Dr Jerry Schwartz is giving his new $500 million Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour to 28 charities for a night with the aim of raising $1 million.

On October 3, three days before the city’s biggest hotel opening in almost 20 years, 28 charities will each take a floor of the hotel in one of the most unique charity drives Australia has ever seen.

Australia’s largest private hotel owner is well-known as one of the leading philanthropists in the nation’s tourism industry and Dr Schwartz said his latest drive is about “giving back to Sydney”.

“Along with Accor’s Simon McGrath, we thought that it was fitting to mark the opening by giving back to Sydney through giving all 28 floors of the hotel to 28 charities to raise as much funds as possible,” he told HM.

“Because this is the first new-build international 5-star hotel in Sydney this millennium, we thought this was the best way to mark the occasion.

“So, we’re giving people the chance of being the first to sleep in this brand new luxury hotel and also give to charity – that’s a great combination,” Dr Schwartz said.

He said there were lots of well-known charities involved, including many medical and children’s charities.

Over the years, the Schwartz Foundation has supported a myriad of charities (since it was set up by Jerry and his mother Eve), including Vinnies, Matthew Talbot, Royal Far West Childrens Hospital, Hunter Medical Research, and Stem Cell Therapy.

Dr Schwartz said he was hoping for big interest via his small raffle that can be found at www.charity.sofiteldarlingharbour.com.au

“This raffle is an opportunity to stay in the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour on the very, very first night,” he told HM. “And I’m confident the final figure could be as high as $1 million.”

Dr Schwartz said the hotel’s opening would be a major boost for Sydney.

“This is going to be a very significant opening for Sydney’s tourism sector,” he said. “To have the first new-build international 5-star hotel in Sydney this millennium is fantastic, but more importantly it will assist our next door neighbour, the International Convention Centre, to compete for larger conferences and events.

“Building new hotels in Sydney city has been very difficult over the past 17 years land has been incredibly expensive and building costs prohibitive and it has only been in the past five years or so that authorities have recognised that more flexibility was required if we were to encourage the sort of investment in hotels that is happening in every other capital city around Australia.

“I am also adding a new wing to my Rydges Sydney Central, which hopefully will be completed later this year, and then Sydney will see a very strong surge of hotels over the rest of the decade.

“Fortunately, the Sofitel will the first of the new breed of hotels and that’s reflected in the most recent valuation of the Sofitel, which is estimated to be worth over $500 million now.”

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management