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The 13 best boutique hotels in Sydney

Feel at home at a beachside 'burb or in a luxury heritage-listed property

Written by
Time Out editors
&
Maxim Boon
Contributors
Georgia Evans
,
Alex Floyd-Douglass
&
Talia Stanton
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If you're after a trip to Sydney and unsure where to stay, consider booking a few nights in a boutique hotel for a more unique experience of the city. Boutique hotels offer a delicate balance between creatively luxe interiors and intimate (and often innovative) spaces. They tend to feel more homely and local than major chains and can provide the home away from home you might be looking for. 

You'll feel right at home in a residential suburb, surrounded by local bars and cute cafés but still within striking distance of the city’s most exciting dining and entertainment hubs. We've tried and tested the best boutique venues Sydney has to offer, found in the central business district and as far out as the city’s beach suburbs. We've done the hard bit for you, you're welcome. 

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Who makes the cut? While we might not stay in every Airbnb featured, we've based our list on top reviews, hosts and amenities to find you the best stays. This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, see our affiliate guidelines. 

Boutique hotels in Sydney

  • Hotels
  • Dawes Point

Pier One is a must-stay destination in Sydney Harbour. Boasting a disarmingly intimate lobby, a private pontoon and panoramic views, this five-star hotel champions its location all the way to the local-first approach of its top-shelf amenities. Expect a bespoke experience quite unlike anything else available so close to the city’s greatest tourist draws. And when you're not out exploring, you can recharge at the fitness centre, take a stroll along the pier or delve into elevated Australian cuisine at the award-winning restaurant, The Gantry.

Mood? Waterfront paradise. 
Location perks? Did we mention the water?
Budget range? Very affordable. 

  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Watsons Bay

In Sydney, waking up to the sound of waves crashing at the beach is a luxury reserved for the rich, but at the harbourside hotel in Watsons Bay anyone willing to splash out on one of the waterfront rooms can enjoy a slice of that eastern suburbs life. Opt for the Grand Harbour Suite, which has floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the fairy-lit bar and the pine tree-lined Robertson Park. In need of a little pampering? You'll love the marble ensuite bathroom, with a roomy shower cubicle and tub overlooking the park. Remember: ferries operate every three hours so travel may require planning.

Mood? Ocean vibes.
Location perks? Walking distance from the Bay. Dreamy.
Budget range? A great deal.

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3. Ace Hotel Sydney

The Ace Hotel Sydney is an uber-cool boutique hotel, less than a mile from the city centre. Exuding chilled-out vibes almost as soon as you walk through the lobby, the boutique hotel is definitely one for the laidback types. With no fussy furnishings, and no glitzy decor, the Ace Hotel is comfy, cozy and homely, but still stylish and modern. Depending on your needs, there's a range of rooms to choose from, from small rooms with either a king or queen-sized bed to two-room suites with views of the city. 

Mood? Industrial chic.
Location perks? In the heart of the CBD.
Budget range? Well priced for a central stay.

  • Hotels
  • Surry Hills

This heritage hotel mixes modern hospitality and proud history with a distinctive flair, as rooms come filled with vibrant prints, plush furnishings and fascinating fixtures – a design nerds dream. Nestled in Surry Hills, Crystalbrook Albion is one of Sydney’s more inconspicuous boutique accommodations, taking up residency in a former school convent. When the sun is shining, there's no better place to while away the hours than the rooftop oasis, which overlooks the city. Furthermore, the hotel champions sustainability initiatives, including no plastic straws, water bottles or guest key cards.

Mood? Eclectic design.
Location perks? Stunning views over the Surry Hills and the city.
Budget range? Amazing value for money. 

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  • Hotels
  • Chippendale

Where once was a temple to sticky carpeted uni shenanigans, now stands a vintage-styled cocktail bar beneath a slick boutique hotel, complete with a rooftop pool. Standard rooms are generously sized, with king beds, mid-century modern furniture and city views, meanwhile, Abercrombie Rooms offer much the same experience, with the added kick of a freestanding in-room bath. As for the area itself, Chippendale is a thriving central Sydney location, with the hotel being just 750 yards from the Capitol Theatre. Plus, the hotel has a sun terrace and bar for alfresco evening drinks. 

Mood? Contemporary luxury.
Location perks? Walking distance from the Capitol Theatre.
Budget range? Very well priced.

  • Travel
  • Sydney

QT Sydney is larger than most boutique hotels with 200 individualised rooms, a day spa (spaQ), a men’s barber, two bars, a café and a restaurant. They’ve themed the place around the full-service men’s department stores of the ’50s and ’60s, from vintage American barbershop chairs to the Hammam-inspired steam room. Get your day off to a strong start by heading to Parlour Lane Roasters for a hearty breakfast before hitting the town, where you can stroll along Circular Quay, Hyde Park and the Botanical Gardens, before heading back to Gilt Lounge at the hotel for a few pre-dinner tipples. 

