SOFITEL Sydney Darling Harbour, Sydney, New South Wales © SOFITEL Sydney Darling Harbour
Where to stay in Sydney
Whether you want to stay in a converted brewery, a luxury hotel on the harbour or an edgy loft-style room 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 luxury. They are diverse in their offerings, occupying everything from a heritage-listed wharf to a towering modern skyscraper. Plus they house some of the best restaurants and bars in town. So if you're planning to visit, be sure to stay the night.
The Old Clare Hotel
Where: 1 Kensington St, Chippendale
Located smack bang in the heart of Sydney's Central Park district, 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 style, such as the CUB Suite which is located in old brewery boardroom and has been converted into a luxurious timber-clad suite.
Where: 488 George Street, Sydney
This is luxury accommodation right in the centre of Sydney, with world-class restaurants, one of the city's best 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. Just upstairs sits Glass, the award-winning bistro by celebrity chef Luke Mangan. A few more stops on the elevator will take you to Zeta Bar, the hotel’s signature cocktail spot, which has a menu of retro classics inspired by the travels of Hilton creator Conrad Hilton. Downstairs lies The Marble Bar, a Sydney hotspot for decades and 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.
Where: 49 Market Street, Sydney
The flagship of the quirky QT chain is located in the incredible bones of the old Gowings department store. Be greeted by the friendly leather-clad concierge team and enjoy the lobby that could double as a contemporary art gallery. QT has made the most of every inch of available 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 for more. Rooms are a colour explosion of soft furnishings and moody ambience and the main restaurant is the relatively restrained (by QT standards) Gowings Bar & Grill.
Where: 89-113 Kent Street, Sydney
Grand harbourside luxury awaits at The Langham, located in a sleepy pocket of the Sydney centre. The hotel makes the most of its impressive harbour views with a sweeping marble adorned lobby that takes your breath away. The design is sleek and opulent, with velvet furnishings, brass hardware and a view to die for. Don't forget to check out the art, with a displayed collection of Australia's most famous painters; you might be sitting under a work by Brett Whiteley or Sidney Nolan. For an extra experience, try their famous high tea menu, and be sure to check out the incredible underground swimming pool available to guests and spa patrons only.
Where: 117 Macquarie Street, Sydney
With a foyer housed in a 19th century treasury building, and a location mere footsteps from the city's famous harbour, the InterContinental Sydney is in high demand. Lucky they have plenty of rooms to spare - 509 of them in fact - and another 28 suites, along with a host of dining options. Rooms are understated, with window seats to enjoy the view. Get swept up in the charm of the hotel with high tea experience, set within the grand 1851 heritage-listed surrounds of The Cortile’s sun-lit lounge.
Four Seasons Hotel Sydney
Where: 199 George Street, 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 with a massage at the Endota Spa.
Where: 6 Cowper Wharf Roadway, Woolloomooloo
The reception at Ovolo Woolloomooloo - located on the 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 modern aesthetic. The bold design continues in the rooms, where your customised fabric headboard features ornate artworks like a pair of kissing fish or a retro surfer. Head back down to reception to the Alibi Bar and Kitchen, an Ovolo signature, where you can have a cocktail or share plates in the old-world surrounds.
Spicers Potts Point
Where: 120-124 Victoria Street, Potts Point
Potts Point has become increasingly popular for visitors over recent years due to its convenient location from Sydney's city centre. Spicers Potts Point in Victoria Street is one of the better boutique hotels on the block, with only 16 rooms and four suites. The building itself is far from new, with original marble fireplaces, restored floorboards and a heritage facade, it offers the best of Sydney's unique heritage with all the necessities of modern life. It even offers room service from several of the top-notch nearby restaurants.
Paramount House Hotel
Where: 80 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills
Located in the former headquarters of Paramount Picture Studios in trendy Surry Hills, Paramount House Hotel is a mix of heritage and new. In fact, there's literally a cinema still located in the basement if you feel like taking in a cult film. Exposed brick walls and wooden beams give the rooms a rustic feel while the minimalistic decor adds a touch of class. Some of the rooms even have sunny alcoves adorned with indoor plants and large windows that allow a flow of fresh air throughout the room. Book into a rooftop yoga class and then peruse the farmers markets that happen weekly on site, and you'll feel like a local in no time.
CROWN TOWERS SYDNEY
Where: 1 Barangaroo Ave, Barangaroo
Rising high above the Barangaroo Precinct, Crown Towers Sydney has set a new standard in luxury hotels. With its impressive bars and restaurants, state-of the-art spa and fitness facilities and opulent accommodations, this glistening 75-storey hotel is very much a destination in itself. The incredible selection of world-class dining helmed by some of the best culinary talent around is designed to cater to every palette. The best part is easily being able to head back to the comforts of your room afterwards.
THE FULLERTON HOTEL SYDNEY
Where: 1 Martin Place, Sydney, NSW 2000
Renowned Singaporean luxury hotel brand The Fullerton Hotels and Resorts beautifully restored the historic former Sydney General Post Office to house its first hotel outside Singapore. The Fullerton Hotel Sydney weaves local stories and history with signature experiences from its sister hotels, offering complimentary heritage tours, an exquisite high tea experience featuring lobster and caviar, and an impressive collection of more than 120 gins from around the world at The Gin Parlour.
SOFITEL SYDNEY DARLING HARBOUR
Where: 12 Darling Dr, Sydney
In the heart of bustling Darling Harbour, the 35-storey Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour is superbly located to some of the city’s best waterfront restaurants, bars, shopping and attractions. This elegant hotel seamlessly blends French luxury with Australian-inspired design elements that pay tribute to the harbour’s maritime heritage. Luxurious comforts include oversized soaking tubs, bespoke French amenities and floor-to-ceiling windows to take in the views. The jewel in the crown is the stunning rooftop infinity pool with sweeping harbour and city views. At sunset, head to the award-winning Champagne Bar and watch the day give way to the twinkling lights of the city skyline, champagne in hand.