PRINT PREVIEW
send to printer

Concierge.com

Sydney Hotels

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Altamont
207 Darlinghurst Road
Darlinghurst
Sydney
Australia
Tel: 61 2 9360 6000
reservations@altamont.com.au
www.altamont.com.au

Leafy, arty, shabby-chic Darlinghurst makes the perfect setting for this hip and budget-friendly hotel. Originally a Georgian mansion, the building was remodeled in 2003 with a roof terrace and undulating concrete corridor walls. The rooms now have clean lines and custom stained-wood furniture, remote-control AC, and black-tile bathrooms; the best rooms have small private courtyards. The Loft Room, with its 20-foot ceilings, was once the VIP room of the now-defunct Cauldron nightclub. During its heyday, when it was accessed by a secret retractable stairway, the club's patrons included members of the Rolling Stones—hence the hotel's name (though you'd have thought they would have picked a less haunted reference). Although the literature touts the place as "affordable luxury," don't go expecting five-star treatment: Check-in is casual (expect to be greeted by the two friendly resident dogs), the furnishings are eclectic, and the crowd is young and footloose.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Blue Sydney
Wharf at Woolloomooloo
6 Cowper Wharf Road
Sydney
Australia
Tel: 61 2 9331 9000
blue.sydney@tajhotels.com
www.tajhotels.com/Business/BLUE%20Sydney%2CSYDNEY/default.htm

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.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Establishment
5 Bridge Lane
Central Business District
Sydney
Australia
Tel: 61 2 9240 3100
info@establishmenthotel.com
www.establishmenthotel.com

Home to those who prefer the night. A boutiquey spot that occupies a repurposed warehouse a block from Circular Quay, this hotel has attracted a fabulous young crowd since it opened in 2000. The 33 rooms are decorated in slate and dark wood, with tall beamed ceilings and elegant bathrooms outfitted in marble or bluestone. Only the two penthouses have any views to speak of, but most guests seem content to size one another up at the two nightspots—the loungey Hemmesphere bar and Tank, a pulsing nightclub. If staying at such a sceney joint is too much, but you'd like a sampler, stop in at the foodie-mecca restaurant, est.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Four Seasons Hotel Sydney
199 George Street
Sydney , New South Wales
Australia 2000
Tel: 800 819 5053 (toll-free)
Tel: 61 2 9250 3100
Fax: 61 2 9251 2851
www.fourseasons.com/sydney

Want your heart to leap? Spring for an opera-view room at the Four Seasons Sydney with an iconic vista of the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House (room numbers ending in 14 are excellent; the higher up, the grander the panorama). It's a splurge at $600 or more, but you'll save on cab fare: The Four Seasons is located next to shops, restaurants, and the open-air Bridge Market. Also nearby: Circular Quay, the Rocks ferry, and the train to the airport. Renovated in early 2009, the 531 guest rooms are layered in rich fabrics and wall coverings in celadon and bronze, with a mix of contemporary and classic furnishings. The effect is that of a plush, sophisticated Sydney studio on the water. Mattresses are excellent and bedding lush. Environmental sensitivity came with the refurb—new systems minimize water use and energy consumption, invisibly to guests—and a skilled housekeeping team keeps the place gleaming. Typical Four Seasons service: The doorman dispenses cool bottled water on hot days. The spa is as good as you'd expect, but the weakest element is a smallish pool area within range of traffic sounds. The Four Seasons may be the quintessential five-star stay in Sydney, but nothing is perfect.—Lea Lane

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hilton Sydney
488 George Street
Sydney
Australia
Tel: 61 2 9266 2000
sydney@hilton.com
www.hiltonsydney.com.au

Sure, it's a Hilton, and hence a magnet for large groups (especially of the suit-and-tie variety; the hotel boasts more meeting space than any other in the country). But a $150 million renovation in 2005 infused this place with a knockout design, including an open, light-filled glass lobby with a 65-foot ceiling—which means you can now get cool digs at mid-range business-traveler prices. The 577 rooms are a soothing mix of wood-paneled walls, glass tables, and cream-colored upholstery. If you've had a particularly rough business meeting (or you're just feeling too lazy to turn on the faucets yourself), arrange for a "Bath Master" to fill your tub and add scented herbal oils. For livelier entertainment, the onsite Glass Brasserie and the quite-cool Zeta Bar are good places to loosen up with those zany work colleagues.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
InterContinental Sydney
Bridge and Phillip streets
Sydney
Australia
Tel: 888 424 6835 (toll-free)
Tel: 61 2 9240 1200
sydney@interconsydney.com
www.sydney.intercontinental.com

