9 best luxury Sydney hotels for a five-star city stay in 2024

The top-tier luxury Sydney accommodation in the CBD and city fringe, as picked by GT editors.
One of the best hotels in Sydney, Pier One on Sydney Harbour
Pier One Sydney hotel
Angie Silvy

In the past three years, Sydney has experienced a luxury hotel boom, raising the stakes in a city that once got by on good (out)looks alone. The uplift in investment has brought blockbuster builds such as W Sydney and Crown to the CBD skyline, joined by hip fringe dwellers such as Ace Hotel Sydney and the soon-to-open The Grand National Hotel in Paddington along with the first outpost for the luxuriously artsy Capella brand. And it’s not just the new openings that are upping the ante, stalwarts such as Pier One Sydney Harbour and Park Hyatt are bringing new fit-outs and renewed food and beverage offerings to their prime waterfront locations to secure their ranks among the best hotels in Sydney.

Of course, this means there’s more to booking a room in a Sydney hotel than choosing a rate and a date. Where you stay in Sydney sets the vibe for your whole Harbour City experience. Do you crave opulence in The Rocks or to be dazzled on the Harbour? Uptown curiosity or downtown cool? Sydney has a buffet of moods on offer if you know where to book, so we’ve curated the best based on the mood they strike up.

An editor’s guide to the best hotels in Sydney

Capella Sydney

Capella Sydney Hotel exterior in the CBD

Best Sydney hotel for city sizzle close to Circular Quay

Is this the best hotel in Sydney? Formerly the 1915 Department of Education building, Capella Sydney brings art and storytelling to the booming Uptown precinct just behind Circular Quay. At this Sydney hotel’s foyer bar, Aperture, a blooming Studio Drift Meadow installation sets the tone for casual drinks or settle in for cocktails at the moodier McRae Bar. But if you are staying the night, the place to be is the living room where pre-dinner drinks are served as part of the experience.

Capella Sydney’s rooms, averaging 46 square metres, and generously sized suites, averaging 88 square metres, are beautifully appointed in classic city chic with a decked-out minibar (complimentary for everything but alcohol). Though, the beauty is coming back to the room after the evening turn-down service to perfectly folded everything, slippers laid out and a calming pulse point oil by the bed. Add a visit to Auriga Spa, or a dip in the sunlit 20-metre indoor pool for world-class relaxation.

Ace Sydney

Ace Hotel Sydney Lobby Bar with brown leather booth seating

Best Sydney hotel for dining and local vibrance

On the city fringe in Surry Hills, Ace Hotel Sydney draws in a creative crowd who prioritise the joy of being “amongst it”. Rooms run small but this cohort didn’t come to Sydney to sleep. Ace Hotel’s 2022 arrival in Sydney marked a return to the source of anti-corporate hotel culture. And if some of the signature quirks feel familiar – sheet music for stationery and record players in the room – it might be because Ace Hotel has influenced hoteliers ever since its Los Angeles debut in 1999.

With 257 guest rooms (including suites), Ace Hotel Sydney is the brand’s first hotel to land in Australia, and it has brought with it a stellar line-up of zeitgeist-y collaborators. Flack Studio did the design in a symphony of photogenic moments. The Lobby Bar’s wine list is curated by Mike Bennie of P&V Merchants and on the rooftop is Mitch Orr’s restaurant and bar, Kiln. If you’re looking for local chic, this is one of the best hotels in Sydney.

The Langham Sydney

Langham Sydney Hotel's harbour suite

Best pick of pet-friendly hotels in Sydney

This grand waterfront hotel in Sydney’s The Rocks precinct feels like a throwback to more decadent times, in all the best ways. From the moment the uniformed porter opens the door, to a waft of ginger flower (The Langham’s signature scent) guests are cloistered into an alternate, white-gloved reality of high tea, view-gazing, and sessions in the indoor pool and Chuan Spa.

Book into a decadent one-bedroom suite with all the five-star trimmings, including an oversized bed dressed in fine linens and a terrace balcony over Sydney Harbour. The Langham Sydney is a hotel to bunker down in, wrapped in hotel robes and slippers, ordering a procession of room service treats. And still, those who make their way to the public spaces will be rewarded. Breakfast at Kitchens On Kent, for example, is luxuriously paced with newspapers and a next-level buffet. At dinner, the buffet transforms into piles of fresh seafood (including lobster to order) and a chocolate fountain for dessert. The hotel fantasy continues at Observatory Bar where you can order a Pink Rose cocktail of ginger, rose and gin served with a performative plume of smoke. Pampered pets are welcome, too.

