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Blue Sydney, Sydney

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Australia, Australia + Pacific
Wharf at Woolloomooloo
6 Cowper Wharf Road
Tel: 61 2 9331 9000's insider take:

You can't get much closer to the waterfront than this converted factory: It sits smack-dab on a wharf, with boats tucking into their docks outside the windows. It's the first Australian outpost for Taj Hotels (and was previously the first W hotel outside North America), and the building is superdramatic, with soaring industrial-chic ceilings, stage-set lighting, and a blue- and black-striped indoor pool. The 100 loft-style suites have mezzanine bedrooms, and furnishings are low-key studies in beige and brown (with requisite flashes of electric blue). The aquatic views don't actually encompass the harbor or Opera House, which are too far north to be seen from most rooms, but it's still an entertaining spot for watching the superyachts vie for position. The vibe is less of-the-moment since W moved on, and the excellent Water Bar is closed for renovations, but it's still a good bet for style-conscious travelers craving waterfront status.

From the readers of Condé Nast Traveler:
Overall Score: 90.4
  • Design: 92.6
  • Food: 88.9
  • Location: 96.3
  • Rooms: 88.9
  • Service: 85.2
Located within a former wharf building next to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Blue has "funky and fun rooms" with views of Sydney Harbour or Woolloomooloo Bay Village. They're decorated in blues with chocolate brown suedette furnishings. Blue Café, in the heart of the wharf, offers breakfast and bistro fare; unwind with a cocktail on the banquettes at Water Bar.

(100 rooms)
—2011 Gold List

Amenities: Pool, Spa

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.