Carefully constructed around support beams and pipes from a 100-year-old wheat and wool wharf, Blue Sydney offers a beautiful mix of old and new that juts out into the Woolloomooloo harbor. The Heritage Level is where you’ll find original wooden pier pilings, metal wheels, and conveyor belts that date to 1910, but classic touches such as early-20th-century photographs of Sydney are scattered throughout the property. Goose down bedding, plush furnishings, walk-in showers, and in-room iPads make modern travelers feel right at home, and the bar that runs the length of the central atrium—hanging Swarovski crystals shine pink and purple in the evening candlelight—often hosts fashion shows and cocktail events. Most rooms have sliding glass doors that take advantage of the hotel’s over-water location between the Royal Botanic Gardens and Rushcutters Bay; they open to either the city skyline or the Potts Point naval base. Maritime history buffs should book the latter and check out the site on the wharf from which sailors boarded ships for Gallipoli.
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Blue Sydney is close enough to downtown that the company names on the skyscrapers are legible, but far enough that the sounds of birds and sailboats predominate rather than traffic horns. The hotel is a perfect home base for exploring the Art Gallery of New South Wales, renowned for its collection of Aboriginal art, as well as the Royal Botanic Gardens and the adjoining Domain, both of which are great spots for an afternoon picnic. Potts Point and Elizabeth Bay are two other lovely areas to meander. Guests who find themselves there around dinnertime can pull up a stool at the wine bar Monopole or tuck into a Thai feast at Jimmy Liks.
Need to Know
Rooms: 67 rooms, 33 suites; from $270. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options: The hotel features a café (open for breakfast) as well as direct entry to all the wharf restaurants, including the Asian fusion hotspot China Doll, and the modern Italian classic Otto. Blue’s extravagant bar is best for evening canapés and cocktails. Spa and gym details: Blue doesn’t have a spa, but there is a small gym, a hot tub, and a beautiful indoor pool whose wooden deck makes it feel like it's on a cruise ship.
Who's it best for: Artsy event planners and maritime enthusiasts looking for a quiet stay on the edge of the city. Our favorite rooms: At 328 square feet, the Manhattan-style marina-view Ultra Loft is large enough to host mini conferences and cocktail receptions overlooking the water. Skylights, a pullout sofa bed, and nautical blue wall sconces set the scene. Travel in style: Guests can take a water taxi from the hotel to a concert at the Sydney Opera House. The boats charge by number of people, so it's possible to watch the city light up against the harbor for around the same cost as a cab.