First look: InterContinental Sydney’s new Club lounge

The landmark hotel has been given a new lease on life, including a famous rooftop now open to the public.

By Chris Ashton, December 13 2022
First look: InterContinental Sydney’s new Club lounge

InterContinental Sydney is one of the city’s enduring five star icons; a hotel which has welcomed well-heeled guests for more than 30 years. And the final piece of an exhaustive top-to-bottom refurbishment is now in place, with the arrival of the exclusive Club InterContinental lounge.

The InterContinental Sydney Club lounge.
The InterContinental Sydney Club lounge.

Officially opening on December 28, the lounge is located within the InterContinental Sydney’s reimagined rooftop space on level 31, affording panoramic views of the Botanic Garden, Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Opera House.

The InterContinental Sydney Club lounge.
The InterContinental Sydney Club lounge.

With access reserved for guests staying in Club Rooms or Club Suites, the day starts with breakfast is served with Club-only access to Aster, the hotel’s level 32 space adorned in marble, brass and elegant velvet seating.

Aster Bar on level 32 will have you raising a glass to its spectacular view.
Aster Bar on level 32 will have you raising a glass to its spectacular view.

Lunch and dinner are hosted in the new Club InterContinental itself, with meals, drinks and views all rated as Instagram-worthy.

The InterContinental Sydney Club lounge.
The InterContinental Sydney Club lounge.

Among the many highlights of the propery’s two-year $120 million renovation are 509 rooms and suites swathed in green and blue tones to echo the view, and a grand lobby bar ready to welcome guests for all-day drinking and dining.

For the first time in the establishment’s long history, there’s also a public rooftop bar tailor-made for soaking up the skyline views, including Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.

The Treasury is designed a green-filled urban oasis, open all day for dining and drinks.
The Treasury is designed a green-filled urban oasis, open all day for dining and drinks.

First opened in 1985, InterContinental Sydney is housed within the 1851 Treasury Building, itself a tapestry of architectural styles from Victorian Neo-Classical to Italian Palazzo.

Design firm Woods Bagot – also behind the new InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula – were handpicked to usher it into a fresh era.

A redesign of the hotel’s entrance and reception area, now featuring an intricate art wall detailing a historical timeline of the city and property from 1788 to the present day, is just one of numerous enhancements to the property.

Admire ferries and yachts on the water from your Harbour Bridge View Room.
Admire ferries and yachts on the water from your Harbour Bridge View Room.

Jennifer Brown, General Manager of the InterContinental Sydney, describes the relaunch as the beginning of an exciting new chapter and is thrilled to unveil the fruits of the past two years.

“InterContinental Sydney is one of the city’s most loved and storied hotels, and we are excited to welcome back our guests to form part of its next chapter and explore what the new era for this hotel hails,” Brown enthuses.

“I know many are eager to sample the curated cocktails and soak in the spectacular views from our new rooftop bar. This is just one of the many new experiences we have to share.”

Find a seat at The Treasury's curvaceous bar, or settle into one of the comfortable lounge chairs.
Find a seat at The Treasury's curvaceous bar, or settle into one of the comfortable lounge chairs.

At the heart of the hotel is The Treasury: a stunning bar and restaurant with plush lounges and intimate booth seating, and a striking oval-shaped bar open all day for dining and drinks, with an extensive menu of local beers, wines, spirits and cocktails. 

The Conservatory provides a light-filled breakfast space with open cooking stations and a walk-in pantry, ready to fuel up guests for the day ahead.

The Conservatory is the hotel's fresh breakfast venue.
The Conservatory is the hotel's fresh breakfast venue.

Among the lavish rooms are Classic and Superior City Rooms gazing back to the city skyline, as well as Harbour Bridge and Opera House Rooms, which afford stunning views of their namesakes.

A chaise window lounge in every room allows guests to soak up the view, with other essentials including a Smart TV, complimentary Wi-Fi and gourmet mini bar also included. The trademark marble bathrooms are also stocked with Byredo products.

Wellbeing amenities include a state-of-the-art gym and indoor heated pool, which enjoys an abundance of natural light and stunning views overlooking the Opera House. 

26 Jul 2015

Total posts 72

Looks like a great move for the club lounge, its such a great space. The last time I was there with club lounge access though was pretty underwhelming. Nothing like it was previously and not really worth the extra cost. At least now, you can still enjoy what is one of the best spaces in Sydney and only have to pay for the drinks (as opposed to extra room cost).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Oct 2016

Total posts 147

I did a new room in December and my wife took a picture of the carpet and got some for our dining room… happy with what I saw and I hope the finished product will meet my expectations 

It certainly is a charming building. As a Platinum Ambassador IHG Member, I always used to stay there, BUT, became so disappointed with the Club Lounge, so drifted off to other hotels, because of the food (very limited and restricted) and the service.

It was far more enjoyable to have breakfast in the courtyard than the Club..

It looks like things have improved, so will try it again.

