If you are trying to decide where to stay in Sydney, you have a lot of options.
Do you want to stay near Circular Quay, where you can easily walk to Sydney’s most iconic sights, such as the Opera House and Harbour Bridge? Or would you prefer to stay near the beach, making it easier to start or end your days with a walk on the beach, surfing, or sunbathing?
To make things easier for you, we have narrowed down the list to the best locations and hotels in Sydney, organized by neighborhood and budget.
Table of Contents
A Quick Overview of Sydney
Sydney is enormous. This sprawling city runs 80 km west to east, from the Blue Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. It also extends 80 km north to south. It consists of 658 suburbs and is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Australia.
For most visitors, staying in the heart of Sydney, in the Central Business District, is the best place to stay. This puts you in the heart of the action and saves you a lot of time on public transportation.
However, there are some great coastal suburbs to consider, such as Bondi and Manly. These put you right on the beach, which is perfect for those who want to mix in beach and surfing time with sightseeing.
Finally, you can also stay out towards the Blue Mountains, which is a good idea if you plan to spend two or more days exploring the Blue Mountains. We cover where to stay in the Blue Mountains in our article Best Things to Do in the Blue Mountains.
Where to Stay in Sydney By Location & Budget
We have narrowed down the massive list of hotels and neighborhoods into a few key areas. For each area, the list is further organized by budget.
Note: In this guide, budget hotels are 2-star properties, mid-range hotels are 3-star properties, upscale hotels are 4-star properties, and luxury hotels are 5-star properties.
When choosing hotels on Booking.com, we rarely consider anything that gets lower than an 8.0. We prefer to stay in hotels with a score of 9.0 or higher. When researching hotels in Sydney, there are many mid-range and budget hotels in the city, but they get mediocre to poor reviews. I didn’t consider anything that got less than a 7.0 on Booking.com.
How to Use This Map: Click the icons on the map to get more information about each hotel. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.
The Central Business District
The Central Business District (CBD) is located in the heart of Sydney. It is a relatively large area, stretching from the Sydney Harbour and Darling Harbour to Hyde Park and the Central Train Station.
Since this area is so large, we have divided it into 3 sections: the Rocks, Darling Harbour, and Town Hall.
The Rocks & Circular Quay
This is the touristy heart of Sydney. The Opera House, Harbour Bridge, the ferry port, and some of the best views of Sydney can all be found here. If it’s your first time to Sydney, no doubt you will spend a chunk of your time here, so this is a very convenient place to stay.
Circular Quay is the ferry port and main transportation hub of Sydney. On one side sits the Opera House and the Royal Botanic Gardens and on the opposite side is the Rocks, a historic neighborhood in Sydney.
Tim and I stayed in the Rocks on our most recent visit to Sydney and loved it. We had a view of the harbour and to get to most of the main sights in Sydney, we could get there by walking, rather than using the trams or buses.
Pros of Staying in The Rocks & Circular Quay: Quick walk to the Opera House and ferries; some hotels have unbeatable views of the harbour; lots of nearby restaurants to choose from
Cons of Staying in The Rocks & Circular Quay: Can be expensive; can be noisy; this area is more touristy than others on the list
A view of Circular Quay from the South Pylon Lookout
Sydney Opera Bar in Circular Quay
The Rocks | Where to Stay in Sydney
Best Hotels in the Rocks
LUXURY: The Four Seasons. Located on the Rocks, overlooking Circular Quay, the Four Seasons is our top luxury pick in Sydney. We stayed here and the view from our room was jaw dropping (it’s the cover photo for this guide). Onsite are several restaurants, including the fabulous Grain cocktail bar.
The view from the Four Seasons | Where to Stay in Sydney
LUXURY: The Park Hyatt. The Park Hyatt has a prime location in the Rocks. The view of the Opera House from the rooftop pool and some of the hotel rooms is one of the best you can get from a hotel in Sydney.
