Local Escapes

Sydney’s Best Luxury Hotels To Book For Your Next City Staycation

By Sammy Preston
24th May 2023

The pool at the Capella Sydney Hotel

There’s just something about fancy hotels. Whether it’s the room service, plush robes, and towelling slippers that woo you, or the rooftop pools, lobby bars, day spas, and marble bathrooms—living large for a night or two with luxury at your fingertips is always a special treat.

Being a fairly beloved destination—Sydney’s sparkly harbour, pretty beaches, and hipster burrows are all home to some standout luxury hotels. So, if you’re visiting from afar or you’re a local in need of the kind of R&R only a hotel stay can provide, we’ve slept around, so to speak, to give you this list of Sydney’s best luxury hotels. From silver service to off-beat, historic, and boutique—we guarantee you’ll love resting your head at these Sydney spots.

Put your feet up, hit the pool, and order some bubbles to your room. These are Sydney’s dreamiest hotels.

Now Open: Capella Sydney

Circular Quay

Sydney's heritage-listed Department of Education building has entered a new era in 2023. It has been transformed into the ultra-luxe Capella Sydney hotel. The Circular Quay property is the first Capella on Australian shores—voted the #2 best hotel brand in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine, it is an exciting addition to Sydney's expanding luxury hotel scene. 

Capella Sydney features 192 spacious rooms and suites across eight floors and three bars and restaurants. In the jaw-dropping foyer, Aperture restaurant features a seven-metre-tall green wall bursting with native florals. There's a 19th-century-inspired lobby bar (the McRae Bar, named after the building's original Edwardian-era architect, George McRae), and, most exciting of all, a grand ground-floor restaurant called Brasserie 1930, which is headed up by the Bentley Group. Finally, there is also a floor dedicated to wellness within the building's former art gallery—complete with a stunning indoor pool, sauna, experiential showers, and spa treatment rooms. Stay tuned for more details. 

Book your stay at Capella Sydney here

Coming Soon: W Sydney

Darling Harbour

The stunning wave-shaped W Sydney hotel has had many Sydneysiders guessing over the last 12 months. The breathtaking yet-to-open 585-room luxury hotel beams over Darling Harbour and the Western Distributor freeway but hasn't had an opening date confirmed—that is, until now. W Sydney is locked to open in October 2023. The striking hotel will be another crowning jewel in Sydney's luxury hotel scene, complete with a two-storey rooftop bar, an infinity pool overlooking the harbour, a signature W Hotels AWAY Spa, a restaurant, a lounge bar, and event spaces. 

Ultra-luxe rooms and suites have been designed so that no two are the same, and the interior palette, crafted by Bowler James Brindle, features bold azure blues and bright turquoise to reflect the ocean environment of the surrounding harbour waters. Stay tuned for more details. 

W Sydney is slated to open in October 2023. More info is here

Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour

Circular Quay

If it's unobstructed views of the harbour, bridge and the Botanic Gardens you're after to top off your Sydney stay, the five-star Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour in the heart of Circular Quay is your spot. Refreshed in 2022 with entirely suite-style accommodation available as one- or two-bedroom spaces, you can expect luxury at every turn with fully equipped kitchens, spa baths, and spacious balconies. For dining, check out the South American-inspired Hyde Hacienda for cocktails and snacks, or opt for a more formal culinary experience with Q Dining's refined modern menu before hitting the recreation deck's heated lap pool, relaxing spa, and fully equipped gym and sauna.

Why we love it: The views really are epic—especially at sunset with a champagne at Hyde Hacienda, watching the cruise ships come and go. If you're lucky, you might even get a visit on your balcony from some friendly cockatoos.

Book your stay at Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour here.

