Sydney may now be Australia’s second largest city, yet it’s still easily the most recognisable one on the global stage, enticing visitors from near and far with its gleaming harbourside appeal.
Everyone knows the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, yet there are plenty of other landmarks that should be on your radar. The revamped Art Gallery of NSW for one, plus the adjacent Botanic Gardens or bustling Barangaroo precinct.
When the day’s activities are done, you want a hotel that’s equally show-stopping. Somewhere delivering five star comfort, with a great bar, restaurant and spa to help you wind down and prepare for the following day.
With this in mind, and in no particular order, these are some of the best luxury hotels Sydney has to offer.
One of the city’s enduring icons, InterContinental Sydney has welcomed well-heeled guests for more than 30 years. Its recent top-to-bottom refurbishment has solidified its position among Sydney’s best hotels for many decades yet to come.
Every one of its 509 rooms and suites is now swatched in shades of green and blue, echoing the harbour view outside, while its public spaces – including two dining offerings and a Club Lounge – have been given a significant makeover too.
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. The Treasury in its atrium is a perfect space to admire this heritage in all its glory.
If there’s one space which is an absolute must-visit for every guest, it’s Aster – the hotel’s level 32 restaurant and bar, adorned in marble, brass and elegant velvet seating. And the view? It’ll leave you speechless.
Kimpton Margot Sydney
Australia's first Kimpton has transformed what was once the headquarters of the Sydney Water Board into a haven of sophistication and luxe living.
The heritage-listed property now features 172 rooms across six floors (with a seventh being a rooftop swimming pool and recreation area), right in the beating heart of the Sydney CBD. It sits two blocks from Hyde Park, two from the Queen Victoria Building and two, maybe three, from Darling Harbour.
A highlight is the expansive lobby, ringed by classic marble columns and featuring two leading culinary lights in the form of Luke's Kitchen (helmed by contemporary Aussie chef Luke Mangan) serving up comfortable and modern Australian fare including spiced lamb, pan-fried gnocchi, steaks and seafood as both individual courses or sharing plates.
Just outside you'll find the Wilmot Bar, with boasts an extensive menu of 35 gins and 40 whiskeys.
Rooms are spacious, a feeling made more evident by the high ceilings, with on-brand elements such as a Poker, Backgammon or Draughts game for guests to enjoy during their stay or to take home with them (for a price of course).
Ensuite bathrooms are well-appointed with plenty of space around the vanities, a large well-lit mirror and the allure of semi-translucent walls which project human silhouettes on the other side as a wavy blur.
Feel free to bring your pet with you too, as Kimpton caters to dogs, cats or as it says "anything that fits through the door".
A new addition to the city’s premium hotelscape, Capella Sydney is arguably its most enchanting yet. Opened in March 2023 and the first Australian outpost from the Singaporean brand, it’s a haven of modern luxury refinement, with a fascinating past to boot.
Spanning eight levels within the former Department of Education building, built in the Edwardian Baroque style in 1915, the property has undergone meticulous restoration over the last eight years, with the result sure to satisfy any traveller.
Occupying a full city block – encircled by Loftus, Bridge and Young Streets – it features three distinct dining venues, a wellness spa and 192 beautiful rooms and suites.
Each room is an inviting sanctuary with high ceilings and standalone tubs, but the Capella Suite is next level.
Anchored to the hotel’s Young Street shoulder is signature restaurant ‘Brasserie 1930’, which celebrates Australian produce and age-old cooking techniques, such as curing, smoking, fermenting, preserving and pickling, all backed up by a stellar wine list.
Other venues include the leafy Aperture, open daily for dining and drinks beneath a soaring glass ceiling and kinetic sculpture, and McRae Bar, a ‘Victorian era drinking den’ named in honour of the building’s original architect, George McRae.
Four Seasons Sydney
Renovated in 2018, the style and sophistication on show at what is currently the only Four Seasons in Australia is evident across the hotel’s 531 rooms and suites.
Your standards will be supremely high if you’re not impressed with the expansive Full Harbour King Room, which sits in the building’s corner and projects great views out to Circular Quay.
