1 . BLUE Sydney

Sydney,

CALL DIRECT: (612) 9331 9000

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Blue may be its signature color, but our No. 1 spot will leave you feeling anything but depressed. Granted, you’ll find quite a bit of this indigo hue splashed throughout BLUE Sydney, but we can hardly blame it for being inspired by the impossibly blue waters of the harbour beyond its doors!

When it comes to putting a roof over your head, few can live up to this iconic Australian hotel’s exacting standards. BLUE Sydney may have once served as a warehouse, but its industrial lines have since been softened with plush fabrics and an impossibly chic design. Inside the lobby, vibrant reds add a contemporary touch to the former warehouse’s soaring ceilings and well-traveled wood floors. And inside your BLUE rafter room or loft suite, you’ll find the hotel’s signature indigo splashed on everything from bed linens to bath tiles. The Wharf at Woolloomooloo may be a bit of a mouthful, but we think it’s one worth remembering. We probably should tell you to brush up on your pronunciation, especially if it means saving face when it comes time to ask a local for directions. But with this famous wharf and marina just beyond BLUE Sydney’s doors, we don’t think you’ll have any trouble finding shelter in Australia’s Harbour City!

Highlights

In 2007, BLUE Sydney was a Condé Nast Traveler "Gold List" award winner.

Related Onsite Offerings

Flat screen TVs, Serendipity bath products, pillow-top mattresses and feather beds are just a few luxury features of your BLUE Sydney rafter room or loft suite.

Fun facts

BLUE’s Water Bar was named Bar of the Year by the Sydney Morning Herald, Best Bar by the Sydney Good Food Guide and one of the top 10 bars in the world by Condé Nast Traveler.

2 . Swissotel Sydney

Sydney,

CALL DIRECT: (29) 238-8888

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Don’t let our No. 2 pick’s name fool you. In fact, you’d do best to banish those images of Swiss chalets and snow-covered Alps from your head altogether, because the Swissotel Sydney is a pillar of downtown sophistication, style and luxury on your Australian vacation.

We can’t think of anything more luxurious than having a private chauffeur whisk you around Sydney’s urban splendor – unless it was the former paired with a personal stylist at your beck and call. It’s safe to say we were inspired by Swissotel’s Getaway to a New You package, but who wouldn’t be smitten at the prospect of revealing a whole new you in the Harbour City? The elite Queen Victoria Building may take credit for your fabulous wardrobe and Swissotel’s beauty tutor may be the creative genius behind your expert makeover, but the sassy new attitude is all you! Thanks to Swissotel Sydney, you’ve got the perfectly coiffed hair, the glowing complexion and the designer duds. The only thing that’s missing is a fabulous destination to unveil the new you. Only it’s not missing; it’s on site and inside the chic Crossroads Bar. If turning a few heads with an expertly-mixed martini in hand doesn’t strike your fancy, a rendezvous for two at the outdoor pool or inside your luxurious Swissotel suite ought to do the trick.

Related Onsite Offerings

The Conference Centre at Swissôtel Sydney is the perfect setting for Sydney meetings, conferences and corporate events.

Fun facts

Looking for a deeper kind of relaxation and rejuvenation on your Sydney vacation? Swissotel’s Amrita Spa specializes in complete spa packages to restore mind, body and spirit.

Highlights

Swissotel Sydney’s Executive Rooms include ergonomically designed workstations, espresso coffee machines, Bose Wave radios, high speed broadband Internet access, feathered pillows upon request and complimentary local calls.

Despite its somewhat dubious name, you won’t find any gorgons of Grecian fame lurking beneath our No. 3 spot’s mystical surface. In fact, any traces of slithering reptiles have been wholeheartedly replaced with a unique brand of whimsical luxury that is the Medusa Hotel’s own.

The Medusa may be small in stature – it is home to a mere 18 rooms, after all – but this Sydney luxury hotel boasts a captivating presence that almost surpasses its mythical name. If you’re a firm believer in the school of thought that says where you live influences how you live, you’ll love what awaits you inside the Medusa Hotel’s exotic suites. The aptly-named Grand Rooms highlight the hotel’s historic roots with a decidedly contemporary aesthetic, while ground floor Deluxe Rooms open onto the exquisite scenery offered by Medusa’s courtyard reflecting pool. But it’s the Medusa Hotel’s location that sets this Sydney luxury hotel apart. Set in the elite Darlinghurst neighborhood – the Australian counterpart to New York’s SoHo – the Medusa sits at the very heart of Sydney’s bohemian culture. You’ll find an eclectic mix of boutiques, shops and artists’ quarters lining the eternally busy William and Oxford Streets – all within walking distance from the Medusa’s sleek doors.