Park Hyatt Sydney | Where to Stay in Sydney
MID-RANGE: Mercantile Hotel. This hotel gets mediocre reviews, but it is one of the highest rated hotels in the Rocks area (4 and 5-star hotels do well here but the mid-range hotels get rather poor reviews). Rooms are basic but the hotel has a good location and it is worth considering, if you want to stay in the Rocks and not pay a fortune. And check out the YHA, mentioned next.
BUDGET: YHA Sydney Harbour. If you want a stunning view of the Sydney Harbour without a big price tag, look no farther. This hostel has amazing rooftop views of the Opera House. It has a prime location in the Rocks and gets excellent reviews, making this our #1 budget pick in Sydney.
Darling Harbour sits very close to the Rocks. This harbour is almost as touristy as Circular Quay, but it’s not such a hub of activity since fewer ferries run to and from Darling Harbour. If you stay here, you can take the ferry to Circular Quay, which can be a faster, more scenic way to get there compared to walking.
Several museums sit on Darling Harbour (the Australian Maritime Museum and the Sydney Aquarium), an IMAX theater, the convention center, the Star City Casino, as well as some amazing bars and restaurants.
Pros of Staying in Darling Harbour: Can be cheaper than the Rocks and Circular Quay; good choice for families with the nearby museums and attractions; still in the heart of Sydney so you can walk to many of the main sights, especially the Sydney Tower Eye and QVB
Cons of Staying in Darling Harbour: Longer walk to the ferries, Harbour Bridge, and the Opera House (best to take the ferry to get here); most mid-range hotels get very poor reviews, which is why I only have one listed below.
Darling Harbour | Where to Stay in Sydney
Best Hotels in Darling Harbour
LUXURY: Crown Towers Sydney. This skyscraper is one of the newest additions to the Sydney skyline. It has an outdoor infinity pool, rooms with views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, and several world-class restaurants, including Oncore by Clare Smyth. Even if you don’t stay here, if you want to visit an upscale bar with panoramic views of Sydney, we recommend the Bar at Oncore.
The view from Crown Towers | Where to Stay in Sydney
UPSCALE: Aiden by Best Western. This hotel gets excellent reviews and sits on the west side of Darling Harbour. A few rooms have gorgeous panoramic views across the harbour to the city skyline. There is also an onsite restaurant serving Australia cuisine.
MID-RANGE: Kith Hotel Darling Harbour. This hotel gets excellent reviews for its bright, modernly decorated rooms. Rooms can accommodate up to two people.
The hotels listed next are in the remainder of the CBD, an area that is bordered by Circular Quay, Darling Harbour, Hyde Park, and Central Station. In this sea of skyscrapers are landmarks such as the QVB, the Strand, and the Sydney Tower Eye. St. Mary’s Cathedral, Hyde Park, and Chinatown sit just outside of this area.
It’s not the most exciting area to stay in, as you lack the views of Darling Harbour and the Rocks, but it is a fantastic central location and from here you can walk to almost everything, with the exception of the beaches and few outlying attractions.
Pros of Staying in Town Hall/CBD: Fantastic central location; near some of the best shopping in Sydney; can walk to most attractions
Cons of Staying in the Town Hall/CBD: Lacks the charm and the views of Darling Harbour and the Rocks; can be expensive; better for business travelers
Inside the QVB
Inside the Strand
Best Hotels in Town Hall
LUXURY: The Fullerton Hotel Sydney. Centrally located within the CBD, this 5-star hotel is a mix of new and old. Guests can choose between staying in a contemporary room in the high rise or traditional rooms in the heritage building. There is an onsite restaurant as well as a bar, where you can indulge in afternoon tea.
UPSCALE: A by Adina. This luxurious hotel has a wide variety of room types, from studio kings to two-bedroom apartments. If you like the idea of having some extra space and a kitchenette, this is a good pick.
MID-RANGE: Lovely One Bedroom + Study with Infinity Pool. This is the highest rated mid-range property I could find in the Town Hall/CBD area of Sydney. This one-bedroom apartment gets wonderful reviews, can accommodate up to 4 people, has a balcony, kitchen, and access to an infinity swimming pool. It is located on York Street.
