There’s no denying that Sydney can be a pricey place to rest your head, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find an affordable gem in the heart of the city. You just need to know where to look. If you’re on the hunt for cheap, bare-bones accommodation, you can always check with one of the many pubs in and around the city. There’s a reason they’re actually called hotels; they often house rooms upstairs that make up for what they lack in ambience and extras with tidy surroundings. There are also an increasing number of accommodation options—from nicely maintained hostels to budget chains—that won’t slaughter your hard-won holiday budget. You may not receive a five-star service, but you will be able to experience more of what Sydney has to offer instead of spending all day curled up in the 1,200 thread count sheets for which you’re likely to pay far too much.
The main draw here is the swimming pool: it’s perched on the rooftop, so you get a great view of the cityscape to the west, pretty Rushcutters Bay Park to the east, and the expansive harbour to the north. Vibe doesn’t go for frills—just a clean, well-kept space where you can rest your head after a long day of sightseeing.
A backpackers’ hostel, you say? Don’t be too quick to judge. Bounce is an award-winning accommodation located just a stone’s throw from Central Station, placing you right in the middle of the city. There are double and triple rooms with ensuites and flat-screen TVs for budget travelers, and a rooftop terrace with bean bags, sun lounges, and barbecues. Head there on Thursday nights for $1 hot dogs, or on Sundays when they serve $2 burgers to nosh while visiting with fellow guests.
This 126-room hotel in pretty Potts Point is actually a collection of serviced apartments, meaning you get a handy kitchenette with any room you book. It’s also an affordable housing option, especially considering the extras they have on offer: everything from a sun deck and courtyard to gym access, guest laundry on each floor, outdoor swimming pool, and even a massage service. Most rooms start at just over $150 per night.
This is about as easy as it gets. The Royal, located just near the campus of Sydney University, is a no-frills, no-fuss Aussie pub with upstairs accommodation from a very appealing $79 per night for a single room. You’ll get free Wi-Fi, a share bathroom, common kitchen, laundry, and access to a downstairs bar where you can order classic meals like a rump steak for just nine dollars.
The rooms in this Surry Hills hotel are simple, colorful and centrally located. Plus, bustling Oxford and Crown Streets are nearby if you need a shopping, nightlife, or food fix. (Or you can just saunter downstairs for a hearty Italian meal at Baccomatto Osteria.) The hotel’s also been recently renovated, and what’s more, there’s a heated indoor pool and spa.