In 2019, Taronga Zoo took bold strides into the luxury accommodation market with its purpose-built 62-room Retreat. This complex of sleek, timber-clad lodges encircling a private bushland garden is a remarkably successful fusion of elegant sophistication and sustainable design, where wildlife and the high-life exist side by side. As soon as you enter the beautifully appointed reception lounge in the N’gurra Lodge, the uncompromising quality guests can expect is clear. After being greeted by friendly reception staff, there’s a chance to enjoy the stunning Sydney panorama on the terrace while you sip on a complimentary glass of rosehip ice tea. As your luggage is spirited away to your room, a member of the concierge team talks you through your overnight stay, which includes access to the zoo, privately guided animal tours, sunset cocktails and dinner at the Retreat’s exclusive fine-dining restaurant, Me-gal. Every room overlooks a purpose-built habitat full of native fauna and plants. This sanctuary for indigenous species – including bettongs, potoroos, wallabies, echidnas and that most recognisable of Australian critters, the koala – has been developed in collaboration with Cammeraygal elders, the traditional custodians of the land on which Taronga sits. This carefully landscaped bush scene, complete with babbling stream and waterfall, is solely for guests of the Retreat to enjoy, making it by far the most impressive amenity on offer here, and arguably, at any hotel in the city.