A hotel is the foundation of your holiday, and an integral part of the overall travel experience.
And every now and then, it’s worth treating yourself by staying somewhere really special. Whether you like old world charm, an intriguing backstory, cutting edge cool, classic style, or a secret retreat, here are ten (in no particular order) of Australia’s best hotels. You’ll find details of many more amazing places to stay on the Luxury Hotels website.
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1. Como The Treasury, Perth
Perth’s State Buildings are located in the historic heart of the city and consist of what were formerly known as the Lands, Titles and Treasury buildings. All three played a key role in civic life for well over a century; today they’re a hub for discerning diners and guests at the fabulous Como The Treasury — voted best hotel in Australia in 2020 by readers of Conde Nast Traveler.
The beauty of a modern hotel set within 140-year-old bones is that you never know just what’s hiding around the next corner. It could be a random reading nook flooded with light from the original shuttered windows, a colonnade of grand Corinthian columns, or a swimming pool tucked up amongst the dormers. Como The Treasury is that kind of place. And if space is something you crave in a guest suite, you’re in for a treat here. Style it up for dinner at rooftop restaurant Wildflower, or check out one of the four other top notch places to eat in the complex.
2. Park Hyatt Sydney
‘A room with a view’ takes on new meaning in the Harbour City, especially when you’re lucky enough to be staying in a hotel that offers vistas of the mighty Coathanger, the soaring sails of Sydney Opera House, the shimmering lights of the CBD, and the comings and goings on the water at Circular Quay. Overlooking the inner harbour on the edge of The Rocks precinct, Park Hyatt Sydney has a sweeping style and sophistication befitting its dress circle location.
The hotel follows the curve of Campbells Cove and offers a range of rooms and suites, which are graded largely by the view they offer. The look throughout the hotel is one of classic luxury (think marble, glass, dark wood, and a neutral colour palette), set off by an impressive collection of Australian art. But you’ll scarcely be able to take your eyes off the real-life mise-en-scène outside your window.
3. The Old Clare Hotel, Sydney
OK, time to bring in some true grit. Like many of Sydney’s CBD fringe suburbs, Chippendale has a colourful blue-collar past, and in this particular case, a historically rich olfactory quality — having been home to a cake and chocolate factory, and of course, the former Carlton United Brewery. The latter melded with the neighbouring Clare pub in 2015 to create The Old Clare Hotel — a design-focussed boutique accommodation option that’s packed to the rafters with character.
From the wood panelling and parquetry flooring, to the original circular windows and upcycled industrial light fittings, there are nods to mid 20th century design throughout the hotel. Check out the rooftop pool deck and artfully revitalised Clare Bar. The guest rooms are individual in style and full of intriguing touches. Special mention to the original Carlton United Boardroom, which is now a deluxe guest suite.
4. Jamala Wildlife Lodge, Canberra
A luxury African lodge experience sits at the top of many a traveller’s bucket list, and you can have something very similar without actually leaving Oz! Simply book a stay at Jamala Wildlife Lodge in Canberra. Situated inside the National Zoo and Aquarium on the western outskirts of the CBD, this beautifully themed accommodation experience encompasses all of the memorable aspects of an African lodge holiday: well appointed and airy bungalows where the sounds of wildlife drift in on the breeze and animal print soft furnishings run rampant, game viewing (in the form of guided zoo tours), late afternoon ‘sundowners’ (drinks) with your fellow guests to discuss the day’s animal sightings, and memorable meals.
There are several different accommodation options to choose from, most of which facilitate up-close viewing of the zoo’s residents. The lofty Giraffe Treehouses are really stunning, and you can expect female giraffe Skye to drop by for a meet-and-greet.
5. The Hotel Windsor, Melbourne
Melbourne is awash with amazing places to stay, but fluffing up your choice from the pillow menu and climbing beneath the duvet in a hotel that’s literally part of the very fabric of this great city is a rare privilege. If the walls at The Windsor could talk, they’d have some serious tales to tell. Established in the 1880s as The Grand Hotel, and later renamed The Windsor in honour of a visit by the Prince of Wales, the hotel embodies the graciousness of the Victorian era and has hosted a lengthy list of performers, pollies, and sporting legends over the decades. The rooms are a chintz lover’s dream, daily high tea is still served in the tea lounge (a ritual dating back 130 years), and the Grand Ballroom still hosts majestic soirees. They just don’t make them like this anymore.
