The best luxury hotels in Sydney

When only Egyptian cotton sheets and 24-hour butler service will do
A bathroom of Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour with a view out over the water
Photograph: Supplied
By Time Out editors |
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Spending a night in a luxurious hotel is a treat that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. Thankfully, you don't need to leave Sydney to find world-class accommodation in the heart of the city – from five-star spa hotels overlooking the city to more boutique offerings that provide proximity to nightlife, theatre and Sydney's best restaurants

RECOMMENDED: Sleep under canvas in these luxury glamping locations

Sydney's best luxury hotels

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A bathroom of Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour with a view out over the water
Photograph: Supplied
Hotels, Luxury hotels

Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour

icon-location-pin Darling Harbour

This 590-room five-star beauty is Sydney’s first luxury hotel built in the CBD since 1999. Splash out on one of the corner rooms with a view of Darling Harbour. The bedroom has a long wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, but the bathroom has one of the best views in Sydney with sheer glass on two sides. Enjoy a long soak while watching the city buzz by at its regular frantic pace.

Time Out tip: You’ll want to spend some time in the infinity pool, which juts out dramatically over Darling Harbour. 

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Restaurant area at The Shangri-La Hotel Sydney
Hotels, Luxury hotels

Shangri-La Hotel Sydney

icon-location-pin The Rocks

The hotel was extensively renovated in 2015 with a fresh palette of gold and silver and specially commissioned carpets and artworks. A spectacular chandelier made of three brass rings hangs in the atrium of Horizon Club and can be seen from many points on the foreshore, fulfilling the architect’s original vision of the building as a ‘lighthouse’. The rooms evoke classic luxury with marble bathrooms and the largest windows of any of the city’s harbourfront hotels. 

Time Out tip: Take a stroll through the beautiful waterfront Barangaroo Reserve just to the west of the hotel.

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The InterContinental Sydney Double Bay
Photograph: Supplied
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The InterContinental Sydney Double Bay

icon-location-pin Double Bay

There are 140 contemporary rooms and suites, a rooftop pool with cabanas, several restaurants, bars and retail spaces. In its previous iterations it hosted US presidents, our own Prime Ministers (Bob Hawke famously ran through the area in budgie smugglers), Princess Diana and, sadly, Michael Hutchence on the last night of his life. Now the InterContinental Sydney Double Bay is at its brilliant best after a huge renovation. 

Time Out tip: Walk along New South Head Road to the Murray Rose Pool, a harbour beach and large swimming enclosure that’s ripe for a dip any time of year.

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Photograph: Josh Evans
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Park Hyatt

icon-location-pin The Rocks

The jaw-dropping, close-up vista of both the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge is a major selling point, but you get what you pay (a lot) for – the cheaper rooms offer just glimpses of what the more expensive suites have framed through their windows. A recent refurbishment has transformed the top-end suites into über-minimalist apartment-style hangouts. Extras include a rooftop swimming pool, deluxe spa and much-vaunted 24-hour butler service.

Time Out tip: The Park Hyatt’s minimally named bar the Bar makes some of the best cocktails you can find by the water; and definitely the best club sandwich.

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The Darling
Photograph: Supplied
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The Darling

icon-location-pin Darling Harbour

Luxury buffs take note: rooms boast 400-thread Egyptian cotton sheets and a hand-picked pillow menu, plus textured wallpaper and and bespoke furniture. The hotel also features a spa (called the Spa), a eucalyptus-scented pool and is home to Sokyo Japanese restaurant.

Time Out tip:  Just downstairs from the Darling, in the same complex you’ll find Sokyo Japanese restaurant, where chef Chase Kojima serves up some of the best sushi and sashimi in the city.

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Pier One Sydney Harbour

icon-location-pin Dawes Point

The Harbour View Suite – which keeps the heritage-listed building’s original timberwork intact – has waterfront vistas, gleaming white furnishings and luxe toiletries courtesy of Appelles Apothecary & Bar. (Toss the ginger lily-scented Himalayan bath salts and get lost in the giant tub before swanning around your room in white cotton bath robes.)

Time Out tip: Never done the BridgeClimb? Fix that. Locals leave just as gobsmacked as tourists after they enjoy views from its summit. Climbs run every day of the year.

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Ovolo Woolloomooloo
Photograph: Supplied
Hotels, Luxury hotels

Ovolo Woolloomooloo

icon-location-pin Wooloomooloo

There’s a cute little pool for the lap-swimming inclined, and plenty of rooms have harbour views. Book into one of two ‘Rockstar Suites’ (named after rockstars) which have harbour views, eccentric neon lighting, hammock nooks and round, marble bars.

Time Out tip: The Ovolo is right next to one of Sydney’s loveliest walks. Wander around the finger wharf to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, then head through the Royal Botanic Garden to the Opera House.

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A room at Sydney's West Hotel
Photograph: Paul Gosney
Hotels, Luxury hotels

West Hotel

icon-location-pin Darling Harbour

Our CBD is not like Melbourne’s. There you expect the laneways to be teeming with small bars and boutique hotels for a double dose of whimsy when you’re staying in the heart of the city. In Sydney it’s a different story, which is why it’s surprising that they’ve managed to create such an intimate feel at the new West Hotel Sydney, a boutique accommodation project from Hilton down amongst Barangaroo’s new towers.

Time Out tip: There’s a beautiful roof top bar at Barangaroo House that is extremely popular with locals. 

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QT Sydney

icon-location-pin Sydney

For a taste of inner-city luxury, you can’t go past QT Sydney. It packs 200 individualised rooms, a day spa (spaQ), men’s barber, two bars, a café and restaurant into the heritage-listed Gowings building – and still feels boutique rather than behemoth. They’ve themed the place around the full-service men’s department stores of the ’50s and ’60s, from vintage American barber shop chairs to the Hammam-inspired steam room.

Time Out tip: When you wake up, head downstairs to Parlour Lane Roasters. 

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Travel, Short getaways

Jonah's

icon-location-pin Palm Beach

Money might not buy you a lifetime of happiness, but it will certainly achieve it in the short term if you use it to book a weekend escape at Jonah’s at Whale Beach. This luxurious boutique hotel is a famous romantic getaway for Sydneysiders who want to soak their troubles away in a spa bath that has sightlines out to the ocean. 

Time Out tip: Plan your stay between April and mid-December for the best chances of seeing whales as they migrate up and down the coast.

Find more accommodation options in Sydney

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