If walls could talk, InterContinental Sydney would have ample stories to fill an entire library. Having just celebrated its 170th birthday, the property's iconic sandstone structure has seen some remarkable things in its lifetime. The old-world wonder dates back to 1849, when construction of the Treasury Building, the first purpose-built government office in Sydney, began. While you’re now far more likely to find business travellers than government officials in waistcoats, remnants of the hotel's former life linger – from the sprawling atrium to the oldest working lift in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s the mix of cosmopolitan glamour and 19th-century charm that sets InterContinental apart. Naturally, the spectacular location doesn’t hurt, either.
Sitting resplendent in the dress circle of Circular Quay, InterContinental Sydney offers unparalleled views of the Sydney skyline and its iconic landmarks. It's located just 150 metres from the wharf, so there’s easy access to Circular Quay train station, ferry terminal or buses to take you anywhere you need to go in Sydney. From Sydney airport, it’s a 15-20 minute drive.
The hotel is just as rich in luxury as it is in history, and this extends to its 506 rooms. The options range from comfortable 32-square-metre spaces to the grandiose Government Opera Suite. If you choose the latter, expect panoramic views of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. Touches like a baby grand piano, large marble bathroom with a spa bath and champagne on arrival take the experience from memorable to unforgettable.
Food and drink
The InterContinental Sydney is perhaps just as well known for its high tea as its bountiful heritage. In the sun-lit Cortile, you can enjoy an elegant lunch and sip artisan loose leaf La Maison Du tea out of colourful china cups. Expect a three-tiered tower filled with a mix of traditional treats and savoury delights. The vegan menu is equally divine, with the plant-based scones being almost indistinguishable from the original. Breakfast and dinner options range from the grand buffets at Cafe Opera to casual in-room dining.
For business travellers
All the rooms at the InterContinental are well-equipped for work travel – from the dedicated workspaces in the guest rooms to the large office space in the suites, complete with a printer. There’s also a selection of 15 meeting and event spaces, and a business centre.
For wellness travellers
Open 24/7 to guests, the multi-floor Odyssey Health Club boasts state-of-the-art equipment and complimentary towels and toiletries. There’s also an indoor heated swimming pool where you can take a dip while soaking up the stunning harbour views, as well as a spa and sauna. To further rejuvenate the mind and body, the Odyssey Spa offers an extensive treatment menu and stellar views of the Botanic Gardens.
The fab factor
For an extra touch of luxury, be sure to check into a club room to gain access to the award-winning Club Intercontinental. Perched high on the 31st floor, this is Sydney’s only hotel lounge with an outdoor terrace offering unobstructed 270-degree views of the skyline. It’s an idyllic place to watch the sunset and sip on the InterContinental’s signature cocktail, the Treasury Martinez.
Best for: Business travel and romantic couples
Number of rooms: 506
From: $367 per night
Wi-fi: Free and fast
Parking: Free for guests. Valet parking is available for $70 per day
Address: 117 Macquarie Street, Sydney NSW
Phone: + 61 1800 593 932