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Sydney hotels: 7 stays for 7 types of travelers
Hipster, history buff or honeymooner -- whichever you are, these city hotels put you in the middle of the action
When it comes to Sydney style and hospitality, there are heaps of hotels to choose from.
Heritage, designer, swanky or boutique, they're all a quick leap from the city's best shopping, eating and party venues.
Here are seven stays for seven (or more) types of travelers, arranged in order of ascending rates.
For: Night owls and business travelers
If you're planning a few big nights in Kings Cross, Potts Point or Darlinghurst, the Diamant Hotel is the obvious pick.
Boutique lodging comes in 76 rooms and suites, including newly launched apartments ranging from one- to three-bedroom and penthouse configurations, with property-wide WiFi included in the cost of the room.
Deluxe rooms are comfortable enough, but to enjoy the fresh air without leaving the door open, courtyard rooms and suites offer spacious terraces to lounge around on.
For longer stays, the apartments are equipped with a kitchenette and 60-inch plasma screen.
The 365-square-meter penthouse comes with two private terraces with city and harbor views.
This is a rooms-only property, but there are plenty of cafes, shops, bars and restaurants in the area.
14 Kings Cross Road, Potts Point; +61 (0)2 9295 8888; US$175 per night; www.8hotels.com/diamantsydney
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For: Long-stayers and families
If you believe "location, location, location" makes or breaks a property, Fraser Suites is your spot.
It's near Town Hall with Darling Harbour and Hyde Park within walking distance. There's also direct access to Regent Place, a retail complex with food, fashion and salons, plus loads of other restaurants in the vicinity.
The 42-story, Sir Norman Foster-designed building houses 201 hotel suites and apartments ranging from studios to two-bedroom duplex penthouses.
Most apartments feature a separate living area, washing machine with dryer and fully equipped kitchen.
Internet is included in room price.
The 20-meter heated swimming pool has glass floor panels so you can window shop at the Regents Place over which it cantilevers.
The higher the floor the better the view through the floor-to-ceiling windows -- westward facing rooms look out to Darling Harbour.
488 Kent St.; +61 2 8823 8888; US$235 per night; Sydney.frasershospitality.com.
For: Couples and history buffs
Located on the heritage-listed Finger Wharf at Wooloomooloo, Blue was originally a wool and cargo-handling warehouse.
The hotel's coveted quayside spot is within walking distance of the Royal Botanical Gardens (adjacent), Sydney Opera House and trendy Potts Point.
Finger Wharf -- the longest pile-driven pier in the world -- is home to a smattering of restaurants, including the famed China Doll and Otto, just two of six venues where guests can charge the bill back to their hotel room.
Thirty-six of the 100 rooms are split level lofts and the view menu includes harbor, marina, garden or city skyline. The spaces range from a 35-square-meter Superior Rafter Room to a 98-square-meter Ultra Loft Suite.
The main onsite watering hole is the stunning, high-atriumed Water Bar, with architecture that hints at its former warehouse past. Drinks start flowing at 5 p.m. and high tea must be booked in advance.
There's also a fitness center and heated pool to work off the famed midnight pies from the nearby Harry's Cafe de Wheels.
The hotel also offers Blue Bikes (which are actually gold) for complimentary spins around Wooloomooloo.
Tech junkies might balk at the AU$15 (US$15.50) per day in-room connectivity fee, but free wireless is offered in public areas.
6 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo; +61 2 9331 9000; US$260 per night; www.tajhotels.com/sydney
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For: Urbanites and couples
Opened in October 2011 as part of The Star complex's US$896.45 million expansion, The Darling is a 171-key property that exudes contemporary cool.
Floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the city skyline or harbor.
Other luxe components include Black Molton Brown toiletries (the Darling is the only hotel in Australia and one of eight worldwide to carry the range) and 400-thread count Egyptian bed linen.
