The best boutique hotels in Sydney, Australia, for a memorable stay in 2023

 A composite image of four of the best boutique hotels in Sydney as chosen by woman&home in 2023
A composite image of four of the best boutique hotels in Sydney as chosen by woman&home in 2023

There are hundreds of hotels in Sydney, Australia to choose from if you’re planning a trip to this iconic harbour-side city, and while many of the world’s most renowned hotel chains have properties here, it is Sydney’s boutique hotels that I think make the best places to stay while you’re visiting.

From providing a highly personalised service to offering great value for money, there are many benefits to choosing a boutique hotel over a chain brand. The best boutique hotels in Sydney have both of these qualities in spades, as well enviable locations, Instagrammable interiors and fantastic menus for foodies.

While most visitors automatically look for hotels in the city’s CBD and Sydney’s historic quarter ‘The Rocks’, there’s much to be said for opting to stay in one of Sydney’s beautiful suburbs just outside of the CBD, or choosing accommodation that’s a little closer to the beach. Sydney is a very walkable city, and there are also quick transport links about town thanks to the inner-city trains, trams and buses.

In our pick of the best boutique hotels in Sydney below, you’ll find both Sydney hotels near the Opera House and other major attractions, as well as hotels on the beach or near Darling Harbour - another popular spot for visitors thanks to its proximity to the CBD and its fantastic fireworks display every year for New Year’s Eve.

The best boutique hotels in Sydney to stay at in 2023

Ovolo Woolloomooloo

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A hotel room at Ovolo Woolloomooloo

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The swimming pool at Ovolo Woolloomooloo

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A view of Ovolo Woolloomooloo from the wharf

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Alibi restaurant at Ovolo Woolloomooloo

Price per night: Prices start at £145 per night

Location: Woolloomooloo Wharf (20 minute walk from Sydney Opera House)

Expert rating: 10/10

This large heritage listed Finger Wharf building may not look like a boutique hotel from the outside, or feel like one when you walk in and see the cavernous ceilings stretching up the full height of five floors, but Ovolo doesn’t let the size of its flagship Sydney property get in the way of its highly personalised and welcoming service that give this luxury wharf-side property its truly boutique feel.

Everything about Ovolo hotels suggests that they know their guests well. From the carefully considered touches in the rooms for guests from overseas, like including plug adapters in the room, snack bags for midnight munchies when the jet lag hits and the unlimited mini bar so you can relax as soon as you hit the room, to the vibey bars and top rated restaurants that become a destination in themselves for locals or guests visiting from elsewhere in the country.

When we stayed we were seriously impressed with the hospitality at Ovolo Woolloomooloo and how quickly a hotel room could feel like a home away from home. This is the perfect base for exploring the city if you want somewhere quieter than the central CBD hotels, but still just as convenient to get to all the sites - you’re a stone's throw from Sydney’s beautiful botanical gardens and beyond that the iconic Opera House. Plus you’re right on the water here, affording brilliant views out over the harbour.

Ovolo Woolloomooloo is a Sydney hotel for relaxing and unwinding as much as it is for exploring. Let the team here look after you during your stay and enjoy the brilliant amenities such as the swimming pool (open every day from 7am-10pm) and the 24 hour gym, as well as the generous and delicious breakfast included everyday at Alibi restaurant so you can start the day slowly with a cup of coffee before venturing out into the city.

Each of Ovolo Woolloomooloo’s rooms are generously sized, with large comfy beds and high ceilings that are indicative of the buildings past as a Wharf building used for the export of wool. Extra touches to seal the deal include a free pic 'n mix trolley for guests of all ages to load up on sugar and a DIY laundry service included in your room rate, should you need to refresh the contents of your suitcase during your trip. We didn’t want to leave Ovolo Woolloomooloo and you won't either. One of our favourite hotels on this whole list - we will be back.

Manly Pacific

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A coastal suite at the Manly Pacific hotel

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The rooftop pool at the Manly Pacific hotel

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A bedroom at the Manly Pacific hotel

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The Bistro Manly restaurant at the Manly Pacific hotel

Price per night: Prices start at £155 per room per night

Location: Manly (20 minute ferry ride from Circular Quay Wharf and the Opera House)

Expert rating: 9/10

If you’re looking for a boutique Sydney hotel ‘on’ the beach, then the Manly Pacific is just about as close as you’re going get. The newly renovated lifestyle hotel sits right on the esplanade next to Manly Beach, Sydney’s premier and most popular beach in the city’s Northern Beaches locale.

