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One stop in Sydney has nearly all visitors abandoning preconceived notions of Australia—then lusting for more of the country’s biggest city. Known for the iconic Sydney Opera House and New Year’s Eve fireworks and loved for its amiable people and natural beauty, this city of 4.4 million boasts an prestigious range of experiences, including a culinary scene that has wildly expanded over the last ten years, a climate that most could only dream of and enough secluded beaches for a lifetime of exploration. Here’s our luxury guide on where to eat, drink, stay and play in Sydney.

Heading to Sydney? Check out our exclusive deal for Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney.

Words by Shylie Rimmer

Eat

Sushi e: This high-end Japanese restaurant can be found in the Central Business District and shares its space with one of the most elite cocktails lounges in the city. Adorned with a white marble bar top (designed for watching the chefs in action) and light wooden chairs, this small venue oozes elegance, even before the food is served.

China Doll: Woolloomooloo Wharf, also known as the Finger Wharf, is home to some of Sydney’s priciest apartments and most stylish restaurants. China Doll, on the east side of the wharf, stands out, with its original twist on modern Asian cuisine, fusion cocktails, and aristocratic vibe. Sunset here is especially beautiful, with views over the city skyline.

Drink

The Baxter Inn: Voted #12 in the 2016 World’s 50 Best Bars competition, this 1920s-era joint provides over 360 whiskies (the most expensive being $100 a nip) to a soundtrack of jazz classics. Hidden, sign-less in a laneway off Clarence Street, it’s not the most obvious find, but well worth the effort. Order the “whiskey and apple”—a highball of Tennessee whiskey and squeezed-to-order apple juice.

Image courtesy of Lancemore

Stay

Larmont Sydney by Lancemore: A city stay is all about location, location, location: that’s why Larmont Sydney by Lancemore has become the go-to hotel for global tastemakers, complete with city and harbour views from the upper floors. The fashionable and well-heeled suburb of Potts Point – with its happening cafes, restaurants and bars – is where this boutique hotel calls home. Sydney’s CBD is a short walk away and the iconic harbour and Sydney Opera House are less than ten minutes away by taxi.

Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney: Marrying Sydney’s past with its present and boasting a history worth writing home about, the iconic Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney sits in the heart of the CBD in a classic Italianate building that was once home to the Fairfax newspaper empire and renowned Bank of New South Wales. Luxury meets location with a traditional sandstone exterior, classic architecture, old-world marble interiors and a location in the heart of Sydney’s shopping and business district, just a stone’s throw from all the famous sights.

Heading to Sydney? Check out our exclusive deal for Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney.

Primus Hotel: Built in 1939, it took two years to refurbish and rebuild the property, which opened its doors just three years ago in 2015. Original features – such as vault in the middle of the lobby – have been loving preserved and fused with luxe touches including a rooftop bar and pool. The location is the jewel in this crown, with some of Sydney’s best sites, shops and restaurants just a short walk from the hotel.

Hyatt Regency Sydney: After a $250 million dollars redevelopment the Hyatt Regency Sydney now boasts a striking 892 beautifully appointed rooms, making it not only Sydney’s largest upscale hotel, but also Australia’s biggest hotel. Blending ultra-modern décor with deluxe amenities, Hyatt Regency Sydney features a state-of-the-art fitness centre and decadent dining venues, including a gorgeous rooftop bar – Zephyr, offering the most breathtaking views over Sydney’s skyline.

Play

Sydney Harbour: Sydney Harbour might be one of the most famous in the world, with the Harbour Bridge its mascot. The 85-year-old all-steel structure—that took one-and-a-half thousand men eight years to build—connects the Central Business District with the North Shore, providing a wonderful view for those on the east and north edges. The inlet is home to a number of small, unfrequented beaches, but the key to the Harbour’s best views are the public ferries. The Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo ferry route costs $11.50 and sports some of the closest bridge photo opportunities you’ll get without paying for your own private boat.

Spit to Manly Walk: For the more outdoorsy travellers, the coastal walk from the Spit Bridge to Manly might be a preferred option for exploration. The moderate, North Sydney route combines dramatic harbour views with urban vistas, providing three-plus hours of pure paradise for nature admirers.

Bondi to Coogee Walk: The Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach walk is yet another city pastime engaged in by locals, and a great way to spot dolphins and whales passing through the Tasman Sea. Adorned by multiple beaches and bays, the coastal route is home to a few low-key (and almost secret) spots. One such is McKenzies Beach, just off the south point of McKenzies Point, and largely unknown to tourists, and even some Sydney-siders. This mystery beach, between Bondi and Tamarama, is said to appear once every seven years, when sand builds up on the rocks and the tide falls. No one knows exactly when it will appear, but when it does, it is visited by every Bondi dweller and their dog.

Head to Newtown: To witness the vibrant, creative side of the city, visit the suburb of Newtown, loved for its art, music, and swarm of thrift stores. Window shop down King Street, Newtown’s main strip, to find quirky bits and pieces. When you’re done, drop in at Mary’s, a local bar that is also famous as a burger joint.

Heading to Sydney? Check out our exclusive deal for Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney.

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