The most innovative (& downright cool) hotels in Sydney

A hotel stay can offer more than just a place to sleep. From sustainable initiatives to minimalist trends and co-working spaces for digital nomads, these Sydney hotels offer future-forward rooms to stay the night.

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

Jul 2023 -
min read

A plant-based place – Ovolo Woolloomooloo  

It’s easy to be green at Ovolo – a stay at this wharfside hotel in Woolloomooloo means guests are encouraged to eat, travel and consume more mindfully. Ovolo has partnered with NGO Eden Regeneration Project to plant more trees in over-harvested regions around the world; the Mediterranean menu by celebrity chef Shannon Martinez at its glass-enclosed conservatory-style restaurant, Alibi, is entirely plant-based and locally sourced; and the hotel has committed to the United Nations’ Sustainability Development Goals, including minimising energy and water consumption, lowering waste production and more. 

Dessert at Alibi Bar and Kitchen at Ovolo Woolloomooloo

Alibi Bar and Kitchen at Ovolo Woolloomooloo, Inner Sydney - Credit: Alibi Bar and Kitchen

An animal haven – Wildlife Retreat at Taronga 

It should be no surprise that a retreat at one of Australia’s most beloved zoos gives back to the animal kingdom. Every stay booked at Taronga Zoo’s Wildlife Retreat or Roar and Snore glamping tents supports the zoo’s conservation programs. This means your stay helps breeding programs for native species like koalas, corroboree frogs and the regent honeyeater; rehabilitation for injured turtles, platypus and penguins; and habitat recovery programs for more than 14 threatened species, including the bilby, Tasmanian devil and more. 

The new airport hotel – Moxy Hotel Sydney Airport 

While most airport hotels rely on their convenient location, this modern and design-focused hotel, just a short walk from Sydney Airport’s domestic terminal, adds style and comfort, as well as putting business travellers and digital nomads first. Check in happens at the bar, where you'll receive your room key and a complimentary cocktail; the fitness centre (which also has a boxing bag and yoga mats) is open 24 hours for those adjusting to jet lag; there’s a grocery shopping service for quick necessities between flights; the artfully designed rooms feature foldaway moveable desks, meaning you can set up work anywhere; and social co-working spaces are available throughout the hotel. 

View of hotel room at Moxy Hotel Sydney Airport, Mascot

Moxy Hotel Sydney Airport, Mascot - Credit: Trav Media Australia

A greener way to stay – YHA Sydney Harbour 

This award-winning hostel in The Rocks takes its environmental responsibility seriously. Perched above a significant archaeological site from the colonial era, the building was purpose built to be sustainable. With temperature-regulating design, solar panels powering their hot water systems, low-energy lightbulbs with motion sensors to conserve electricity, a 40,000-litre rainwater tank to flush toilets, recycling stations in all rooms and more, guests at YHA Sydney Harbour have used approximately 27% less electricity, 44% less gas and 54% less water per night than guests at YHA’s other Sydney properties. Plus, the postcard-perfect Sydney Harbour views are the cherry on the enviro-stay cake. 

View from the rooftop of YHA Sydney Harbour, Sydney City

YHA Sydney Harbour, Sydney City - Credit: YHA Australia

The best tech – QT Sydney & QT Bondi 

Design-led, boutique hotel group QT is known for its innovative hospitality, with pet-friendly packages and rooms for three. Their amenities are just as future-forward, integrating the latest tech into guest experiences. At QT Sydney and QT Bondi there are Dyson Supersonic hairdryers in every room, as well as Dyson Corale hair straighteners and Dyson air purifiers available upon request. QT’s group music director Andrew Lewis (who DJ’d for Beyonce during a private party at QT Sydney) has curated Spotify playlists for guests inspired by each QT hotel as well as programming the hotel’s elevators to be interactive – if there’s one person on board they’ll hear Elvis’s ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight’, two people get something romantic, and three or more people triggers the party tunes.  

