The unofficial capital of Australia has grown and developed over the decades to become one of the most glamorous cities on earth, and yet it still more than manages to retain that famously laid-back Aussie vibe.
It’s also one of the most health-conscious cities on the planet, it’s a place where vast green parks cut their way through skyscrapers and suburbs, you’ll find a smoothie bar nearly on every street corner and many a resident’s precious days off revolve around beach life or exploring nature like the nearby Blue Mountains or other national parks.
With an ever-growing fondness to stand out from the crowd, it’s home to a collection of fantastically creative places to stay, here are the best cool and unique hotels in Sydney, Australia (in no particular order)…
1. Vibe Hotel Darling Harbour – a unique, modern and Instagrammable design hotel perfect for partying Millenials and Gen Zs
This is seriously stunning contemporary accommodation in close proximity to the wonders of Sydney City but not too far from the seafront, shops and restaurants on Darling Harbour. The Vibe Hotel is a wonderful chic escape with a hip exposed brick and wood design.
With a gym, pool, restaurant, and bar, this trendy hotel comes fully fitted to help you relax after a busy day exploring the varied city sites and world-class attractions.
Two of the main highlights include a heated infinity rooftop pool and a fun rooftop bar and restaurant. A great choice for a unique and modern design hotel!
- To book, check prices or availability for Vibe Hotel Darling Harbour
2. Hotel Palisade – a beautiful and Instaworthy upscale boutique hotel with incredible Sydney Harbour Bridge views
Situated in the historic Miller’s Point, just beneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the exceptionally rated Hotel Palisade is a thoughtfully restored harbour building that now offers stunning accommodation throughout.
With checkerboard flooring, curved brass walls and plenty of vintage industrial touches the building remains close to its seafaring roots, while still offering sublime comfort and effortless style.
Bedrooms are bright and airy and dressed in nautical colours with Sydney artist Neill Mallard’s seascape murals on the walls. The Public House is lively and popular, serving up craft beers and oysters with waterfront views, as well as a section of light dishes throughout the day.
- To book, check prices or availability for Hotel Palisade
3. Ovolo Woolloomooloo – a waterfront warehouse transformed into a hip design hotel
Situated on the historic Finger Wharf, the 5-star exceptionally rated Ovolo Woolloomooloo is a stunning warehouse conversion hotel closely situated in the heart of the popular Sydney Harbour neighbourhood.
With an eclectic style that fuses soft Nordic woods with harsh industrial fitments and mismatched furniture, the Ovolo is incredibly stylish, yet comfortable at the same time.
The playful theme at the cool and hip Sydney hotel continues into the bedrooms with quirky lighting and brightly coloured walls, or guests can choose to feel like a rockstar for the night and book into the INXS suite complete with its own free bar and vintage record player.
The Lo Lounge offers an extensive booze list and light dishes, and you can take advantage of the hotel’s own Secret DJ app and take control of the music while you dine.
- To book, check prices or availability for Ovolo Woolloomooloo
4. SKYE Suites Sydney – an upscale contemporary and very Instagrammble hotel with unique minimalist decor
SKYE Suites Sydney prides themselves on their unique architecture and elegant atmosphere with the award-winning architecture of Koichi Takada which has made a permanent mark on the Sydney Skyline.
They showcase inviting minimalist and very modern interiors without missing out on all the luxuries of your usual five-star hotel. Experience gorgeous views overlooking the city below, enjoy the very contemporary and unique indoor swimming pool, spa, gym, culinary heights and regular on-site events.
A cool choice for designer accommodation in Sydney!
- To book, check prices or availability for SKYE Suites Sydney
5. Wildlife Retreat at Taronga – a stylish and unique eco-retreat that provides a peaceful setting where you can unplug and unwind
Hasn’t everyone wanted to spend a night in the jungle? At this charming eco-retreat in the middle of the Taronga Zoo, you’re surrounded by nature and wildlife, but within view of Sydney Harbor and its iconic bridge and Opera House.
The open, airy rooms with natural decor have views of the surrounding Australian brushland, the harbour, or the animals, so you can wake up to a pair of koalas climbing the tree outside your window to get a better look at you. Plus you get a complimentary Sanctuary tour and access to the Taronga Zoo, as well as a buffet breakfast.
There’s the Me-Gal restaurant onsite, which serves Australian menus with fresh local produce.
