Suite Life: InterContinental Sydney

Signature Harbour Suite / 70sqm

Price per night: From AUD$799

Review by: Katrina Holden

Why stay here?

InterContinental Sydney has recently unveiled a $120m upgrade to its interiors, incorporating the heritage-listed former Treasury Building of 1851. After a thoughtful renovation by one of Australia’s leading architecture studios, Woods Bagot, the hotel now oozes contemporary chic while remaining true to its history. Staying here, you’re within easy walking distance to some of Sydney’s top attractions including the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour foreshore.

Design and sustainability notes

Sustainability was at the core of the redesign completed by Woods Bagot, with the firm conscious to conserve as much of the original fabric of the existing hotel as possible. External restoration work has enhanced the hotel’s sandstone façade. For its interiors, the team drew inspiration from the nearby botanic gardens and harbour, introducing green and blue hues – with the aim to create a connection and seamless flow from indoor to outdoor. Key Australian elements of water, sand, wood, and sky have also been incorporated into the furnishings.

At the hotel’s entrance, I particularly love the clever concertina-style wave wall created with green marble, and the warmth of spotted gum wood panelled walls.

Inside my suite, I am greeted with calming colour tones of navy, grey and tan. On a low, marble coffee table sits a vase of fresh white orchids, roses and lilies. From two, long velvet banquettes running the length of the bedroom and living room windows, I could sit and gaze at the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House and the castle-like turrets of the Conservatory of Music. In the morning, I electronically draw the curtains from a button on my bedside console and make myself a cup of La Maison du The tea to watch the city stir, observing ferries darting in and out of Circular Quay. In the bathroom, I soak in salt crystals in a freestanding tub. From either of the suite’s two Samsung LED screens, guests can check their bill, set an alarm, order in-room dining or check out directly. Local products can be found in my mini bar, including Tonton’s handcrafted chocolates made in Sydney. I appreciate the ceramic Vittoria reusable takeaway coffee cups available for guest use.


The central dining hub and lobby bar is The Treasury, located in the atrium of the hotel. This was once the site of Australia’s first attempts at a vineyard – a botanical theme and lush green foliage pays homage today. Here, guests can enjoy botanical-infused classic cocktails, a la carte evening dining (ordered from a menu printed on recycled paper made from old coffee grounds), or the much-loved afternoon High Tea. During my evening meal, I can explore local flavours in most dishes, along with a ‘feature native ingredient’ explained in detail on the menu.

Breakfast is taken at The Conservatory on level one, with an open omelette station and refined dining décor set beneath the large, heritage arched windows. The Rotunda private dining room can be booked for functions to seat up to 16, with photo-worthy walls of panelled deep green velvet and a marble ‘Lazy Susan’ on the large, circular table.

The newly opened Aster bar is located on the rooftop space on Level 32. For the first time in the hotel’s history, this signature bar and outdoor terrace is accessible to Sydney locals too, not only hotel guests. A striking marble bar almost threatens to steal the real star of the show – uninterrupted, Sydney harbour views in multiple directions from an open-air, wraparound terrace.

The special touches

Central to the hotel is the oldest working lift in the Southern Hemisphere. While guests access upper levels from a modern lift well, this true relic of a bygone era adds a genuine touch of nostalgia that points to the history of the former Treasury building. At the reception, the key dates relating to the site and the hotel are etched into the wall.  As a suite guest, you’ll have access to Club InterContinental on Level 32.

Images courtesy of InterContinental Sydney and Woods Bagot.

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