Inspiration Destinations Australia Say Hello to Sorrento’s Polished Crown Jewel: InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula 

Say Hello to Sorrento’s Polished Crown Jewel: InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula 

April 19, 2024
An aerial view of the pool and surrounding heritage and new buildings at InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula - Luxury Escapes

For Gatsby-era glamour on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, this recently refreshed coastal retreat pulls no punches. Writer Ruby Staley checks in to InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula to join in on the pinnacle of parties and find out what all the flap is about.  

A Mornington Peninsula icon since 1875, InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula brings a luxury revival to the already sophisticated coastal region of Port Phillip Bay. Having undergone a complete $100 million-plus refurbishment in 2022, the hotel has re-emerged with not just a new name but also 108 restored rooms, a Mediterranean-style pool with a view, and a unique chef-led dining strategy ready to stun even the most discerning of travelers. 

What’s the neighbourhood like?  

No wallflower in this small coastal town, Sorrento’s InterContinental has a ‘you’ll know it when you see it’ vibe. At least, this is our reaction as we round the corner and catch our first glimpse of the palatial hotel; I take in the commanding sandstone building standing tall at the corner of Ocean Beach Road and Constitution Hill Road, and I’m instantly impressed by the way the restoration has held onto its original heritage beauty. 

Adjacent to the main entrance, the ever-popular upmarket pub, The Continental Public Bar & Beer Garden, places you steps from the town’s main drag. The street is already filled with Sorrento locals securing their morning caffeine fix and surf-seeking short-stayers settling in for the weekend. Just minutes away on foot, the waves of the Sorrento Front Beach crash on the shore, a sound that softly echoes through the rooms, lulling us to sleep later that night. 

A shot of the front facade of InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula with a sports car parked in front, one of the best escapes in the Mornington Peninsula - Luxury Escapes
The glamorous front facade of the InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula.

How was the check-in process?  

As we pull our suitcases into the welcome area, a subtle scent of ground espresso fills the space and we’re met with a grand corridor with one of the largest circular chandeliers overhead, and to our right, a row of waving reception staff.  

The lobby and reception area are decorated with Australian and international artworks and the hotel’s love for art and green arise again and again throughout our stay. A bright gold screen with colorful symmetric details behind the reception desk instantly grabs my attention, as it illuminates the receptionists from behind like a full-body halo. It is just the first of many art pieces and installations around the hotel I wish I could take home upon check-out.  

Duty manager Susanna’s thousand-watt smile shines on us as brightly as the golden panels.   

Where am I sleeping?  

Up the bamboo weave-lined elevator, through forest green hallways, and across plush printed carpet; we breathe in the soft botanical perfume of the air-conditioned space feeling as if we’re adventurers wandering through a lush rainforest. We arrive at our Classic Riley Lane Wing Room ($749 for two nights) and curtains draw automatically upon opening the heavy door. A bold green velvet headboard adds some luxurious texture to the stark white walls. 

A packet of crunchy pretzels and bottle of mineral water are immediately pilfered from the complimentary minibar, and little time is wasted before heading out on to the balcony to pop the cork on our included bottle of Red Hill Estate prosecco and watch the sun set over the ocean. A pre-dinner complimentary refreshment in the form of a DIY local gin and tonic kit found on the top of the credenza was also unbeatable. 

Upgraded rooms are available, some with deep freestanding bathtubs with copper fixtures, and there is also a Penthouse with a private rooftop, pool and alfresco entertaining space.  

A large bed with a green headboard in a modern room with the door opening out to a sunny balcony, one of many stunning rooms at InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula - Luxury Escapes
Interior of a Main Wing Room at the InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula.

What's on the menu?  

The Continental Public Bar & Beer Garden (or The Conti as it's more frequently referred to) is one of the most trendy watering holes on the Mornington Peninsula. The beer garden feels like a greenhouse thanks to its glass ceiling and the thriving flora and fauna encased within. On our visit, to sip another gin and tonic and pick at bar fries, there is a mix of young families, Sorrento locals and couples, sharing a laugh over classic pub meals.  

A quick change for the evening and it’s time for our reservation at Audrey’s. From chef Scott Pickett as an ode to his grandmother, the space feels akin to a trendy art gallery with prints like Azuma Makoto’s floral Audrey’s Garden Series dressing the sandstone walls. A standout kingfish tartare with dill-infused crème fraiche was as fresh as the ocean breeze, and Cooper's Island oysters with pepper mignonette and whipped cod roe crumpet topped with faux bacon paired immaculately with our cocktails suggested by the bartender. Pickett’s keen culinary eye extends beyond Audrey’s, with his knowledge of dining utilised throughout The Continental Precinct – from casual bites to impeccable service. 

Barlow’s, a dimly lit roaring 1920s-inspired speakeasy blanketed in rouge velvet from floor to ceiling, is your go-to for a nightcap. Come to channel your best Daisy Buchanan and stay for the soulful bossa nova from a live jazz trio. A local DJ takes the stage later in the night for those wanting to cut loose.  

Under sculptural artist Adam Goodrum’s Petal Whorl glass installation, we eased into a generous buffet breakfast at The Atrium the next morning. From buttery crispy croissants to eggs how you like, it is early morning sustenance at its most sumptuous. 

An array of dishes on white plates on a blue marble table at Audrey's, one of InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula's many dining options - Luxury Escapes
An array of dishes at Audrey's at InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula.

What are the facilities like?  

Though the autumn chill meant we weren’t brave enough to take a dip in the outdoor pool – although perfectly heated, we took advantage of the space, cosying up poolside and peering out to the foreshore under the shade of the large umbrellas. On a sunny summer’s day, I wouldn’t wonder if guests feel instantly transported to the dolce vita of the Italy’s Sorrento counterpart. 

What sets InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula apart? 

In short, the spa. From the restorative magnesium pools to a unique Salt Halo Therapy room, it’s not hard to see why it was awarded 'Best Spa in Australasia' at The Spa & Wellness Awards in 2023.  

With our A$30 spa credit in tow, we donned our obligatory fluffy robes and padded to Aurora Spa & Bathhouse to test out the10-step Bathhouse Ritual journey. Going from exfoliating scrub to 38-degree daydream pool, aroma steam room, cold plunge and icy glacial mist; to say we felt rejuvenated would be an understatement. We’re feeling clearer headed and more awake than if we'd had an injection of caffeine. 

A guest steps into the warm pool at Aurora Spa & Bathhouse, one of the best things to do while staying at InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula - Luxury Escapes
Aurora Spa & Bathhouse at InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula.

Who will love InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula?  

This is one for adults and couples, especially those looking for an up-market weekend on the coast. The hotel offers the opportunity to hole up in its luxurious bubble for a few days or use it as a launching pad for exploring Sorrento and more of the Mornington Peninsula. There are no connecting rooms and limited two-bedroom options. Those wanting to say ‘I do’ can swap vows here too and its little surprise that the hotel has fast become such a popular wedding destination, as even our short stay truly felt like a special occasion. 

The writer was a guest of InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula.  

About Ruby Staley
From exploring the world to kicking back with a good book, Ruby loves doing it solo. A passionate Euro enthusiast, catch her dreaming about Amsterdam or slurping down pasta a la vodka in moments between scribbling down her thoughts.

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