Ace Hotel Sydney

Surry Hills

Ace Hotel Sydney is the first Ace in the Southern Hemisphere. It's built into the Tyne Building on Wentworth Avenue in Surry Hills, which is a prime location for travelling foodies—though you may not need to step outside of the hotel thanks to Ace's epic lobby bar, its all-day diner, and its rooftop restaurant, Kiln

Designed in partnership with Melbourne-based Flack Studio, Ace Sydney reflects Surry Hills's storied past and its many evolutions with a cinematic colour palette. Expect natural textures and tones, custom-designed furniture, a striking ochre red off-form concrete staircase in the lobby, and signature Ace touches, like in-room turntables and acoustic guitars. 

Why we love it: The lobby serves a mean martini and one of our fave chefs, Mitch Orr, heads up the kitchen at Kiln. The in-room vinyl record players are a big vibe and the decor is impossibly cool too. 

Head over here to book your stay. 

Kimpton Margot Sydney


Opening in early 2022, Kimpton Margot Sydney is the first Kimpton property in Australia—and boy, is she stunning. From West Hollywood to Amsterdam and Tulum, the Kimpton brand is loved around the world for its design kudos, locally-loved restaurants, and top-tier friendly service. Built into the former Sydney Water Board building on Pitt Street, Sydney's Kimpton is no exception to the rule. From the breathtaking lobby, complete with original crimson Scagliola pillars, fresh botanicals, plush velvet loungers, and a gin-inspired fragrance, to the stunning Art Deco rooms, and revival of Luke's Kitchen restaurant from Sydney's much-loved chef and restauranteur Luke Mangan—there is a lot to love about this newbie. 

Art takes centre stage at Kimpton Margot, with some 600 original pieces peppered throughout the nine levels and 172 spacious rooms. There are Lekker bikes to borrow in the lobby for city cruising; a nightly social hour in the pretty lobby includes complimentary cocktails, and wellness is incorporated into your stay through the hotel's partnership with Egg of the Universe and complimentary video workouts and yoga mats and accessories available on demand. There's also a rooftop pool, a private wine cellar available to book for events, and a pet-friendly policy too. 

Why we love it: The lobby alone is worth a visit—it's that beautiful. We're also big-time fans of the Saturday bottomless brunch offering at Luke's Kitchen, which features a roving Bloody Mary trolley and live music.  

Book your stay at Kimpton Margot here

Crown Towers


Imagine the most luxurious hotel you've ever stayed in—then times that by ten. The recently opened Crown Towers at Crown Sydney is Sydney's first six-star hotel, and you'll feel it from the moment you step into the lobby. Beneath an enormous six-storey crystal chandelier custom-made by Preciosa Lighting are sweeping white marble columns made from hand-picked stone sourced from Italy, Greece, China, and Turkey. Upstairs, the hotel's 327 guest rooms and series of 22 soon-to-open premium villas have postcard views across the city—this is also Sydney's tallest hotel, after all.

Each room is fitted with a custom-made tub, bespoke fittings from Apaiser and Hansgrohe, and Nero Marquina marble floors. The stunning west-facing infinity pool is dotted with private cabanas and swim lounges and is the perfect spot to watch the sunset (cocktail in hand, of course). There's an open-air tennis court, complete with mural by the legendary Reko Rennie, a list of need-no-introduction restaurants (Nobu, Woodcut, and a'Mare are among our faves), and a super-luxe spa designed by Blainey North, where you can experience quartz hot sand therapy, a 37-degree vitality pool, La Prairie facials, and much, much more. 

Why we love it: It comes with a special-occasions-only price tag, but Crown Towers has set a new standard of luxury for Sydney. This is the crème de la crème and yeah, it lives up to the hype. 

Book your stay at Crown Towers here. 

The Langham

The Rocks

If your idea of luxury leans towards traditional, timeless charm, rather than sleek, minimalist, and modern—you’ll fall in love with this beautiful hotel. Alongside the sort of polished service you expect to encounter at a five-star establishment, The Langham’s long list of lavish amenities include Kitchens on Kent, an interactive ultra-luxe buffet, complete with nine live kitchens and a chocolate fountain, and The Day Spa by Chuan, home to its famous Roman bathhouse-style pool and that star-dappled ceiling.