If you’re staying in one of these, or the one and two-bedroom suites, access is granted to the exclusive Lounge 32 on its namesake floor. It’s a haven and perfect for meeting friends and family or enjoying the complimentary canapes and drinks, including international wines, served Friday and Saturday from 4-8pm.
From here, you can also partake in private check-in and out, daily breakfast and a regular roster of delicious cakes and pastries prepared by the hotel’s talented pastry chefs.
Then, head to what is one of Sydney’s best swimming pools for a dip, which is heated in the winter. Seems appropriate for a hotel bearing the name Four Seasons.
On the ground floor, fine dining is really put into practice at Mode Kitchen and Bar, which is somewhat small so make sure you pre-book your table. The service is exquisite and on tap is some of Sydney’s best seafood including enormous king prawns and the wood-roasted catch of the day. Make sure you order a side of the polenta chips too.
Downtown Sydney is brimming with historic architecture; grand buildings filled with over a century of stories, of prosperity and decline, and eventual evolution. QT Sydney spans two such buildings: the State Theatre and the adjacent Gowings building, both opened in 1929.
Rather than leaning too heavily into the heritage, the hotel instead charts its own path, embracing Alice in Wonderland-like whimsy with its eclectic oversized chairs, building rich ambience with mood lighting, and taking a playful approach to both service and F&B.
Rooms run the gamut from entry-level QT King, fitted with a well-stocked minibar and desk, through to decadent QT Junior Suites and the QT State Suite, its pièce de résistance.
When a craving for sumptuous food and inventive drinks takes hold, Gowings restaurant and bar – now under the creative direction of Sean Connolly – is waiting to tickle your taste buds with Mediterranean-inspired fare matched by an exceptional wine list.
For something more casual, Parlour Cucina on the ground floor is well worth a visit. Not only does it dish up delicious dishes, but the OTT decor will leave you feeling giddy with delight.
Park Hyatt Sydney
Possibly the most enviable piece of real estate in Australia, many of Park Hyatt Sydney’s rooms admire the Opera House just across the harbour.
Park Hyatt Sydney is something of a deceptively large building, yet well laid out, wrapped around Campbells Cove. It’s impossible to go anywhere here without encountering a postcard view.
There’s 155 spacious rooms and suites that start at 40 square metres and you can enjoy a rooftop pool, terrace and a stylish bar where you’ll want to be seen, but there’s no club lounge, in line with other Park Hyatts.
The Cove Suite offers two balconies, while you can enjoy up to six with the Opera Suite. Most suites have separate sitting areas, while the Rooftop Suite delivers exactly that in the form of a private outdoor terrace.
For a sense of true indulgence, the Sydney Suite is the Park Hyatt’s main event. At 350 square metres, full kitchen with dining for eight and a marble bath with sauna and spa, it’s one of the most expensive hotel rooms in Sydney but it’s worth it.
Ovolo Woolloomooloo may not be the first luxury Sydney hotel to spring to mind, yet it’s well worth seeking out. Why? Because it’s beautiful – stretching 400-metres out over the waters of Sydney Harbour in an historic building brimming with historic charm.
Entering from Cowper Wharf Roadway, the hotel’s reception and concierge are at ground level, while the bar and restaurant ‘Alibi’ – the social heart of the heritage property – fills the soaring central atrium, just up a flight of stairs.
Alibi’s nightly social hour invites guests to mingle over a drink, while its living room-like design adorned in cosy lounges and intimate booths is on hand for those who want to kick on. The gas fireplace is a fantastic spot to relax by in the winter months.
The menu at Alibi is inventive and delicious – and entirely vegan. For those with a craving for other cuisine, you’ll find China Doll and OTTO stretching along one side of the wharf, while classic pie cart Harry’s Café de Wheels is immediately next door.
Ovolo Woolloomooloo is also one of a growing number of hotels opening their doors to guests with pets, offering the creatively titled ‘V.I.Pooch’ package, however there are some rules associated with this, which you can read more about in our review.
Amid the complete reimagining of the Barangaroo corner of the city has come multiple new office towers and at one end, the gleaming Crown Sydney.
The luxury casino and entertainment giant has been a staple in Melbourne and Perth and for some time, has been agitating at Sydney’s door.