QT Sydney, Sydney CBD

QT Sydney, Sydney City

World-class wellness – Capella Sydney 

Mental health is a top priority for many travellers these days, and the Capella brand’s wellness offering makes this stay feel like more of a retreat than a hotel. The top-floor world-class wellness space is exclusively available for in-house guests and is seamlessly designed to sit within the heritage property in the CBD. There’s a 20m heated indoor pool; a luxury fitness centre equipped with all the latest technology; a yoga platform; and a sauna and steam room with experiential showers that offer different light and pressure settings for different relaxation modes. The pool is wheelchair accessible, and there is also a wheelchair accessible sauna. Capella Sydney is also home to an outpost of their Auriga Spa, featuring treatments informed by the phases of the moon to increase circulation, relieve tension and balance chakras. 

Indoor pool at Capella Sydney, Sydney CBD

Capella Sydney, Sydney CBD

A cool food community – Paramount House Hotel 

You don’t have to go far to enjoy some of Surry Hills' best food and drink experiences. The boutique hotel, located in the former headquarters of Paramount Picture Studios, shares a sunny rooftop with Sydney’s most of-the-moment bread and pastry shop, AP Bakery. Downstairs, Paramount Coffee Project is a beloved and stylish brunch spot buzzing with both Sydneysiders and visitors tucking into their famed fried chicken waffle. In the basement, Golden Age Bar is a moody and intimate place for a tipple before catching a movie at next-door Golden Age Cinema, a retro theatre that plays cult favourites and the latest shows. 

Delicious cake options served at AP Bakery outpost at Paramount House Rooftop, Surry Hills

AP Bakery at Paramount House Rooftop, Surry Hills - Credit: AP Bakery

A secure spot for solo travellers – Space Q Capsule Hotel 

Famous in Japan, capsule hotels are a popular alternative to backpacker dorms for travellers on a budget. Located in the heart of the city on George Street, Space Q Capsule Hotel is designed like a futuristic spaceship, and each capsule offers a private, secure and affordable place to stay the night. Each pod has fresh linen, dimmable lighting, a small safe, USB plugs, air-con and access to a larger locker to store your luggage. Shared spaces mean you can relax outside your pod, with bathrooms, kitchen and lounge – not bad for just $65 a night! 

View of capsule accommodation at Space Q Capsule Hotel, Sydney CBD

Space Q Capsule Hotel, Sydney CBD - Credit: Space Q Capsule Hotel

A creative space – Aiden Darling Harbour Hotel  

Studies have shown that engaging with art lowers stress levels and improves wellbeing, which means a night at Aiden Darling Harbour Hotel should leave you feeling both relaxed and inspired. Art is prioritised at this boutique Pyrmont property, with almost every room featuring a hand-painted mural depicting local native flora by award-winning Australian artist Jessica Le Clerc. The few rooms that don’t have their own murals instead look out to their own private artwork, a 12m outdoor mural painted specifically for the hotel. 

Internal Mural Room, Aiden Darling Harbour Hotel

Aiden Darling Harbour Hotel, Darling Habour

Welcoming your furry family – The Langham Sydney  

Pets are part of the family, and The Langham was one of the first hotels in the city to invite them to holiday. This luxury hotel in The Rocks offers a Pampered Pets Staycation, which includes breakfast in bed for you and your pet, a Langham branded pet bed and bowl to use while in residence and a Pawesome Pet gift bag. That’s not all, you and your best friend can bond with Doggy Afternoon Tea by pastry chef Anna Polyviou, pet sitting, pet wedding and birthday events, and in-room photoshoots.    

Pampered Pets Staycation at The Langham Sydney, The Rocks

The Langham Sydney, The Rocks - Credit: The Langham Sydney

A tiny home on the water – The Salty Dog 

The Salty Dog takes the minimalist, off-the-grid tiny home accommodation trend further, allowing travellers to go into sweet seclusion on the waters of Sydney’s Northern Beaches. A short boat ride from Newport, this floating wooden house features a loft bedroom, comfy downstairs area with a kitchen, beanbags, boardgames and mini fireplace, plus, blissfully, no means to charge your laptop. A continental breakfast hamper is included, and the pantry is stocked with Tim Tams. 

Kitchen with a water view at The Salty Dog, Newport

The Salty Dog, Newport - Credit: Abbie Melle

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