- To book, check prices or availability for Wildlife Retreat at Taronga
6. Crystalbrook Albion – an ultra-creative and arty pet-friendly boutique located in hip and quirky Surry Hills
This boutique luxury hotel with just 35 rooms is located in the Surry Hills neighborhood of Sydney in a 1903 heritage building. From the gothic brick-faced exterior and its adjacent extension to the rooftop terrace, the design mixes classic style with contemporary comfort. High ceilings, lots of natural light, and intricate fabrics and details all speak of timeless glamor and luxury.
The rooms are all unique, with super comfortable beds, plush seats, patterned drapes, and quirky artwork, tiles and wallpaper. The rooftop terrace and garden is a great place for breakfast or a drink, with an amazing view of the city.
Guest can help themselves to the top-shelf drinks and snacks at the Honour Bar at any time, and just leave their room number for the selections to be added to the bill. Some of the city’s best restaurants like Firedoor and Chin Chin are nearby, as are many more bars, cafes and restaurants.
- To book, check prices or availability for Crystalbrook Albion
7. QT Sydney – one of Sydney’s most unique and creative boutique hotels with quirky chic details located close to Circular Quay
Offering an eclectic mix of interior styles, the 5-star exceptionally rated QT Hotel is one of Sydney’s coolest and quirkiest hotels, located in the heart of the city’s central shopping areas.
Housed in an original 1920’s building, there are Art Deco touches throughout, mixed with over-the-top luxury styling and whimsical additions, making the QT a fabulous place to stay.
Bedrooms offer unusual pieces of furniture and sumptuous bedding, whilst bathrooms are resplendent with slate and marble and oversized bathtubs. The lobby area will make you catch your breath with a huge wall of vintage luggage, and the art installations in the on-site Parlour Lane Cafe are epic.
Guests can dine at the Gowings Bar and Grill with its ambitious menu, or take a drink in the Gilt Lounge. There is also a boudoir-themed spa, a Turkish barbers and a gym, as well as the fabulous addition of the QT Butler app that will attend to your every need.
- To book, check prices or availability for QT Hotel Sydney
8. The Urban Newtown – edgy, hip and experimental accommodation perfect for fun-loving Millennials and Gen Zs
Edgy and experimental, the 4-star highly-rated Urban Hotel Newtown can be found in the bohemian suburb of Newtown that is hip and happening, but still within easy reach of the city’s main attraction.
Describing itself as “post-apocalyptic” in style, the central atrium offers graffiti walls and chains hanging from the ceiling, as well as cleverly placed battered guitars and drum kits as the space itself, is often used for live music events.
Bedrooms at this stylishly quirky Sydney abode are softer with industrial designer touches and bold pops of colour, as well as kitchenettes and squeaky clean bathrooms.
There is no bar or restaurant on site but the in-room minibars are well stocked and sometimes free, whilst the reception area offers muffins and sandwiches, although the surrounding streets have plenty of great bars and eateries for you to explore too.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Urban Hotel Newtown
9. Old Clare Hotel – an arty upscale boutique gem located in central Sydney with plenty of creative details
In the up-and-coming area of Chippendale, the 5-star highly-rated Old Clare Hotel is slap bang in the middle of this emerging creative hub, full of old industrial buildings that are being brought back to their former glory.
The hotel itself was once the headquarters of a brewing company and has been renovated to provide outstanding accommodation. Think exposed walls, high ceilings, and bespoke pendant lighting and you get the idea.
The bedrooms are eclectic with plenty of repurposed furniture, but also somehow cool and uber chic with huge in-room bathtubs and impressive showers.
Guests can dine at Automata, Silvereye or Jason Atherton’s Kensington St Social, or enjoy drinks on the rooftop bar or The Clare Bar in the lobby.
- To book, check prices or availability for Old Clare Hotel Sydney
10. The Albert Mosman – a striking and romantic hotel designed to relish the golden age of travel
A nineteenth-century Victorian stately home turned into an exclusive boutique hotel, The Albert is located in the harborside suburb of Mosman, with boutiques, art galleries, restaurants and beaches nearby. It’s also close to the Taronga Zoo and ferry terminals.
The design combines the best of the golden age of travel with contemporary comfort and style, with sumptuous carpets and wood floors, brass accents, hardwood mantelpieces and plush headrests. Luxury touches include custom-made beds and linens, minbar and Nespresso machines and a chef-cooked breakfast every morning.
Some rooms and suites have private terraces and balconies, and there is a rooftop terrace where drinks and eats are served in the evenings. You’ll find an amazing range of dining choices nearby, including famous restaurants like Bathers Pavilion, Ormeggio at The Spit, Chiosco, and Public Dining.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Albert Mosman
11. Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel – a fun, funky and very Instagrammable beach club accommodation perfect for partying
Offering chic accommodation in a more tranquil setting on the foreshores of Sydney Harbour, the 4-star highly rated Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel is a classy, classical boutique beach hotel.
