Review: Swissotel Sydney, a five star hotel in the heart of the CBD

Following an extensive glow-up to its lobby and bar, the Swissotel is now more welcoming than ever.

Overall Rating

By Chris Ashton, February 27 2024
Swissotel Sydney, a five star hotel in the heart of the CBD
Country

Australia

City

Sydney

Hotel

Swissotel Sydney

Rating

5 Stars

Room

Signature Skyline Balcony Room

Notes
The Good
  • New ‘Arches on Market’ lobby bar
  • High-speed Internet access
The Bad
  • Long waits at the lifts
X-Factor
  • Executive Lounge for breakfast, drinks and canapés
Location
Rooms
Meals
Overall

Introduction

Stepping out of the lift on level eight of Swissotel Sydney – a five-star hotel amid the hubbub of Sydney CBD – a smooth sax version of a 90s hip hop classic filters through the air.

It’s been two years since my last stay. And while the bones of its 369 rooms remain relatively unchanged, the same can’t be said for the public areas, many of which now sparkle with a modern sheen thanks to sweeping upgrades completed last year.

The new-look reception area.
The new-look reception area.

A reconfigured lobby and sophisticated new bar are the standouts of that revamp, and they’ve given the two decade-old hotel a fresher, more contemporary feel.

Location & Impressions

Nestled opposite the State Theatre at 68 Market Street, conveniently adjacent to the Myer Centre entrance, Swissotel Sydney is well placed for both business and leisure.

There are two light rail stations within 50 metres, with the iconic Queen Victoria Building diagonally over the road, Martin Place around five minutes walk, and the International Convention Centre at Darling Harbour just 15 minutes stroll.

From street level you really wouldn’t know the opulence that waits within, with the only hint a marble-clad entrance and concierge desk staffed by a very well-dressed doorperson.

Swissotel Sydney's entrance on Market Street.
Swissotel Sydney's entrance on Market Street.

Take the lift up to level eight, make a right turn and the full picture soon comes into view.

Thinking back to my last stay, I’d say the multi-angled space works much better than before, with reception now positioned in a much more convenient locale.

Arches on Market lobby bar is open daily from 12pm till late.
Arches on Market lobby bar is open daily from 12pm till late.

Lobby hangout ‘Arches on Market’ fills the central atrium – the lengthy marble bar is backed by its namesake arches. (Peer through and you’ll spot the Executive Lounge, which welcomes guests in Executive floor rooms plus higher-tier ALL members.)

As part of the Accor Hotel stable, Swissotel guests can earn and redeem points through the Accor Live Limitless loyalty program, which is free to join and unlocks a bevy of benefits at the higher tiers. Accor Plus members also receive multiple benefits. 

The swimming pool on level 10 has also received an extensive makeover.
The swimming pool on level 10 has also received an extensive makeover.

Swissotel Sydney parking is available for $60 per day, while valet will set you back $100.

Room

Perched on level 25, my Signature Skyline Balcony Room overlooks the city – the distinctive rooftops of QVB and Sydney Town Hall are to the front and left, while Darling Harbour can be glimpsed to the right.

A king bed takes pride of place in the 38sqm room, flanked by a decent-sized work desk and stocked minibar, complemented by a dressing area and renovated bathroom with walk-in shower.

The room is bathed in light at sunset.
The room is bathed in light at sunset.

Out on the balcony are two chairs and a coffee table for when the weather’s warm. Alternatively, there’s a comfy soft leather recliner inside, though this is angled towards the TV rather than the vista.

AC and USB power outlets are found on either side of the bed.
AC and USB power outlets are found on either side of the bed.

Decor is fairly consistent with the rest of the hotel – monochromatic wallpaper, Nazca Line-esque carpets and chrome fittings. That said, the upgraded bathroom is a key point of difference, taking the room in a more contemporary direction.

The adjacent dressing area features a shelf for your case, long hanging rack and small safe, plus a full-size ironing board and iron (a feature increasingly overlooked in many hotels).

Swissotel robes are provided if you want to get into the holiday vibe.
Swissotel robes are provided if you want to get into the holiday vibe.

