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Exploring Australia’s quintessential seaside town of Sorrento and its historic Hotel Sorrento 

By Glenn Harris on 23rd September 2018

One can go on holiday in Australia’s state of Victoria for a year and never run out of amazing new sights and places to explore. Less than two hours south of Melbourne is one of the area’s most enchanting turn of the century seaside villages, Sorrento.

The town is known for its tony designer shops, galleries, bistros and sun-kissed beaches.  In the heart of Sorrento, overlooking the Port Phillip Bay, is the town’s iconic Hotel Sorrento; a delightful boutique hotel and restaurant that has welcomed travelers for more than 145 years.

Sorrento is the Mornington Peninsula’s cosmopolitan and touristic coastal village where one cannot help but to think of Cape Cod with a bit of Cap Antibe. Visitors find a copious sprinkling of stylish fashion boutiques offering the wears of regional designers as well as art galleries with captivating watercolors, sculptures and art pieces from local artists.

There’s a general store that is straight out of a nostalgic small-town scene selling local artisanal cheeses from nearby farms, local wines and, the local favorite, flaky meat pies.  Couples and families take leisurely strolls up the town’s main street and dip in and out of shops or stop for an al fresco bistro lunch under canvas umbrellas. After lunch a stop for a delicious gelato is a must do activity, especially for the little ones.

Beyond the town, vistors will relish the seaside walks especially to the area’s iconic Cape Schanck lighthouse. The scenery is stunning to see of the ocean and horizon with waves crashing against the jagged rocks below.   Australians love a good walk about and there are a number of trails on well maintained paths throughout the area such as the Art Trail that takes guests from Sorrento to the nearby village of Port Sea and maps out the breathtaking natural scenery that inspired legions of artists.

One must also take a few hours to explore the pristine Back Beach Coastal Walk which faces the rough ocean of Bass Strait perfect for long walks on the uncrowded beach or for surfers looking to hang ten. One sight that must not be missed is the rock pools which are rock formations that create a beautiful cove against the rough waves of the sea.

Above and below the sea travelers will enjoy scuba diving or swimming in the crystal blue and calm waters of Phillips Bay. Inland one will definitely want to spend the afternoon visiting the area’s nearby wineries and farmgates before returning back to relax and unwind at the Hotel Sorrento.

An old weather vane sits atop the highest tower overlooking the historic limestone hotel and all of Sorrento as it has since it was first placed in 1872. The history of the region is found in the hotel’s limestone walls, antiques and period photographs along with a rich history that whispers through its halls. What you’ll instantly notice in the hotel is how old and new it is at the same time. There is a perfect blend that embraces the rich heritage of the hotel yet there are integrates ultra-modern design elements. The new additions make the hotel and restaurant  perfectly current so one never feels they are in a museum but instead in a modern place with a historical foundation.

This is a family owned property with two generations dedicated to creating a memorable guest experience for their  local, Melbournian, and international clientele. The Pitt family has brought the hotel to its current grandeur and continue to grow and evolve the hotel. The hotel has not only a haven for today’s traveler, its also the hot spot for hip entertainment on weekends, special events as well as probably the most popular dining and bar scene in the area.

The marriage of the historic with contemporary is evident in each of their 37 accommodations including their traditional rooms as well as their uber-modern and posh five-star suites. The traditional rooms are a walk back in time with exposed limestone walls yet the furnishings are modern, fresh and comfortable with all the mod cons required by today’s traveler. Many have sun decks with tanning chairs and umbrellas to take in the sun or have a glass of wine in the evening. Others have expansive terraces overlooking the cove and seaside visits.

The hotel also boasts several new uber luxurious accommodations in a separate area of the hotel grounds.  These accommodations are spacious with separate living and bedroom area, toasty fireplace and a lovely contemporary décor with first class amenities  and electronics.

There are floor to ceiling windows and sliding doors  swathing the room with natural light as well as a long veranda overlooking the Port Phillip Bay. These rooms are perfect for a romantic weekend or an extended stay with wet sink and kitchenette area.

Hotel Sorrento also boasts what is arguably the most popular restaurant in the area with locals and guests dining on the delicious casual dining fare. It’s country homestyle cooking meets gastro pub chic cuisine with a wide range of local meat or seafood fresh from the bay just a few yards away.

As the peninsula is known for its exceptional Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, expect those as well as an extensive offering of wines from the area to be paired with your meal or a cold draft of local beer.

The hotel is a favorite watering hole with their sexy outdoor venue Salt which is an uber chic and contemporary neon style hotspot.  The venue is packed on weekends and hosts special events and parties for the area’s  20 and 30 somethings in crowd. Indoors is a bit more traditional Irish pub style long bar serving up a fancy drink menu of traditional drinks as well as their long list of tasty signature cocktails.

Sorrento is the ideal weekend getaway from Melbourne or side trip for the international traveler. There’s so much to do in the area from visiting the charming town, natural pursuits, or just relaxing on the beach. When the exploration comes to an end, the place to stay after the play is the Hotel Sorrento.

Hotel Sorrento

Address: 5-15 Hotham Rd, Sorrento VIC 3943, Australia
Phone: +61 3 5984 8000