With a cool New England type of vibe, the fun and funky Sydney hotel has the feel of an upmarket beach club and is perfect for those looking to stay just outside the hustle and bustle of the busy city streets.
Bedrooms are beautifully appointed, with fresh white cotton sheets and plenty of nautical touches, whilst bathrooms are modern and contemporary.
The Beach Club Bar is the perfect place to enjoy the views while sipping a Mojito, while the Sunset Rooms serves up burgers and Italian food in its beach-themed restaurant.
- To book, check prices or availability for Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel
12. General Gordon Hotel – a charming and artistic boutique hotel with trendy decor and an eclectic vibe
If you’re looking for a quiet and comfy hotel that’s within easy reach of all Sydney attractions, The General Gordon in Sydenham is a good choice.
Situated just across the road from the train station and above the pub of the same name, the small boutique hotel with just 8 rooms is within five miles of the International Convention Centre Sydney, the Star Event Centre, Australian National Maritime Museum, Art Gallery of New South Wales and Circular Quay.
The rooms are little oases of luxury with a mixture of neutrals and muted plush jewel tones, free WiFi, LED TVs and minibar. Some rooms have balcony access as well. You can head down to the pub for a convivial evening or have the same delicious food delivered to your room.
- To book, check prices or availability for The General Gordon
13. The Woolstore 1888 by Ovolo – a cool industrial-chic boutique hotel housed in a former 19th-century wool warehouse
Housed in a converted wool store, the 4-star exceptionally rated Ovolo 1888 offers uber-cool interiors and first-class service close to bars, shops and attractions in Darling Harbour.
Complimentary minibars, evening drinks, and goodie bags are designed to get guests socialising and then hip Sydney hotel aims to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.
Bedrooms offer the kind of industrial styling that is befitting of the building, but are broken up with huge oversized wall murals and pops of colour throughout, while bathrooms are small but achingly cool.
The onsite restaurant offers a complimentary happy hour on a daily basis, and serves a selection of well-executed hot food and nibbles.
- To book, check prices or availability for Ovolo 1888
14. West Hotel Sydney, Curio Collection by Hilton – a sophisticated and modern hotel close to local attractions
With a great location right near the famous Sydney Harbor and the bustle of the Barangaroo district, West Hotel Sydney offers cutting-edge design and classic comfort.
The iconic Sydney Opera House is just steps away, and also Wynyard Station, ICC Sydney, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
The bold geometric design of the facade evoking gemstones is continued in the interiors, and balanced with botanical motifs and a plant-filled open-air jungle atrium that invites relaxation. The rooms and suites have comfortable beds, coffee makers and seamless Bluetooth speakers.
Plush chairs in jewel colours echo the design theme. Some rooms and suites offer a complimentary daily breakfast bar and mini-bar that is restocked every day.
The 24-hour gym is full of natural light and equipped with the latest strength and cardio equipment. At the Solander restaurant and bar, you’ll find a menu with regional and seasonal ingredients, botanical-inspired cocktails and boutique spirits, wines and craft beers.
- To book, check prices or availability for West Hotel Sydney, Curio Collection by Hilton
15. The Porter House Hotel Sydney – MGallery – a high-end hotel that is surrounded by a blend of heritage and modern buildings
The newest luxury hotel in Sydney overlooks Hyde Park and is close to attractions like the Australian Museum, Darling Harbour, Capitol Theatre, and also to the train stop for Circular Quay.
The historic nineteenth-century building, which used to be a tobacco warehouse, has a new adjoining tower block that harmonizes with the older design.
Inside, the mix of heritage and modern elements continues, with references to the area’s history of trade in tobacco, leather, spice and spirits. Natural materials like limestone, timber and bronze with accents of leather, gold and brass create an opulent look and feel.
The rooms have relaxing palettes of grey and mauve, and there is a fitness center and outdoor heated swimming pool. Three outstanding restaurants offer a choice of cuisines from Europe, Asia and other exotic locations.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Porter House Hotel Sydney – MGallery
16. Veriu Broadway – a hip luxury apartment hotel located in the Broadway shopping and dining district
Located in the trendy Broadway neighbourhood, the suites at Veriu Broadway are within easy reach of the CBD and other city centre attractions, as well as being surrounded by quirky eateries and vintage shops.
Each of the suites at the trendsetting Sydney accommodation has a boutique hotel feel, but also offer their own cooking facilities and separate living areas.
