7 Sydney boutique hotels for a unique staycation

One of the most visited cities in the world, it's easy to find a typical hotel room in Sydney. But if you want something a bit different and a hotel stay that's more than memorable, these are the Sydney boutique hotels to look out for.

You’ve spent the day walking around Circular Quay, took the classic tourist photo in front of the Opera House. Maybe you were adventurous enough to do the Harbour climb or prefer a more refined dining experience to tempt the taste buds with the best Australian cuisine has to offer.

After all that adventure and excitement, why end your day in a typical hotel room? Delve a little deeper and you’ll discover a thriving design scene that’s produced some of the most exciting boutique hotels in the country.

These are some of the coolest hotels from Woolloomooloo to Woollahra – browse everything from refurbished warehouses on the waterfront to renovated Victorian townhouses. Chill out in an urban bar with your favourite cocktail, unwind with a good book in a cosy reading room or enjoy a weekend escape with your loved one for a cool Sydney staycation.

Sweeping views from your Sydney boutique hotel room

One of Sydney’s best views across the Harbour Bridge and Opera House can be seen from your banquette window in Larmont Sydney‘s Signature Room. Having received a full makeover in 2017, all 103 rooms feature King Koil king-size beds with MicroCloud toppers from where you can relax and unwind while listening to smooth jazz from the Bose SoundTouch speakers or better yet, enjoy unlimited Netflix on your Apple TV.

Enjoy breakfast on-site at The Hyde, where you can start the day with a ‘garden granola’ made with organic coconut yoghurt, seasonal fruit and superfood seeds, or fried eggs and greens with crushed peas, sautéed spinach and crispy kale. If you don’t fancy getting changed out of your pyjamas, the hotel has a working collaboration with eight local restaurants, so you can order authentic dumplings, gelato or beer straight to your room.

Join a no-pay yoga or pilates class at the adjacent Body Mind Life Studios or pick up a day pass to Anytime Fitness. You’ll want to make the most of happy hour for a free drink and canapes each night or get stuck into your personal minibar where your first items are complimentary. Even your furry friends will be treated like royalty here, as four of the hotel’s courtyard rooms welcome dogs with treats, water bowls and a bed.

Hotel Indigo Sydney Potts Point

Top rated
9.0 Excellent (1419 reviews)

Boudoirs for theatre darlings

Ready your silks and lace masquerade mask; QT Sydney offers truly unique boutique accommodation Sydney dwellers should be proud of. When you arrive, the Director of Chaos – dressed military-style with a bright red bob – will guide you to the elevator. Inside, a song will play depending on the weight of the number of people inside. Think Billy Idol’s ‘Dancing With Myself’ for solo travellers and crooning love songs for couples. This is no ordinary hotel.

Built in historic Gowings and State Theatre buildings that date back to the 1920s, QT Sydney blends Gothic, Art Deco and Italianate design with quirky knick-knacks. Rumour has it the design team spent 18 months gathering the eclectic range of objects for the hotel’s grand opening. Rooms are decadently fitted out in reds, golds and blacks, with wood-panelled walls, faux-fur throws and leather and mirror headboards. To top things off, all are scented with Coco Chanel’s No 5.

Downstairs, look for a comfortable corner in the Gilt Lounge to enjoy an Old Fashioned or Negroni. If spa time is more your thing, book a treatment in SpaQ and its hammam-inspired steam room. While the ladies rest with cucumbers on their eyes, gents can freshen up with a wet shave in an antique leather barber’s chair with a glass of Chivas Regal whiskey.

QT Sydney

Top rated
9.4 Excellent (2246 reviews)

Sydney boutique hotel meets renovated brewery

The Old Clare Hotel has been lovingly restored to reflect its former lives as The Clare Hotel Pub and the Carlton & United Breweries Administration Building. The 62 rooms retain original industrial features like exposed brick and cement walls, vintage designer furniture and striking warehouse lighting. Look for the one-of-a-kind, custom-made lamps in each room, made from salvaged materials by London designer The Rag and Bone Man.

In the Showroom Suites, you’ll find the original pub bar, which was rescued from the former brewery building. The administration building’s boardroom is now the C.U.B. Suite, with parquet floors and a restored executive men’s washroom. If the building’s brewery past has made you thirsty, head down to The Clare Bar to sample one of the three beers on tap – usually a lager, an IPA and a new beer of the week. Perch on a stool against the amber wraparound bar and share a charcuterie board made with 24-month-aged San Daniele prosciutto, pork and fennel salami, wagyu bresaola, Turkish bread and pickles.

If you’re after something more refined, book a table at Automata where the Clayton Wells team will dish up a five-course tasting menu. Expect unique dishes such as sheep’s curd with asparagus and globe artichoke, and grilled Tasmanian octopus with fermented carrot.

The Old Clare Hotel, Independent Collection by EVT

Top rated
9.2 Excellent (432 reviews)

A dash of history in this stately converted mansion

In the exclusive, leafy neighbourhood of Woollahra surrounded by antique shops and upmarket galleries, The Hughenden is a slice of history. Once a Masonic Hall and later a Ladies College, it retains many original features such as twinkling chandeliers, marble fireplaces, a grand staircase and artworks in gilded gold frames. The 32 suites and rooms cater to a range of budgets and feature crisp colour palettes with intricate Victorian accents. A surprise perk, pooches are welcome here too, with six pet-friendly rooms and access to doggie spaces throughout the hotel.