Fun facts

Medusa is the only luxury hotel in Australia to welcome dogs and has set aside its courtyard rooms for guests traveling with their canine companions.

Highlights

There’s certainly no need to avoid eye contact – looking this Sydney luxury hotel’s staff straight in the face is more likely to elicit a friendly smile than a turn-you-into-stone glare!

Related activities

The Darlinghurst neighborhood, home to the Medusa Hotel, is recognized for its Italian coffee and boasts many famous cafes including Latteria, Bill's, Artisan and Tropicana.

4 . InterContinental Sydney

Sydney,

CALL DIRECT: (29) 253-9000

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They say a blushing bride should walk down the aisle with four things in tow: something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. We can’t speak for Australia’s brides-to-be, but we did find a hotel that offers all of the above – and a generous dash of luxury – on your Sydney vacation!

It may be our humble opinion, but we think InterContinental Sydney’s “something old” is a whole lot better than your Grandmother’s worn-out kerchief. The hotel’s rich history dates back to the early 19th century, and you’ll find telling signs of this in its parquet floors and intricate staircases. As for the something new, that would be the InterContinental Sydney’s complete renovation in 2004 – a spectacular project that transformed this Australian hotel into the pillar of contemporary luxury it is today. Next on the list comes something borrowed, but that’s an easy fix at this Sydney luxury hotel. The rich traditions of grand hotel dining rooms are recreated inside the InterContinental’s Café Opera, where lavish breakfasts, succulent seafood dishes and exquisite desserts are always on the menu. And for the piece de resistance, the fabled something blue, we found it hard to settle on just one – so we didn’t! We’ll let you decide between the deep blue waters of Sydney Harbour, the bubbling pedicure baths of the Sebastian Salon or the sparkling surface of the indoor pool.

Related Onsite Offerings

The InterContinental Sydney is within walking distance to the Art Gallery of NSW and some of Sydney’s finest shops, boutiques and restaurants.

Highlights

You could take in a spectacular cultural display at the Sydney Opera House, or you could simply pull up a chair and take in the views of this iconic structure from the plush comfort of your InterContinental suite.

Fun facts

InterContinental Sydney offers 12 meeting rooms within the beautifully restored Treasury Building, circa 1851. High ceilings, natural light and the latest technology combine for memorable Sydney meetings and corporate events.

5 . Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney

Sydney, New South Wales

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It seems fitting that one of Australia’s finest five-star hotels would come to occupy the No. 5 spot on our Top 10 Sydney Luxury Hotels list. From expansive views of Darling Harbour to spa experiences that are sure to broaden your horizons, you’ll be treated to a whole new world of luxury at Amora Hotel Jamison.

Plush spa robes and contemporary furnishings swathed in sumptuous fabrics like velvet and suede are just a few luxury touches featured in your Amora Hotel suite, but the hands-down winner of the ultimate indulgence award is the Amora Spa. Step into this sleek Australian spa and you’ll instantly leave the hectic world behind. Amora Spa’s signature treatments, exclusive aromatherapy products and ancient Eastern healing techniques blend for a tranquil, restorative experience on your Sydney luxury vacation. The Amora Hotel Jamison’s Gallery Restaurant and Bar is the place to see and be seen each Saturday night. A succulent medley of sea-dwelling delicacies like Sydney oysters, Crystal Bay prawns and Blue Swimmer crabs await you inside this graceful Australian eatery. And when a seafood-induced slumber overcomes you, a sleek platform bed topped with rich plum and crimson hues awaits you in your Amora Hotel suite.

Highlights

The Amora Hotels and Resorts group also offers luxury accommodations in exotic locations like New Zealand and Thailand.

Fun facts

Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney was named Superior Hotel of the Year at the Australian Hotels Association Awards for Excellence in 2009.

Related Onsite Offerings

Amora Hotel’s exclusive Jamison Club suites come complete with access to the Jamison Club lounge, where you’ll savor a complimentary breakfast each morning and drinks and hors d’oeuvres each evening.

