The Best Boutique Hotels in Sydney, Australia

12 Cool Boutique Hotels in Sydney

Few skylines in the world can claim to be as iconic as Sydney’s. The billowing sail-like shape of the famous Sydney Opera House rises above the harbor, while the stone bastions and steel arches of Sydney Harbour Bridge are framed in the background. And all around are the glittering high-rises and hotels of Australia’s most populous and popular city!

Sydney is a bucket list destination if there ever was one. The capital of New South Wales is often the starting point for an East Coast adventure or an Australian road trip, but you’ll quickly find that the city’s buzzing international outlook and urban beaches draw you in for longer than you’d anticipated. 

Catch a performance at the Opera House, explore the Royal Botanic Garden, and visit the Australian Museum, the Museum of Sydney, and countless other cultural and historical institutions. If you dare, you can even tackle the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb for an unbeatable view of the city! 

And at the end of a long day of sightseeing, you’ll have some of Australia’s most luxurious hotels and quirkiest boutique retreats to return to. If you’re planning an Australian vacation, then keep reading, as we explain exactly where to stay in Sydney!

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The 12 Best Boutique Hotels in Sydney

1. Pier One Sydney Harbour

Unique Hotels Sydney Australia: Pier One Sydney Harbour
Photos: Pier One Sydney Harbour

One of the best boutique hotels in Sydney is Pier One Sydney Harbour, where you’ll have glorious views of the city’s most famous bridge. That’s because this beautiful hotel is located on the water itself, where you can arrive in style by docking at the private marina that sits in the shadow of Sydney Harbour Bridge. 

Hotel rooms at this boutique retreat are built on “Pier One,” a long and historic pontoon that stretches out across the Sydney Harbour. You’ll be sleeping above the water, and you’ll wake up to the serene sounds of harbor life as you enjoy fresh coffee on your private terrace or balcony. 

In keeping with the unbeatable harborside location, luxury rooms at Pier One Sydney Harbour are designed with the nautical firmly in mind. The decor embraces the pier’s maritime past, with bright white nautical colors contrasting against wooden panels, timber supports, and brass furnishings. 

You’ll love how each room is slightly different, with much of Pier One’s heritage and history preserved in its style. But rooms at Pier One Sydney Harbour are certainly contemporary, too. Each room has unique modern artwork and flat-screen televisions adorning the walls, alongside a much-welcome and fully stocked minibar. 

You can enjoy premium spirits and hand-mixed cocktails at Bar One or a casual al alfresco lunch or dinner cooked by the “Pier Dining” team. The culinary highlight of a stay at Pier One Sydney Harbour is a fine dining experience at The Gantry Restaurant, where you’ll enjoy fresh oysters, grilled lobster, and harborside views. 


2. Ovolo Woolloomooloo

Sydney Boutique Hotels: Ovolo Woolloomooloo
Photos: Ovolo Woolloomooloo

If you love a beautiful waterfront hotel, then you have to book a stay at Ovolo Woolloomooloo! This quirky five-star property is located on Finger Wharf, a century-old pier that sits between Potts Point and Sydney’s botanical gardens, and you’re going to love the sweeping views over both land and sea.

The hotel draws on its heritage beautifully, and you’ll appreciate the remastered but authentic exterior that’s both colorful and historic. Inside, the traditional high ceilings and wooden beams of this former industrial wharf remain, but the interiors have been completely revamped throughout, providing guests with a unique blend of both the old and the new during their stay.

Ovolo Woolloomooloo takes great pride in breaking from the ordinary. You’ll notice this the moment you walk through the vibrant lobby and into Alibi, the decor-laden centerpiece of the hotel that functions as a bar, restaurant, social venue, and workspace. 

There are pool tables, “kissing booths” for a private dinner date, and eccentric lounge areas surrounded by garishly bright neon pop art and works of contemporary artistic beauty. The menu at Alibi is entirely plant-based (perfect for the veggie and vegan traveler), while there are many more fine dining options along Finger Wharf for the carnivores out there.

The hotel features a fitness center, a swimming pool, and a self-service laundry area (called the “Drop Your Pants Room”). We haven’t even got to the rooms yet, which are all comfortably luxurious and just as quirky as the rest of the Ovolo Woolloomooloo. 