But now, as part of the present-day Sydney typified by Barangaroo, Crown Sydney represents some of the finest examples of modern hospitality that can be found anywhere in the world.
Competing for the title of Sydney’s best view, Crown Sydney offers a mix of 350 hotel rooms and nearly 100 residential apartments across 75 floors. Across these you’ll find the Executive Harbour Bridge Suite which offers a dining room for four, separate bedroom and powder room.
Closer to ground level is an expansive infinity pool and spa with cabanas overlooking the western harbour. There’s also a tennis court which doubles as an event space, while the Crown Spa is the first in Australia to offer quartz hot sand and touchless spa wave treatments across its 11 rooms.
While every hotel offers dining, few can boast no less than eight individual restaurants which, albeit pricy, are tipped to deliver a memorable sensation for every tastebud. Headlining the dining offering is Sydney’s first Nobu which couples with the micro 12-seat Yoshii’s Omakase.
On top of that is the open-kitchen Woodcut Steakhouse, delicate Italian A’Mare, stylish Cantonese Silks, sustainable fare at Oncore by Clare Smyth, the Epicurean buffet or high tea at TWR.
Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park
Luxury hotels in Sydney don’t have to hug the harbour to offer great views. Adjacent to another of the city’s natural attractions - the 16-hectare Hyde Park - is the Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park.
Refurbished in 2019, the 558 rooms adopt a Hyde Park-esque colour palette with natural timber, stitched leather, dark celadon green walls and black marble bathrooms. Rooms feature high-backed executive chairs at the ergonomic desks which feature multiple USB charging points.
Suites are numerous and all overlook Hyde Park and St Mary’s Cathedral, with private balconies starting from the Terrace room. The Ambassador Suite takes on a décor and look of its own with wallpaper resembling vintage suitcases and bright purple throw pillows.
The hotel’s Sheraton Club lounge is its statement piece, resembling a New York loft and located on level 21. Here, eligible guests can privately check in and out and enjoy daily breakfast or evening drinks and canapes.
To get work done, there are some office supplies like a printer, copier and even a fax machine. Remember those?
The flagship ‘Feast’ restaurant is your main go-to for breakfast outside of the Sheraton Club and is complemented by The Gallery, which serves afternoon tea and some savoury delicacies. You'll also find a gym and pool on the 22nd floor. Read our review here.
The Langham, Sydney
Perched in the upper Rocks precinct and a short walk to Barangaroo, The Langham is an elegant world away, yet only a few steps, from centuries-old residential terraces which reflect what Sydney once was.
While diminutive in room number at 96 compared to towering counterparts on this list, The Langham Sydney touts a rich exclusivity with views over a sometimes-forgotten part of the harbour.
At the top of the rooms list are The Observatory Suite and The Residence, both over 100 square metres and packed with extravagances including a stately fireplace and grand eight-seat dining room, or equipped kitchen with refrigerated private bar area.
While there’s no dedicated club lounge, you’ll feel like you’re in a private club at The Langham’s Romanesque 20-metre heated indoor swimming pool where you can float and disappear into the night sky mural on the ceiling.
When it’s time to dine, one of Sydney’s most fun restaurant experiences is in-house at Kitchens on Kent. Billed as fine-dining, buffet style, you can wander among a variety of live cooking stations watching expert chefs craft wares including towers of seafood and charcuterie. Read our review of The Langham, Sydney.
Cross the Harbour Bridge in a southbound direction and the Shangri-La Sydney is impossible to miss. Another of the city’s skyscraping hotels at 36 levels, the Shangri-La boasts one of the best views in the city from many of its 564 rooms and suites.
The incredible Royal Suite delivers a separate bedroom, living room and dining room with grand piano, executive study and wide views of the harbour, Opera House and bridge.
On Level 30, the exclusive Horizon Club is an expansive space with high ceilings and a mixture of armchairs and sofas overlooking both Sydney Harbour and out to the west. There’s plenty of staff roaming who will keep your glass full and a changing table-service menu where you can enjoy breakfast, morning tea and afternoon tea.
Also on offer is the Shangri-La Sport Club and Health Centre, with an indoor heated 25-metre pool, fitness centre and shaded outdoor terrace.
