W Sydney now open: inside the city’s most eye-catching hotel

Champagne corks are flying with the long-delayed five star stunner finally welcoming guests.

By Chris Ashton, October 12 2023
W Sydney now open: inside the city’s most eye-catching hotel

More than five years have passed since W Sydney was first announced. However, after multiple delays and steadily-brewing excitement from travellers, the swish Darling Harbour hotel is at last inviting guests to waltz through its doors for check-in.

Housed within the curvaceous ‘Ribbon’ development, rising on a narrow strip between two expressways of the Western Distributor and also home to an all-new IMAX theatre, W Sydney is over the top in all the right ways.

The brand's signature W sign is clad in silicone waratah petals.
The brand's signature W sign is clad in silicone waratah petals.

Craig Seaward, General Manager of W Sydney, says the one-of-a-kind hotel is shaped by the “energy, beauty, and free spirit” of Sydney itself, with its own trademark W spin.

British design agency Bowler James Brindley – the team behind the iconic W Barcelona – worked its magic on the interiors, imbuing the hotel with an air of playful confidence that extends from the petalled W sign at its entrance through to the glitzy level 29 pool.

The heated pool is the perfect temperature all year round.
The heated pool is the perfect temperature all year round.

A spokesperson for the agency said the ‘larrikin’ spirit Australians are well known for guided their approach, with the resulting design described as an “extrovert, that has a sense of humour and opinion”.

Due to the building’s rather distinctive shape, no two of the W’s 585 rooms and suites are the same. That said, they do share a similar design DNA.

Sporting quirky names such as Fantastic, Fabulous and Spectacular, rooms are adorned in crisp white panelling from floor to ceiling and vibrant red and pink waratah-inspired prints, leading through to bathrooms with circular tubs ready for luxuriant relaxation.

Many rooms enjoy an enviable outlook over Darling Harbour.
Many rooms enjoy an enviable outlook over Darling Harbour.

And that’s before you even factor in the sensational city views, which extend right along Darling Harbour towards Barangaroo and North Sydney in one direction, and across undulating tower blocks and parklands in the other.

Liberal use of colour in the bathroom and walk-in robe contrasts the bright-white bedroom.
Liberal use of colour in the bathroom and walk-in robe contrasts the bright-white bedroom.

Beyond the rooms, the hotel’s signature Living Room (also known as the lobby) on level one is a visually-arresting treat with honeycomb screens and staircase lighting that wouldn’t be out of place in the film ‘Tron’.

Design is elevated even further in the all-day dining venue BTWN, which references its highway-straddling location not only in name but with graphic murals, and two bars: The Living Room and the rooftop bar: 29/30.

The Rooftop bar sits above the infinity pool.
The Rooftop bar sits above the infinity pool.

The latter spans two levels: the higher boasts a menu of elevated cocktails and Champagne, while the other shares the same level as the hotel’s 30-metre infinity pool – known as the Wet Deck and lined with cabanas and lounges for soaking up some rays.

BTWN sits directly alongside the Western Distributor, providing a rather unique outlook.

BTWN sits directly alongside the Western Distributor, providing a rather unique outlook.

As for the menus at BTWN, they range from small bites to more substantial fare, such as poached Murray cod with pickled Eden mussels, a hearty slow-cooked Gundagai lamb shoulder rubbed in yoghurt, and a spicy mushroom ragout.

The two level 29/30 bar enjoys uninterrupted harbour views.
The two level 29/30 bar enjoys uninterrupted harbour views.

In addition, guests will find an AWAY Spa offering eclectic treatments (as well as a ‘beauty bar’ serving alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and light bites), together with a FIT gym, state-of-the-art event spaces and a 24-hour concierge.

The Living Room bar is striking from every angle.
The Living Room bar is striking from every angle.

When the sun sets, the hotel’s 2AM: dessertbar – a collaboration with Singaporean dessert guru Janice Wong and the first of its kind in Australia – opens for business and indulgence.

Expect an exceptional dessert experience spanning sweet and savoury, paired with local wines or custom cocktails. Signature dish Cacao Forest is a must try.

The AWAY Spa beauty bar.
The AWAY Spa beauty bar.

As a member of the Marriott Bonvoy family, W Sydney guests with elite status receive perks such as enhanced room upgrades, priority check-in and more.

24 Jun 2020

Total posts 49

Can't wait to check this hotel out

20 Mar 2020

Total posts 1

Just slightly different to the 1st W Sydney... which lead us on a long term journey with Starwood and W Hotels

I have loved my W hotels around Asia pacific so far. I'm curious to see the decor of W Sydney. I preferred the decor of W Melbourne over W Brisbane. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 692

Great article, Chris

Love it or hate  it - one thing is assured - the building's exterior is iconic and in time, will garner international praise similar to that of the Sydney Opera House. I am somewhat critical of the manner in which Marriott has bastardized the ethos of W and the Sheraton brands since the takeover - but it is good to see that some level of 'W' roguish design ethos remains. It will be on my list to visit.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Jan 2019

Total posts 9

The decor at W Brisbane makes it very difficult to find your way around the hotel and the rooms designs are not funtional.  Based on this I am not keen to stay in other W branded hotels.  

31 May 2018

Total posts 16

Given the photos in this article are the same as on the hotel’s website, I’m curious if anyone from Executive Traveller actually stayed at the W to write this article? 

Our team visited the hotel on opening day. This is not a review though, merely an announcement that the doors are finally open. Keep an eye out for a review at a later date. 


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