Each offering a different theme, they are all very stylish and well thought out, with the air of a contemporary upscale apartment in each.
The hotel kitchen offers snacks and drinks, but you should explore the surrounding neighbourhoods to find unusual independent cafes, bars and restaurants to discover the real flavour of Broadway.
- To book, check prices or availability for Veriu Broadway
17. ADGE Hotel – a vibrant, trendy serviced apartment hotel located in a hip part of the city
A beautiful boutique hotel offering fully serviced apartments in the heart of the vibrant Surry Hills neighbourhood, surrounded by some of Sydney’s finest high-end fashion stores, gastropubs and bars.
The 5-star exceptionally rated ADGE Apartment Hotel offers contemporary styling with polished concrete floors and an oversized psychedelic mural in the lobby, while the bedrooms at the modern and unique Sydney accommodation are light and airy and offer understated chic that sits perfectly atop of the Keith Haring-inspired carpet with multi-coloured neon stripes.
They also offer fully equipped kitchens with laundry facilities, separate sitting areas and good size balconies. Japanese Raita Noda is located in the lobby, as is the Baccomatto Osteria, an Italian restaurant steeped in style.
- To book, check prices or availability for ADGE Apartment Hotel
18. Spicer’s Potts Point – a chic and charming quaint boutique hotel housed in a historic row of Victorian terraced houses
“An urban oasis in the heart of one of Sydney’s most iconic suburbs” Housed within a Victorian terraced house from 1880, but stylishly designed with modern decor, this hotel is where history meets modern luxury. With just 16 rooms and 4 suites, it’s a small hotel with a big personality.
Each room has complimentary WiFi, a flat-screen TV, and a rainforest shower. Plus, you get a great breakfast each morning and complimentary canapes and a cocktail in the evening.
Sydney Opera House and Capitol Theatre are just 1.1 miles away from Spicer Potts Point Hotel and Kingsford Smith Airport is just 5 miles away. Within a short walk, you can access Sydney harbour and find tons of bars, restaurants, and cafes to dine at too.
- To book, check prices or availability for Spicer Potts Point Hotel
19. Crystalbrook Albion – one of the best boutique hotels to stay in Sydney located in the heart of Surry Hills
Crystalbrook Albion is a luxury boutique hotel in the quirky inner-city suburb of Surrey Hills which prides themselves on their unpretentious and familiar luxury.
An eclectic mixture of history and contemporary life, Crystalbrook Albion was initially constructed in 1902 as a convent schoolhouse; however, now it is a delightfully intimate hotel which doesn’t need to go overboard to make you feel as though you are living in the lap of luxury.
- To book, check prices or availability for Crystalbrook Albion
20. Pullman Quay – beautiful and luxurious all-suite accommodation overlooking Sydney Harbour and the Royal Botanic Gardens
Overlooking Sydney Harbour, The Harbour Bridge and The Opera House, the 5-star exceptionally rated Pullman Quay is an uber-luxe hotel offering fine dining and fully equipped apartment-style accommodation.
Located on Macquarie Street, one of the city’s most prestigious locations, the chic and contemporary Sydney hotel offers five-star service and style throughout. Suites are luxurious and beautifully appointed and include their own kitchens and living areas as well as grand marble bathrooms with spa baths.
Guests can choose to dine at the glamourous Q Dining, a fine-dining establishment overlooking the harbour and the bridge, or sip cocktails at the in-house cocktail bar, Hacienda, one of the most popular bars in the CBD area.
Exquisite style and service come as standard at Pullman Quay, undoubtedly one of the finest establishments in the city.
- To book, check prices or availability for Pullman Quay
21. QT Bondi – a trendy design hotel with a creative and quirky-chic vibe a 5-minute walk from Bondi Beach
For beachgoers and anyone looking for a sea-breeze to wash away your worldly worries, QT Bondi is a great choice for creative boutique-style accommodation.
This cool and fun beachside hotel offers a luxury elevated pad next to one of the world’s most beloved beaches.
Rooms with a peaceful coastal feel and well connected to the rest of the city, this arty design hotel brings the calm of the sea to the heart of the city.
- To book, check prices or availability for QT Bondi Sydney
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My first true adventure began as a six month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh faced backpacker and ever since I’ve lived a semi nomadic existence, clocking up visits to over 40 countries. I’m a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds and all things Scandinavian – from cloudberry liquors to Nordic noirs. When not wandering the world and running Global Grasshopper, you’ll find me walking my rescued Greek street dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Lanes on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about my favourite places; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Laos, California and the surreally beautiful landscapes of a wintry Iceland.