Little Albion has a whole lotta charm. In a former convent in a peaceful patch of Sydney, a half-hour stroll from the city centre, the hotel has a covetable art collection and a deliciously relaxed ambience. Rooms are styled with dark-wood furniture and plush, comfy seating; additional style statements come in the form of impressive staircases and a rooftop terrace, dotted with a plethora of plants. The Surry Hills location puts a wealth of tempting restaurants, cafés, bars and boutiques at your fingertips – and since the hotel only serves breakfast, there’s even more reason to go out and explore them.
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £125.80 (AU$225), including tax at 10 per cent.
Rates include Continental breakfast.
Don’t miss the hotel’s impressive art collection, including the bold zebra painting in the lobby.
At the hotel
Rooftop garden; lounge; honesty bar; two event spaces; free WiFi throughout. In rooms: 42-inch TV, WiFi, air-conditioning, minibar, free bottled water, tea and coffee. The Sweet and Big Albion rooms have a kitchenette; Big Albion also has a four-poster bed and a TV above the tub.
Our favourite rooms
Big Albion swings into first place on account of its bold, Seventies-style decor and art. The shower can fit two, and there’s also a giant bath tub in the bedroom. It’s enough to make a nun blush…
Bring something irreligiously seductive: lacy smalls or passion-provoking cologne, perhaps.
Common spaces are wheelchair accessible; bedroom corridors are wide enough for wheelchairs and all rooms can be reached by lift. Sweet rooms also have adapted bathrooms with roll-in showers.
Instead of a fully fledged restaurant, Little Albion has a cosy lounge where a breakfast buffet featuring breads, preserves, muesli, fruit, juice and hot drinks is set up each morning.
There’s no bar, but help yourselves to tipples from the honesty bar on the ground floor, stocked with top-shelf spirits, fine wines, craft and international beers, premium pre-mixed cocktails, soft drinks and gourmet bar snacks.
Breakfast is available between 7.30am and 10.30am daily.
Surry Hills is a characterful inner-city eastern suburb, home to plenty of tempting coffee joints, boutiques, bars and restaurants.
Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport is a half-hour drive away; call Smith24 will to book your flights.
Sydney’s Central Station, which serves almost every line on the Sydney Trains network, is a two-minute drive or short stroll from the hotel.
You can park in the secure Rydges car park (AU$44 a night), a three-minute walk from the hotel. You don’t need a car here, but it comes in handy for exploring further afield – the Blue Mountains, perhaps.
Worth getting out of bed for
Surry Hills, a half-hour walk from the city centre, is a relaxed, characterful Sydney ‘hood – set forth and explore it. Hop on a ferry to Unesco-listed Cockatoo Island, in the middle of Sydney Harbour. Head to Bondi Beach and tick off the Bondi to Bronte Walk, keeping your eyes peeled for local wildlife along the way. Artbar is a monthly party thrown by the Museum of Contemporary Art; each edition is curated by a different artist or collective, so you can expect the unexpected (along with prime views, late-night tunes and artist interactions). Join the surfers at Manly Beach, which hosts the Australian Open of Surfing every February; it’s a half-hour ferry trip here from Sydney Harbour’s Circular Quay. If this is your first trip, it’d be rude not to at least wave hello to the Sydney Opera House – it’s an icon for good reason.
Enjoy a long and leisurely brunch – fried-chicken basket or a broken-omelette roll with shrimp and bacon jam, perhaps? – at Reuben Hills. You’ll find this micro-roastery, coffee-wholesaler and cosy café on Albion Street. Join the locals lunching at the Paddington at 380 Oxford Street. Later on, dinner options include: Argentine flavours served at popular Porteño on Holt Street and swish 12-Micron: a restaurant, bar and late-night dessert house at Tower 1 on Barangaroo Avenue.
Jazz and whisky lovers will fall for Eau de Vie – perhaps literally, if too much EdV is consumed – on Darlinghurst Road. This dimly lit speakeasy woos with creative craft cocktails and dapper decor: all glittering glass cabinets and artfully aged leather seats.
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 heritage hotel in Surry Hills and unpacked their Tim Tams and opals, a full account of their Australian city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Little Albion in Sydney…
If you’ve ever wondered where Australian nuns rest their heads, here’s your chance to find out: Little Albion was a convent in another life (and has the original red-brick walls and stained-glass windows to prove it). These days, the sisters have made way for an enviable art collection, prints and patterns galore, and cosy communal areas, including a relaxed lounge and a pretty rooftop terrace. The clue’s in the name: this is an independent guest house, not an all-bells-and-whistles hotel, but this makes for an utterly relaxed feel. It also provides an additional incentive to explore the prime location: scenic Surry Hills, which doesn’t hold back when it comes to food, drink, culture and entertainment. Praise be.