Find an idyllic place to relax with a book in the cosy reading room, where you can sink into a studded leather sofa and even tinkle the ivories on the lounge’s piano. Or, nab a cast-iron table on the sun deck under the shade of a palm tree or market umbrella. High tea is served in the elegant Victorian Lounge, where you can nibble on mini salmon bagels, macaroons and artisan scones, while 14 Queen is open for breakfast and lunch each day. The sun-drenched front courtyard is ideal for warm days, while you can spend cooler ones in the conservatory with a plate of French Toast or Eggs Benedict.

The Hughenden Boutique Hotel

8.8 Excellent (816 reviews)

Colourful charmer in Sydney's creative precinct


Darlinghurst, the achingly cool hipster haven filled with film production companies, art galleries and independent designer boutiques, is also home to the Medusa Hotel – Sydney’s first luxury boutique (and the trivago Awards 2019 winner for best three-star hotel in Australia). From the outside, the raspberry-painted townhouse with white shutters is friendly but unassuming. Inside, pink wall-papered hallways, geometric tiled floors and a red-carpeted staircase delight guests on arrival. Don’t be scared off by the painting of Medusa staring down at you from reception, this is a hotel for the fun and quirky.

Inspired by 1950s Hollywood, with more than a bit of Palm Springs thrown in for good measure, bold design clashes are all part of the charm. Often cited as one of the coolest hotels in the world, rooms feature punchy splashes of colour on the walls and headboards and cool views of the courtyard reflection pool. Flop into a white sun lounger and let the soothing notes of the courtyard water feature lull you into a meditative state.

Thoughtful extras include Lindt chocolates, a well-stocked minibar and a complimentary breakfast of warm berry muffins and pastries to devour while reading your free newspaper. Come lunchtime, the friendly hospitality team will be happy to recommend dining and drinking options on nearby Oxford Street or Kings Cross.

Medusa Hotel Sydney

Top rated
9.6 Excellent (759 reviews)

Boutique hotel in a design-driven warehouse

With names like Superoo, Deluxaroo and Cityvoo, the rooms at Ovolo Woolloomooloo set a standard of silliness straight from booking. The owners of this hotel certainly have a sense of drama – they’ve created a boutique hotel, bar and event centre in one, housed in a heritage-listed 100-year-old warehouse on the Sydney waterfront.

Rooms are categorised by room and size, with some offering views over Finger Wharf from the comfort of a chaise lounge. Industrial design elements like soaring ceilings and steel-studded walls are a nod to the past, while modern touches such as neon-coloured sofas and brightly muralled headboards give an eclectic, artistic vibe.

Head down to the atrium-style lobby lounge and grab a pastel-coloured kissing booth, embellished with a pull-down blind for privacy, to catch up on some work with a side of quirkiness. Or, just relax with a coffee under large potted plants covered in fairy lights before racking up a game of pool or channelling retro vibes into an old-school video game console.

The cool designs reach Alibi Bar, where craft cocktails look almost too good to drink. You can take your taste buds to Positano with the Amalfi Spritz made from limoncello, lavender syrup and prosecco, or try the Flower Power Sour with vodka, elderflower and orange blossom served over a sage oil mist. You’ll find plant-based creations at Alibi Kitchen – vegans and veg-lovers won’t want to miss the eight-course tasting menu featuring kimchi dumplings, beet hummus and polenta verde.

Ovolo Woolloomooloo

Top rated
9.4 Excellent (2175 reviews)

Foodie heaven in the heart of the city

Given it only has 31 boutique rooms, the dining options at Hotel Establishment are seemingly endless in comparison. You’ll find the multi-award-winning hatted restaurant, est., in a heritage dining room with towering white columns and a vaulted ceiling. The tasting menu features the best of local fare, including baby snapper, quail breast and wild venison.

For something lighter, grab a white stool along the marble bar and watch your sushi be masterfully prepared at eSushi. After-dinner drinks can be sipped from vintage glassware at the underground Prohibition-style speakeasy Palmer and Co, where leather sofas sit among exposed brickwork and 1920s curiosities. Alternatively, head up to the iconic Hemmesphere bar on the fourth floor and lounge on an aubergine corner sofa with a Pistachio Martini or Spiced Apple Sour for a spot of people watching.

When you’re ready to hit the sheets, choose from two room colour palettes – ‘light’, with soft pastels and taupes, Scandi-style furnishings and exposed walls; or ‘dark’, with Japanese black floorboards and bold splashes of purple and fuschia. All have soaring warehouse ceilings and spacious marble bathrooms complete with soaking tubs and Le Labo amenities. For something truly swanky, splash out on a split-level Loft Suite with freestanding spa, exposed overhead beams and cloud-like king beds.

Establishment Hotel

Top rated
9.0 Excellent (1126 reviews)