The InterContinental Hotels brand boasts a stellar line-up of five-star properties, including two in Sydney.
When I travel to Sydney, I like to stay in style. There’s something about a luxurious hotel room overlooking the harbour that’s worth splashing out for.
There are a number of upmarket brands to select from, all jostling to offer elegant lobbies, seamless service and high-end amenities. However, when a trip to Sydney is on the cards, it’s often one of the two InterContinental hotels that I choose.
Why? Sydney’s luxurious InterContinental Hotel at Circular Quay oozes classic elegance, with well-appointed rooms and a Club lounge offering the best harbour views in town.
That said, a stay at the award-winning InterContinental Double Bay in the heart of Sydney’s leafy Eastern Suburbs is equally compelling. Spacious rooms and suites offer sophisticated décor and balconies overlooking the harbour or leafy surrounds. With Sydney’s swankiest rooftop bar upstairs, complete with outdoor swimming pool and day beds, this is one property you won’t want to miss.
Recently, I took the opportunity to splash out on a stay at both Sydney InterContinental properties. Which should you choose? Read my comprehensive overview and find out why you should book in a stay.
InterContinental Sydney: Timeless luxury with views to match
I travel frequently to Sydney, and the InterContinental is one of my favourite places to stay. Why? This property boasts an exceptional location and arguably Sydney’s best club lounge with sweeping views over the harbour.
The setting, Sydney’s historic 1851 treasury building next to Circular Quay, is as good as it gets. The Royal Botanic Gardens are less than five minutes’ walk away via Macquarie Street and guests are just a stone’s throw away from the action on the Harbour.
Arriving via train at Circular Quay station, it’s just a short stroll to the hotel for my stay. Entering through the elegant four-storey lobby, I’m greeted warmly by the staff at the front desk. I’m promptly checked in and talked through the property facilities and my exclusive benefits as an IHG Rewards Club member.
InterContinental Sydney offers 509 guest rooms and 28 suites, starting from Classic rooms and moving up through multiple tiers of lavishly furnished harbour view suites.
While the décor in some of the rooms would benefit from refurbishment, all feature the amenities I’ve come to expect from a leading five-star hotel.
No matter which room category you choose, you’ll enjoy access to luxe bedding, a dedicated work station, top of the line amenities and seamless five-star service. Rooms are available with a king bed or twin double beds and are equipped with Wi-Fi compatibility and iPod docking stations.
When it comes to views, the InterContinental Sydney doesn’t disappoint. Each room or suite boasts a stunning view of the city skyline, Sydney Harbour, Opera House or the Royal Botanic Gardens.
For this stay, I’ve booked into a Club Classic City Side guestroom. This spacious, entry-level room is furnished in a contemporary fashion. While it’s on the compact side, it features all the mod-cons I could need.
I particularly love the chaise window lounge. It’s the perfect place to relax, stretch out and take in the city skyline views.
There’s plenty more to love about this room, including fluffy bathrobes, a Nespresso coffee machine, TWG tea and luxurious Appelles toiletries.
The InterContinental Sydney features an indoor pool with day beds and views to the harbour, a fitness area and spa and business amenities. The hotel is a dining destination in its own right. It boasts no less than six eateries, including Café Opera and The Cortile.
The jewel in the crown of InterContinental Sydney is, without doubt, the iconic Club InterContinental lounge. Here, guests can soak in 270 degrees of incredible views over Sydney Harbour from a roof terrace and wraparound balcony.
I’ve experienced many Club lounges in Sydney, and in my opinion, this is by far the best.
Aside from commanding views, the Club lounge provides a host of exclusive benefits for eligible guests. In the morning, there’s a chance to feast on a buffet breakfast with a selection of cooked to order dishes. A range of light refreshments are served throughout the day and guests can take advantage of express check-in and check-out service.
As the sun starts to dip, guests converge for twilight drinks and a spread of substantial canapes. On my visit, the offering included a range of quality Australian wines, cheeses, seafood, hot bite-sized morsels, dessert and more.
To gain access to Club InterContinental, guests must book an eligible room category or pay a supplement. It’s absolutely worth booking a room or suite to experience Sydney’s best Club lounge, so don’t hesitate to splash out, just as I did, if you get the chance.
InterContinental Double Bay: poolside glamour in the leafy Eastern Suburbs
The award-winning InterContinental Double Bay is nestled in the heart of Sydney’s leafy Eastern Suburbs, just a ten-minute drive from the city centre.
Guests can shop up a storm at upmarket Double Bay boutiques, before retiring to one of many cafes and restaurants located close by. The iconic Murray Rose pool is a short walk away, as is the Double Bay ferry service to Circular Quay.
The InterContinental Double Bay features 140 spacious guestrooms, Club rooms and suites. Most feature a balcony.
All rooms offer sophisticated décor, air-conditioning and a flat-screen TV. There is a well-stocked minibar plus tea and coffee making facilities (including Nespresso machine and TWG tea). Each bathroom provides a bathtub and Appelles toiletries.
For my stay, I’m booked into a plush Club room, which offers a generous amount of space. An outdoor terrace offers views out beyond Double Bay village to the yachts in the harbour.
The modern bathroom is stocked with high-end amenities, including robes and Appelles toiletries.
Guests can make use of a fully-equipped fitness area with dedicated cardiovascular equipment, resistance equipment and free weights. For a spot of pampering, Trumps Spa offers an extensive range of treatments. The main eatery, Stillery Bar and Dining, offers meals throughout the day, including a decadent high tea.
Additionally, eligible guests can access the Club InterContinental Lounge. The Club lounge features all-day refreshments and express check-in and check out.
The Rooftop Pool Bar
If you’re after a quintessential Sydney experience and a healthy dose of poolside luxury, the InterContinental Double Bay’s rooftop pool and separate bar is where it’s at.
This swoon-worthy pool bar is one of Sydney’s best-kept secrets. It features comfortable lounges, breezy cabanas and an infinity pool with sweeping views out to the harbour. An ongoing partnership with leading Champagne house, Perrier Jouet, sees a good selection of Champagnes on-pour, alongside a carefully curated cocktail list.
The pool is open to hotel guests from early morning until one hour after sunset. Once at the rooftop area, you’ll find everything you need to relax by the water for the day – think fluffy towels, sunscreen and chilled water.
On my visit, I enjoyed a leisurely sunset swim, calming myself with views of yachts bobbing in the harbour.
Then, I retreated to one of the comfy striped cabanas to sample a glass of Perrier Jouet Rosé and dine on the light poolside fare (including an incredible lobster roll). Bliss.
This post has been prepared in partnership with IHG