There’s a little something in my life that puts me on the fringe of The Urban List’s usual readership. That little something is fast becoming a bigger something. She’s my two-year-old daughter. Since welcoming her into my world, among other things, my appreciation for a staycation has soared. Lucky then that I live in Sydney, one of the best cities in the world. (Yes, yes Melbourne, you’re cool too. I am not here to have that argument). Quality accommodation has never been hard to come by in the Harbour City, but following a recent influx of boutique hotels in Sydney, it’s never been easier, either.
Fraser Suites Sydney
When ruminating on the best hotels in Sydney, the alphabet demands I start with the Fraser Suites. If I were to succumb to my OCD, I would pop this entry in the middle somewhere, because it’s a little different to the boutique offerings outlined below. There are no quirks, just sleek, serviced apartments that provide a premium home away from home. Sweeping skyline views evince the CBD location—the proximity to China Town, Darling Harbour et al marks the absence of an in-house restaurant redundant. There is a pool though and, for those inspiring people who use them on holidays, a well equipped gym, too.
After seven long years in desolation, Hotel Palisade is now one of Sydney’s hottest boutique stays. All eight rooms boast harbour views and, if the real thing isn’t enough, an original hand-painted ocean mural by Sydney artist Neil Mallard. The interiors, courtesy of stylist Sibella Court, offer a firm nod to nautical without compromising on class. Henry Deane, the hotel’s two-level cocktail lounge, is a showpiece with stunning views of Sydney’s world-class harbour. Be there for sunset and be blown away.
Housed on the Woolloomooloo Bay’s historic Finger Wharf, Ovolo Woolloomooloo is a happy marriage of heritage and luxury. The building’s industrial features are juxtaposed with playful design. Contemporary art and colourful furniture are hallmarks of the lobby while the guestrooms extend the theme. Graphic bedheads the best example of this effort. Ovolo is renowned for their inclusions and Woolloomooloo follows suit. Think free Wifi (as it should be), free continental breakfast, free snacks and minibar, and free happy hour (wine, beer, canapés). I mean, I get that those things would be built into the price, but it still makes me very happy.
The Primus Hotel is an exquisite art deco showcase in the heart of the city. Following a heritage-sensitive refurbishment of the former Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage board headquarters on Pitt Street, the Primus Hotel opened in December 2015. The lobby alone is jaw dropping with eight bold columns framing the glamorous space. Art deco luxury combines with modern facilities in the hotel’s 172 guestrooms while the exclusive rooftop terrace, complete with a marble bar, lap pool and sun lounges, is another highlight.
Just like its big brother in the CBD, QT Bondi pays homage to its surroundings, making the beachside version a very different (but equally desirable) proposal. Where QT Sydney is gothic meets art deco, in Bondi guests are treated to spacious, light-filled rooms and a relaxed vibe worthy of the boutique hotel’s world-renowned neighbour, Bondi Beach. There’s no restaurant or bar to speak of, but you don’t need me to tell you there are endless options nearby.
The Old Clare Hotel
A highlight of Sydney’s thriving Chippendale precinct, The Old Clare Hotel combines polish with character for an ultra-stylish stay. The 62-room boutique hotel is the result of a four-year transformation of the former Carlton United Breweries administration building and The County Clare pub. An obvious commitment to honouring the site's former glory is part of the charm. Celebrated restaurants Automata and Kensington Street Social are housed in the hotel or enjoy a tipple in The Clare Bar or by the rooftop pool.
Image credit: Nikki To