An appreciated perk, guests also receive free access to thousands of newspapers and magazines through Pressreader. Just download the app and connect to the hotel WiFi.

Work

Business travellers or those carving out a little time on their holidays for work will find a wide glass-topped desk in the room plus complimentary WiFi hitting speed of around 300 Mbps.

The desk has two AC outlets within reach, but sadly no USB.
The desk has two AC outlets within reach, but sadly no USB.

Beyond the room, multiple meeting spaces are available alongside the Executive Lounge on level nine, which would also make a fine de facto workspace. 

Executive Lounge access is for guests only, though visitors can be arranged at reception.
Executive Lounge access is for guests only, though visitors can be arranged at reception.
Take your pick from a mix of seating to suit your mood.
Take your pick from a mix of seating to suit your mood.

The lounge features two distinct zones: one peering into the lobby via three curvaceous archways, and a more dining oriented space, which also houses window-side bar stools bathed in light.

Arch-side seating is often the first to be snapped up.
Arch-side seating is often the first to be snapped up.
Upright stools look out to Sydney Tower.
Upright stools look out to Sydney Tower.

Eat

Swissotel Sydney has two dining options: the new Arches on Market lobby bar and adjacent signature restaurant Ten Stories, which is open for buffet breakfast and dinner daily.

Headed by Executive Chef John Pugliano, Ten Stories’ name is a reference to the hotel’s bee hives on level 10, which provide honey for many of its dishes and cocktails.

For breakfast you’re presented with an impressive buffet selection of hot and cold dishes, while a chef is also on hand to whip up eggs and omelettes to order.

Enjoy buttery pastries, fresh fruit, made-to-order omelettes and more.
Enjoy buttery pastries, fresh fruit, made-to-order omelettes and more.

Dinner takes the form of a two or three-course pre-theatre menu (a convenient option with the State Theatre directly across the road), as well as an extensive a la carte. Accor Plus members enjoy a discount on the pre-theatre fare.

In addition, as a Club level guest you gain entry to the Executive Lounge on level nine, which plates up a buffet breakfast, afternoon tea and pre-dinner evening drinks and canapés.

Hot options are rather limited, but the cold offering is quite extensive.
Hot options are rather limited, but the cold offering is quite extensive.
Take your pick from Australian wines or a mix of spirits.
Take your pick from Australian wines or a mix of spirits.

Although marketed as drinks and canapés, there’s plenty of choice on the menu, including a salad bar, tasty cheese and crackers, and a buffet of hot dishes. (In fact, you could easily have dinner here if you were so inclined.) Breakfast is equally generous.

Choose from eggs, bacon, sausages or a wide selection of salads and cold cuts.
Choose from eggs, bacon, sausages or a wide selection of salads and cold cuts.
An automated coffee machine sits alongside the juice and pastries.
An automated coffee machine sits alongside the juice and pastries.

Relax

Like at every good five star Sydney hotel, relaxation is not just possible but essential. This takes the form of Spa & Sport on level 10, which houses a day spa and 24 hour gym.

The gym includes a variety of Technogym equipment.
The gym includes a variety of Technogym equipment.

While the gym is well-equipped, the dimly lit spa reception isn’t overly inviting, and it’s all the more noticeable thanks to the nearby swimming pool area, which has received a significant makeover since my last stay.

The pool's rooftop location means there's no view to speak of.
The pool's rooftop location means there's no view to speak of.
The new-look pool area is somewhere you'd happily spend an hour or two.
The new-look pool area is somewhere you'd happily spend an hour or two.

Accessible via a swipe card, the pool now feels less an afterthought thanks to a modernised colour scheme, emerald lounges and abundant greenery. If only there was a view…

Verdict

An exceptional experience, and one I’d happily return for. The hotel’s reconfigured lobby makes more sense than its previous iteration, while Arches on Markets feels like a destination for both guest and non-guest alike.

If there’s one aspect which needs a little attention, it’s Ten Stories, which is now looking a little dated in comparison to its neighbouring new kid on the block. But aside from that, the wider hotel is holding up surprisingly well and well worth checking into.

The writer stayed as a guest of Swissotel Sydney.


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