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89-113 Kent St., Sydney, New South Wales 2000, Australia

The poshest old-school hotel in town (it’s part of the Orient-Express group) isn’t exactly in town; though it’s in the heart of the lively historic Rocks district, it’s tucked away in a peaceful, mostly residential enclave. The setting works well for the hotel’s exclusive clientele (bigwigs and celebs like Nicole Kidman); it also jibes with the elegant, formal aesthetic, which mimics that of a private manor. The 100 guest rooms are decorated traditionally (and a little fussily), with dark-wood wardrobes and dressers, heavy swagged drapes and overstuffed chairs, and lots of brocade and chintz; some have private balconies and arched windows. The common areas have a similarly grand vibe—and include the wood-paneled Globe Bar; the fancy French/Japanese restaurant Galileo; and a spectacular subterranean swimming pool whose vaulted ceiling twinkles like a southern-hemisphere night sky, thanks to hundreds of fiber-optic “stars.”

 

Room to Book: Rooms 326 and 324 (executive suites) and 310 (a junior suite) have the best views of Walsh Bay.

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Hotel

Observatory Hotel

The poshest old-school hotel in town (it’s part of the Orient-Express group) isn’t exactly in town; though it’s in the heart of the lively historic Rocks district, it’s tucked away in a peaceful, mostly residential enclave. The setting works well for the hotel’s exclusive clientele (bigwigs and celebs like Nicole Kidman); it also jibes with the elegant, formal aesthetic, which mimics that of a private manor. The 100 guest rooms are decorated traditionally (and a little fussily), with dark-wood wardrobes and dressers, heavy swagged drapes and overstuffed chairs, and lots of brocade and chintz; some have private balconies and arched windows. The common areas have a similarly grand vibe—and include the wood-paneled Globe Bar; the fancy French/Japanese restaurant Galileo; and a spectacular subterranean swimming pool whose vaulted ceiling twinkles like a southern-hemisphere night sky, thanks to hundreds of fiber-optic “stars.”

 

Room to Book: Rooms 326 and 324 (executive suites) and 310 (a junior suite) have the best views of Walsh Bay.