Pick a room with a Juliette balcony or terrace and enjoy the spectacular sunset across Sydney’s western harbour. Then, wander downstairs to Observatory Bar, possibly one of the city’s best hotel bars, where the cocktail game is as fancy as the seductive, lamplit setting.

Why we love it: The pool and the super stylish zodiac-themed G&T menu at Observatory Bar. The location is hard to beat too—with easy walking distance to restaurants at Barangaroo and the CBD, and Circular Quay.

Book your stay at The Langham here

Wildlife Retreat At Taronga


Yes, Sydney’s legendary animal kingdom has its very own sustainable eco-retreat.  Called Wildlife Retreat at Taronga, it features 62 next-level luxury suites designed by Melbourne-based Cox Architecture. The retreat houses four different kinds of rooms—and our top picks would be the Animal View Rooms, which overlooks the retreat’s private animal sanctuary; and, for those of you that really want to live your best life, the Treetop Suites will have you drinking champagne in a tub with panoramic views of spectacular Sydney Harbour. Just casually.

The Wildlife Retreat's thoughtfully designed animal sanctuary is home to tammar wallabies, red-necked pademelons, long-nosed potoroos, red kangaroos, short-beaked echidnas, koalas and short-finned Eels who inhabit the waterways. During your stay, you can take guided tours through the sanctuary to meet its many inhabitants. 

Why we love it: It's not just wildlife here—the two-hatted on-site restaurant Me-Gal rounds out your experience. Also, proceeds from the retreat go towards Taronga's conservation projects. So you can sleep soundly knowing that your night of luxury is helping preserve our unique Australian animals against extinction. 

Book your stay at Wildlife Retreat at Taronga here

Four Seasons Sydney

The Rocks

If it’s second-to-none views of the world’s most beautiful harbour (we’re not biased, we promise), let the Four Seasons be the master of your Sydney visit or staycation. Also in The Rocks, Four Seasons’ Sydney outpost lives up to the international hotel brand’s impeccable reputation.

Along with those views, you’ve got the sky-high Lounge 32, a swanky bar on the 32nd floor that’s akin to the Qantas First Class Lounge with an open bar and all-day canapes; there’s an outdoor pool complete with cabana bar; Grain bar—another contender for Sydney’s best hotel bar; and white table cloth-style in-room dining that will knock your socks off. Oh, and the pièce de résistance—Mode Kitchen and Bar. Led by head chef Francesco Mannelli, this restaurant is one of Sydney’s best.

Why we love it: If the views weren’t enough, Mode Kitchen and Grain bar will have you feeling like you never need to leave.

Book your stay at Four Seasons here

The Old Clare


Moving on from the classic five-star institutions—The Old Clare is a bright star in Sydney’s boutique hotel scene. Built into two heritage-listed buildings from the former Carlton United Brewery on Broadway, she’ll charm the pants off any design-savvy travellers or staycationers. Some rooms are slick, modern lofts, others occupy the former brewer’s HQ where the board of directors would meet to discuss, well, we can only assume—beer.

In the Showroom Suite, your super king size bed is backed by an original timber bar restored from the brewery building, while the enormous C.U.B Suite is located in the former boardroom, complete with original timber panelling, parquetry floors, and even the restored executive men's washroom. Expect vintage designer furniture, high ceilings, beautiful bathtubs, and trendy amenities like Maison Balzac fragrances.

Downstairs, the Clare Bar, with it’s popping mustard yellow bar, serves anything and everything from breakfast to a cheeky midday beer or cocktails and snacks in the evening. On the roof, there’s a lap pool and a rooftop bar. And, in terms of location, foodies will find themselves in a little slice of paradise. The Old Clare neighbours Spice Alley, as well as Automata and Handpicked Wines Cellar Door, and is a quick stroll away from Ester and LP’s Quality Meats.

Why we love it: A few of our favourite things rolled into one: cool design, a rooftop pool and bar, and friendly proximity to some of Sydney’s best restaurants.

