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The best places to stay in Sydney reflect this town's cosmopolitan nature, there's plenty of fusion food and fashionable decor, but they're also laid-back by international standards. You'll find them dotted throughout the city, from the harbour to the CBD (Central Business District) to Bondi and the North Shore.
People wax lyrical about Sydney's colours: the shimmering green-blue of the harbour with its white sails, the bright blue of the sky, the yellow of the beaches and the golden shades of sunshine which turn skin the same colours. Sydney is more than just a glorious picture, it bursts with energy and flavours just as intense as the colours.
For a lot of travellers, Sydney is a long journey, but its myriad of appeals, from its proximity to great beaches, a lush wine region, the breathtaking views of the Blue Mountains and all the sports, arts, cuisine and culture packed into the city proper, make the journey well worth it.
Most visitors can't resist the harbour's call for much longer than it takes to unpack their luggage, and there are a number of ways to enjoy it. Don't miss a jaunt across to Manly, less than an hour on the ferry, and once the 'summer retreat' of Sydney's fashionable set, or a ferry ride to Taronga Zoo, one of the world's most spectacularly located zoos.
Inner Harbour's treasures - the bridge, the Opera House, the botanical gardens and the Rocks - are an exceptional spot to stroll around. And the bustle and excitement of the fish markets - and of course the promise of a fantastically fresh seafood lunch - are unmissable.
While the fame of Bondi makes it irresistible to many, this whole stretch of coast, from Bondi to Coogee Beach, is worth a wander, if you have the time. Bondi's Sunday markets add an extra appeal.
If you fancy a spot of shopping it's also worth checking out upmarket Paddington, which has its own Sunday markets too.
Sydney also promises a wealth of day trips, to the Hunter Valley for a wine tasting, the Blue Mountains for some bushwalking or caving, or Palm Beach for some quieter, more spectacular beaches.
On the Harbour
- Pier One, on Walsh Bay, is right by one of the pillars of the Harbour Bridge, a large and luxurious hotel with spectacular harbour views and slick, nautical decor.
- Sydney's Park Hyatt is a five star luxury classic, in a fantastic spot at the end of Circular Quay beside the bridge and opposite the Opera House. As well as opulent decor and a range of room styles, the Park Hyatt has a heated rooftop pool and fully equipped gym and spa.
- BLUE Sydney is a collection of rooms and loft-style suites just off the pier at Woolloomooloo. As well as being on the harbour, you're right by the Botanical Gardens, around the point from the Opera House, but also surrounded by hip eateries and bars.
- The Shangri-La Hotel towers over Sydney, offering magnificent views over the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Darling Harbour. A modern luxury classic, this is a the kind of large hotel to meet all your needs and more.
- The Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour is a luxurious collection of self catering apartments right on Circular Quay. The fully equipped kitchens and laundry facilities make this a perfect - and memorable - spot for families, and there's a pool, gym, restaurant, bar and even childcare facilities.
- ADGE Apartment Hotel in Darlinghurst offers 12 stylish, self-catering apartments within an easy stroll of all the city's highlights. Each apartment has its own balcony with great views, and top of the range kitchen appliances.
For boutique chic
- The Medusa in Darlinghurst is a small boutique hotel converted from one of Sydney's charming city terraced townhouses. Darlinghurst is a great spot for restaurants, bars and nightlife, and you'll feel suitably hip and colourful retiring to your room.
- Hotel 1888 in Pyrmont is a great value boutique hotel with thoroughly modern decor inside a building built in 1888, which is only 100 years after Cook first spied Australia.
- QT Sydney is another historic building housing a hip and quirky boutique hotel. QT is right in the heart of town, surrounded by boutiques and offices, but you're also close to transport links to everywhere you might want to visit.
- Sydney's Establishment is best known for having its own nightclub, several bars and three onsite restaurants, popular with Sydney's city crowd. Above that are 31 large, boutique style rooms.
Still not sure which to book? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Sydney, or contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice. Alternatively widen the net and check out all our recommendations in New South Wales.