Mood? Bespoke design.
Location perks? Two minutes walk to Hyde Park and the Pitt Street Mall. 
Budget range? Decently priced.

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  • Hotels
  • Luxury hotels
  • Woolloomooloo

The Ovolo Woolloomooloo occupies the front half of the heritage-listed Finger Wharf, which means you’ve got waterside wow-factor, knockout vistas and some of Sydney’s best dining at your fingertips. That’s a pretty tempting proposition in and of itself. Plus, you get to stay in the world’s largest wooden building, according to Guinness World Records, which is a big tick for history buffs and fans of heritage-listed architecture. There’s an indoor pool on the premises, but don’t waste the warm weather months swimming inside. Should you prefer to stay dry, keep following the footpath to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, and soak in the stupendous harbour views instead.

Mood? Unique decor. 
Location perks? Next door to the Royal Botanical Gardens. 
Budget range? A steal for what's on offer.

  • Travel
  • Darlinghurst

The Medusa is one of Sydney's original boutique hotels and to this day remains one of the city's best, thanks primarily to love and attention proprietor Terry Schwamberg has given this huge Victorian terrace. You'll find early-2000 designed rooms that have retained their style, channelling bright colours and sleek furnishings. There's also a pink lobby, too, with floral mouldings and an oversized paper chandelier. This chicness is channelled into Grand Rooms, featuring period fireplaces and chaises longues. On a workation? There's a business centre so you can always catch up on emails.

Mood? Simple and modern.
Location perks? Super central.
Budget range? A great price for two.

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  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Haymarket

The Ultimo has a disarmingly cool aesthetic; you’ll be greeted by slick marble surfaces, parquet floors, and framed star sign graphics behind the reception desk. The heritage building has been primped with sweet pastel touches that complement the industrial bare brick, scattered with minimal Scandinavian-style furniture and original Jodi Clark prints – it’s cooler than your average hotel interior without losing any hospitable warmth. When hunger pangs strike, head to nearby Chinatown for vibrant restaurants serving delicious Asian cuisine. Plus, it's just five minutes from the Central Train Station, so you can easily explore some of Sydney’s best attractions.

Mood? A minimalist's dream.
Location perks? In the heart of the Chinatown district.
Budget range? Suuuuuper cheap.

  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Bondi Beach

Nostalgia reigns in the 12 redesigned rooms at Hotel Ravesis on Bondi Beach. The individually styled suites feature local products in the bathroom and at the mini bar, and unusual in-room purchases such as silk eye masks in tropical prints or hand-drawn playing cards. The beachfront accommodation also features various facilities, such as a restaurant, bar and shared lounge. When you're not splashing around in the sea, or tanning on the ever-popular beach, there are plenty of other attractions to check out nearby. These include Harbour Bridge and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, which are both roughly five miles away.

Mood? Bondi vibes.
Location perks? Walking distance to Bondi Beach.
Budget range? On the pricier side.

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11. The Woolstore 1888

Another trusty installment from Ovolo Hotels, Woolstore 1888 is set inside a restored heritage building where modern furnishings meet exposed brick walls and industrial, loft-style high ceilings. Everything is cool, chic and stylish – perfect if you're wanting to document your stay on Instagram. Perks include a 24-hour gym, candy station and 'Vino Hour' held in their neighbourhood wine bar and Spanish tapas restaurant, Mister Percy. 

Mood? Urban cool. 
Location perks? 5 minutes from Darling Harbour and 10 minutes away from Sydney International Convention Centre and the Powerhouse Museum. 
Budget range? A little above average. 

12. Harbour Rocks Hotel

The uber-cool Harbour Rocks Hotel will surround you in both history and five-star luxury; set on the grounds of Sydney's first hospital, the cave-like sandstone lobby is a journey through time, continuing into the Middle Eastern restaurant Tayim – which also has a twinkly Arabian-inspired terrace. There's also a cocktail bar and Parisian creperie to hang out in, when you're not relaxing in your heritage room (boasting harbour views, if you're lucky). 

Mood? Brooding boho. 
Location perks? A 10-minute walk from the Sydney Opera House. 
Budget range? A pretty good price. 

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13. Hotel Palisade

The eight-room hotel Palisade is a peaceful place to rest your head, offering bright and airy interiors that will instantly relax you. You're encouraged to treat the place like your own home (within reason), making the most of the relaxed atmosphere and calming portside views. The walls are dressed with paintings form local artists, and the rooms are some of the most spacious you'll find in the city. 

Mood? Riverside tranquility. 
Location perks? Old Sydney Town, 800 metres from Circular Quay. 
Budget range? One of the best-priced spots around. 

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