Book your stay at The Old Clare here

Pier One

Walsh Bay

Picture this: you’re reclining on your own private balcony beneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge while the twinkling lights of Luna Park hit the gentle waves below and ferries cruise past. That’s what you’re in for at Pier One—a beautiful hotel built into a row of historic piers that hover over the water of glittering Walsh Bay. Design notes are a subtle nod to the building’s maritime history, rooms are larger than usual, most with large egg-shaped tubs for all your staycation soaking.

The hotel is a short walk to Circular Quay, the CBD, The Rocks, and just a little further over to Barangaroo. The Gantry restaurant is a destination in and of itself, now with a new chef, Rhys Connell, at the helm too. We also love the seasonal activations Pier One regularly hosts—like snow globe bars in wintertime. Into the theatre? You’re also a stone’s throw from the Sydney Theatre Company, Sydney Dance Company, and Bangarra Dance Theatre studios.

Why we love it: Book a room with that aforementioned harbourside balcony and you’ll see what we mean.

Book your stay at Pier One here

Paramount House Hotel

Surry Hills

If you think luxury hotel chains are all a bit stuffy—this 27-room hotel in the beating heart of Surry Hills is for you. Paramount House Hotel is the final jewel in the tiara that has been the revival of a stunning Art Deco building. Once the offices of Paramount Picture Studios, and the home of Hollywood’s Golden Age in Sydney, these days the building is home to a few of our city's most exciting hangouts: a basement cinema and underground bar (Golden Age Cinema), chef Mat Lindsay's wine bar (Poly), a rooftop health club (Paramount Recreation Club), Sydney's most beautiful co-working space (The Office Space), and some of our very best coffee (Paramount Coffee Project). 

All that, and we’ve not even told you about the actual hotel. Designed by Melbourne-based Breathe Architecture, you'll find reception at the back of the Paramount Coffee Project cafe, where you'll be served sparkling water or batch brew on tap while you check-in.

The elevator to your room is lined with flamingo pink Wes Anderson-style hibiscus wallpaper, in order to (we think) teleport you directly into a strong holiday mood. Hotel rooms are a lot less colour-saturated—think Japanese timber, poured concrete and silvery terrazzo, matched with muted emerald carpets, indoor plants, caramel leather couches, and French linen in peach, rose, and tobacco. Whether your ideal staycation or Sydney layover features a sunny breakfast balcony, a separate lounging space, or a huge square-shaped tub made of honey-coloured timber, Paramount House Hotel totally has your back. 

Why we love it: All of the above, but also the room service from Poly and the pint-sized souvenir shop features hotel merch slashed in the hotel's slogan, "Permanent Vacation", as well as local labels we love like Double Rainbouu and (for nostalgic vacation vibes) Emma Mulholland

Book your stay at Paramount House Hotel here. 

Park Hyatt

The Rocks

Looking for show-stopping luxury from every perspective? The Park Hyatt is the answer. Situated between the Bridge and the Opera House, this opulent hotel is serene and subdued, despite its middle-of-the-action location. Carved out of Sydney sandstone, the same soft, neutral, and sandy tones continue throughout the whole hotel. Rooms are big, with designer lighting, fancy technology, and custom artworks painted by Australian artists. The hero restaurant, called The Dining Room, does tasting menus and every table enjoys uninterrupted views of the harbour. 

The rooftop pool is one in a million—lined with deck chairs and cabanas, it's magically private while also being a centrepiece of Circular Quay. 

Why we love it: Apart from that rooftop pool? The Le Labo products in the bathroom and the big, plush, cloud-like towels. 

Book your stay at the Park Hyatt here

Image credit: Capella Hotels, Capella Hotels, W Hotels, Anson Smart (Ace Hotel Sydney), Kimpton Margot, The Langham, Wildlife Retreat at Taronga, Four Seasons Sydney, Sharyn Cairns (Paramount House Hotel), Hyatt

Editor's note: Urban List editors independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. Urban List has affiliate partnerships, so we get revenue from your purchase.

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