At the Little National Hotel Sydney, super king-size beds brush up against full-window walls in smartly compact rooms, so you needn’t even strain your neck to see the Sydney streetscape views when peeping out from your covers. The Japanese-inspired capsule design pushes back against excess, but certainly doesn’t compromise on comfort: you’ll find high-end essentials and tech-forward features in rooms and throughout the hotel. Bridge climb, Barangaroo or hotel bed: you decide.
Get this when you book through us:
A cocktail on arrival and late checkout (midday) on departure
12 noon, when booking with Mr & Mrs Smith. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from £146.07 (AU$269), including tax at 10 per cent.
The architects at Bates Smart were behind the design and décor of the hotel. The aim was to create refined, understated spaces that provide everything you need, but nothing you don’t: using sleek technology and cosy features to make the most of the space.
At the hotel
Rooftop with workspace and lounge, 24-hour reception, water refill stations, well-equipped gym. In rooms: WiFi, TV with Chromecast, Bluetooth speakers, curated Spotify playlist, robes and slippers, powerful hairdryer, minibar, tea- and coffee-making kit, Appelles Apothecary & Lab skin and hair care products
Our favourite rooms
There are two room categories – the Little National Room and the Big Room – and those wanting more space would be wise to opt for the latter. But we’re actually very fond of the Little National Rooms: the sleek bed stretches the length of the space right next to an entirely glass wall, and the room is packed with creature comforts meaning you’ll have everything you need for a place to crash in a city that so favours the outdoors.
Find a different kind of therapy at the Little National, where the belief is that wellness comes from workouts, hence the fully equipped gym. There are Olympic lifting platforms, free weights, squat racks, TechnoGym machines (treadmills, bikes, rowers and more) and a high-spec sound system to keep your reps on beat. You can even do your workout with Doma Wellness – an app that connects to the gym machines to help you get the most out of your session by tracking results, logging moves and monitoring progress.
You’ll want to make the most of the cloud-like, super king-size bed and floor-to-ceiling window set up, so bring a good book to start your mornings with, espresso in hand.
The Big Room has a modified bathroom for wheelchair access and extra space throughout for greater accessibility. Nomads, take to the rooftop workspace: a light-filled area with WiFi, power ports, a printer, and – wait for it – bottomless coffee.
Loungewear or lingerie (or the soft cocoon of a Little National robe) – you decide.
There’s no restaurant at the hotel – and with so many world-class options just moments from the doorstep, there’s really no need. That said, should you wish to order food to the hotel to eat on the rooftop (or in bed – who can blame you, really), then staff will happily bring it to you along with plates and cutlery.
The rooftop bar is split for the seasons. Inside, you’ll find a cosy lounge with velvet armchairs, plush sofas and a flickering, custom-built fireplace. Outside, a timber deck is dotted with leafy lounge areas, five-foot tall plants and communal sofas. The low glass walls mean you get views of the sunset over the city skyline; just right for a cocktail in spring or summer. The bar itself is lined with Australian wines and quality spirits – we loved the orange espresso martini.
The Little National rises above Wynyard Walk in Sydney, a prime urban location close to many of the sights that define the city.
The hotel is within easy reach of Sydney airport. It’s a 20-minute drive or a 30-minute train. Our in-house travel team will be happy to arrange your transfer.
The hotel is mere steps from Wynyard station (take the Barangaroo exit onto Clarence Street). If you’re coming from Sydney airport, take the Airport and East Hills Line from platform one.
You can leave your car in the nearby Wilson Parking at 321 Kent Street. It costs $58 during the week, and $30 at the weekend.
Worth getting out of bed for
There’s plenty on your doorstep: Darling Harbour is a 15-minute walk from the hotel and has gourmet pop-ups, art installations and chic boutiques. Meander the Botanical Gardens overlooking the Opera House, bask in Sydney sunshine in the Chinese Garden of Friendship, or climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge (if you have a head for heights). Spend an afternoon at the waterside Museum of Contemporary Artin Circular Quay (the café here is prime for people watching, too). If you want to beach hop and see some rugged natural beauty, take the beloved Bondi to Coogee walk. Hit the shops in the CBD (Central Business District) – including Australian pyjamas label Peter Alexander. European settlers first arrived in Australia at the area now known as The Rocks, whose shops and eateries are well-heeled and lively.
Luckily for you and your tastebuds, Barangaroo’s waterfront world-class dining is merely moments from the hotel. Try Bel & Brio for seasonal Italian food, such as wild rocket, pear and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano salad, or homemade gnocchi with a five-cheese, black-truffle sauce. Turkish restaurant Anason curates menus depending on the season, but you can bet there’s always some excellent Turkish bread, tilba hummus and chilli-topped labna on the menu. Bao down to Chinese restaurant Lotus before feasting on dumplings filled with prawn, calamari and ginger, or steamed pork. The pork xiao long bao, kung pao chicken and lotus fried rice with duck are worth prostration, too. Slightly further afield is Totti’s, a casual Italian eatery in a light-filled space with an adjoining olive-tree bordered courtyard. Plates are made for sharing, such as the wood-fired bread, chicken cooked on the Josper charcoal grill, or lamb ragu with pappardelle. It just so happens that pretty much anything pairs well with an Aperol Spritz, too. For mod-Aussie dishes (including smoked kangaroo loin, confit hapuka, and baby pink snapper) head to The Dining Room. The food is great, and the views of the Opera House and Harbour aren’t too shabby, either.
Dutch Smuggler is best known for its grade-A coffee beans and flavourful toasties, filled with mi goreng noodles and cheddar, buffalo and slaw, mac and cheese with brisket and more. Find excellent brews and buns at Brickfields, a café/bakery on Cleveland Street with sun-soaked window seats. Power up with a cup at Paramount Coffee Project and then turn your attention to the all-day menu of banana and walnut bread with passionfruit curd, burnt-fig muesli with coconut yogurt and labneh-spiked pumpkin on toast.
You could bar-hop for several nights in a row in Sydney’s hip Darlinghurst neighbourhood. Eau-De-Vie is speakeasy-style with theatrical cocktails and a Martini trolley; Ching-a-Lings is full of lively locals; the Cliff Dive turns out exotic tiki drinks till late; and Love, Tilly Devine champions natural and biodynamic wines. Grab your dancing shoes for a night at Freda’s at 109 Regent Street – the music residencies and potent cocktails will keep you going into the early hours. Don’t miss the Pool Club, which combines three of Sydney’s most popular activities: drinking, dancing and dipping into a pool, all in an open-air space with private cabanas and DJs on the decks. French cocktail bar Little Felix has plenty of cheese, charcuterie and truffle tartines to line your stomach, as well as a moody interior and cocktail list inspired by Parisian hotels.
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 minimalist hotel in NSW and recovered from all the wining and dining, a full account of their city-centre break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside the Little National Hotel in Sydney…
The entrance to the Little National is unassuming against its backdrop of neighbouring high-rises: a sign of what’s to come at this hotel that quietly eschews high-falutin’ excess. A tasteful minimalism courses through the hallways and up to the sleek indoor-outdoor rooftop: a split between a snug lounge with cosy-up-inducing fireplace and timber-dressed outdoor terrace seating, speckled with plants. There’s much to keep you busy right on your doorstep: Barangaroo, the CBD, Darling Harbour and the Opera House. And although you wouldn’t necessarily want to try swinging a cat in your room, there’s plenty of space (and seriously silky linens) for arguably the most important aspect of any hotel stay: a good night’s sleep.