6 . Sheraton on the Park

Sydney,

CALL DIRECT: (2) 9286-6000

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As its name suggests, the No. 6 pick on our Top 10 Sydney Luxury Hotels list boasts a premier location on the park. But Sheraton on the Park isn’t set on just any old scrap of public land; it overlooks a literal oasis in the heart of Sydney’s urban sprawl – Hyde Park.

As you’ve probably guessed, Sheraton on the Park’s proximity to trees, manicured lawns and other Hyde Park greenery is a foregone conclusion. But we weren’t expecting this Sydney hotel to also play host to a hint of science fiction, a dash of whimsy and a whole lot of luxury! Those with a penchant for making an entrance won’t be disappointed by Sheraton on the Park’s grand lobby. Two sweeping staircases lead straight to the hotel’s resplendent suites, where black marble baths, Bose sound systems and iPod docking stations lend these Sydney luxury accommodations a futuristic feel. Sydney is famous for its eclectic dining culture, and you’ll find some of this Australian city’s finest housed within the Sheraton’s walls. The glassed-in Botanica Brasserie, with its 360-degree views of Archbold Fountain and the imposing Hyde Park barracks, gives the impression that you’re actually part of the park’s historic landscape. And the expansive glass ceiling of Sheraton on the Park’s rooftop pool makes it hard to tell where the reflective waters end and the Sydney skyline begins.

Highlights

Sheraton on the Park’s central location provides easy access to popular entertainment venues including the State Theatre, Sydney Entertainment Centre and The Domain.

Fun facts

Sheraton on the Park was named Leading Conference Hotel, Australia and Australasia, in the 2007 and 2008 World Travel Awards.

Related Onsite Offerings

Sheraton Preferred Guests enjoy free nights, exclusive benefits, fast online booking and luxury accommodations at Sheraton hotels and resorts around the globe.

7 . Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney

Sydney,

CALL DIRECT: (2) 9250 6000

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Our No. 7 pick may not be exactly what British author James Hilton had in mind when he penned the tale of an earthly paradise in his 1933 novel, Lost Horizon. But if it’s a slice of Australian paradise you seek, we can’t imagine a finer utopia than Sydney’s Shangri-La Hotel!

It takes a lofty elevator climb to arrive at Shangri-La Hotel’s 36th floor, but you won’t find a finer view of the iconic Sydney Opera House than that offered by the hotel’s Altitude Restaurant. This award-winning Australian eatery boasts more than a panoramic view of the Harbour City; it’s also home to one of Sydney’s finest dining experiences. Savor Chef Steven Krasicki’s creative take on contemporary Australian cuisine, then step back into the elevator and take it straight to the upscale comfort of your Horizon Club suite. Shangri-La Hotel’s exquisite collection of luxury guestrooms and suites are easily some of the most spacious and exclusive accommodations in all of Sydney. Marble baths, flat screen TVs and breathtaking views of city landmarks like Sydney Harbour, Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge are only a few luxurious features of these stunning suites. And the hotel’s Blue Horizon Bar is a chic after-hours meeting place for locals and tourists alike, so you’d be well-advised to pull up a stylish lounge seat before they’re all spoken for!

Related Onsite Offerings

The hotel’s Executive Grand Harbour Spa Suites include upscale add-ons like high speed Internet access and a spacious Jacuzzi tub.

Highlights

Shangri-La Hotel’s Alysium Spa and Health Club offer an array of relaxing treatments and personal fitness opportunities to supplement your Sydney luxury vacation.

Getting there

The Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney is located in the city’s historic Rocks district and is convenient to Sydney’s numerous transit options, including rail, bus, airports and ferries.

8 . The Observatory Hotel

Sydney,

CALL DIRECT: (61-2) 9256-2222

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We’d bet our last dollar that you won’t find a more fitting place to partake in the Harbour City’s rich traditions than at its most awarded accommodation, The Observatory Hotel. Cultural influences, global inspirations and luxury appointments abound in this boutique hotel set in Sydney’s esteemed business district!

