Scattered around the glittering harbour like confetti are a colourful mix of high-end hangouts and charming boutique hotels, and anyone looking for a luxurious stay in Sydney will be spoilt for choice. These are the best.
There’s a lot more to Sydney than beautiful beaches and landmark buildings – the past decade has seen a wave of luxurious properties opening across the city that show off its alternative side. If you’re looking for luxury, there’s no need to stick to the harbour – there are gems to be found in almost every neighbourhood.
Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park
Courtesy of Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park / Hotels.com
Arrive at the Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park on a Sunday and you’ll see well-dressed diners gathered around the grazing table, couples taking advantage of the free-flowing champagne and multi-generational families wrestling with giant crustaceans. Like the Grand Sunday Brunch, the hotel itself feels both formal and relaxed, and many of its rooms come with gorgeous views of Hyde Park. For those looking to experience the best of Sydney, this grand old dame is in prime position.
Watch the boats come and go from your room at Pier One Sydney Harbour. With a wealth of accommodation types, from deluxe rooms to dog-friendly digs and superior suites, it’s the perfect place to be pampered when in the city. See the sights by day and delve into fine fare like oysters and kangaroo at The Gantry by night – the one-Chef Hat restaurant (awarded by the Good Food Guide) is right on the waterfront and serves fresh, often foraged, food.
Courtesy of Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour/ Hotels.com
Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour won Best Luxury Hotel in Australia 2019 at the prestigious HM Awards for a multitude of reasons. Simultaneously inspired by the port city Marseille and the indigenous clans of the Eora nation – the traditional owners of the land – rooms here are flooded with natural light and benefit from views over Darling Harbour (an area of Sydney that has reinvented itself in recent years). There’s a French restaurant, Atelier, and an outdoor infinity pool overlooking the harbour.
This luxurious hotel gives guests the key to the door of Double Bay, a ritzy beachside suburb dotted with boutiques, cool cafés and cocktail bars. It’s also a great place to be still and chill; enjoy happy hour drinks in the Gatsby-esque Stillery Bar, then relax in a cabana by the pool as you sip cocktails and watch the tiny yachts tack across the harbour. If you have time, pencil in the seafood buffet at Café Opera and high tea at The Cortile, dining experiences considered to be two of Sydney’s best.
You will feel like you’re touching the sky in the guest rooms at the InterContinental Sydney. The luxury hotel is set within the restored 1851 Treasury Building, surrounds that are made all the more special when combined with those killer views of the city. Even the standard rooms here come with window seats from where you can take in the Eastern Harbour, Harbour Bridge or Sydney Opera House. Those staying in an executive room should make time to head up to the Club Lounge on level 32, where you can sip complimentary drinks and nibble from a buffet at twilight – it’s an upscale place to party with a bird’s-eye view of the city.
The Park Hyatt is one of Sydney’s most luxurious hotels. The hotel is tucked underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge, with most of the rooms, the restaurant and the rooftop pool looking across the water to the beloved Sydney Opera House. To make your stay extra special, check into the hotel’s spacious Opera Suite, home to six balconies, each offering outstanding views.
Arrive by seaplane to your Ocean Retreat Room at Jonah’s, which have private terraces overlooking pretty-as-a-picture Whale Beach. Binge-watching Netflix will not occur to you with such stunning swathes of sand right outside, where, if you’re lucky, you might even see the cast and crew of Aussie TV show Home and Away sauntering along. Dine at the award-winning Jonah’s Restaurant (which has a knockout menu of seasonal seafood), before booking a Total Body Overhaul treatment that will get you feeling ready to embark on one of the hotel’s private kayaking or sailing trips.
When boutique-hopping along Pitt Street becomes too much, retreat to Kitchens on Kent for lunch. The restaurant (and its afternoon tea) is reason enough to book into The Langham Sydney, as is the Observatory Bar, which serves the very best Australian wines and beers, plus an array of carefully concocted cocktails. The rooms are bright and spacious with sleek marble bathrooms that have bathtubs as well as showers. Preparing to pop the question? Book the Indulgingly Langham package, which will secure you a bottle of Laurent-Perrier champagne, a dozen roses on arrival and a buffet breakfast for two.
Spicers Potts Point tells the architectural story of the city. Housed within a trio of dinky 19th-century Victorian terraces, the exterior is a beautiful combination of cornicing and elaborate wrought-iron terrace railings. Enjoy the well-stocked honesty bar in the 20-room hotel, which has a hidden courtyard garden and, if you’re visiting on a Saturday, wander around Kings Cross Farmer’s Market. Mardi Gras is the perfect time to book; the morning after you’ll find men and women dancing down the street, heels in hand, after the biggest night on the LGBTQ calendar.
Ask the dapper concierge at the Hilton Sydney what to do and see and he will likely point you to the striking sculptures within the nearby Royal Botanic Garden or recommend a bottomless brunch, and you won’t have to travel far for one of the best in the city. The hotel’s Glass Brasserie, run by Aussie restaurateur Luke Mangan, serves up a world-class brunch, with the barramundi and saffron mussels, and fig, peach and blackberry pavlova particular highlights. You can also take a dip in the indoor pool or, if sightseeing doesn’t tire you out enough, sign up to one of the many classes offered at the gym.