Here’s a solid choice of where to stay in Sydney, whether you’re looking for solid good value options or don’t mind splashing the cash. We’ve thrown in a few ideas, if you are looking to kill some time in style as well.
Sydney Harbour YHA, The Rocks: The most awarded hostel in the world redefines the concept with clean, spacious rooms (some with harbour views), a focus on sustainability, and a rooftop view of the harbour that’s worth a million bucks alone. Double/twins from $148 per room.110 Cumberland St, The Rocks; yha.com.au
TheAltamont, Darlinghurst: This little gem feels oh-so Darlinghurst. Shades of grey, white and timber are cool and classic, and some rooms have courtyard access. The lobby boasts a bar, pool table and breakfast area – and some rooms are pet-friendly, too. Rooms from $125 per night.207 Darlinghurst Rd, Darlinghurst; 8hotels.com
The Bayswater, Kings Cross: Virtually next door to Hugo’s in Kings Cross, The Bayswater offers clean, attractive accommodation in a buzzy location – a great-value base if you’re planning to be out exploring most of the time, anyway. Rooms from $130 per night.17 Bayswater Rd, Kings Cross; sydneylodges.com
Harbour Rocks Hotel, The Rocks: Sleek boutique accommodation in a heritage building in the historic Rocks district. Rooms from $299 per night.34 Harrington St, The Rocks; harbourrocks.com.au
Kirketon, Darlinghurst: All plush carpets, jewelled tones and dark, mirrored hallways, you’ll feel like a bit of a rockstar here. One ofSydney’s most-awarded bars, Eau de Vie, is downstairs if you really want to get your rock on. Rooms from $175 per night.229 Darlinghurst Rd; 8hotels.com
Adina Apartment Hotel, Surry Hills: Modern, spacious 1- and 2-bedroom apartments with kitchen, and access to a garden oasis with swimming pool, provide the ideal base for exploring Surry Hills. One bedroom apartments from $230 per night.359 Crown Street, Surry Hills; adinahotels.com.au
The Darling @ The Star, Pyrmont: The Darling’s fast becoming the… erm, darling of discerning celebrities and those seeking a slice of the glamorous life, if only for one night. Darling Rooms from $399. The Star,80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont; www.star.com.au/sydney-hotels-and-spa/the-darling
Intercontinental Sydney, CBD: A classic, ‘no-detail-too-small’ approach to hospitality in a beautiful building ensures The Intercon’s consistent ranking as one of the best hotels in town. ‘City Escapes’ package including room, full buffet breakfast for two and car parking from $350 per night.117 Macquarie Street,Sydney; interconsydney.com.au
The Park Hyatt, The Rocks: Sydney’s most iconic, luxurious hotel has seen Elton John, Bette Midler and Jerry Seinfeld stay here, and the harbourside hotel just seems to get better. Its recent multi-million-dollar refurb basically rebuilt the hotel from the ground up, and the result is a modern but classically elegant, airy, five-star retreat. Rooms from $795 per night.7 Hickson Rd, The Rocks; sydney.park.hyatt.com
Shopping hot spot: Paddington
Oxford Street has suffered in recent years but there are two areas still worth visiting. Side street,William Street, is a postcard-perfect boutique-lined street where lazy cats loll in the sunshine. You’ll find The Corner Shop, Jac + Jak, Nudie and amazing second-hand designer threads and treads at Di Nuovo. The Intersection at Glenmore Road is home to labels beloved by all self-respecting Sydney fashionistas: Scanlan & Theodore, Kirrily Johnston, Willow, Zimmerman, Marnie Skillings, Ginger & Smart and Alannah Hill, all within spitting distance (not that any self-respecting fashionista would, mind you).
Long lunch hotspot: Woolloomooloo Wharf
For long, lazy, boozy lunches, you can’t beat this stretch of prime harbour real estate. Settle in at China Doll or Otto for an afternoon. Designer duds and large, dark sunnies for celebrity gawking optional.
All-rounder hotel hotspot: The Shangri-La, The Rocks
Situated in The Rocks, you could actually spend a weekend here without setting foot outside the hotel. Start with a heavenly massage in the luxurious, zen-like cocoon of the Chi Spa, end your day with cocktails at the Blu Bar on level 36, where the experience is taken to another level (geddit?) with mesmerising harbour views from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Arrive early to get the best seats. shangri-la.com/sydney
Dining strip hotspot: Neutral Bay
Military Road and Grosvenor Street are now both teeming with hotspot restaurants and bars with Neutral Bay Bar & Dining, Pony, and Local Bar (backed by Sam Neill, David Wenham and George Gregan) leading the charge.
Outdoorsy hotspot: Cremorne Reserve
Catch a 10-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay to Cremorne Point and walk along Cremorne Reserve. Enjoy the view of the Opera House, city skyline, Harbour Bridge and Fort Denison to find a hidden harbour pool (MacCallum’s Pool) with timber deck, art deco plinth at the end, stunning views, and no crowds. The carefully manicured gardens here are divine, too. Bliss.