Ooh la la! Step into a world of billowing pink marshmallow, chocolate fountains, and frilly dresses at the elegant Claris the Mouse high tea at the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour, inspired by the children’s book, Claris, the Chicest Mouse in Paris.
Capturing the attention of an overexcited toddler is never easy, but stepping into the lavish, fragrant lobby of the Sofitel Darling Harbour, my daughter is immediately transfixed by the colourful display of fish in the enormous glass aquarium behind the check-in desk. As she stands watching the bright fish dart between glimmering coral, a kindly attendant hands us both a fresh, tart lemonade cocktail and welcomes us to the hotel- just one of the magnificent touches that makes this overnight stay a magical memory that we’ll both treasure.
We’re here to enjoy a Claris the Mouse High tea, but we’ve booked the overnight stay experience for some extra mummy-daughter bonding time. So, after our easy check-in, we’re shown to our Harbour View Room, which overlooks the gorgeous changing landscape of Darling Harbour. From our enormous bay window we can see the passing parade of families and tourists below, spot seagulls skimming the water, point out passing ships and watch the lights cross the sky as the day draws on. Here too, in the room, there are those touches of elegance that make your stay feel special. A tray of nibbles is set out, with a note of welcome; my toddler’s eyes bulge at the sight of the pink macaroons, miniature lemon meringue tart, tiny chocolate opera cake, delicate chocolates and a bite size choux cream puff. There’s a tiny glossy bag of goodies for her too- two round chocolate shortbread layered with illustrations of The Little Prince and some chewy chocolate lollies. Hanging in the bathroom are adorable matching Claris the Mouse robes and a set of slippers each, all embossed with the super chic mouse whose high tea we’re here to enjoy.
The overnight stay means we won’t be attending our tea party until the next day, so we have an afternoon of fun ahead. Staying at the Sofitel means we occupy ourselves with a dip at the rooftop pool, where the infinity edge makes the pool seem to spill over into the glittering harbour below. There’s a fully equipped bar and rows of fluffy, striped towels to keep any chill at bay. The pool is warm, with a large set of generous steps to help the little ones.
After a swim, a hot bath in the deep, freestanding tub is the perfect way to relax, watching the glorious sky change outside the windows.
Our overnight stay comes with a buffet breakfast, which means endless platters of fresh fruit, piles of waffles and pancakes with six kinds of syrup and unlimited marshmallows, plus international dishes like fried rice, miso soup, and a whole host of favourites like chicken sausages, eggs made to order, and of course smooth, creamy coffee and hot tea. Breakfast is taken in the same dining room where the high tea will later be held, and again the small touches are what make the experience a standout. As we’re seated for breakfast, a crisply dressed server whisks away my daughter’s china plates and furnishes her with a charming (and toddler-safe) set of Little Prince plates, cutlery and cup.
By the time we return to the elegant Champagne Bar, the sundrenched room has been transformed into the promised “world of tea cups, cupcakes, choux and macarons, filled to bursting with style, Parisian chic and plenty of roses in the prettiest pink –Claris’ favourite blooms.”
Perched on our table for two is a sleek black bag, and inside is a take-home copy of Claris The Chicest Mouse in Paris, the wonderful storybook by acclaimed Australian fashion illustrator Megan Hess. The table itself is set with plates bearing illustrations of the sweet mouse, and inside the menu is a wonderland of sweet treats, all on their way to us. There’s French pastries, including delicious macarons, marshmallow, madeleines or delicate choux, plus a very nice glass of French bubbles for mum. But before that. our first stop is the chocolate fountain….!
With homemade guimauve, marshmallow, mini churros, beignet fried dough and fresh strawberries on offer, the cascade of chocolate flowing between the fountain’s silver measures proves a huge drawcard for guests. The little girls love lining up up to choose from banana slices, strawberries, handcrafted mini pastries and marshmallow strips to sweep under the molten chocolate, then decorate their plate with sprinkles and sweets. The unlimited access means lots of trips to taste each item!
After we’re happily tucking into our chocolate treats, we’re offered drinks; I choose a French bubble, sparkling water and one of the four fruit teas on offer, opting for a green roasted and fruit tea that’s rich and tart. Little guests can choose a pink lemonade or a citrus one; my daughter went for the pinkest item, in keeping with the theme.
Then the main event arrives; a tea stand loaded with treats for two. There’s pairs of red berry pannacotta glass, raspberry macaroons, ruby chocolate madeleines, chocolate pocky sticks, cocoa nib cream profiteroles, and scones with jam and cream. The savoury selection comes in sets of two mini sausage rolls, two mini quiche Lorraine, avocado smoked salmon green buns and tomato bocconcini pink buns, plus finger sandwiches of chicken and cucumber and ham and cheese.
- What: The Claris the Mouse High Tea at Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour
- When: Every Saturday 1- 4pm until December 21, 2019
- Cost: $69 per person ($35 for children 11 and under), overnight package $336 including high tea, breakfast and a late checkout.
- Claris High Tea: Free-flowing tea and coffee, pink lemonade for younger guests, a selection of savoury and sweet treats, and a chocolate fountain. Younger guests attending High Tea will leave with a Claris the Mouse gift bag. Booking essential.
- Overnight Package: A special accommodation package is available every Friday and Saturday night from July 12to October 12 from $336 a night (prepaid)in a Superior Room, including an overnight stay, late check-out 1pm, breakfast in Atelier, the Claris High Tea on Saturday, and special amenities designed with young mice in mind. Children 11 and under booked with this package enjoy complimentary breakfast & complimentary High Tea.
- Website: Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour
- Address: Sydney Darling Harbour –Champagne Bar, Level 312 Darling Drive, Darling Harbour, Sydney