At the northern end of George Street, opposite Circular Quay and the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Four Seasons hotel offers everything guests might need, right on the doorstep of the Sydney Harbour. It’s no surprise this is one of the most popular hotels among business and leisure travelers, and it books out a year in advance for New Year’s Eve. In typical Four Seasons fashion, the hotel is outfitted with caramel-colored furnishings, dark woods, and romantic lighting—exemplified by the lobby’s crystal overhead lights and the hanging lantern installation—and the top-tier suites are dressed to impress. They all offer an apartment-style ambience and incredible harbor panoramas from their perch on the 34th floor; the Royal Suite is especially beautiful, with parquet floors, an ornate wardrobe, and Roman blinds. Whether staying for work or pleasure, all guests will appreciate the fine-dining restaurant, the cherry-wood bar that specializes in boutique beers and wines, the full-service spa, and the 24-hour gym. The Four Seasons also puts together exclusive guest experiences, such as a harbor tour led by a renowned local photographer.
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The Four Seasons is an ideal downtown Sydney stay. It’s one of the closest high-end hotels to the Museum of Contemporary Art and the ferry terminals of Circular Quay. It’s also steps from the historic Rocks district and all the shops and restaurants of the CBD. For an overview of downtown, guests can walk to the Strand Arcade and the Queen Victoria Building to admire colonial architecture and stained glass windows. From there, it's worth cutting over to Hyde Park (which plays host to numerous events throughout the year), the Australian Museum, and Hyde Park Barracks, which used to house convict men and boys.
Need to Know
Rooms: 498 rooms, 33 suites; from $295. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Pei Modern offers Australian cuisine with French bistro flare. The artichoke with duck egg and truffle is particularly fine, as is the sauternes custard for dessert. Grain bar is open from lunchtime until 3 a.m., serving fresh fish, charcuterie, pizzettas, prawns, organic and biodynamic wines, high-end whiskeys, and local Sydney beers on tap. Spa and gym details: The gym is available 24 hours and is connected to locker rooms, each with a sauna and steam room. An outdoor, heated swimming pool is surrounded by lounge chairs, a small hot tub, and the Cabana bar, great for an afternoon drink or snack. The full-service Aeon spa relaxes guests with Australian creams and oils.
Who's it best for: Business travelers who like everything they need in one place. Our favorite rooms: Rooms on levels 32 and 34 have access to the Executive Club, which offers a hot breakfast buffet, all-day refreshments, and canapés in the evening. The Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge look largest from floors 18 through 20, so a Premier or a Deluxe Full Harbour Room on one of those floors is best for guests who want to sightsee without leaving the hotel. Local advice: The concierge desk is great for tailored recommendations, such as taking a water taxi to Balmoral Beach to eat Sydney’s best fish and chips at Bottom of the Harbour.