The 10 most unique stays in Sydney

Make your next Sydney stay something really special. Check in to one of these unique properties and discover a whole new side of the city.

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

Nov 2022 -
min read

Spend the night in Sydney’s former quarantine station 

For more than 150 years, the Quarantine Station at North Head was the first port of call for passengers arriving in Sydney, designed to protect the community from any diseases they brought with them. Today, the accommodations at Q Station are much more comfortable with rooms, suites and cottages dotted across the peninsula. Just keep an eye out for the ghosts that are said to wander the grounds... 

Q Station, Manly

Q Station, Manly

Enjoy some R&R on a luxe floating villa 

Floating in the calm waters off Palm Beach, Lilypad is a luxurious villa that feels like staying on your own tiny private island. It’s a blissful escape for two with a king-sized bed, open fireplace, infrared sauna, impressive wine cellar and water toys like stand-up paddleboards. There’s also a chef, masseuse and concierge service on call.  

Lilypad Palm Beach - Credit: Ian Davidson, The Lilypad Group Pty Ltd

Lilypad Palm Beach - Credit: Ian Davidson, The Lilypad Group Pty Ltd

Overnight among the animals of Taronga Zoo  

Check in to Wildlife Retreat at Taronga, a secluded eco-retreat right in the heart of the iconic zoo and the untouched bushland on Bradleys Head. The floor-to-ceiling glass windows of the bedrooms let you come eye-to-eye with the animals and every stay comes with exclusive after-hours access to the zoo. It’s also a stay you can feel good about as every booking contributes to the zoo’s important conservation programs. 

N'gurra Lounge, Wildlife Retreat at Taronga - Credit: Taronga Zoo Sydney

N'gurra Lounge, Wildlife Retreat at Taronga - Credit: Taronga Zoo Sydney

Stay at a quirky design hotel

Spread across two of Sydney’s most significant historic buildings, the State Theatre and the former Gowings department store, QT Sydney is an Art Deco masterpiece. The impossibly chic rooms incorporate period touches and bold styling with jewel-coloured sofas, dramatic chandeliers and sweeping freestanding bathtubs. Don’t miss a coffee in Parlour Lane Roasters on the ground floor for the striking glass display cabinets and mosaic floors. 

QT Sydney, Sydney CBD

QT Sydney, Sydney City

Go glamping on World Heritage-listed Cockatoo Island 

There’s nothing like unzipping the flap of your tent to reveal an uninterrupted view of the world’s most spectacular harbour. There are options for all budgets on Cockatoo Island, ranging from BYO tent to a plush glamping option with a tent and beds set up for you. All campers have access to communal bathrooms, hot showers, a camp kitchen and barbecues. If you can tear your eyes away from the view, take some time to wander through the island’s historic sites. 

Soak (and sleep) with a view of Sydney Harbour Bridge 

If you’re looking for a bathtub with a view, they don’t come much better than this one. The Admiral Suite at Pier One Sydney Harbour has a freestanding bathtub that sits directly below the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Once you’re out of the tub, the suite’s private terrace sits so close to the water you can practically touch the boats sailing by. 

Admiral Suite Bathroom at Pier One Hotel, Pier One

Pier One Hotel, Pier One - Credit: Dave Wheeler

Get back to nature in Lane Cove National Park 

The Lane Cove National Park is 1,000 acres of quiet bushland surrounding the Lane Cove River. Thanks to Discovery Parks – Lane Cove, you can spend the night in a stylish safari tent inside the park, making for a secluded wilderness retreat just 15min from the centre of the city. The elevated tent has a wooden floor, kin bed, bathroom, kitchenette and an outdoor deck. 

Superior Safari Tent, Lane Cove

Superior Safari Tent, Lane Cove - Credit: Discovery Parks

Check in to one of Australia’s oldest pubs   

The oldest continually operating brewery pub in Australia, the Lord Nelson has been pouring beers since the 1840s. You can sleep in this pivotal piece of brewing history, with a handful of comfortable ensuite rooms on the upper floors. Stop downstairs for a beer before heading out to explore the surrounding suburb of The Rocks, the birthplace of modern Sydney. 

Escape to the bush... in luxury 

Perched on the eastern edges of the Blue Mountain ranges, overlooking the Nepean River delta below, Spicers Sangoma Retreat is somewhere to truly get away from it all... in style, of course. There are just 18 private suites, akk designed with romance in mind – think deep baths, warming fireplaces and no sound but the nearby trickling mountain creek. During your visit, enjoy bushwalking, a couples massage in the spa tent, a wine and watercolour art class, gourmet excursions into Kurrajong and Katoomba, or simply sit by the pool with a cocktail.

Spicers Sangoma Retreat - Bowen Mountain

Spicers Sangoma Retreat in Bowen Mountain

Step back in time in a restored woolstore 

As the name suggests, The Woolstore 1888 by Ovolo is housed inside a converted woolstore from the 19th century. A thoughtful restoration has incorporated the original stone walls and huge beams into the rooms, alongside contemporary Australian artwork and vibrant furniture. The hotel is also dog-friendly, so you can bring your best friend along for a well-deserved break. 

Junior Suite at The Woolstore 1888 Ovolo, Pyrmont

Junior Suite at The Woolstore 1888 Ovolo, Pyrmont

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