Local Escapes

8 Of Sydney’s Dreamiest Hotels To Book For Your Next City Staycation

By Sammy Preston
9th May 2021

A suite at The Old Clare Hotel in Sydney, complete with vintage furniture and a long, crescent-shaped window seat.

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 pretty 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.

Crown Towers


Imagine the most luxurious hotel you've ever stayed in—then times that by ten. The very 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 with truffle menus and gin masterclasses popping up on the regular. 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: Nikki To (The Old Clare Hotel), 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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