Hotel review: Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel, Sydney

Ruth Doherty

Just a hop, skip and ferry ride from Sydney's CBD and Opera House, this harbour-front Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel is the go-to place for trendy tourists, families and locals alike seeking cocktails with a view while squishing sand between their toes. A holiday-like destination, the hotel offers a seaside getaway within a city break.

What's to love?
Glamorous yet relaxed beachside chic.

First impressions
Stepping off the ferry, you're greeted by the buzzing sight and sound of the hotel's lively Beach Club, taking prime position in the bay. The nautical decor (navy stripes, sea greens, lime-washed floors) and chilled music ooze a stay-all-day atmosphere and, as soon as we'd checked in, we headed (read: ran) back down to the bar for beachside bubbles. We felt like we'd suddenly arrived at a more laidback version of the Hamptons.


Best rooms in the house?
There are 32 suites at the hotel, many boasting unrivalled views over to Sydney Harbour, while others look out over Watsons Bays' Robertsons Park. All rooms offer king size beds, free wi-fi, marble bathrooms and floor-to-ceiling windows. But if you're really wanting to push the proverbial boat out, the grand daddy of the bedroom bunch is the Grand Harbour Suites, which have views over the bay and wrap-around balconies.

Where to eat/drink
The Beach Club is where it all happens: a multi-level drinking and dining space, it includes the exclusive Top Deck, where acoustic bands and DJ sets play against a Sydney Harbour backdrop; there's the Sunset Room where weddings and parties take place; and there's even the Fish and Chippery, where you can grab a takeaway and eat on the sand.


Top tip?
Got a sports-mad hubby? You're in luck. Pack him off to the Sports Bar at the front of the property, which, with its big screen TVs, beer on tap, and great grub, is just like your local pub. That leaves you free to read your book on the beach in peace. Lovely.

Things to do, places to see...
If you're keen to stick around at the hotel but don't fancy lazing on the beach and have already drunk your own weight in cocktails, book in for a private paddle boarding session with the hotel's resident expert (possibly not straight after that aforementioned cocktail o'clock). Or you can borrow a bike and check out the local area, or pick up a fishing rod. There are also plenty of stunning coastline walks to stretch your legs on. But, at only 12 kilometres from the CBD and seven minutes by car to the famous Bondi Beach, there's plenty of things to keep you busy further afield. You can even jump on the ferry and visit the Opera House and Taronga Zoo.


This place is perfect if you're...
... visiting Sydney but fancy a quick luxury-cool breach break; looking for a romantic, hip weekend away from the city; in need of for a place to relax after an amazing day trip with spectacular beach and views; wanting to feel like a member of the Yacht Club for a day or two; getting married; fancying a beachside party; simply looking for excellent drinks and seafood in a stunning waterfront location.

Don't miss
It would almost be a crime to visit the Watsons Bay Hotel and not check out its next door neighbour, Doyles seafood restaurant (it's an institution). Right on the beach, you can eat the best lobster and garlic butter (literally, like, ever) whilst listening to the waves lap on the sand. It's not cheap, but, boy, is it worth it.

1 Military Road (corner of Marine Parade,) Watsons Bay, Sydney, NSW, Australia 2030. Telephone: +61 2 9337 5444 Email: Visit

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