Kevin Jackson.

Velocity Platinum

08 Jul 2011

Total posts 14

A good move forward. Intercontinental Sydney had become lack-luster and Club invitations were never forthcoming for Platinum members, so I switched to the much more exciting and generous  Sofitel Darling Harbour. I'll give IC Sydney a try soon and see what they have come up with.

27 Apr 2022

Total posts 1

Does anyone know whether the horrid shower curtains in the rooms (not suites) have been replaced with screens as part of the renovation?  I love this hotel but was always grossed out by the use of shower curtains!

04 Dec 2017

Total posts 72

Rooftop railing doesn't look too safe for children. By the looks of things it would be pretty easy to navigate it if a child wanted to.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Mar 2015

Total posts 95

There is so much I disagree with in this short sample statement. 

24 Jun 2020

Total posts 40

I have stayed here on many occasions over the years, mostly for a special event and to always venture to the rooftop area but the thing that grossed me out the most was the bathrooms in every room I stayed at. It made the rooftop a hard sell in my opinion as the service and amenities were not as good as it used to be. Hopefully the bathrooms also got a refurb but with the Aster Bar open to all and sundry, I don't have to put up with the dreary bathrooms anymore and can just hit the rooftop bar (once Sydney gets a sunny day that is).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 May 2020

Total posts 3

I stayed in a new twin beeded room there two weeks ago on the left side of the building as you face the Harbor Bridge.
I have stayed there many times over rhe last eight years as an IHG Royal Ambassador..
Not sure if it is the same for all rooms but the bathroom was small and only a shower now.
My view was of an jacent office block over the road.
The Club wasn't opened and Ambassador benefits with the exception of the minibar credit and Royal Ambassdor  room upgrades were suspended by permission of IHG Corporate. No Club option was available merely a AUD60 per day F&B credit. Some minibar prices are as high as I've seen (90g of chocloate Almonds, Gummie Bears $19!). Beers more reasonable priced as were the spirits.
Breakfast was provided free in what felt like a school refrectory, though it was certainly good quality and plenty of choice.
The wine list in Treasury Bar is expensive. The cheapest glass of wine was $24 and bottle $85 with wines averaging around $32/glass. Maybe that's just SYD prices.
The new spaces I saw are nice.
All that said, I was left incredibly underwhelmed (frankly have been for a longtime compared to my other 100 days per year in IHG properties) and on my next visit to Sydney I'll be at The Kimpton.
Having just completed trips to London, Sydney, Kuala Lumpur, Hanoi (both Intercons) and Ho Chi Minh there is defintely a tightening up of benefits across the group compared to the pre-covid days.

American Airlines - AAdvantage

16 May 2019

Total posts 4

Looking forward for a stay next month on my celebratory Round the World. Hope it’s back to its high standards of a few years back for this Ambassador

Aegean Airlines - Miles & Bonus

16 Jul 2019

Total posts 14

Nice to see level 31 in use again. 

From memory (I haven't lived in Oz for 12 years) it was an Italian restaurant back in the early 2000s (with a pizza oven) but that closed and the space remained unused until now. Seems they've also increased the size of the picture windows from back then because I remember them much smaller.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Sep 2022

Total posts 7

Was my home away from home for 10yrs, used to interview new employees in the Club Lounge during the day, now retired so look forward to a visit to experience the revamp!

Interesting reading the comments on here.....I am just back from a recent stay.  The good bits, well IHG Rewards upgrade certificate worked and I had a lovely suite with a view over the harbour.  

But that is about where the good bits end compared with what the hotel was beforehand.  What set the hotel apart for me (and I had stayed numerous times over the years) was the staff.  The rooms were very dated, so I am not sad to see the back of the cheapest shower curtains ever over the bath, nor to see the very worn furniture in the club lounge replaced!

However, staff wise with one exception, it was cold, impersonal and bordering on unfriendly.  I opted to go to the Astor to check it out, having thought the Club Lounge was open when I had made my booking.  I can still hear the staff member telling me I had exactly 6 minutes to get out.  Sure, they do tell you when you go in that it's an hour, but I was just waiting for the dollar signs to come in to his eyes at the sight of the next person to take the seat.

The Treasury Bar was no better.  One staff member there clearly is in the wrong job as she snapped at us, scowled and stomped off as we had the temerity to ask where our food order had got to, and then when it turned up cold (and not hot) she was not best pleased and we didn't see her again.

It could be they are all new and just getting up to speed.  But.....what a contrast with the staff at the IC in Melbourne where I went after Sydney.  Another hotel that the rooms could do with an update, but, the staff are just amazing.  From the concierge cracking jokes with me at check in, to the lounge staff that remembered me from previous visits.

I'm back to Sydney in March next year and whilst the Club Lounge (which appears to be the old Harbour room rather than the Astor) looks extremely nice, for the first time in 20 years I am seriously considering staying elsewhere we I might feel a bit more welcome when spending several thousand dollars!


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