Transporting Seattle’s coolest stay south of the equator, Ace Hotel Sydney is a creative, communal hub that locals love as much as guests do. Set 18 storeys above the city, Kiln has retractable roofs, DJ sets, an Argentine grill and award-winning Asian and Italian flavours. Down at street level, there are installations created by Aboriginal artists, a lively lobby space with a library, and two more places to eat, drink and meet some sociable Sydneysiders. And the soundproofed rooms mean that if you’re wired with jet-lag or have temporarily turned mad composer, you can be up all night strumming the guitar in your room or spinning the vinyls on the turntable.
Get this when you book through us:
Two drinks tokens for the lobby bar, free bicycle hire and a coffee in Good Chemistry
Double rooms from £131.44 (AU$247), including tax at 10 per cent.
Rates don’t usually include breakfast.
Ace Hotel Sydney has 10 accessible rooms for guests with mobility issues, as well as accessible entrances and bathrooms on the lobby level and the first floor.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout, bicycles to borrow, photobooth, library, and gym. In rooms: TV with Chromecast, Bluetooth radio, steamer, Byron Bay Tea Co tea and Mecca coffee, minibar with local treats, and Uka bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Some of the rooms are on the smaller side, so if you’re on a big trip Down Under, you might need one with a little more suitcase space, in which case anything upwards of a Medium is best. If you’re tall (or just like high ceilings and original brickwork), book a room on the heritage side of the building; for lots of light, a room in the new tower will be best.
Extra vinyl records and supplementary sheet music if you’re planning on using the musical accoutrements in your room (but there's a handy stash of both already there). And if you’re feeling outdone on the trend front, there’s a boutique in the lobby selling signature Ace hotel clothing, including a line made especially for Sydney.
In-room spa treatments can be arranged. There’s an events programme (wine workshops, gin, coffee and vodka tastings, and a ‘slow series’ helping to reduce the pace) to keep tabs on, with things to do in the lobby, upstairs and outside in the laneway.
For the best views from Kiln’s 18-storey spot, try and secure a seat in the chef’s table section of the floor in time for sunset.
Time to up those trend levels.
There are three restaurants at the hotel: Good Chemistry, Kiln and Loam, all of which are frequented by Sydneysiders (which isn’t the done thing Down Under). Casual Good Chemistry has grab-and-go treats, perfect pastries and the excellent coffee that Australia prides itself on. Kiln, up on the top floor, has a retractable roof for when the sun comes out – the food is modern Australian, which means a generous dose of Japan and South-East Asian influences, via Argentina (for the wood-fired grill) and Italy. Dishes include dry-aged rib-eye with sudachi ponzu, Jatz crackers with smoked butter and tuna with wasabi leaf, and there’s a seafood bar where oysters are constantly being shucked. A DJ soundtracks the proceedings on Friday and Saturday nights. Loam is an all-day neighbourhood hangout, with ingredients sourced from New South Wales’s finest farmers, ranchers and fishermen. Breakfast can be bought at Loam and Good Chemistry. Late-sleepers (or anyone deranged with jet-lag) will appreciate Loam’s until-2.30pm breakfast service.
The lobby bar serves craft cocktails and small plates, with a DJ in residence from 6pm, Thursday to Saturday, and from 3pm on Sunday. Guests seeking an early night needn’t fear the 1am closing, since the rooms are soundproofed.
Good Chemistry serves breakfast and lunch, 7am to 3pm. Kiln is open for dinner from 5.30pm until late; Tuesday to Saturday; and for lunch on Saturday (noon to 4pm) and Sunday (until 5pm). Loam is open from 7.30am until 2.30pm, then 5.30pm until 10pm.
Dishes can be delivered to your room between 7am and 10pm.
Ace Hotel Sydney is in Surry Hills, on the edge of the Central Business District in New South Wales’s sunny capital city.
Sydney’s main airport is 25 minutes away by car. Hotel transfers can be arranged on request.
The city’s Central Station is a few minutes away on foot – especially handy for getting out to Bondi Junction.
Nearby on-street parking costs AU$50 a day.
Worth getting out of bed for
Ace Hotel Sydney has a prime position on the edge of the Central Business District at the start of Surry Hills, so there’s lots going on in every direction, starting with point zero, since the hotel has a lively events programme (as well as a late licence). From the certain angles of the rooftop, you’ll be able to spy the sails of the Sydney Opera House – seeing it up close requires a 10-minute cab. Surry Hills is the city’s hippest ’hood, with lots of creative spaces, including galleries such as China Heights and White Rabbit in Chippendale. Equally energetic is Newtown, easily reached via Central Station, which is a few doors down from the hotel. From here, you’ll also be able to hop on a train to Bondi Junction and pretend to be an authentic Aussie surfer. The team will also be able to help you locate Sydney’s finest free swimming pools, including the ones attached to beaches and near the harbour.
Kiln may be one of Sydney’s hottest new restaurants, but there are plenty more estimable places to eat and drink steps from the hotel’s front doors, namely, helpfully right across the road, Chin Chin, for affordable Asian deliciousness; Nomad for globe-trotting goodness mostly from the Middle East, Morocco and Spain; and Porcine, a charming French bistro above a bottle shop.
If you can’t quite decide what you want out of an evening (a burger, some champagne, a new pair of trainers, a DJ set…), Butter is the laid-back joint for you – go for the fried chicken, leave with some box-fresh (and customised) sneakers.
Try the New World’s finest at Poly, a wine bar that’s not only a short stumble home from the hotel, but helpfully purveys salty alcohol-soaking-up snacks such as anchovy toast, fried potato with egg yolk and porchetta with mustard. For a classic local pub that would make the Poms proud, Harry’s is nearby – and open until 4am on Friday and Saturday nights.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this hipster-approved hotel in New South Wales and unpacked their new melodies and vinyl records, a full account of their city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Ace Hotel Sydney…
There’s no pain being strummed at Ace Hotel Sydney, a Seattle export that’s made its on-trend way Down Under; only new music, composed on the guitar in your room. Set in what was once a Soul Pattinson pill-sorting headquarters, the heritage hotel is across the road from Surry Hills, on the edge of the Central Business District (‘CBD’ has nothing to do with psychoactive drugs in Australia). What it lacks in harbour views, it more than makes up for in local-favoured hangouts, an unbeatable buzz and a serious soundtrack, with regular DJ sets, in-room turntables and vinyl selection, and late-night licences. Many of the artworks on show were created by First Nation artists, and a creative soul from Melbourne moved in for a few weeks to ensure the corridors on every floor were suitably attired; he even created a print for the backs of the bathrobes, which are for sale if you’re a fan. Let the good times (and the music) roll.