Think bright color schemes, high ceilings, peculiar artwork, and techy features like Google Chrome Casting. As a bonus, all rooms include a complimentary minibar, which is replenished once a day. If you’re looking for unique Sydney hotels, this is the place!


3. Kimpton Margot Sydney

Cool Hotels Sydney Australia: Kimpton Margot Sydney
Photos: Kimpton Margot Sydney

The Kimpton Margot Sydney offers style, luxury, relaxation, and incredible cuisine, all under one historic Art Deco roof on Pitt Street in central Sydney. This five-star hotel has everything you need for a fantastic stay in the city, including a rooftop swimming pool and four bars and restaurants!

But let’s start with the rooms. The Kimpton Margot Sydney loves drawing on the building’s Art Deco past, and you’ll appreciate the nostalgic nods to 1930s Sydney that you’ll see in the furnishings, decor, and paintings that are found in every room. Sink back into your premium eco bedding after brewing up a Nespresso, then relax in your fluffy bathrobes as you listen to curated playlists through the in-room sound system. 

When you’re ready, head to the rooftop, where you can soak up the Sydney sun around the open-air swimming pool. Order cocktails from The Wilmot Bar straight to your rooftop cabana, and if you’re feeling peckish, why not enjoy a few light bites with a view of Sydney?

Don’t eat too much, though, because you’ve still got the Kimpton Margot Sydney’s best culinary experiences saved for later. Enjoy coffee and cakes at Pantry at Margot’s, then a wine or whiskey tasting at Cellar by Luke. 

Finally, you can sample the delectable menu prepared by Head Chef Luke Mangan at the suitably named Luke’s Kitchen, where you can dine on Roast Spatchcock, Hervey Bay Scallops, and Cajun-Spiced Petuna Ocean Trout in an Art Deco setting.  


4. QT Sydney

Cool Sydney Hotels: QT Sydney
Photos: QT Sydney

If you’re looking for one of the coolest hotels in Sydney, then you’ve found it at the QT Sydney. This stylish boutique stay merges history with the contemporary, and we know you’re going to love your stay at this fantastic Sydney favorite. 

Let’s start with the history. QT Sydney is located on Market Street, right in the heart of the CBD, and the building you’ll be staying in was once home to the city’s famous Gowings Department Store, as well as the Sydney State Theatre. QT Sydney embraces its heritage and drama-filled past, and you’ll love how Art Deco furnishings mix sublimely with the theater-esque decor throughout. 

Rooms at the QT Sydney are quirky and cool. Your king-size bed is made up with plush and colorful linen, while the ambient lighting and moody decor add a real sense of 1930s Sydney nostalgia to the otherwise high-tech and modern amenities. You’ll love the walk-in rain showers, the dark marble and granite bathrooms, and the luxury Kevin Murphy toiletries.

Your unique experience continues in the restaurants and bars, where the hotel’s former life as a theater has been well and truly preserved. Enjoy a flamboyant high tea in the afternoon at QTea, then calamari and carpaccio at the Italian-inspired Parlour Cucina. Steak lovers will want to reserve their table at Gowings, where New York-style steaks are served in a wonderfully modern setting.


5. The Ultimo

Best Hotels Sydney Australia: The Ultimo
Photos: The Ultimo

The Ultimo is one of the most unique hotels in Sydney because this curious place to stay is the city’s first astrology-themed hotel! 

At check-in, you’ll provide the receptionist with your star sign, and in return, they’ll provide you with a carefully curated star sign reading that also details practical information like where to eat (“Gastrology”) and what to see (“Explorology”) in Sydney based on your answer. 

There’s a special “Astrolo-Tea” that’s carefully selected for each guest’s tastes, an astrology library for reference, and an in-house astrologer who can be consulted for further astrological information.

The hotel itself is a charming if unusual four-star boutique hotel that’s located in Chinatown. You’ll be staying in a heritage-listed building that dates back to 1911, and you’ll love how the original red brick walls still feature prominently alongside modern amenities in each of the rooms.


6. Medusa Hotel

Best Sydney Hotels: Medusa Hotel
Photos: Medusa Hotel

The Medusa Hotel is one of the most colorful, quirky, and cool hotels in Sydney. This vibrant boutique will quickly steal your heart with its panache of multi-colored decor, designs, and furnishings, while the individually styled and themed rooms will keep you returning time and time again.

