Where to stay in Sydney
What's so special
If you are off to Sydney for the nightlife, the Diamant is the best base. As Vincent Crump in Sunday Times Travel notes, it’s “slap-bang in Sydney’s most happening neighbourhood” – right behind the neon Coke sign in Kings Cross, the gateway to Darlinghurst and Potts Point, known for their range of eateries and drinking spots.
How they rate it
“Black cellular furniture in every corner, moody monochrome photographs of the metropolis on the walls… The Diamant should feel stranded in the 1990s. Somehow it works, though,” says Crump. “Maybe it’s because it’s really nattily done and comes armed to the teeth with 21st-century goodies: iPod docks, free wi-fi (still rare Down Under) and king-size beds.” Book a courtyard room, as they “have balconies perfect for pre-dinner drinks”. Or if you opt for a cheaper standard room, “ask for an even number – most have twinkly views of the Sydney skyline”.
The hotel has a wine bar, with charcuterie sharing plates to nibble on, and there are many great restaurants nearby.
Doubles from £112, room only. For more, visit www.8hotels.com or call 00 61 2 9295 8888.
What's so special
If you are more interested in exploring Sydney’s many tourist attractions, then the Langham is an excellent choice. This five-star hotel, renowned for its service and immaculate rooms, is within walking distance of downtown Sydney, the Opera House and Circular Quay.
How they rate it
The hotel is situated in “a part of The Rocks that few people see, full of quaint sandstone cottages and colonial era pubs and churches”, says Mark Chipperfield in The Daily Telegraph. It has been styled like an “ersatz English country house hotel with plenty of floral sofas, hunting prints, porcelain vases and heavy curtains – there’s even a wood-panelled bar with log fires and a high tea service on the weekends”. The rooms are “sumptuous, well-furnished and a little Laura Ashley”. But the chintz doesn’t put people off: “the hotel enjoys an incredible sense of loyalty from previous guests, who just keep coming back”.
The hotel restaurant, Galileo, has slipped down Sydney’s “competitive restaurant rankings, but chef Masahiko Yomoda is quickly rebuilding its reputation with his delicate modern French cuisine”.
Doubles from A$295 (£189). See www.sydney.langhamhotels.com.au (00 61 2 9256 2222).
The world’s best hotels
The Sunday Times Travel magazine has announced the winners of its Readers’ Awards 2012. Here are what the magazine’s readers voted as the best hotels in the world.
Best European city hotel: Hotel Arts, Barcelona: “The sexy early-1990s architecture looks as if it was built last year,” says Lisa Reynolds from Oxford. The hotel has “a winner in its restaurants Arola and Enoteca, particularly the latter, for its creamy vegetable rice”, adds Sally Winslow from London.
Best worldwide city hotel: Raffles, Singapore: The hotel offers “timeless elegance that harks back to colonial days, but with all the amenities and service of a true luxury hotel”, says Wendy Christie from Newton Abbot. “Simply iconic,” says John Queening from Chesterfield.
Best worldwide resort: W Retreat & Spa (pictured), Maldives: How does the W manage to beat all the other over-water honeymoon hotspots? The Seascape Escape room was “bigger than our house, with an infinity pool, glass floors, a huge deck and a barbecue, it was heaven”, says Laura Smith from St Ives.
But it’s not just the size of the rooms. “Honeymooned in the Maldives five years ago and, frankly, we were bored after day three. Came back and stayed at the W. Fantastic. These people know how to have fun,” says James McCullen from London.