Best Hotels in Sydney
Hotel 1888 90 rooms from $120Sydney (Pyrmont)
This hotel is situated in a heritage listed building created in 1888, hence it's name. A thoroughly modern boutique hotel which offers luxury, comfort and style in abundance. Centrally located in Pyrmont, a stay in 1888 is unbeatable value for a city break in Sydney.Sights nearby - Five minutes walk to Darling Harbour, and a 20 minute bus ride to The Rocks and Circular Quay for views of Sydney HarbourSwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorLively area - In the thick of the action.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, Tablet, Fodors
Dive Hotel 16 rooms from $121Sydney (Coogee)
A boutique hotel on the beach with some great ocean views. Rooms are simple and clean, some with private balconies. Breakfast served daily in the communal dining area. Just a bus ride from the city centre and a short walk to some good restaurants and cafes - this is a good spot for local exploring.Close to nightlife - Near to bars and restaurants on the beachSurfing - Let's Go Surfing - Surf School nearbyGolf - Five outstanding golf courses nearby.Riding - On offer in Centennial ParkRecommended by - I Escape
Q Station 82 rooms from $132Sydney (Manly)
An old Quarantine Station which has been completely renovated to offer comfortable modern bedrooms, private cottages and two fantastic restaurants. With a private beach and shuttle to Sydney Harbour - this is great for families or wedding parties looking for something completely unique.Sights nearby - Get the Ecohopper to Sydney HarbourSurfing - Learn to surf at Manly BeachGreat walks - Sydney coast walksOn the beach - Private Beach
QT Sydney 200 rooms from $149Sydney
Quirky restoration of historic building ensures a stunning setting for this hip boutique hotel with day Spa in the city's CBD. Funky decor and super soft beds make for a colourful and unforgettable stay.Spa - spaQ offers treatments including facials, beauty treatments, haircutting and massagesSights nearby - Centrally located in the CBD close to the Botanic Gardens and Circular QuayLively area - In the thick of the action.Quirky - An experience!Recommended by - Tablet, Fodors, Mr & Mrs Smith
Simpsons of Potts Point 12 rooms from $170Sydney (Potts Point)
19th-century Arts & Crafts Hotel offering spacious yet cosy accommodation in the heart of Sydney. Enjoy breakfast in the conservatory and a complimentary evening sherry in the games room. Walking distance from hundreds of restaurants, this is an elegant guest house in a prime location.Sights nearby - Sydney Opera HouseFull of characterRecommended by - Fodors
Watson's Bay Boutique Hotel 31 rooms from $189Sydney (Watsons Bay)
On the beach and recently restored, this hotel boasts panoramic views of Sydney Harbour and a lively Yacht Club atmosphere. Each of the rooms has a unique beachside feel. The hotel Beach Club bar is a local hotspot, serving cocktails and quality seafood. A real vibrant seaside atmosphere.Views - Panoramic views of Sydney HarbourSights nearby - Shakespeare by the Bay Evenings (seasonal)Great walks - The coastal walk along The GapFull of character
The Medusa 18 rooms from $204Sydney (Darlinghurst)
This beautifully furnished boutique hotel is housed in a converted city townhouse to brilliantly blend old and new. Location in the heart of Darlinghurst, Sydney's vibrant restaurant district, makes it ideal for foodies. Dogs are welcome too.Sights nearby - Close to historic St John's Church, The Garvan Institute and local cafes and shops. Within easy access of the Surry Hills.Full of character - Ecletic mix of old and new featuresSwimming Pool - Situated in outside courtyardLively area - In the thick of the action.Recommended by - Fodors, Tablet
The Old Clare 62 rooms from $235Sydney (NSW)
A converted brewery that's unquestionably cool. Featuring a rooftop pool, hip bar, art gallery and two excellent restaurants there's plenty to keep busy with in-house. The rooms shout out urban chic with exposed stone, contemporary bathrooms and all the mod-cons. A hard one to beat.City Style - An achingly hip hotel made for design junkies.Local markets - Head to the Brewery Yard Markets on the first and third Sunday of the month.Designer - Uniquely designed interiors.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorRecommended by - Tablet, Mr & Mrs Smith
Establishment 31 rooms from $241Sydney
Luxury boutique hotel in the heart of Sydney's CBD. Large double rooms, three restaurants, numerous bars, and even an onsite club make this one of the hippest places to stay in the city.Sights nearby - Within walking distance to the Opera House, Botanic Gardens and Art Gallery of NSWRecommended by - I Escape, Tablet, Mr & Mrs Smith
Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney 563 rooms from $199Sydney (The Rocks)
This luxury hotel is situated in the heart of Sydney Harbour, and offers large contemporary rooms with magnificent views. Childcare services, a fitness centre, spa and award-winning restaurant make it ideal for a relaxing city break.Sights nearby - Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Darling Harbour only five minutes' walk awaySpa - With hot tubSwimming Pool - IndoorViews - Great views from hotel