Perhaps the highlight of your time at the Shangri-La is a dining experience at Altitude Restaurant.
While even at night the view is spectacular, the new modern Australian menu from Executive Chef Brent Morley is a treat for the senses. In crafting the culinary line-up, Morley assessed the nation’s finest producers to source items such as grain-fed rib on the bone from Jack’s Creek, a multiple time winner of the World’s Best Steak Producer.
Hilton Sydney has seen witnessed a considerable amount of growth and change over its near-50 years in the CBD, yet if there is one thing that has remained constant, it’s the hotel’s place among the best luxury hotels in town.
It’s difficult to find a better location: just one step outside the revolving doors puts you right in the centre of town, opposite from the QVB and a half block from Town Hall.
Nightlife at Hilton Sydney is as timeless as the company’s 100-plus-year-old legacy, eternally exemplified by the timeless and heritage listed Marble Bar in the basement, originally built in 1893.
If you’d prefer to go higher, the Zeta Bar and rooftop terrace is all about putting a creative spin on traditional cocktail recipes and on a calm night is one of the best spots in Sydney.
To access Hilton’s Executive Club, you’ll need to book an Executive Room or higher.
The lounge itself feels like a grand living room, with a buffet station along the wall serving breakfast and a variety of sweet and savoury items throughout the day. There’s also the evening drinks and canapé service from 6pm each evening.
Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour
A refurbishment is one thing but a newbuild is quite another, and the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour is one of the city’s most prominent examples of what the state government has for many years called ‘Tomorrow’s Sydney’.
Just a few steps from the front door of the International Convention Centre, the hotel was essentially part of the redevelopment of this part of Darling Harbour and really gives the area that intoxicatingly fresh car smell.
The towering structure is emblematic of the élégante French Sofitel vibe. It’s another of the few Sydney CBD hotels with an outdoor rooftop pool but its beach club environment fits well overlooking the picturesque Darling Harbour (just ignore the giant carpark behind it).
The flagship room is the Prestige Suite, which sits in a top corner and really projects that executive apartment feel. It’s not the biggest suite in the building but still offers a separate living room.
There are quite a few room types which grant access to the Club Millésime lounge up on Level 35.
Much like your room will have but on a grander scale, there are great views to bask in but the window seating will fill up quickly and that outlook really sells it.
As far as history goes, The Fullerton Sydney is essentially built on top of a timeline of the city’s centre of communications in the old General Post Office. It makes for a perfect fit as the Singaporean hotel company’s flagship property in Singapore is also built on another historic post office.
What was for many years beforehand known as Westin Sydney, the Fullerton moved in and set up its brand of contemporary luxury across the 416 rooms and suites, of which the majority sit within the tower behind the old GPO.
For real history buffs there are also 52 heritage suites boasting a very different and almost neoclassical décor. These are dressed with more traditional drawing curtains as opposed to automated one-button drapes in tower rooms.
As far as premium rooms go, there’s the 192sqm Heritage Long Suite in the old edifice, with its grand entrance hallway, six-person dining setting and two original, but non-functioning marble fireplaces. The Sydney Postmaster’s original desk from 1874 can also be found in this room.
Over in the tower, the Martin Place Suite features a separate business study, four-person dining table and kitchenette along with a shower that can convert into a private sauna.
Dining at The Fullerton Sydney comes in the form of the simply titled ‘The Bar’ on the ground floor and ‘The Place’ restaurant which caters to daily breakfast in a sweeping atrium overlooking the heritage GPO.
Guests in Executive-tiered rooms and suites also enjoy access to the Club Fullerton executive lounge on Level 28, which provides a rotating service of canapes and beverages from midday to 7:30pm daily.
In line with its Singaporean roots, The Fullerton has adapted one of the Lion City’s most famous beverages into the ‘Sydney Sling’ which is available at The Bar, via room service or included in the rates (one per person per stay) for those in the Long Suite or Martin Place Suite.
We also rate the following Sydney luxury hotels as being highly commended – you won’t go wrong booking a stay in any of these:
- Pier One Sydney Harbour
- The Darling
- Sydney Harbour Marriott
- InterContinental Sydney Double Bay