Dirty weekend goes upmarket

Dirty weekend goes upmarket, by Julia Carlisle - 2nd February 2008
(Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald)

The cook, the stripper, the wife and her French lover.

No, it's not the title of a new art-house movie, it's just a regular night at Sydney's Hilton Hotel.

If you're wanting more than just the standard romance package, the Hilton says it has the solution.

With the help of Sydney's infamous Madame Lash (the stripper), one of Australia's top chefs, Luke Mangan (the cook), combined with the Hilton's five-star accommodation and service, the Provocateur package creates an evening of romance, pleasure and fun for couples wanting to get into the loving mood.

When I (the wife) first mentioned to my French husband (the lover) we were heading to a hotel for a romance package, he shrugged his shoulders rather nonchalantly.

Being a typical Frenchman, he believes romance isn't organised by a hotel, but is something that should happen naturally. Ah, ze French!

As for me, the idea of a five-star hotel room with a big bed and crisp white linen puts me in the sexy mood immediately.

We check in during the afternoon and head up to our suite on the 39th floor with its incredible views over Sydney.

Just seeing the enormous bathroom and bath for two makes me squeal with delight.

Mission one is to fill the bath, add copious amounts of bath salts and bubble bath, slide in, watch the city through the ceiling to floor windows, turn on the flat screen TV above just for the thrill and enjoy the moment - for as long as possible.

All we know about the Provocateur Package, which I've nominated to commence at 10pm, is that it will "arouse our senses" to provoke an evening of passion.

There will be an aphrodisiac-inspired degustation platter from Mangan and some wonderfully naughty tips from Madame Lash.

In previous correspondence, I've chosen some groovy, seductive music, and selected an aromatic essence for the evening.

Freshly scrubbed and dressed up, but not wanting to stray too far from our room, we head down to Mangan's restaurant, Glass, for dinner.

Sitting across from the Queen Victoria Building lit up at night, enjoying amazing wine chosen from the Sommeilier, we are already feeling happy and romantic.

Mangan's food takes us to another level. The French-Asian-Australian menu is exciting and interesting.

My husband opts for a 100 per cent French choice with steak tartare followed by a rare piece of fillet with a herb crust - he is left speechless.

Meanwhile, my mixed sashimi platter is light, fresh and tasty. The lightly battered zucchini flowers filled with ricotta with a tapenade are amazing.

Our night could end here and we would be content. A quick time-check and we're right on schedule. It's 9.50pm so we decide to slowly meander back to our room.

The moment of truth has arrived.

Slowly, we open the door. It's dark, but as soon we enter our eyes adjust to the amazing scene of hundreds of flickering tea candles with red rose petals scattered on the floor throughout the suite.

Our ears tune into the Barry White music playing in the background and then we notice the lovely aroma of Ylang Ylang wafting through the rooms.

The coffee table has been beautifully arranged with an enticing platter and a bottle of champagne sitting in an ice-bucket waiting to be popped.

Mangan's aphrodisiac platter includes a delectable feast of fig and crab canapes, and freshly-shucked oysters. And for the sweet, sticky fix there's chocolate-dipped strawberries, chocolate truffles and creme brulee.

But it's the huge bed that really says it all. A rose-petal heart lies in the centre, with a feather tickling stick placed in the centre, along with a pink envelope.

Being true to the Hilton and to other perspective passionate couples out there, I don't want to ruin all the surprises. What I will say is this: Madame Lash is a woman who knows all the right steps in leading a couple to a sexy and intimate evening.

In her own words: "To truly experience pleasure, love-making must become an art."

There's a total of five envelopes containing "Seduction Tips" hidden around the room. But there are rules: we mustn't cheat, we have to take our time to appreciate the naughty tips and we must have fun.

Like good students, we obey!

It's a lot of fun with nothing kinky or uncomfortable. There's a blindfold and you can use the tickler if you want, but couples should just relax and enjoy the whole experience.

Chatting with Jerome Auvity, the manager of the Hilton Sydney, next morning over coffee at Glass, he says: "Australians are desperate to spice up their sex life, so we brought in the experts to help us design a package."

There's no doubt the Hilton hotel, Sydney, has improved. After two years of renovations, the hotel reopened at the end of 2005 with a new look and attitude.

Auvity says the hotel has a new approach and has revamped its image to be trendy, energetic and sexy, but it also wants to keep with tradition.

"Our products have to match the expectations of the Sydney people, who are stylish and sexy.

"For example, our Provocateur package is sexy, but it will never go below the belt," he says in his strong French accent.

The package, he says, will evolve and expand so couples can keep coming back.

We all agree, that it's a perfect evening for honeymoons, anniversaries and celebrations.

My husband has given a huge nod of approval to the Hilton's effort in its romance package.

We could try creating the atmosphere at home, but we'd probably burn down the house, and Madame Lash and Luke Mangan might not be available.

I think we'll head back to the Hilton for our next wedding anniversary in February.


Provocateur package: Hilton Hotel, Sydney

Price: From $650.

Call (02) 9265-6045 or email: reservations.sydneyhilton.com

The writer was a guest of the Hilton Hotel, Sydney.


Paris Hilton

Madame Lash