Where to Stay in Sydney for a Local Experience

Sydney has some spectacular sights, not least a view of Sydney Harbour bridge from the Rocks
Sydney has some spectacular sights, not least a view of Sydney Harbour bridge from the Rocks | © Danita Delimont Creative / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Judy Cogan
2 January 2021

Whether to fulfill bulletproof business plans, begin a creative and cultural voyage or maybe just for the natural beauty or unbridled Bondi beach fun times – 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 looking for a cheeky staycation. Here Culture Trip picks the hotels that’ll work whatever your reason for travel.

Valentine on George

Hotel
Map View
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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.
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Veriu Central

Hotel
Map View
Courtesy of Veriu Central / Expedia
It’s refreshing when a boutique city hotel is explicit on 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.
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Rendezvous Hotel Sydney The Rocks

Boutique Hotel
Map View
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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 onsite 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.
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Veriu Camperdown

Apartment, Hotel
Map View
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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. The hotel has a fleet of bikes you can borrow for free, or pop next door to the achingly cool and airy Deus Cafe and Bar and order a Japanese lunch tray, or a classic Deus burger, to feel like a true local.
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Hotel Challis

Budget Hotel
Map View
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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.
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  • Mantra Parramatta

    Boutique Hotel
    Map View
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    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.
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    Quest Campbelltown

    Hotel
    Map View
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    Courtesy of Quest Campbelltown / Expedia
    Love room service? Don’t we all. But Quest Campbelltown, in south-west 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.
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    Studio 8 Residences

    Boutique Hotel
    Map View
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    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.
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    The Russell Hotel

    Boutique Hotel
    Map View
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    Courtesy of The Russell Hotel / Expedia

    Are you a solo traveller on a budget who appreciates nice wallpaper? If so, the Russell Hotel, in the Rocks, could be a good match. 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 Netflix hit TV show The Queen’s Gambit. If you know, you know.

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    These recommendations were updated on January 2, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.