11+ Cool and Unique Sydney Accommodation

Where are you heading on your next holiday? Here’s a plucky list of Unique Sydney Accommodation that might just challenge you to a new adventure! Go glamping on an island in the middle of Sydney Harbour, try kayaking from your Boathouse in Pittwater, and book a weekend at an achingly gorgeous boutique hotel that started its life as something else. And so many more…So, let’s discover the wonderful opportunities Sydney has to offer…

Destination: Sydney | New South Wales | Australia
Accommodation Type: Boutique and Spa | Houseboats and Boats | Glamping and Yurts
See Also: Where’s the Best Place to Stay in Sydney

1. The Ultimo Boutique Hotel – Chinatown

Best for: 4-Star Astrology Hotel, Hip, Affordable, Central Location, Good Fortune

Chinatown is an exciting part of south Sydney’s CBD with amazing food offers any time of the day and late into the night. Malaysia Laksa, Chinese Dumplings, Korean BBQ, Thai Pad Thai, Chongqing noodles, and oh so much more!

The Ultimo is an elegant boutique hotel set in bustling Chinatown, originally built in 1911 as a fresh fruit market! Today you’ll find a fantastically restored and popular hotel with a wonderful secret!

What’s the Secret?

You can book a room at this unique Sydney accommodation and find out how the stars and planets predict your future with one of The Ultimo’s Astrology Packages. There’s also an Astrology Library for quiet contemplation and an Astrolo-Tea just for your sign of the zodiac! Spend time with the hotel Astrologer and learn more about your past, present, and future.

The Ultimo is affordably priced with good-sized rooms for 1 to 4 people (and you get to choose the bed layout). So, why not book this popular boutique hotel in the heart of Chinatown for an affordable Sydney break and a glimpse into your future?

Good to Know

  • Free WIFI
  • Barista Coffee Station
  • Easily walk to the Capitol Theatre, Darling Harbour, Powerhouse Museum, and the CBD
  • Make sure you book the super cheap and delicious breakfast at The Ultimo Boutique Hotel
  • Check Availability and Price at Booking.com

Chinatown Eateries

Naturally you’ll also want to experience the fantastic food and atmosphere of Chinatown – here’s some good spots:

  • Mamak Malaysian Restaurant – satay, laksa and other Malaysian specialities.
  • Noodle King – affordable handmade noodles, dumplings and congee.
  • East Ocean – traditional Chinese dishes in a bustling dining hall.
  • Chat Thai – hip, popular and delicious.
  • Marigold – classical Cantonese including Yum Cha. A Chinatown institution!
  • Food Courts: Dixon House, Sussex Centre, Market City Foodcourt – with oodles of options and great prices.
  • See a range of food tours from Viator – Chinatown tour; Hunter Valley wine and food tours; pub walking tour; Hunter Valley cheese, chocolate and distillery tour and lots more

2. Cockatoo Island Accommodation – Sydney Harbour

Best for: Glamping and Holiday Homes, Staycation on an Island, Couples, Friends, Families, Groups

If you’ve ever caught the ferry from Sydney to Parramatta then you’ve sailed by this amazing UNESCO World-Heritage Listed Island. Cockatoo Island is the only Sydney Harbour island that allows overnight stays and this one offers houses, apartments, and glamping.

What a great opportunity for an island staycation! With views of the Harbour Bridge and a relaxing ambiance, this is a little slice of paradise not far from the city skyline.

Good to Know

3. Cruise and Snooze on the Soren Larsen Tall Ship – Sydney Harbour

Unique Places to Stay in Sydney - Soren Larsen - Ross Fowler
Soren Larsen by Ross Fowler (Flickr)
Best for: Tall Ship Stay, Goat Island Tour, Sail around Sydney Harbour

Sail Sydney Harbour to Goat Island on the Soren Larsen, a tall ship brigantine built in 1949 in Denmark. For Sydney’s Bicentennial, she was the flagship chosen for the re-enactment of the 11 first-fleet voyagers arriving in Botany Bay and Sydney Cove.

While on land that year, 40,000 Aboriginals and supporters held the largest march in Sydney, at that time, to protest injustices and dispossession of the Aboriginal people.

So this ship has a decisive history. For more Aboriginal history visit the Aboriginal Heritage Office Museum and Keeping Place (due to Covid19, check if open, on their website).

Today, you can take a sail and overnight stay on the Soren Larsen. The trip starts with wine and canapes onboard with opportunities to climb the mast and learn to sail.

When you’re feeling sleepy snuggle into your little bunk room for a night on this tall ship. In the morning wake up to a hot buffet breakfast and then a Convicts Tour of Goat Island. This is a bucket list experience not to be missed!

