Though the Intercontinental Sydney is built around the Old Treasury Building alongside the Royal Botanic Gardens, just a few minutes’ walk from the Opera House and Circular Quay, the 509-room hotel is primarily housed in a modern tower that stretches 32 stories high, and the club lounge is on the top floor. Access to it adds an extra $150 AUD to your room rate, so it doesn’t come cheap, but when you get up to see the views, you might just shell out the extra cash.
This is what truly sets the lounge apart from others in the city. The club lounge itself isn’t terribly large, and the furnishings are mostly unembellished, square, earth-toned (with a few red ones thrown in) armchairs, banquettes and side tables. But the truly unique feature is the wraparound timber terrace with deck chairs and tables that circumvents the lounge, with views of the city and harbor, including the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, among the city’s other famous attractions. This is definitely one of the best views available in Sydney.
Guests who book a room with club access can also check in and out directly up there, and those arriving early before their room is ready can take advantage of the shower facilities to freshen up before a day out in the city.
Club access also gets you one suit or garment pressed daily, personalized concierge and business services, and use of a private meeting room for up to two hours. It does not, however, provide free high-speed internet, which runs a typically whopping $25 AUD a day.
But if we’re talking about the freebies, the club lounge does host a variety of complimentary food services throughout the day starting with a continental breakfast in the morning, snacks during the rest of the day, tea service in the afternoon, and a selection of light dinner appetizers and canapés like beef and chicken satay skewers, arancini, zucchini fritters and lamb-phyllo rolls accompanied by drinks and Australian wines (including some big names from the Barossa and even as far as Margaret River in Western Australia) in the evening when the lounge is at its most crowded thanks to the stunning views of the harbor at sunset.
Rates at the Sydney Intercontinental start at $305 in August, and $455 with club access.
Full disclosure: Eric Rosen stayed at the Sydney Intercontinental as a guest of Tourism Australia, but all opinions expressed are entirely his own.