W Sydney

W Sydney Hotel's wave-like facade over Darling Harbour

Best Sydney hotel for living large in Darling Harbour

Maximalism is the vibe for 2024, and the recent hotel opening of W Sydney has it nailed. The largest of the W Hotel family — with 588 rooms, suites and an IMAX — stands in Darling Harbour as a glimmering wave-like landmark set against the bright lights of a CBD highway, which reads like big-city energy under W’s neon filter.W Sydney’s rooftop pool and its Wet Deck bar are highlights as is the Away Spa, where you can regroup in the sauna and steam room. Or, indulge your sweet tooth at Singaporean pastry master Janice Wong’s first Australian venture, 2am Dessertbar.

Kimpton Margot

Kimpton Margot in Sydney's CBD, Celebrity Suite

Best hotel in Sydney with an enviable central location

The southern end of the city was lacking lustre until Kimpton Margot opened its gilt doors in 2022. Since then, it has recast the “student” end of Sydney’s CBD as it truly is a playground of theatre, galleries and shopping. Plus, it’s an easy walk to neighbourhood hubs such as Surry Hills and Darlinghurst.

On arrival, it takes a moment to adjust to the dimly lit velvety glitz of the art deco-themed Kimpton Margot lobby. This is Australia’s first Kimpton Hotel (IHG’s swankiest family member). In the US, the San Francisco-born brand is shorthand for boutique chic. Here, that promise is delivered across all nine levels and 172 rooms as well as the rooftop pool and bar. The interiors weave together the 1930s glamour of the historic Sydney Water Board headquarters and contemporary luxuries such as Mr Smith grooming products.

Pier One Sydney Harbour

The view from the bath at Pier One Hotel, Sydney

Best hotel for tourists wanting a quintessentially Sydney experience

On a Federation-era wharf, suspended over the harbour, with the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the left, and Walsh Bay to the right, it doesn’t get more Sydney than this. To stay at Pier One is to feel like you’ve got the best of the city, especially during events such as Vivid Sydney and New Year’s Eve, when guests here get up close and personal view of the bridge and Sydney Opera House. This is one of the top hotels in Sydney if you’re chasing the quintessential Sydney experience.

Each of the 189 rooms at Pier One brings a contemporary edge to the maritime structure, boasting heritage windows, king beds and Who Is Elijah amenities. Right on the water’s edge, Pier Bar might have one of Sydney’s best sunset views while the newly opened restaurant Pier Dining, which opened in May 2024, has taken over from The Gantry with a seafood-driven menu.

Park Hyatt

A room with a view at Park Hyatt hotel in Sydney

Best hotel in Sydney with a landmark location and iconic views

If you’re in Sydney for sightseeing, you can mark off many of the most significant entries on your must-see list from your balcony at Park Hyatt — the Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House, Royal Botanic Garden, Museum of Contemporary Art and ferries darting across the harbour are all accounted for.

Park Hyatt’s hospitality holds up to the monumental location — think attentive service, slick interiors, a rooftop pool and world-class dining courtesy of The Dining Room by James Viles.

QT Sydney

The hotel lobby at QT Sydney

Best Sydney CBD hotel for bohemian dreaming in the city centre

Theatrics are plentiful at QT Sydney, the whirlwind of a hotel that brings nostalgia and art direction into the heart of the CBD. Housed in the old art deco Gowings Building section of Sydney’s State Theatre, QT Sydney proudly wears its heritage with ticket booths, sewing mannequins and theatre lights all setting the scene. It’s certainly one of the more eccentric hotels in Sydney.

Front-of-house staff are not managers but rather “directors of chaos” dressed in costumes by Romance Was Born and primed in the art of playing the part. Music pumps through the elevator, with song choice dependent on how many people are in it at the time. The rooms are just as quirky and cool. All 198 of them are scented with Chanel Number 5 and strewn with irreverent touches.

Tip: QT also has a hotel in Bondi Beach QT Bondi, for those who’d prefer a beachside stay.

Crown Sydney

The epic pool at Crown Sydney Hotel

Best waterfront hotel in Sydney for heightened dazzle

You can’t miss Crown Sydney. Glistening on the west side of the city like an elongated disco ball, Crown Towers — aka One Barangaroo — stands as a Sydney landmark. In 2021, the hotel opened as a restaurant hub with gleaming accommodations for international high-rollers and locals with an appetite for big-city luxury. Of the 349 guest spaces, there are 327 rooms, 20 villas and two super-prime villas. Each room has a view, a bath, and polished interiors from design firm Meyer Davis.

The showstopper is the terraced infinity pool that seems to stream into the harbour. On the food front, Nobu delivers big-name cache; 12-seater Yoshii’s Omakase is the hardest reservation to get; and Oncore by Clare Smyth, the first woman to helm a three-Michelin-star restaurant in the UK, is another reason to stay at Crown Sydney hotel.

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