See tall ship day cruises and other popular harbour sailing trips at Viator, who offer free cancellation and payment plans.

4. Establishment Hotel – Sydney CBD

Establishment Precinct | Merivale from Merivale on Vimeo.

Best for: 5-Star Converted Hotel, Cutting-Edge Design, CBD Location

This chic hotel converted from a 1930’s publishing house was voted one of 25 hot new places to stay in the world by Conde Nast Traveler. The Establishment deserves that reputation with modern elegant interiors, marble bathrooms and ‘wow’ bars and restaurants.

Marketed as “a historic building by its bones but boutique in its looks” this hotel is an exceptional stay near Barangaroo, the Rocks, Sydney Opera House, Botanic Gardens, bars, and restaurants.

Restaurants and Bars on site: Mr Wong – Chinese, Asian, Cantonese, International | Sushi E – Japanese | Establishment Bar | Establishment Garden – breakfast, meals and bar | est – fine dining, marble columns | hemmesphere – opulent bar | Palmer & Co – prohibition-style underground bar

Good to Know

  • Studio, Delux Room, Loft Suite, and Duplex Penthouse. The Penthouse at 119m2, with amazing views includes a separate living area, en-suite with spa bath and rain shower
  • Apple TV, Bose Sound System
  • Wellness and Fitness Centre
  • Parking nearby (cost involved)
  • Check prices and availability at Booking.com

5. Mrs Banks Hotel – Paddington

Mrs Banks Hotel - Unique Sydney Accommodation
Best for: 4-Star Designer Boutique Hotel, Creative and Central Location, Spacious

Aptly named, Mrs Banks Hotel built in 1913, was once the Government Savings Bank of New South Wales. Today this heritage building in the heart of stylish Paddington is a charming boutique hotel with atmospheric and elegant rooms and spacious suites with twin, queen, and king-size beds.

The larger suites are housed in what was once the Bank Manager’s Quarters. The King Heritage Suite is a luxurious retreat at 48sqm with a separate sitting room, beautiful pressed-metal ceilings, long windows, and a luxurious King Koil supreme bed.

This dashing hotel is a cool escape near Paddington’s boutiques, art galleries, bistros, bars, and a quick trip to iconic Bondi Beach.

Good to Know

Travel Resources for your Trip to Sydney

6. Crystalbrook Albion – Surry Hills

Eclectic and arty this boutique hotel offers a sustainable stay in the heart of cool Surry Hills. Originally a school convent the hotel is now a wonder of 1920s and 1970s colour and vibrancy.

The luxury Master Suite features oak floors, Greek marble, and dazzling handmade Moroccan tiles. Take a well-earned bubble bath in the large freestanding bath, or contemplate life at the upstairs garden oasis with city views. This is a darling hotel!

7. Q Station Sydney Harbour National Park – Manly

Q Station – Sydney Harbour National Park from Mark Wilson on Vimeo.

Best for: Originally Quarantine Station, Private Beach, Family-friendly, Rooms, and Cottages, Harbour Views

Originally a Quarantine Station this truly unique Sydney accommodation has its own private beach and a restaurant right in the heart of Sydney Harbour National Park.

This is a significant heritage location and another perfect Sydney staycation! There are plenty of activities with hikes in the park, kayaking, and swimming. Check out the Visitor Centre and learn about the history of Q Station and book one of the ghost and haunted tours!

Good to Know

  • The rooms accommodate 1-2 guests while the cottages have room for up to 6 guests.
  • Rooms – 25m2 with en-suite, cottages 50m2 with private bathroom
  • Breakfast included – check when booking
  • Parking is a 15 minute walk away but a free shuttle is available
  • Free WIFI
  • Check prices and availability at Booking.com

8. Wildlife Retreat at Taronga Zoo

Visit the zoo away from the crowds and spend a night or two in the zoo! This stylish eco-retreat is nestled in the bush environment of Taronga Zoo with views of the bush, animals, and Sydney Harbour.

All revenue from the retreat goes towards wildlife conservation efforts. Your stay includes free entry to the zoo, guided wildlife tours, a buffet breakfast, and dinner at the on-site restaurant.

Review: We can see lots of animals (koalas, echidnas, and potoroos) right outside of our room which was an awesome experience. Staff was all very friendly. The room was very clean and comfortable.

9. Salacia Boathouse – Pittwater

Best for: Holiday Home, Breakfast, Kayaking, Swimming, Up to 3 Guests

Escape the city and sleep in your own little boathouse right on the water’s edge at Salacia Boathouse, with a jetty for dining and kayaks available to explore the beautiful Pittwater waterway – you’re sleeping right on it. How cool is that!