The Medusa Hotel is located in a heritage house on the tree-lined streets of Darlinghurst, right in the heart of Sydney’s most interesting entertainment district. You’re just a short stroll from historic parks and museums, as well as modern art galleries, theaters, bars, and nightclubs. 

There are just 18 boutique rooms, all of which are quaint but packed full of charm. The bright and bold decor merges light yellows, dark reds, and brilliant turquoises with every palette of color your imagination could conjure, while the soft linens and woolen blankets bring comfort and warmth to your stay. 

The premium rooms offer small balconies overlooking a central (and equally colorful) courtyard, while an upgrade to the Grand Room provides you with high vaulted ceilings, serious living space, lounging chairs, and even a small kitchenette!


7. The Old Clare Hotel

Unique Hotels Sydney Australia: The Old Clare Hotel
Photos: The Old Clare Hotel

The Old Clare Hotel effortlessly manages to merge nostalgia with the contemporary, making this one of the coolest boutique hotels in Sydney!

This five-star hotel is located within the formerly industrial suburb of Chippendale, a wonderfully local area that’s set away from the crowds but still within easy reach of places like The Rocks and Sydney Harbour.

The industrial look has been retained yet refined, and you’ll love how the vintage red brick masonry and antique furnishings of this heritage hotel are complemented by a sun-soaked rooftop swimming pool and bar area that wouldn’t be out of place in a Balinese resort.

The Old Clare Hotel was once the headquarters of a brewery, and the now-luxurious rooms at this boutique have suitably high vaulted ceilings, as well as those lovely red brick walls you saw on the outside. 

In addition to the restored, vintage-style chairs that add a retro touch to every room, you’ll love the unique lamps designed by Rag and Bone Man and the luxury toiletries from Triumph and Disaster. 

The vintage revival continues in The Old Clare Hotel’s restaurant, Automata, which you’ll find in a repurposed warehouse-style setting that evokes Sydney’s industrial past. Head Chef Clayton Wells has developed an unusual tasting menu, which includes unique dishes such as spiced duck heart with salsa verde and fried curry leaves and barbecued quail with wild oregano and licorice. 


8. The Woolstore 1888

Cool Sydney Hotels: The Woolstore 1888
Photos: The Woolstore 1888

It’s hard to pass up the opportunity to stay in a heritage hotel, and harder so when that heritage hotel is located in a quiet corner of Sydney, close to the calm waters of Darling Harbour. The Woolstore 1888 is one boutique that we love returning to time and time again, and we know you’re going to love its history, its heritage, and the quirky post-industrial feel that flourishes throughout. 

You’ll find The Woolstore 1888 inside an old woolen storehouse in Sydney’s Pyrmont suburb, and as you might have already deduced from the hotel’s name, the storehouse was built back in 1888. 

The hotel has saved much of the storehouse’s original masonry, and you’ll love how the luxury rooms feature exposed brick walls alongside super-high vaulted ceilings. To add to the sense of nostalgia, your hotel room also features vintage and antique furniture alongside original window fittings and exposed wooden beams. 

The Woolstore 1888 is part of the Ovolo brand, and with that in mind, it won’t come as a surprise to hear that alongside the industrial elements, rooms are decorated with vibrant, bright bedding and furnishings and quirky murals and pop art. You’ll have all the modern amenities you need (televisions, Wi-Fi, etc.) and access to a fitness center to work off the snacks in the complimentary minibar. 

The hotel hosts Vino Hour once a day, where you have the opportunity to sample complimentary local wines while mingling with other hotel guests and the concierge staff. After Vino Hour, why not take a table at Mister Percy, where more wine flows alongside a fresh menu of Mediterranean dishes?


9. Sir Stamford Circular Quay

Cool Hotels Sydney Australia: Sir Stamford Circular Quay
Photos: Sir Stamford Circular Quay

If you’d love to delve into Sydney’s delightful old-world charm, then we recommend booking a refined room at the Sir Stamford Circular Quay. Located in a heritage-listed building overlooking the Royal Botanic Garden, this hotel is home to one of the largest private collections of fine art in Sydney. 

You’ll love how the hotel is adorned with old-fashioned sentiment. There are 18th-century antiques casually lining the hallways and corridors, lavish chandeliers swing from the high vaulted ceilings, and Victorian portraits and paintings adorn the walls. 

