Harbour Rocks Hotel, Sydney

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Where Is It: Nestled in The Rocks near Sydney's Circular Quay.

Why Go: It's an historic gem.

Best For: Couples looking for an understated boutique hotel stay.

Three Things We Loved: The huge room, the location, the cozy balcony.

The Ultimate Factor: The old world design and feel.


It's a boutique hotel located right in the heart of Sydney, and the Harbour Rocks Hotel is an elegant property that captures the rich history of The Rocks - a district which played an integral part of Australia's early days of European settlement. From here it's an easy stroll to Australia's most iconic tourist sites, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, and it's a great place for a romantic getaway or weekend getaway to explore the best of the Sydney. Its location and intimate atmosphere is also a favourite with business travellers, and you're just as likely to see couples on a fun trip as men and women in suits talking work and doing deals in the relaxed and welcoming public areas of the boutique hotel. Built in 1887, the colonial-era building was originally the site of Sydney's first hospital and after undergoing various incarnations over the decades, it became the Harbour Rocks Hotel in 1989.

The Accommodation

There are 59 rooms with five basic types and each one has a unique shape and layout which was retained when the building was converted into a boutique hotel. All rooms retain the original charm with modern art work hanging on painted brick walls and luxury furnishings and all have en-suite bathrooms, reverse cycle air conditioning, work stations, a mini bar, iPod docking station, LED televisions, some Foxtel TV channels and digital on-demand pay per view movies. The Heritage Rooms are the basic level acccommodations, while the Heritage Superior Rooms offer a little more space and some have an additional sitting area and ornamental fire place. The Heritage Deluxe Rooms are bigger again with a modern open plan design with a king sized bed and double sofa while the Studio Suite is set up as a "home away from home" with even more space.

Where We Stayed:

With an open plan design our Studio Suite had a spacious lounge area which was pretty much a separate part of the room with a large sofa and it's the perfect place to kick back and relax especially if you're staying more than a night or two. The Harbour View Suite is located right on the top of the hotel offers views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge and has its own dining room and lounge, kitchen and private entrance. The real attraction with this one is the rooftop courtyard with outdoor facilities. The deluxe bathroom also has a walk-in shower and rain shower 

What Else Is There:

Scarlett is the new restaurant which is an intimate 40-seat venue located right over the historic Nurses Walk alleyway and it's the venue for breakfast, lunch and dinner. (We have a restaurant review on Scarlett). Eric's Bar (pictured above) is a cute and laid back section of the hotel on Harrington Street and is open all day and can be a cafe with light refreshments during the morning, and then a refined cocktail bar when the sun goes down. The Courtyard Terrace is a real oasis in the midst of The Rocks and one of our favourite spots at the Harbour Rocks Hotel. From here you can take a barista coffee during the day while overlooking Nurses Walk, or order something a little stronger while taking in the serene atmosphere of the area. There's also a well equipped library (with a fire during the winter) and a new gym.

The Verdict:

The location can't be beaten and the Harbour Rocks has also been cleverly renovated to fully capture the rich history of the area and it's a relaxing and intimate boutique hotel which has a lot of fans.

The Harbour Rocks Hotel is located at 34 Harrington Street, The Rocks, Sydney, NSW, 2000. Tel: 02 8220 9999, www.harbourrocks.com.au.

Ben Hall