The Observatory Hotel
This beautiful boutique hotel is in the middle of Sydney. It's close to all the sights, including the Opera House, Circular Quay, and the Harbour Bridge.
How they rate it
Unlike the big hotels with grand views, The Observatory Hotel offers "something a little more intimate", says Mark Chipperfield in The Daily Telegraph. The rooms are "sumptuous", the staff offer "old school courtesy", and the hotel has one of the best day spas in the city. So it's no surprise Cond Nast Traveller's readers have just voted it the best hotel in Sydney, and the third best hotel in Australasia and the South Pacific. The hotel's "impeccable service never disappoints", says Carol Drinkwater in the Daily Mail.
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The hotel's Galileo Restaurant serves up fine French dining in a grand room decorated with antiques and tapestries. Executive chef Masahiko Yomoda won a Michelin star while working in Tokyo. Dishes include duck and foie gras pie, or slowly cooked spatchcock.
A double room costs from £202 per night. To find out more, visit www.observatoryhotel.com.au, or call 00 61 2 9256 2222.
YHA Sydney Harbour The Rocks
This is no ordinary youth hostel. It is built on a plot of land that's turned out to be an archeological gold mine. Since 1994, over a million historical artefacts have been unearthed by teams working on the site. The Rocks has subsequently been rebuilt above the site, raised up on posts so the dig can continue underneath. Deriving its name from its location, a historical area situated beside Sydney Harbour Bridge, The Rocks offers spectacular views of both the harbour and the opera house.
How they rate it
The rooms have en suite bathrooms, many with harbour views. They are "spacious and well-appointed", says Malcolm Know in The Guardian. The 106 rooms are situated in two wings, each with an atrium looking down onto the dig. "When you exit your room you are in a corridor looking down into the wells, cesspits and foundations of yesteryear."
The hostel has no restaurant, but you can head on to the fantastic roof terrace and fire up the barbecue.
Double rooms cost from £77, or you can book a bed in a dorm room from £22.50 a night. For more information, go to www.yha.com.au, or call 00 61 28272 0900.
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