Entry-level Darling rooms start at 35 square meters with large photographic artwork by celeb photographer Russell James.
The largest option is the two-bedroom penthouse suite, featuring a media room and fireplace.
Facilities in this Sydney hotel include a 25-meter eucalyptus and white tea-scented infinity pool and 16-room spa.
At the hotel's doorstep are sophisticated bars, restaurants and brand name retail outlets to spend your winnings at after a hot run at the onsite casino.
80 Pyrmont St., Pyrmont; +61 2 9777 9000; US$278 per night; www.thedarling.com.au
For: Hipsters and foodies
In an alley off George Street, Establishment Hotel is a 31-room property within walking distance of The Rocks, Circular Quay and Sydney Harbour.
There are no views outside the converted warehouse to speak of, but the modish interiors -- dark, seemingly the prerequisite for "design hotels" -- give your eyes more than enough to settle on.
All guest rooms and two penthouse lofts feature generous bathrooms with Bulgari toiletries and are kitted out with an Apple TV hooked up to a Bose sound system, iPad 2 with digital compendium and WiFi connectivity included.
Located within the same building, a disproportionally high number of restaurants and hip bars includes award-winning contemporary Aussie restaurant est., oft-booked Cantonese eatery Mr. Wong, Japanese restaurant sushi e and the flash Palmer & Co. bar.
If you're a light sleeper, ask for a higher room facing away from the main street or you'll have to zone it all out with earplugs (provided, and for a reason).
5 Bridge Lane; +61 2 9240 3100; US$411per night; www.merivale.com.au
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For: Yuppies and shoppers
Outside, the grandeur of two 1920s heritage buildings -- the Gothic Gowings Building and Italian/art deco-styled State Theater.
Inside, a theatrical assault on the senses with in-your-face colors, an LED wall of digital art mood lighting, quirky texture clashes and elevator music that changes depending on lift load.
Opened in late 2012, this designer hotel is anything but cookie cutter. A separate designer and stylist were brought in to create the eclectic public areas and private spaces, with an additional stylist charged with adding personalized touches to each of the 200 guest rooms.
A costume designer was also commissioned to design the funky staff uniforms and a curator handpicks contemporary art pieces displayed throughout the hotel.
Rooms feature the sunset hues of red, orange and yellow, while those in the Gowings Building have original timber floors.
SpaQ includes a retro barber shop and the hotel offers equally hip bars and restaurants -- Parlour Lane Roasters (cafe turned wine bar in the evenings), Gowings Bar & Grill and Gilt Lounge cocktail bar.
It's located smack center for retail pursuits, adjacent to Pitt Street Mall and a brief mosey to both Westfield Centerpoint and Queen Victoria Building.
For everything else, guests can consult the QT Sydney concierge app or check the web via connectivity (included with room).
49 Market St.; +61 2 8262 0000; US$433 per night; www.qtsydney.com.au
For: Honeymooners and families
Following a multi-million dollar renovation that took most of 2011, Park Hyatt reopened in 2012 in its harborfront perch at Circular Quay pier overlooking the Sydney Harbour, the Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
All 155 guest rooms, F&B outlets, spa, rooftop heated pool and other facilities, including the revamped boardwalk, received a complete makeover. A new fourth level was also added, with three new rooftop suites, including a 350-square-meter Sydney Suite with a private 93-square-meter outdoor terrace.
Local materials were used in the rebuild and renowned Aussie artists were commissioned to paint, sculpt and photograph specifically for the hotel.
To make the most of the coveted view, guest rooms feature furnished private balconies (the Opera Suite has six) or terraces in the bigger suites.
Contemporary rooms are sexed up with Bose music systems and marble bathrooms that include a deep bathtub and his and her basins. Butler service is available for all guests.
Internet connectivity costs US$30 per device per day. Ouch.
7 Hickson Road, The Rocks; +61 2 9256 1234, US$742 per night; www.sydney.park.hyatt.com