The Old Clare Hotel, Sydney, New South Wales
Whether you want a boutique stay in a converted brewery, a luxury hotel on Sydney Harbour or a place to lay your head above one of the city's most popular nightspots, Sydney has a huge range of top-quality hotels.
By Paul Chai
Sydney's hotels offer cutting-edge design, playful decoration and five-star understated luxury. They occupy everything from a heritage-listed wharf to a towering modern skyscraper, and they have some of the best restaurants and bars in town. Come and spend the night.
The Old Clare Hotel
A new hotel in Sydney's Central Park district in the city centre, The Old Clare Hotel takes up a historic Chippendale pub and the adjacent former brewery site. This boutique hotel has been lovingly restored by Peng Loh, a Singaporean businessman with a passion for doing up heritage properties. The Old Clare offers some fine examples of Loh's quirky and original style with rooms, such as the CUB Suite, in the old Carlton and United Breweries boardroom. Dining options include Automata in a converted warehouse and Kensington Street Social from Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton.
This is luxury accommodation right in the centre of Sydney, with world-class restaurants, one of the city's most innovative bars and a venerable nightspot beneath the hotel. Hilton Sydney is a sleek city hotel with a huge, welcoming atrium that is at the centre of the entertainment options. Glass, the award-winning bistro by celebrity chef Luke Mangan, is above, along with the Zeta Bar, the hotel’s signature cocktail spot, which has a menu of retro classics inspired by the travels of Hilton creator Conrad Hilton. The Marble Bar has been a Sydney hotspot for decades and is heritage listed due to its extensive use of, well, marble, dating back to 1893. Rooms are simply stylish, with open-plan bathrooms and a pillow menu so you can design your own comfort.
The flagship of the design-savvy, quirky QT chain offers red-wigged greeters, a lobby that feels more like an art gallery and the amazing bones of the old Gowings department store. QT has learned to use every space, so that even the lifts have a personality. In Melbourne they talk to you but in Sydney they detect how many people are in the lift, and choose the music accordingly. It's these touches that keep guests coming back. Rooms are a colour explosion of soft furnishings and metal artworks and the main restaurant is the relatively restrained (by QT standards) Gowings Bar & Grill.
From the always stylish Merivale Group, Establishment Hotel offers travellers, as well as partygoers at the main Establishment bar, a place to rest their heads right in the centre of the city. Just 31 sleekly stylish rooms have a bold colour palette with marble bathrooms, a Bose music system, and earplugs, should the partying below reach your room. The big plus here is you don't need to go far to find Sydney's best night out. The bar downstairs, housed in a 19th century building, offers great cocktails and the amazing food for which the Merivale group is known. A great spot for a party weekend.
The Langham, Sydney
Grand harbourside luxury awaits at The Langham. Following a massive 2014 renovation, the lobby is lighter, brighter and larger, and the hotel makes the most of its impressive harbour views. The design is calm and neutral to let the views shine, but the luxury of the new look is there in the understated touches, such as artworks from some of Australia's most famous painters; you might be sitting under a work by Brett Whiteley or Sidney Nolan. Rooms such as the Deluxe continue the bright, indulgent theme, with Parisian windows looking out to the harbour's sparkling water.
With a foyer housed in a 19th century treasury building, and just footsteps from the city's famous harbour, the InterContinental Sydney has 509 rooms (and 28 suites) and a range of dining options. Rooms are understated, with window seats to enjoy the views. A local secret is the Supper Club. The rooftop venue on level 32 has 270-degree views across the entire harbour and is Sydney's only hotel rooftop lounge and balcony terrace. Usually just for guests in “Club” rooms, the hotel recently opened it to non-Club guests and the public Thursday to Saturday from 8pm.
Four Seasons Hotel Sydney
Another luxury stay with amazing harbour views, the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney sits on the cusp of Sydney's historic Rocks precinct just a short stroll from Circular Quay. A Deluxe Harbour Room will give you a million-dollar view for far less, with dark wood and silk interiors in calming colours and attentive touches such as quality local Appelles bath products in the marble bathroom. Downstairs is Grain, one of the best-known whisky bars in the city. Or relax at the Endota Spa.
The reception at Ovolo, in the renovated interior of historic Finger Wharf in the harbourside suburb of Woolloomooloo, is one of the most striking in the city. The original wood-and-steel features of this one-time cargo wharf are the perfect counterpoint to Ovolo's colourful, fun aesthetic. The bold design continues in the rooms, where your fabric headboard might feature kissing fish or a retro surfer, above a king bed surrounded by primary colours and framed geometric prints. Head back down to reception to the Lo Lounge, an Ovolo signature, where you can have a cocktail or share plates in the heritage-listed surrounds.
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