You can literally step—and sleep—inside a piece of Australia's past here: Part of the hotel is a historic building site. Three stories of dramatic sandstone arches, all that remains of the 1851 Treasury Building, have been beautifully incorporated into the architecture. The arches surround the interior lobby lounge and café—known as the Cortile—which has recently emerged from a major facelift looking more genteel than ever. The rest of the property, while modern and luxurious, is relatively ordinary in comparison: A major renovation in 2004 updated the 509 rooms in cream and brown fabrics and innocuous contemporary furniture; some have flat-screen TVs and marble bathrooms with spa tubs (and Bulgari toiletries). The best units are those on the rooftop club level with views over the harbor and Royal Botanic Gardens, and an outdoor deck for lingering over breakfast. Staff members have eschewed the polite but distant five-star model for an ebullient friendliness that might take seasoned travelers off-guard.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Kirketon
229 Darlinghurst Road
Darlinghurst
Sydney
Australia
Tel: 61 2 9332 2011
info@kirketon.com.au
www.kirketon.com.au

Kirketon was once Sydney's, nay, Australia's coolest hotel. Those days may be long past, but the lobby still exudes a raffish air of coolness, and the moody lighting provides a perfectly discreet atmosphere for the occasional celebrity guest. The rooms are small but chicly furnished with mid-century modern classics (Eero Saarinen Tulip chairs, Bertoia Diamond chairs), and the mirrored hallways could be the setting of a music video. There's a new restaurant on-site, Kells Kitchen (where star chef Luke Mangan's acclaimed Salt used to be), serving flavors from around the globe, such as five-spice duck consommmé, Wagyu beef miniburgers, and naan bread baskets. Another thing that's changed: With rooms starting from $205 a night, a stay at the hotel is much kinder on the hip pocket than it used to be.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Observatory Hotel
89–113 Kent Street
The Rocks
Sydney
Australia
Tel: 61 2 9256 2222
email@observatoryhotel.com.au
www.observatoryhotel.com.au

An antiminimalist's godsend with its gleaming marble floors, overstuffed sofas, and velvet upholstery, this hotel's lobby could serve as the set for an Agatha Christie adaptation. Part of the Orient-Express chain, six suites here are named for carriages on the British Pullman train; the other 88 luxurious rooms are furnished in country-estate style, with brocade curtains, mahogany furniture, and botanical etchings. The lush Anglophilia, the day spa and pool (its ceiling painted and lit like the night sky), and the out-of-the-way location (it's about a 15-minute walk to the Harbour) help to explain why celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow and Hugh Jackman hole up here when they're in town.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Park Hyatt Sydney
7 Hickson Road
The Rocks
Sydney
Australia
Tel: 61 2 9256 1234
sydney@hyatt.com.au
www.sydney.park.hyatt.com/

There are other hotels on the Sydney waterfront, but this low-rise building is the only one that sits right at water level, with a straight-on view of the Opera House and its sweeping cockle-shaped peaks. (To make the most of the location, book an Opera King, Opera Deluxe King, or Opera Deluxe Twin room.) A late-2004 renovation gave the 158 rooms a sumptuous if neutral style—lots of chrome, creamy leather, and earth-toned chenille—plus marble bathrooms. The on-site modern Australian restaurant, harbourkitchen&bar, has won accolades for its mod-Oz cuisine, there's a rooftop pool (more harbor views), and it's within walking distance of Circular Quay's very popular (though rather touristy) shops and restaurants.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Quay Grand Suites
61 Macquarie Street
Circular Quay
Sydney
Australia
Tel: 62 2 9256 4000
reservations@qgss.mirvac.com.au
www.mirvachotels.com/quay-grand-suites-sydney

If comfort is more important to you than hipness, this place is an excellent pick. The suites are blandly and beigely decorated, but they also have their own kitchens, balconies, whirlpool tubs, and—come on, admit you want it—even private washer–dryers. There are one- and two-bedroom options, both of which have dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows. The best look directly onto the Harbour, with full-frontal Bridge vistas; others overlook the bustle of Circular Quay; and the least expensive (but not necessarily the least desirable) have views of the Royal Botanic Gardens across the street. The Opera House is a few steps away; you can jog in the park, hop on a ferry, or stroll across to The Rocks in no time flat.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel at Circular Quay
30 Pitt Street
Circular Quay
Sydney
Australia 2000
Tel: 61 2 925 97000
Fax: 61 2 925 11122
www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/sydmc-sydney-harbour-marriott-hotel-at-circular-quay/

The location of this broad white tower—overlooking the Sydney Harbour Bridge—"couldn't be better." A grand staircase and warm colors contribute to "an attractive lobby that's bright and cheerful." Contemporary rooms, "while not large, are comfortable," and have marble bathrooms. Order wood-fired pizza and beers on tap at the Customs House Bar. "Staff are incredibly friendly."

(550 rooms)

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