Altamont, Sydney $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
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.
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