Cosmopolitan cool

Celebrity chefs are the order of the day and the uber-trendy Pullman hotels have nabbed one of the best with their culinary ambassador Justin North of Hotel Centennial and Becasse fame. 

The award-winning chef’s Tapastry menu has been a hit since it rolled out last year. The tapas-style menu is indicative of the five-star hotel group’s desire to be on trend. It pushes all the right buttons: small sharing plates, low-food miles and sustainably sourced produce.

But not content to sit on his laurels, North has refreshed the menu with greater emphasis on local produce. The menu was still in development when Luxury Travel went to press, but a sneak peek in the test kitchen revealed some of the possibilities: plates of deep-sea prawns with miso-burnt garlic butter; crispy fried free-range chicken, fermented red chilli emulsion, pickles and fennel salt; and toothfish with green papaya salad, ginger and lime dressing.

North will have three signature dishes on the revamped menu at Pullman properties across Australia, while the executive chefs at each property will contribute up to five locally inspired dishes exclusive to their respective hotels.

North, who has been awarded multiple chef’s hats over eight years by The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide, is passionate about ethical eating. He prefers to use ingredients sourced from growers who embrace sustainable farming practices.

The Pullman brand is part of the Accor Hotels group, which also has Sofitel, MGallery and the Sebel in its stable. However, it is Pullman that has become the fastest-growing five-star brand in the Asia-Pacific, set up as an executive lifestyle, upscale brand. There are now 109 Pullmans globally in 29 countries, more than 60 in the Asia-Pacific, including 14 properties in Australia/New Zealand. This runaway success may partly be due to staying on trend, not just with food, but also with the design-conscious fit-out common to all its hotels.

Pullman hotels draw in a cosmopolitan crowd. They’re people who travel a lot, have an eye for design, want to be somewhere cool, and are probably the first ones in the queue when a new Apple product is launched. The Pullman calls them ‘global nomads’ who mix business and leisure and crave a high level of connectivity.

The Pullman brand has its origins in the luxury sleeping cars developed in the USA during the 1880s. These railway cars transformed rail travel into a desirable experience, not just a way of getting from A to B. High service standards were part of that experience, a dictum particularly evident with Pullman’s ‘Welcomers’ who greet guests and provide a quality concierge service throughout their stay.

The Pullman property portfolio is diverse, from well-positioned city properties to resorts in idyllic settings. Its Australian hotels and resorts range from Bunker Bay in Margaret River to the glorious views of Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour, and the tropical chic of the Pullman Port Douglas Sea Temple Resort and Spa. Sea Temple has won a place in Trip Advisor’s Hall of Fame for receiving a certificate of excellence five years in a row. The resort provides ready access to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree rainforest. Its lagoon-style swimming pool is one of the largest in Australasia, but getting to it may be a problem because there are so many other temptations, such as private plunge pools in the villas or the treatments at Vie Spa.

Another pool where you should make a splash is at Sydney’s Hyde Park Pullman, which offers a rooftop dip with views over the park.

Melbourne on the Park (it was formerly a Hilton), opposite the MCG is the second Pullman hotel in Melbourne, after its Albert Park property. Both hotels are in the thick of the action for this sports-mad city’s spectacular events: the Australian F1 Grand Prix, AFL Grand Final, Australian Tennis Open and cricket’s annual Boxing Day Test.

Accor relaunched the Pullman brand last January and they have plans for 40 new properties in the Asia-Pacific (11,000 rooms) over the next three years – two in the Sydney and Brisbane airport precincts – and keep an eye out for the Pullman Park Lane Hong Kong and the newly announced Pullman Bangkok.

Pullman Port Douglas

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