Rooms are suitably old-world in design, too, with classic marble bathrooms and antique furnishings. Upgrade to the Presidential Suite, and you’ll have the luxury of an in-room Grand Piano to play! 

You can cool off in the hotel’s outdoor swimming pool, or you can dress up for Stamford High Tea in the predictably elegant Dining Room. The Dining Room also serves up a full buffet breakfast, a hearty pre-opera dinner menu, and a smashing Sunday roast. End your day at The Highlander Whiskey Bar, where you can enjoy a nightcap of scotch while admiring the Persian rugs and fine art that decorate this undeniably posh bar. 


10. Shangri-La Sydney

Cool Sydney Hotels: Shangri-La Sydney
Photos: Shangri-La Sydney

The Shangri-La offers a sense of serenity in Sydney’s otherwise bustling urban environment. This five-star luxury hotel is one of Sydney’s best, and we won’t be surprised if you cancel your sightseeing itinerary and spend the day in the Shangri-La spa instead. 

CHI, The Spa provides guests with an extensive range of treatments inspired by Asian and European wellness traditions and infused with indigenous Australian healing techniques and botanical ingredients that are unique to the Sydney region. You can enjoy a Himalayan Hot Stone Massage, an Australian Wattleseed Body Scrub, or a no-nonsense Swedish massage. 

After your treatments, relax and unwind in the Shangri-La’s Health Club, where you’ll find a swimming pool, whirlpool, sauna, sundeck, and a full lunch and beverage menu. If you’re not yet suitably relaxed, then why not continue your spa session in your luxury room? You’ll love the elegant marble bathrooms, the deep bathtub, super fluffy bathrobes, and luxury toiletries that come as standard!

Rooms at the Shangri-La are spread out across 36 floors, right in the heart of Sydney’s prestigious and historic Rocks district. You’ll have sweeping views of the Sydney skyline, and you’ll be able to spot iconic landmarks like the Sydney Opera House or Sydney Harbour Bridge as you recline on your plush Shangri-La linens. 

For the best view in the hotel, reserve a table at either Altitude Restaurant or Blu Bar, both of which are located on Floor 36 of the Shangri-La. Or why not do both? Enjoy afternoon tea and signature cocktails at the Blue Bar, followed by butter-poached marron, triple-cooked chicken, and pannacotta at Altitude Restaurant. 


11. The Langham Sydney

Best Hotels Sydney Australia: The Langham Sydney
Photos: The Langham Sydney

You couldn’t ask for a more luxurious boutique than The Langham, which we know you’ll agree is one of the best hotels in Sydney. 

This prestigious establishment is conveniently located next to Sydney Observatory, just a short stroll away from The Rocks and Sydney Harbour Bridge. You’ll love how the hotel takes inspiration from its surroundings, particularly when you’re enjoying the Zodiac Gin Collection at The Langham’s Observatory Bar. 

Rooms at this five-star hotel feature beautiful mahogany furniture, colorful carpets and floral decor, and fantastic views over the harbor or Observatory Hill. Best of all are the marble bathrooms, which feature exquisite bathtubs and an impressive range of luxury toiletries. 

Enjoy the hotel’s Greco-Roman-inspired indoor swimming pool, or sweat it out in the sauna or gym. Keep your evening free for dinner at Kitchen on Kent, where an open-kitchen buffet features theatrical live cooking stations, entertaining local chefs, and unbeatable international cuisine.


12. Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour

Cool Sydney Hotels: Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour
Photos: Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour

One of the coolest hotels in Sydney is the Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour, where you can stay in a luxury harbourside location that’s just a short stroll away from the city’s most famous sightseeing attractions. 

The Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour is the height of five-star luxury living in the city. These are no mere hotel rooms, but grand apartments that come complete with huge living areas, sumptuous sofas, and kitchens that are fully equipped with all the necessary and unnecessary high-end appliances you could ever need on vacation!

Cook up a feast, then enjoy your home-cooked dinner with stunning views from your apartment’s floor-to-ceiling windows or from the privacy of your balcony or terrace. You’ll have sweeping panoramas of either the harbor or the Royal Botanic Garden, while you can take in more views while dining or drinking at the hotel’s Q Dining Restaurant or Hyde Hacienda Bar. 

That completes our list of the 12 best Sydney hotels! Did we miss any cool boutique hotels in Sydney? Comment below so we can add them to the list!


