At this waterfront hotel, history meets contemporary luxury with a dash of theatrics.

The hotel

Occupying a former shipping wharf built in 1912, Pier One Sydney Harbour is a fast track to the city’s heritage and culture. The hotel encapsulates the best of Sydney, from the convivial vibe of its central drinking and dining area to its unimpeded views of the city’s always-on harbour. Catch a theatre or dance performance in the neighbouring Walsh Bay Arts Precinct or stroll to Sydney’s historical heart, The Rocks, and be intrigued by tales of rum smuggling and shanghaiing at The Hero of Waterloo Hotel.

The room

You’re literally at the pointy end in room 213, a Harbour View Balcony Suite where you can almost touch the pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge from your deck. Witness harbour life at full throttle: locals fishing, ferries taking commuters to work and torches bobbing on the heads of night-time BridgeClimb Sydney participants. Encouraging that never-want-to-leave feeling is the freestanding bathtub in the open-plan bathroom. While some finishes, such as the vanity unit, are beginning to show signs of age, the neutral palette and modern furnishings add to the relaxed ambience. 

The lowdown

Number of guestrooms: 189 

Check in/out: 3pm/11am

Food and drink: The Gantry Restaurant hosts a substantial buffet breakfast; by night, this dimly lit timber space sets the tone for a sophisticated dégustation menu paired with wines. Outside, The Kerrigan on-site food truck serves casual fare (burgers, smoked lamb ribs, charred king prawns) against a harbour backdrop.

Wellness: No pool but there’s a 24-hour Workout Room with water views. Guests can also join a scheduled strength-and-conditioning class run by fitness training company Aspire.

Business facilities: The business centre is a nook with one computer near reception but the hotel can arrange secretarial assistance, couriers, photocopying and audiovisual equipment.

Minibar: A “mini supermarket” containing everything from champagne and chocolates to painkillers, chewing gum and hotel-branded caps.

Water: $4 (500ml); $7 (one litre)

Pillow menu: Standard polyester pillows, plus feather/down, pure natural latex, contour memory foam and boomerang pillows on request. 

Bathtub: Room 213 has a deep freestanding bathtub opposite the twin rain shower with side jets. Rooms from the deluxe category to the suites have bathtubs.

Bathrobe: Polyester yet plush long white bathrobe (one size fits all).

The housekeeping test: Returning to the hotel at night, we requested a fresh bathrobe from reception and it beat us to our room.

Amenities: Appelles Apothecary & Lab products with essential oils and native botanicals (note the Bath Caviar with amber and patchouli). 

Room service: ETA for the Angus burger with fries ordered from the in-room dining menu: 30 minutes. Real time: 14. The bun was fresh, the patty was well done and the chips were warm and crunchy. 

Balcony: Five rooms have functional balconies; 29 have Juliet balconies.

Parking: There’s limited valet parking ($50 a night). 

Price: From $299 (Heritage King or Twin) to $1999 (Admiral Suite) per night.

Ask for: Room 213 or any harbour-facing room on the second floor.

Our rating: 4.5 stars

SEE ALSO: Hotel Review – Establishment Hotel, Sydney

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