Pier One 189 rooms from $200Sydney (Walsh Bay)
Situated next to the Harbour Bridge, this luxury hotel is built on a private pontoon with spectacular views across Sydney Harbour. Slick nautical decor inside completes the look. Enjoy top Australian cuisine at the restaurant.Sights nearby - Twenty minutes' walk to the Opera House and Botanic GardensViews - Great views from hotel
The Westin 416 rooms from $202Sydney
Comfort and chic contemporary style come together in this centrally located luxury hotel. Big rooms with city views, plus a restaurant and fully stocked bar on site. Re-energise with in-room spa treatments.Sights nearby - Within walking distance of Opera House, Darling Harbour and Art Gallery of NSWSpa - In-room treatments available
ADGE Apartment Hotel 12 rooms from $203Sydney (Surry Hills)
Top of the range kitchen appliances and ensuite rooms ensure self-catering in Sydney has never been so simple and stylish. Each apartment has a personal balcony to take in the central sites of the city, six minutes drive to Sydney Harbour.Sights nearby - Within easy walking distance to Sydney Harbour, Hyde Park and the CBD
Rendezvous Hotels Sydney The Rocks 61 rooms from $258Sydney
Georgian restoration meets modern design, in the heart of Sydney's Rock District. Chic self catering apartments and bedrooms overlooking the Opera House, with a swimming pool, hot tub, sauna and fitness center. A bustling area with plenty of local restaurants and bars.City Style - Mismatch of chic modern and restored Georgian architecture, surrounded by bars & galleries with views of the iconic Opera House.Great walks - The nearby Royal Botanic Gardens are well worth checking out for their extensive range of flora.Sights nearby - Just a few minutes walk to Sydney's world famous Opera House.Views - Great views from hotel
Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour 65 rooms from $276Sydney
Family friendly luxury self-catering apartments with fully equipped kitchen and laundry facilities. Situated just metres from the Opera House, the building also boasts an indoor pool, gym, restaurant and bar, plus child care services.Sights nearby - Located by Botanic Gardens and Opera House, plus city centre half a kilometer awayViews - Out to the Sydney Opera HouseSwimming Pool - Indoor
Ovolo Woolloomooloo 100 rooms from $304Sydney (New South Wales)
A hip industrial property running the length of the Finger Wharf. An impressive lobby and lounge are of epic proportions. Rooms are equally spacious with all the mod cons and cool contemporary style. Perfectly located just minutes from some of Sydney's best sights and eateries. Superb.Local exploring - Boasting an enviable location right in the heart of Sydney Harbour and with many sights just a short walk away.Great walks - The hotel is located just 2 minutes from the picturesque Royal Botanical Gardens.Sights nearby - Make a trip to the nearby St Mary's Cathedral.Designer - Uniquely designed interiors.Recommended by - Kiwi Collection
BLUE Sydney 100 rooms from $289Sydney (Woolloomooloo)
Centrally located chic hotel with stunning views across Sydney Harbour. Loft suites available. Next to the Botanical Gardens. Family-friendly with ultra-modern facilities including an indoor pool and fitness centre.Sights nearby - Short walk to Botanical Gardens, Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Pitt Street MallLively area - Central city locationSwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorRecommended by - Tablet, Fodors
The Langham Sydney 100 rooms from $404Sydney
The Langham is a luxury downtown hotel situated in the heart of The Rocks district. Elegant, magnificently furnished bedrooms with views of Sydney Harbour and the city skyline. A fitness suite and swimming pool are on offer as well as a number of dining areas and cocktail lounges.City Style - Palatial immaculately decorated suites, wonderful French cuisine and Sydney's favourite bar- all overlooking the harbour.Total relaxation - Unwind in style with unbeatable service, state of the art spa, hot tub, pool and sauna.Great walks - Perfectly placed for exploring the quaint sandstone cottages and colonial era pubs and churches of The Rocks.Sights nearby - A must for any visitor is the incredible Sydney Observatory, just a few minutes away.
Park Hyatt Sydney 155 rooms from $642Sydney (The Rocks)
Five star luxury at its best, with an unbeatable location between Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. This opulent hotel, rooms in rich chocolate, cream and beige hues will not disappoint. Enjoy private balconies and dining rooms, plus a fully equipped gym and spa.Sights nearby - Located at Sydney Harbour and close to Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, The Rocks, Bondi and Manly BeachSpa - The Spa facilities include a rooftop heated pool, a gym and a relaxation roomOutstanding locationSwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorRecommended by - Tablet