Where to stay in Sydney

Where to Stay in Sydney, Australia: Best Boutique Hotels

The Sydney you’ve seen in photographs – the Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Observatory Hill, and more – is the Sydney that’s located around the city’s harbors, quays, and wharves that surround the Central Business District (CBD).

If it’s your first time in Sydney, or if you love staying in the most luxurious and prestigious hotels, then this central, harborside area is the place to be. This area is divided into several small districts, with the most famous being the Circular Quay, where you’ll find five-star hotels overlooking the Opera House.

To the east of Circular Quay, you’ll find quirky hotels on repurposed piers at Finger Wharf in Woolloomooloo, while to the west, you can stay in The Rocks, a history-laden district right under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The harborside hotels continue further west as you reach Darling Harbour and Pyrmont, while inland, you can find boutique accommodation (often at lower prices) in districts such as Darlinghurst, Chippendale, and Chinatown. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What hotel in Sydney offers the best views?

One of the best boutique hotels in Sydney is Pier One Sydney Harbour, where you’ll have glorious views of the city’s most famous bridge. That’s because this beautiful hotel is located on the water itself, where you can arrive in style by docking at the private marina that sits in the shadow of Sydney Harbour Bridge.

What hotel in Sydney is best for foodies?

The Kimpton Margot Sydney offers style, luxury, relaxation, and incredible cuisine, all under one historic Art Deco roof on Pitt Street in central Sydney. This five-star hotel has everything you need for a fantastic stay in the city, including a rooftop swimming pool and four bars and restaurants! Enjoy coffee and cakes at Pantry at Margot’s, then a wine or whiskey tasting at Cellar by Luke. Finally, you can sample the delectable menu prepared by Head Chef Luke Mangan at the suitably named Luke’s Kitchen, where you can dine on Roast Spatchcock, Hervey Bay Scallops, and Cajun-Spiced Petuna Ocean Trout in an Art Deco setting.

What is the most unique hotel in Sydney?

The Ultimo is one of the most unique hotels in Sydney because this curious place to stay is the city’s first astrology-themed hotel! At check-in, you’ll provide the receptionist with your star sign, and in return, they’ll provide you with a carefully curated star sign reading that also details practical information like where to eat (“Gastrology”) and what to see (“Explorology”) in Sydney based on your answer.

What hotel in Sydney has the best spa?

The Shangri-La offers a sense of serenity in Sydney’s otherwise bustling urban environment. This five-star luxury hotel is one of Sydney’s best, and we won’t be surprised if you cancel your sightseeing itinerary and spend the day in the Shangri-La spa instead. CHI, The Spa provides guests with an extensive range of treatments inspired by Asian and European wellness traditions and infused with indigenous Australian healing techniques and botanical ingredients that are unique to the Sydney region. You can enjoy a Himalayan Hot Stone Massage, an Australian Wattleseed Body Scrub, or a no-nonsense Swedish massage.

What is the most luxurious hotel in Sydney?

You couldn’t ask for a more luxurious boutique than The Langham, which we know you’ll agree is one of the best hotels in Sydney. Rooms at this five-star hotel feature beautiful mahogany furniture, colorful carpets and floral decor, and fantastic views over the harbor or Observatory Hill. Best of all are the marble bathrooms, which feature exquisite bathtubs and an impressive range of luxury toiletries.


Author

  • Richard Collett

    Richard is an award-winning travel writer based in Southwest England who’s addicted to traveling off the beaten track. He’s traveled to 75 countries and counting in search of intriguing stories, unusual destinations, and cultural curiosities.

    Richard loves traveling the long way round over land and sea, and you’ll find him visiting quirky micronations and breakaway territories as often as he’s found lounging on a beach (which is a lot).

    When he’s not writing for BBC Travel, National Geographic, or Lonely Planet, you can find Richard writing for the Wandering Wheatleys or updating his off-beat travel blog, Travel Tramp.

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1 thought on “12 Cool Boutique Hotels in Sydney”

  1. Bad experience this past year with Kimpton probably because they have been acquired by IHG. Some hotels have fees for the pets and don’t have a wine hour anymore. No special occasions specials, some don’t have a gym as well, Spas has additional charge and parking fees keeps on going up. This is how they expand – thru more fees being charged they’re adding fees on a more frequent basis more than once a year on their hotel chains.

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