Where to Stay in Sydney for a Local Experience

Sydney has some spectacular sights, including the view of the Harbour Bridge from the Rocks
Sydney has some spectacular sights, including the view of the Harbour Bridge from the Rocks | © Danita Delimont Creative / Alamy Stock Photo
Judy Cogan

Whether you’re here to fulfil bulletproof business plans, begin a creative and cultural voyage or maybe just for unbridled Bondi Beach fun – Sydney has it covered. The Harbour City offers a wide variety of places to stay to suit international visitors and those from New South Wales seeking a cheeky staycation. So where to go in Sydney for your ideal accommodation? Here we pick places to stay in Sydney that’ll work whatever your reason for travel.

1. Valentine on George


Two adjoining single beds in room at Valentine on George with a private wooden deck terrace through glass doors
Courtesy of Valentine on George / Expedia

The suites here are split into three options – standard, heritage and terrace – and vary in size and access to outdoor space. All are stark, with just the right amount of space-age chairs and retro cylindrical lamps to lift them from dormitory to Barberella in style. The hotel is on a quiet street, walking distance to the harbour and its major attractions. Paddy’s Market is nearby and is a Sydney institution – 1,000 stalls have been trading under one roof for 150 years now.

2. Veriu Central

Chain Hotel

Hip lounge with varied designer velvet seating, marble tables, bar area and stylish light fixtures at Veriu Central
Courtesy of Veriu Central / Expedia

It’s refreshing when a boutique city hotel is explicit about its small room sizes. Veriu Central rooms range from 10sqm (108sqft) – known as micro-doubles – to 17sqm (183sqft) but come perfectly formed. Each a “cocoon of comfort”, a modern design masterpiece with mattresses of cloud-like softness, bar fridge, smart TV, and a Nespresso coffee machine slotted inside. The location is key here, within creative hub Surry Hills and surrounded by eclectic cafes, emerging designers and new-found art houses. Order a cheese toastie and a coffee in the 1920s inspired Drawing room, one of five in-house eateries as part of their Central Dining concept.

3. Rendezvous Hotel Sydney The Rocks

Boutique Hotel

A simple room at Rendezvous Hotel Sydney The Rocks with double bed, floral headboard and balcony offering city views
Courtesy of Rendezvous Hotel Sydney The Rocks / Expedia

You can’t go wrong with a hotel that prioritises a cheese platter with matched wine for your arrival, but it’s the location that makes this place sing. You have trendy restaurants, bars and boutiques on your doorstep. Check out the nearby Susannah Place Museum, which tells stories of the Irish immigrants who built four small terrace houses on the site in 1844, which became home to more than 100 families over a 150-year period. The hotel’s Historic Terrace Queen room is on the dated side of charming, but this feels apt for the area.

4. Veriu Camperdown

Apartment, Hotel

Double bed in simple room with patio doors, a desk, chair and photography on the wall at Veriu Camperdown
Courtesy of Veriu Camperdown / Expedia

These stylish serviced apartments are designed with community in mind. First off, all the apartments (one- to three-bed) are connected by a tropical courtyard bursting with lush palm trees and herb gardens, which you’re welcome to pick for cooking. Take a moment to sink into one of the customised butterfly chairs and swap notes with other guests – should you make friends, the hotel has a fleet of bikes you can ride together for free. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, pop next door to the achingly cool and airy Deus Cafe and Bar and order a Japanese lunch tray, or a classic Deus burger – by then it will be clear that Veriu Camperdown is where to go in Sydney to feel like a true local.

5. Hotel Challis

Budget Hotel

Hotel Challis double room in simple yet stylish monochrome design with abstract art, plush headboard and two bedside lamps
Courtesy of Hotel Challis / Expedia

Taking up space across two beautifully restored 1893 heritage-listed terrace homes, Hotel Challis (run by Sydney Lodges) offers a charming old-world boutique experience in the Parisian end of Potts Point, but with all the mod cons thrown in. Kings Cross is a short walk away, a reformed party hotspot (lockout laws quietened things down in 2014) where old nightclubs have turned into upscale gyms, high-end eateries and art galleries. Two steps from the property, the hotel runs a quaint little cafe serving decent coffee and Australian teas.

6. Mantra Parramatta

Boutique Hotel

Two adjacent single beds facing a flat-screen TV in a room with armchair and desk at Mantra Parramatta
Courtesy of Mantra Parramatta / Expedia

Want to work hard and play cooler? Mantra Parramatta Hotel is located in the heart of Parramatta CBD with access to corporate meeting rooms in high-rise buildings and major company HQs but on a backdrop of an emerging film and arts scene. Parramatta in Greater Sydney has become quite a hotspot thanks to a new creative collective moving in to open small boutiques, bars and eateries. The hotel restaurant, Social House Dining & Bar, serves up modern Australian cuisine and wines. Enjoy a Riverine 400g grain-fed T-bone with mushroom sauce and a glass of TarraWarra Estate Pinot Noir while you catch up on emails.

7. Quest Campbelltown


Quest Campbelltown ensuite double room with floral cushion, plush headboard all along the wall, and a large mirrored wardrobe
Courtesy of Quest Campbelltown / Expedia

Love room service? Don’t we all. But Quest Campbelltown, in southwest Sydney, has taken the concept to the next level. Order from seven local restaurants and have the food delivered to your apartment with the cost added to your final bill. If you fancy cooking in your kitchen, Quest’s pantry shopping service will deliver groceries to your apartment ahead of your arrival or during your stay. Meanwhile, the Kitchen is Quest Campbelltown’s breakfast restaurant, serving healthy dishes from 6am for an extra charge.

8. Studio 8 Residences

Boutique Hotel

Studio 8 Residences twin room with modern bathroom, abstract wall art, green curtain and a desk featuring plant decoration
Courtesy of Studio 8 Residences / Expedia

Trust an adult-only hotel to have its own chill-out zone decorated with LoveSacs (ultra-comfy bean bags, for those who were wondering) and an outdoor BBQ area ready for rip-roaring fun. Guests also enjoy a free cappuccino or latte from the in-house coffee house each day. Take it up to the level 6 roof-terrace for views over the quiet suburb of Ryde. The Top Ryde City shopping centre is across the road, with a supermarket, cinema and outdoor dining options.

9. The Russell Hotel

Boutique Hotel

The Russell Hotel double room in classic style with two vintage armchairs, striped wallpaper, overhead fan and sash windows
Courtesy of The Russell Hotel / Expedia

Are you a solo traveller on a budget who appreciates nice wallpaper? The Russell Hotel, in the Rocks, could be where to go in Sydney for you. Economy rooms are small, charming and cosy with a single or double bed and a shared bathroom. You get tea and coffee, a hairdryer and bathrobes and no two rooms are the same. All feel homely in a modern way – and how about that wallpaper? It wouldn’t look out of place on the hit Netflix show The Queen’s Gambit.

Alternatively, try these great places to stay in Sydney, or the best places to stay in Darling Harbour. You could even save money without skimping on quality by booking one of the best cheap hotels in Sydney. And if you’re heading elsewhere? Discover our guide to the best resorts in Australia.

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