Lovely One Bedroom | Where to Stay in Sydney
MID-RANGE: Ibis Sydney World Square. This hotel gets mediocre reviews but it is one of the highest-reviews mid-range hotels in the CBD. Prior guests like the location but give it so-so reviews for value and comfort. Rooms can accommodate 2 to 4 people, so it is an option for families.
Bondi & the Southern Beaches
If you want to stay near the beach, Bondi is one of the top picks, along with nearby Coogee and Bronte. You’ll be farther from the city center, but if you plan to go surfing, swimming, or sunbathing while in Sydney, this is a great location to consider.
It can take 30 to 45 minutes to travel between the Bondi and the CBD, so keep this in mind if you also plan to spend a lot of your time in the harbour area.
Pros of Staying in Bondi & the Southern Beaches: This area has more of a local vibe; perfect for those who plan to spend a fair amount of time on the beach
Cons of Staying in Bondi & the Southern Beaches: You will use public transportation more to get to the Sydney Harbour and nearby sights and restaurants
Bondi Beach | Where to Stay in Sydney
Best Hotels in Bondi
UPSCALE: Miss Baker’s Boutique Accommodation Bondi. These boutique apartments are beautifully furnished, come with a kitchenette and washing machine, and can accommodate up to 4 or 5 people, depending on the unit you select. It is located across the street from Bondi Beach.
MID-RANGE: Bondi 38 Serviced Apartments. Located just steps from Bondi Beach, these apartments come with a washing machine, dryer, and fully equipped kitchen. Take your pick from studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments, most with an ocean view. This makes a fantastic choice for families who want to stay near the beach.
Bondi 38 Serviced Apartments | Where to Stay in Sydney
MID-RANGE: Hotel Bondi. Overlooking Bondi Beach, this hotel has a wide range of rooms, from single rooms to family suites to superior suites with a balcony.
BUDGET: Wake Up! Bondi Beach. This hostel gets the best reviews of any hostel around Bondi, Coogee, and Bronte beaches. It has an amazing location, overlooking Bondi Beach, so you can stay near the beach without paying a small fortune. The rooftop has panoramic views of the beach. Take your pick from dormitory style rooms and private double rooms.
Manly is a coastal suburb northeast of the Sydney Harbour. It is easily accessible with a ferry ride (about a 20-minute ride if you take the fast ferry), so even though it looks far from the city center on a map, the ferry makes it a more convenient location than you would think.
Tyler, who spend almost 4 months in Sydney, really liked Manly (and the ferry ride to get here). It has more of a local vibe than Bondi and has a very laid-back atmosphere. For those who want more of a local experience and don’t mind frequent ferry rides, this is a location to consider.
Pros of Staying in Manly: Local vibe; access to the beach; access to the Spit to Manly walk, one of Sydney’s best coastal walks; scenic ferry ride to get here
Cons of Staying in Manly: Because of its location, you will spend more time on public transportation to get to pretty much anywhere in Sydney, so I think Manly is best for those with a long visit (5 days or more) where you can split your time between two locations, or it’s your second or third visit to Sydney.
Manly Beach | Where to Stay in Sydney
UPSCALE: Quest Manly. Located next to the Manly Ferry Wharf, this property offers studio and one-bedroom apartments. Rooms are beautifully decorated and some have a full kitchen.
MID-RANGE: The Ryokan – Zen. This beachfront apartment has 2 bedrooms, a fully equipped apartment, and a view of the ocean. It can accommodate up to 4 people and it is beautiful inside!
Quest Manly | Where to Stay in Sydney
MID-RANGE: Manly Paradise Motel & Apartments. Sitting across the street from Manly Beach, this property offers standard hotel rooms as well as 2 and 3-bedroom apartments. It gets decent reviews on Booking.com.
Surry Hills sits just outside of the CBD. This neighborhood has a very local feel to it. You’ll ride the buses, metro, and trams more to get around, but prices can be cheaper here and it’s good for those who prefer to avoid touristy areas.
We stayed here on our first visit to Sydney, since we were on a budget. If you do stay here, one of our favorite restaurants in Sydney is Nomad, also located in Surry Hills.