The Pittwater Estuary is sandwiched between the majestic Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park (a must-see) and the stunning Northern Beaches. The waterway is adventure central for swimming, fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing, and soaking up the atmosphere.

The Layout at this Unique Sydney Accommodation

Salacia Boathouse is open-plan accommodation on Refuge Cove with lots of attention to detail and friendly hosts. Designed in a holiday nautical theme there’s bedding for 3 people: a double bed and a bunk bed above for a child.

It’s a small space but you’ve got everything you need: kitchenette and microwave, fridge, dining table looking out at the view, lounge, TV, CD, air conditioning, and a bathroom with toilet and shower. 

Review: Staying in the Boathouse was like living on a boat, the flapping of the water very relaxing, it was very comfortable and quirkily decorated in everything nautical

Salacia Boathouse beds

Relax on the Jetty

Out on the deck is a comfy and contemporary dining set with BBQ and beautiful views out over the cove. In winter the boathouse is warm so you can visit this gem any time of the year.

You can arrive by car or boat but you’ve got quite a few steps down from the road so don’t bring too much luggage! This is an opportunity to relax and unwind in paradise! If you want to venture a bit further you can take the scenic drive to nearby Avalon Village for cafes, shops, and beaches.

Good to Know

  • One Bedroom
  • Linen and towels provided
  • Breakfast is included
  • Air-conditioning and heater
  • If you’re looking for a seaside oasis then the Salacia Boathouse is perfection. Check prices and availability at stayz

Things to Do Nearby

  • The Newport Pub is an iconic stop-off bar that overlooks Pittwater
  • The Barrenjoey Lighthouse is great for whale-watching – in winter the whales swim by Sydney
  • When you’re in Ku-ring-gai park take the Kuringai Aboriginal Heritage Walk to see ancient art and rock carvings
  • See list of North Shore Beaches Below

10. The Collectionist Camperdown – Inner West

Best for: Aparthotel, Affordable, Creative, Ice Cream, Parking, Friendly

This popular and quirky hotel is located in the cool inner-west suburb of Camperdown. A 12-minute walk to the boutiques, bars, and restaurants of funky Newtown and a 10-minute drive to the centre of Sydney.

Also in Campberdown, at the University of Sydney, is the Chau Chak Wing Museum showcasing a diverse collection of ethnography, historic photography, natural history, and art.

The Collectionist is a celebration of eclectic art and design and with careful thought for what guests want. Free ice cream room deliveries hit the spot! Aaaand…free happy hour drinks and snacks!

The Space

Rooms aren’t allocated, instead, on arrival, you get to choose your unique room, like you would a piece of art. Each room is individually named, e.g. ‘Queenie Fah Fah’, ‘Cloud Runner’ – but arrive early so you have the best choice.

Review: Great interior design. Our room was very spacious. The terrace was huge with beautiful plants.

Good to Know

  • Rooms can accommodate up to 4 guests, with a balcony or courtyard
  • Free WIFI, aircon, kitchenettes
  • Access codes given
  • Staff are not always on site but are always contactable by text message
  • Camperdown Commons is a 5-minute walk away with the Spritz Bar, The Container Café, Deus Café, and Acre Restaurant so you’re covered for every meal
  • Check prices and availability at Booking.com

11. The Urban Newtown – Inner West

This boutique hotel captivates with industrial-style decor and its location close to Newtown’s boutiques and eateries, the railway station, buses, Sydney Uni, and a 20-minute walk to Chinatown. Choose from edgy Studios and Apartments for up to 4 guests.

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Things to Do in Sydney

Thinking about activities in Sydney? Viator offers a wide range of fun things to do from whale watching, harbour cruises, winetasting, and distillery visits…

North Shore Beaches

Mona Vale Beach - Unique Sydney Accommodation
Mona Vale Beach, Image by Patty Jansen from Pixabay
  • Palm Beach is the setting for Home and Away
  • Avalon Beach has a sea pool and eateries
  • Balmoral Beach – cafes, gorgeous white sand, calm waters, can get crowded.
  • Chinamans Beach – not sure about the name of this beach but it’s never crowded, it’s an ocean beach but doesn’t have big waves, with green park nearby, and lots of water sports. A perfect picnic spot.
  • Freshwater Beach – sheltered cove, swim in the sea or the ocean pool, picnic, relax.
  • Echo Point Beach – this is Ku-ring-gai park’s only beach, including a park for picnics, mangroves, walking tracks, and playgrounds.
  • Narrabeen Beach – stunning and never busy, waves for surfers, lagoon for calmer swimming, cafes nearby.

More Unique Places to Stay in New South Wales:

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