Photo via Dan Freeman

Since relocating to Melbourne three years ago after falling for a certain Australian, the local hospitality, and incredible lifestyle, I've been relentless in researching design hotels and unique experiences across the land down under. Sydney is the fifth most livable city in the world and I've found it's the perfect blend for nature seekers and city dwellers. While the Ace or other design hotel chains usually don’t reach this corner of the globe, Australia absolutely excels at hospitality. I’ve picked five reasonably small, unique spots located in my favorite Sydney neighborhoods, away from the noise of central business district for the ultimate design experience.

For design fans — The Paramount House Hotel    Starting at $162/Night

Photo via Karolina Szczur

Located in the former headquarters of Paramount Picture Studios in hip Surry Hills, the Paramount House is a thoughtfully executed experience, rather than just another luxurious hotel. The 1940s warehouse is also a home to Golden Age Cinema, a beautiful office space, one of the most frequented cafes in the city and an upscale fitness studio (with complimentary classes for hotel patrons!). The decor details are unparalleled—featuring exposed brick, linen sheets, terrazzo bathrooms, copper finishes, plants and accessible balconies. Paramount is simply a design feast.

Paramount House Hotel has an elevator and states that it’s accessibility friendly.

For art fiends — The Old Clare Hotel    Starting at $186/Night

Photo via Karolina Szczur

Housed in a reborn, heritage-listed Clare Hotel Pub and Carlton United Brewery Administrative Buildings, The Old Clare is where old and new collides. Each of the spacious, light-filled rooms is unique but vintage mid-century furniture, exposed brickwork and super-king beds are an impeccable standard. Old Clare is located in buzzing Chippendale—surrounded by cutting-edge creative scene and tons of restaurants. The hotel itself has not one but three fantastic eateries and a bar. A dip into the rooftop pool overlooking the worlds’ tallest vertical garden is mandatory.

The Old Clare Hotel has facilities for guests with disabilities.

For jetsetters — The Felix Hotel    Starting at $81/Night

Photos via

Airport accommodation options are usually grim—dated, overpriced hotels with no modern amenities and dark cubicle rooms more depressing than a 14-hour flight. Felix is an great departure from all of those misconceptions. Situated a stones throw from Sydney Airport runway, the colorful, 1960s-inspired hotel offers a 24-hour general store, rooftop cinema, gym, sky lounge bar and is pet-friendly. Perfect for a longer overlay!

Felix Hotel has wheelchair access and facilities for guests with disabilities.

For eccentrics — Little Albion Hotel    Starting at $156/Night

Photos via

Little Albion is operated from a heritage, former school convent building with a beautiful, gothic facade. Most of the furniture and finishings are custom-made: parquetry, timber bed heads, Moroccan tiles and 20’s-meets-70’s wallpapers, creating a unique, cozy interior. Enjoy a glass of wine at an honour system bar or make yourself a cocktail thanks to a wide selection of spirits. Savour drinks and snacks in the sunken lounge or at the rooftop, admiring the cityscape.

Little Albion Hotel has an elevator but might not fully be accessible.

For a community vibe — Sydney Park Hotel    Starting at $93/Night

Photos via

Yet another heritage pub-to-hotel transformation situated at Newtown’s doorstep. Sydney Park Hotel has only eight rooms (located above a still operating pub) but don’t let this deceive you. The minimalist design shines—a modern combination of black, white and grey undertones with preserved features of the building. You won’t find an en-suite bathroom here; there are two communal bathrooms and a dining room so get ready to socialize with other patrons and pub locals.

Sydney Park Hotel is not accessible for guests with disabilities.

About Karolina

Karolina Szczur is a developer, designer and photographer based in Melbourne, Australia, frequently jet-setting between Europe and the US. She enjoys researching design hotels, finding unique experiences, and if she could, she'd probably spend her life in activewear. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram or sign up for her newsletter.