Cross the road in front of the hotel and you’ll find yourself, toes in the golden sand, on Manly’s wide and beautiful beach that stretches for 1.5 kilometres up the coast, taking in the quintessentially Aussie scene of surfers catching waves under the blue and sun-filled sky. Manly is just a short ferry trip away from Sydney Harbour and the CBD, so it makes a great spot to base yourself if you’re staying in Sydney for a slightly longer period of time and you plan to have some restful beach days to break up your sightseeing in the sun.

The Manly Pacific hotel takes full advantage of its beautiful beachside location, with many of its 213 rooms, including the stunning 'Infinity Residence' and all 9 of the Coastal Suites, facing the ocean with large sliding doors that lead out onto balconies overlooking the esplanade and the beach beyond. If you leave the door ajar you can hear the waves lapping the shore day and night. For a slightly cheaper nightly rate there are rooms that don't have ocean views, but still exude the hotel's coastal living aesthetic and are finished to an incredibly high standard. All guests also have access to the hotel's rooftop pool, which isn't short on sun rays or views on any given day.

The hotel's dining spots also feature large bi-fold doors that can be pulled back to flood the spaces with light and warmth from the Australian sun, such as 55 North, Manly Pacific's stylish cocktail bar that looks out onto Manly’s main boulevard with the beach beyond. Feeling a little get lagged? We recommended the Miso Caramel Espresso Martini - a sweet treat to take the edge off and see you through to dinner in the hotel’s main restaurant Manly Bistro or the Japanese-fusion restaurant Tokyo Joe’s next door.

Furnished by Australian designers Coco Republic, the hotel is brimming with stylish spots to relax in, and every corner is as comfortable as it is aesthetically pleasing. This hotel could easily rest on its enviable location and stylish yet comfortable interiors alone, but the management and staff here go above and beyond instead to ensure that every guest's stay is memorable for all the right reasons.

Expect a warm and friendly welcome on arrival and tip top service throughout your stay - no ask is too big or too small. Whether that be local recommendations for the best spot to grab a morning coffee, help organising your first ever surf lesson, or remembering what type of wine you like to make your meal at Manly Bistro even better. We loved our stay at the Manly Pacific and have been recommending the hotel to friends and family ever since.

The Woolstore 1888

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Hotel room at The Woolstore 1888

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The lobby at The Woolstore 1888 in Sydney

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The bar at The Woolstore 1888 in Sydney

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A suite at The Woolstore 1888 hotel in Sydney

Price per night: Prices start at £104 per night

Location: Pyrmont (a 5 minute walk from Darling Harbour or 15 minute walk from the Queen Victoria Building)

Expert rating: 8/10

Unlike its grand and immediately impressive sister hotel Ovolo Woolloomooloo, The Woolstore 1888 is smaller and altogether more obviously a boutique hotel from the off, with its cosy timber clad reception space crammed with character and original features from the 19th Century wool store where the hotel gets its location and namesake.

Expect Ovolo’s signature touches when you stay - the free sweeties for guests (with added popcorn here), the free mini bar in every room (loaded with soft drinks only this time), super comfy beds for a great night's rest and a warm welcome from the courteous and helpful front of house team - with added flair and quirks characteristic of The Woolstore only.

Ovolo have done a great job of converting and restoring one of Sydney’s oldest buildings into a modern and comfortable hotel whilst also retaining the building's historic features, rustic charm and important industrial history. Ovolo describe this hotel as 'heritage chic' and we couldn't agree more.

The restaurant and bar - named Mr Percy in honour of a Wool Classer who worked in the Wool Store in the 1910s - is worth a visit even if you don't end up staying here. The restaurant features an impressive drinks menu with plenty more options behind the bar; just ask the friendly and knowledgable bar staff and they’ll happily open a bottle to your liking, whether that be a South Australian Shiraz or a taste of the Aussie-owned 'green ant gin'.

The hotel is located in Pyrmont, just a short stroll away from the sights, shops and restaurants of bustling Darling Harbour. Darling Harbour is also the location of one of Syndey's famous New Year's Eve firework displays, so if you're planning on visiting at this time of year, we would strongly advise booking ahead to avoid disappointment.

Spicers Potts Point

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A bedroom at the boutique hotel Spicers Potts Point in Sydney

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An ensuite bathroom at the boutique hotel Spicers Potts Point in Sydney

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The boutique hotel Spicers Potts Point in Sydney

Price per night: Nightly rates start at £158 per night

Location: Potts Point (a 30 minute walk from Sydney Opera House)

Expert rating: 9/10

Spicers Retreats are a renowned luxury accommodation chain in Australia that specialise in boutique hotel accommodation for the discerning traveller. They launched their Sydney property, Spicers Potts Point, in 2017 and have been fully booked on the regular ever since.

