It's hard to beat the Intercontinental Hotel Sydney for the city's most stunning club floor lounge with wrap-around harbour views.
"location is great, views are stunning and staff are very well trained"
"best club floors in Sydney"
The harbour and Sydney Opera House from the balcony of Club Intercontinental
Best thing : Club floor lounge, buffet breakfast
Think about: Upgrading to Club floor or paying for access
Distances: Opera House 0.5km ; City centre 1.1km;
Bus/Rail: Close to ferries, trains, buses
Special Access: 3 x 32 m² corner rooms
Facilities: Pool; gym; sauna; hairdresser
Service: Generally excellent, esp concierge & Club Lounge
$$$$: High cost: wifi, mini-bar, room service,
Credit card surcharge
The Intercontinental Hotel Sydney is probably Sydney's best hotel if you're coming for the Opera House. A short stroll and you're there.
It's an easy downhill walk to Circular Quay for ferries, train and bus (uphill back, of course) and it takes only a few more minutes to arrive in The Rocks. Across the road there's the Botanic Gardens.
The central shopping district is a little further away. Still not far, but you're definitely not in the middle of it. Catch the free city shuttle (555) back to Circular Quay if you're schlepping lots of shopping.
Wonderful views and great picture backgrounds
"the beauty of this hotel is its location. Its harbour view is really breathtaking"
"a little removed from the nightlife"
"easy walk through the Botanic Gardens to the Art Gallery"
The Intercontinental Hotel Sydney incorporates the old NSW Treasury building, or at least its facade and part of the interior, now known as the Cortile.
Shall we have high tea or cocktails?
This makes for a very attractive area, well patronised by locals for high tea, cocktails and as a general meeting place.
""the original architecture of the foyer adds to ambiance""
"I love how they have modernised and respected the old features of the building"
"not one of the brand new InterContinentals, but especially since it has that soul it is attractive"
Rooms are not over large for a 5 star hotel Sydney - a standard 32 m² irrespective of the floor you're on - or 70 m² for a corner suite. The Governor's and State Suites are bigger.
Some rooms can feel a little outdated, and the hotel is in the process of freshening them up. Bathrooms tend to be small, with the shower above the bath and often a shower curtain instead of a screen.
Not all Intercontinental Hotel Sydney rooms have views, and not all views are uninterrupted opera house or harbour bridge views. As a rule of thumb, the better the view of bridge and opera house, the more expensive the room.
Eastern harbour views, for example, look the other way, to Watsons Bay and the heads of Sydney harbour. You'll get glorious sunrises in these rooms if you're an early bird, and all the harbour activity too. Plus the green of the Bot Gardens. Lovely.
In general, the higher up you are the better your view is likely to be, but some rooms on lower floors have better views than others on higher levels. It depends on the other buildings around.
Eastern harbour view room
"my room was spacious, clean, comfortable and welcoming"
"while it is a top class hotel, the Intercontinental's rooms lack some refinement, especially the bathrooms"
"a little seat by the window where you can just soak up the beauty, day and night"
You'll need to book a club room for access to the Club lounge with its floor to ceiling windows and outside deck all around. It's worth thinking seriously about.
The harbour bridge and Sydney Opera House from Club Intercontinental
"very good complimentary food and drinks. Having (complimentary) breakfast on the outside seating area overlooking the harbour was the best"
If I tell you that locals go there to eat, you'll understand that the food's pretty good at the Intercontinental Hotel Sydney.
Here are some photos of my most recent lunch at Etch inside the Intercontinental building. It's the small restaurant fronting onto Bridge Street. We had their tasting menu - lots of small dishes with matching wines. Update: Etch closed in July 2012. Watch this space for more news!
Slow braised lamb shoulder
A pre-dessert palate cleanser
We're the last to leave
Visitors also give the food at the Intercontinental high marks, especially breakfast. It's not cheap though.
"great breakfast menu, with excellent service staff"
"we did not have the breakfast as we thought it was quite expensive and it did not come with the room price"
"try and stay on a package with breakfast included as it really is a must"
The Intercontinental Hotel Sydney is within easy walking distance of many other restaurants - from the hatted (via the SMH Good Food Guide) Aria on the Quay and Quay (confusingly) at the Overseas Terminal, to super cheap eats in the food courts dotted throughout the area. You're spoilt for choice!
Want views with your swim? No problems.
Pool with a view - Intercontinental Hotel Sydney
the pool isn't big, but it's there. A definite plus.
there's a sauna, and a gym for those who need to burn off the calories.
"well-equipped 24 hour gym facility"
And there's a hairdresser on the 9th floor.
"styled my hair for the wedding (up style). . . did a wonderful job"
When it comes to service, positive reviews overwhelm the negative for the Intercontinental Hotel Sydney - as they should in a five star hotel. There's no such thing as total perfection of course.
And expensive wifi seems to be a fact of life for hotel rooms of this quality in Sydney - if we all keep complaining it must surely change soon!
Take English high tea in the Cortile
"the hotel rooms did not have free wireless internet access"
"small problems are dealt with efficiently and courteously"
"the concierge services were the best we've ever encountered"
"the longer I stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel Sydney, the more I enjoyed it"
It's for you if you want
Perhaps not if you want
Click on a photo for a review of the hotel
It's about the rate a hotel charges per night for a standard room outside peak periods.
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