure coming through in Barangaroo and Darling Harbour certainly does supports a [tourism] strategy for NSW that is most encouraging.”
The opening of the 590-room hotel makes it the largest luxury hotel in Australia, with the Sofitel brand now the largest luxury brand throughout the Pacific region.
“It’s the start of a revolution in terms of hotel development in Sydney,” he said. “The hard infrastructure such as the ICC Sydney are now in place in Sydney, and the soft infrastructure is the events calendar that goes to underpin a successful tourism industry, with NSW leading the way.
“Good investment follows good government and you see the result of that investment confidence here today.”
Schwartz also made a rare public appearance, describing the hotel as a “really exciting project”.
“We are celebrating two things tonight,” he said. “The opening of the first 5-star hotel this millennium… and having the representatives of 33 different charities here. This is about giving back to you. What we are trying to say is that this hotel has a heart.”