Set in a trio of terrace houses dating back to 1873, there are only 20 rooms in this luxury boutique hotel, so booking in advance is recommended. Potts Point is a quiet and leafy suburb where some of Sydney’s best cafes, bars and restaurants can be found within walking distance.

Marrying the preservation of historical features with modern finishes and amenities, this is a remarkable hotel inside and out, with plush, beautifully appointed interiors and a warm and friendly team that don't fail to make a lasting first impression on arrival.

Due to the hotel's intimate size, the service here is highly personalised and staff will go above and beyond to ensure you have a relaxing and enjoyable stay. This helps the hotel feel like a home away from home and means that many guests will return time and time again.

If you're looking to do some short breaks or weekend trips from Sydney during your stay, we'd highly recommending checking out some of Spicers' other properties in the Blue Mountains or Hunter Valley for your accommodation. We particularly love Spicers Guesthouse in Pokolbin, Hunter Valley for a weekend of fine food and wine tasting.

Mrs Banks Hotel

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A bedroom at Mrs Banks Hotel in Sydney

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The exterior of Mrs Banks Hotel in Sydney

Price per night: Prices start at £158 per night

Location: Paddington (15 minute bus ride from Circular Quay Wharf and the Opera House or a 15 minute bus ride to Bondi Beach)

Expert rating: 8/10

Located in the heart of Paddington, with an array of amazing restaurants, bars and cafes to choose from and brilliant shopping opportunities ranging from Paddington's weekend markets to luxury boutiques, we rate Mrs Banks Hotel as one of the best on this list for helping you feel like a local during your stay in Sydney.

Perfectly positioned for those who want to split their time between sightseeing in the CBD and surfing or relaxing on Sydney's most famous beaches, Mrs Bank Hotel has a bus stop basically outside the front of the hotel which will either whisk you to Circular Quay or Bondi beach in the other direction in less than 15 minutes.

Inside, the boutique hotel is sleek and stylish with a monochrome color scheme and comfortable rooms that will ensure you get a good night's rest. The friendly and helpful team at the hotel offer a five star service for guests and are always ready to help and brimming with local recommendations and advice for those who need it.

Somewhat of a hidden gem, this is one of those boutique hotels in Sydney that hasn't had a chance yet to reach the level of notoriety (and therefore popularity) of properties such as Spicers Potts Point, but more than deserves a place on this list. Get in quick while you can, because this brilliant boutique hotel is quickly amassing well-deserved praise and attention - so it won't stay a well-kept secret for very long.

Oxford House

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The pool at Oxford House boutique hotel in Sydney

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A room at Oxford House boutique hotel in Sydney

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The pool bar at Oxford House boutique hotel in Sydney

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The Oxford House restaurant in Sydney

Price per night: Room rates start at £141 per night

Location: Paddington (12 minute bus ride from Circular Quay Wharf and the Opera House or a 20 minute bus ride to Bondi Beach)

Expert rating: 6/10

One of Sydney's newest boutique hotels, Oxford House only opened its doors back in November 2022, and so is still in its first year of welcoming visitors to the newly refurbished property.

Taking its cues from the understated and stylish aesthetic of Palm Springs, Oxford House has positioned itself as "Paddington’s first lifestyle hotel" and holds an enviable location on Sydney's lively Oxford Street, which connects the bustling CBD with the city's laidback Eastern Suburbs and beaches. Paddington is known for its boutiques and luxury shopping experiences, as well as its trendy bars and cafes. However Oxford House also has dining experiences of its own to offer with an all day street level restaurant and poolside bar serving cocktails and a seasonal menu of Australian cuisine.

During our stay we discovered that the rooms were just as trendy as promised on the hotel’s stylish website, with recent interior design trends for wooden furniture with scandi design influence, velvet and boucle furnishings and plenty of smooth curves and arty coffee table books all used to decorate the hotels 56 rooms (including the 4 suites). In some places this is executed artfully, like the sunny courtyard at the hotel's centre that doubles both as day dining spot and vibey evening bar and attracts a well dressed crowd looking for a good time (and a great backdrop for social media photos). In other places we thought there was slightly more style than substance - the beds weren’t as comfortable as we would like (definitely the least so of all hotels on this list) and the room layouts are such that the en-suite bathrooms are minuscule - which for $245 a night some might find a bit of a pinch (especially as that rate doesn’t include breakfast).

Our overall thoughts on Oxford House? Stay for a good time, not for a long time. This hotel would make a great stopover if you’re only in Sydney briefly and want to avoid the heart of the CBD. Plus, you can’t beat this hotel's location if you plan on visiting the city for Mardi Gras as you’ll be right in the action.