Pros of Staying in Surry Hills: Can be cheaper than many neighborhoods already listed; good pick for those who want to stay in an area with a local vibe; within walking distance of Central Station
Cons of Staying in Surry Hills: Farther out from the city center so you’ll walk or use public transportation more
Best Hotels in Surry Hills
LUXURY: Crystalbrook Albion. This 5-star hotel offers a variety of room types decorated in a contemporary style with an eclectic twist. They implement many sustainability initiatives and are partnered with Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef and OzHarvest.
UPSCALE: Botanik Apartment Hotel. This property offers one, two, and three-bedroom apartments that come with a washing machine, kitchen, and balcony. For families traveling long term, this is a great pick. It is a 7-minute walk to Central Station.
BUDGET: Big Backpackers Hostel. Located just a short walk from Central Station, this hostel gets fairly good reviews. Rooms range from dormitory style rooms to single, double, and twin rooms with a private bathroom.
If you are a backpacker or need a cheap place to stay, Kings Cross is your best bet. This neighborhood sits to the east of the CBD, so it’s possible to walk to many of Sydney’s top attractions from here. This area is also home to quite a few nightclubs, so it can be loud at night.
Pros of Staying in Kings Cross: Largest number of cheap hotels and hostels to choose from; good for those who want to stay near Sydney’s nightlife
Cons of Staying in Kings Cross: Can be loud at night; located in Sydney’s red light district
Best Hotels in Kings Cross
MID-RANGE: Holiday Inn Sydney Potts Point. This hotel gets decent reviews. Some rooms have a view of the Sydney harbor which is very nice. Rooms can accommodate up to 4 people.
BUDGET: Mad Monkey East Side. There are several Mad Monkey hostels in Kings Cross and the East Side location gets the best reviews. It is located a short walk from the Kings Cross bars, restaurants, and nightclubs.
Where to Stay in Sydney: Our Recommendations
Best Hotels with a View
Both the Four Seasons and Park Hyatt have spectacular views of the Opera House and harbour. The YHA Sydney Harbour has a very nice view of the Opera House from its rooftop terrace. Crown Towers also has a fantastic view of Sydney Harbor and for a cheaper price, the Holiday Inn Sydney Potts Point has rooms with a more distant view of the harbour.
Best Hotels for Mid-Range Travelers
This is tough because many mid-range hotels get mediocre to poor reviews, regardless of the neighborhood. Kith Hotel Darling Harbour and Lovely One Bedroom are two of the highest-reviewed mid-range properties we found but Bondi 38 Serviced Apartments and Hotel Bondi are worth considering, if you don’t mind staying outside of the city center.
Best Hotels for Budget Travelers
You can’t beat the YHA Sydney Harbour, with its fantastic location in the Rocks, rooftop view of the Opera House, and rave reviews. Wake Up! Bondi Beach is our top pick for those who want to stay near the beach.
Best Hotels for Luxury Travelers
The Four Seasons is our top pick for luxury travelers, with its excellent service, unbeatable location, and opportunity to stay in a room that overlooks the Opera House. The Park Hyatt and Crown Towers are also very highly rated.
Best Hotels for Families
If you have any questions about where to stay in Sydney, let us know in the comment section below.
More Information for Your Trip to Sydney
SYDNEY: Get started with our Sydney Bucket List, which contains 40 of the best things to do in Sydney. We also have a guide to 20 great restaurants and bars in Sydney, the best beaches in Sydney, the Sydney Bridge Climb, the Coogee to Bondi Coastal Walk, and the best viewpoints and photography locations in Sydney.
BLUE MOUNTAINS: Get started with our article Best Things to Do in the Blue Mountains and learn how to spend one day in the Blue Mountains. We also have a guide on how to visit Scenic World, how to hike the Wentworth Falls Track Loop, and a detailed trail guide for the Grand Canyon Track.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: One of the best things to do in South Australia is to visit the wine regions near Adelaide. Plan your visit with our Guide to McLaren Vale, our Guide to Barossa Valley, and our Guide to Clare Valley.
Read all of our articles about Australia in our Australia Travel Guide.
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