6. The Langham Melbourne
At 30 years old, The Langham Melbourne is proof that style never goes out of fashion. It has fended off incursions from newer and shinier things time and time again to take out top gongs, including Australia’s best hotel in the Conde Nast Traveler readers’ choice awards in 2019, second spot in 2020 (behind Como The Treasury) and a top five possie again in 2021. Location and luxury collide at this 380+ room property (yes, it’s a biggie), which overlooks the CBD from Southbank (to the left of Princes Bridge). From the marvellous marbled foyer and impeccable check-in service, to the understated blushing tones of the guest rooms and suites, the large picture windows that take full advantage of the city views, and the calming sanctuary of Chuan Spa, you’ll be wowed every step of the way.
7. The Calile, Brisbane
Brisbane has welcomed a swag of glitzy new hotels in recent years, but much of the fuss has focussed on The Calile — which recently took out 12th place in the World’s 50 Best Hotels awards (and the top gong in Oceania!) for 2023. Situated on trendy James Street on the edge of Fortitude Valley, the darling of the Insta set opened in 2018 and has rarely been absent from our feeds since. If this was a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race, they’d be serving us pink, gold, and sage mid-century Miami realness, that feels every bit as good as it looks. The airy flow, white brick, pastel colour palette, minimalist furnishings, and bedazzling pool deck give the hotel a retro vibe, offset by tech that pulls everything into the here and now.
8. Henry Jones Art Hotel, Hobart
While it’s facing some stiff opposition these days, The Henry Jones Art Hotel remains one of the hottest accommodation options in Hobart. If you haven’t stepped foot into this converted 19th century jam factory on the Hunter Street waterfront, you’re missing something special. The hotel has 56 rooms and suites that blend contemporary finishes with period features. But the crowning glory is the collection of some four hundred artworks displayed throughout the property. Henry’s Restaurant draws inspiration from seasonal Tassie produce, while the IXL Long Bar is an atmospheric bolthole for pre-dinner drinks or a nightcap.
9. Spicers Peak Lodge, Maryvale (QLD)
Venturing out of our capital cities opens up a world of world-class lodge-style accommodation experiences. And seeing the Spicers Retreats name included in this list will come as no surprise to anyone who has stayed at any of their nine stunning properties in Queensland and New South Wales. Spicers Peak Lodge takes the cake for us. Situated on a sprawling property in Maryvale in Queensland’s glorious South East, with the UNESCO World Heritage listed Scenic Rim as a backdrop, this uber-exclusive and fittingly secluded luxury boutique guesthouse is one that many well-heeled guests prefer to arrive at by helicopter than by road.
Spicers Peak Lodge is Australia’s highest non-alpine lodge and a member of Luxury Lodges of Australia. If you’re looking to get away from it all and celebrate something special, you simply can’t go wrong here.
10. Saffire Freycinet, Coles Bay (TAS)
Sitting pretty on the edge of Freycinet National Park on Tassie’s east coast (and also a member of Luxury Lodges of Australia), Saffire Freycinet is a destination in and of itself. Wonderfully integrated into the landscape and offering exceptional views of Coles Bay and the Hazzards, a stay at this coveted, all-inclusive retreat will see you ensconced in one of just 20 sublime suites. Tasmanian timber, glass, ceramics, stone, and natural fibres create a tactile environment that’s cool to touch and soothing to behold. And from the degustation-style menu at in-house eatery Palate, to the minibar stocked with local libations, every detail of your stay has been designed to impress. Enjoy!
This post was published thanks to Luxury Hotels.
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About the writer
Adam Ford is editor of Top Oz Tours and Travel Ideas, and a travel TV presenter, writer, blogger, and photographer. He has travelled extensively through Europe, Asia, North America, Africa, and the Middle East. Adam worked as a travel consultant for a number of years with Flight Centre before taking up the opportunity to travel the world himself as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten. He loves to experience everything a new destination has to offer and is equally at home in a five-star Palazzo in Pisa or a home-stay in Hanoi.