No stay at the Observatory Hotel would be complete without taking part in the hotel’s signature high tea service. We can’t decide which we enjoyed more – the delicate finger sandwiches and mini crème brulées or the richly upholstered velvet sofas that served as our perch. If tea isn’t your thing, a generous pour of Rose French Champagne is a spectacular substitute. And if a tiny cup of tea and accompanying scone aren’t enough to satisfy your appetite, there’s a good chance that seven courses of Galileo Restaurant’s French-inspired feast are up to the task. The Observatory Hotel’s Executive Suites are beautifully-appointed with four poster beds, domed ceilings and French doors that open to balconies with views of the hotel’s namesake, Observatory Hill. And the Observatory Suite is dressed from carpet to ceiling with magnificent period furnishings, gilt-framed mirrors and a classic oil painting of Mosman Bay.

Highlights

The Observatory Hotel’s day spa, the Day Spa Sydney, is one of Sydney’s finest and most critically acclaimed spas.

Fun facts

The Observatory Hotel was the Orient-Express Hotel group’s first property on the Pacific Rim.

Related Onsite Offerings

The onsite Martini Club recaptures the Rat Pack’s glory days with an extensive menu of classic martinis and swank lounge atmosphere.

9 . The Westin Sydney

Sydney,

CALL DIRECT: (2) 8223-1111

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The Westin Sydney may be our No. 9 pick, but for a brief moment we debated giving this five-star accommodation a second spot on our Top 10 Sydney Luxury Hotels list. In addition to its heart of the city location, The Westin also offers you the choice of two distinct experiences within a single setting!

The historic General Post Office is home to the antique windows and soaring ceilings of The Westin’s Heritage Rooms, while the aptly-named Tower boasts high altitude accommodations with incredible skyline views. No matter which building you choose, you’ll be treated to the luxurious comfort that has made The Westin name famous, like the soothing cascade of your en-suite rainforest shower – a refreshing way to wake up each morning. The oversized soaking tub, featured in each Westin suite, which serves as a relaxing retreat each evening. And The Westin’s signature Heavenly Bed that provides the proverbial icing on your Sydney luxury vacation! You’ll find more than a choice of luxury accommodations on your Sydney vacation; The Westin also offers you convenient access to Sydney’s most noted sights and attractions. Challenge yourself to join the ranks scaling the Harbour Bridge’s lofty heights, score a hole-in-one on one of Sydney’s scenic golf courses or make the 15-minute trek to the golden sands and refreshing waters of the New South Wales coastline!

Fun facts

The Westin Sydney was awarded the inaugural 2009 Bentley Award for Outstanding Hotel Service by Luxury Travel Magazine.

Related Onsite Offerings

The 1 Martin Place complex, home to The Westin Sydney, offers a health club, Endota Day Spa, Perry Ellis Hair, exclusive designer retail stores and the GPO food emporium with 14 award-winning restaurants and bars.

Highlights

The Westin Sydney also offers a 24-hour business centre with copying, printing and fax services.

10 . The Grace Sydney

Sydney,

CALL DIRECT: (2) 9272-6888

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We could go on and on about the elite experience that awaits you at the last, but certainly not least spot on our Top 10 Sydney Luxury Hotels list. After all, The Grace Sydney is set at the meeting place of three of the city’s most prestigious streets: York, King and Clarence.

But why waste all those words when just two will suffice. The name “Bondi Beach” may not mean much to you now, but we’re confident this beloved stretch of Australian beach will soon earn a place among your most treasured vacation memories! You’ll need all the grace you can muster when you finally work up the courage to scramble to your feet and ride the Australian surf into the relative safety of Bondi Beach – just minutes from the Grace’s doors. If your attempt is anything like ours, the best you’ll manage is a nose full of sea water and a stray kelp strand tucked into your wetsuit pocket – but we promise it’s an experience worth even the inevitable sand in your swimsuit! We opened by saying we could go on and on about The Grace Sydney’s exquisite details – and now we will. First, there are the stylish Art Deco touches housed within The Grace’s walls, from its prominent exterior to the leaded stained glass that bears its likeness. And finally, there’s the plush comfort and minimalist décor of this Sydney luxury hotel’s spectacular guestrooms and suites!

Related Onsite Offerings

The Grace Café is a prime place to people watch over one of this Sydney restaurant’s delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner entrées.

Highlights

Plush feather pillows, down comforters and a soothing color palette ensure you a peaceful night’s sleep inside The Grace hotel’s guestrooms and suites.

Fun facts

Inspired by the Chicago Tribune building, this Art Deco luxury retreat reopened as a hotel in 1997.

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