Crown Towers Sydney, Australia. Photo/Getty Images
Rob McFarland stays at Crown Towers Sydney, a gleaming luxury hotel in bustling Barangaroo
Location: At the northern end of Barangaroo, a former downtown container wharf that is now a bustling area of offices, apartments, restaurants and bars. Well served by public transport, the hotel (opened in December 2020) is a 10-minute walk from Sydney’s CBD.
Style: Bold, spunky and bling-up to the max, this is the ultra-luxury property that Sydney has been missing.
Price: From A$869 (NZ$926) per night.
Perfect for: A special occasion splurge.
First impressions: wow. Designed by British architects Wilkinson Eyre (the firm responsible for Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay), the sinuous 88-storey tower rises to 275m, making it Sydney’s tallest hotel. The marble-floored lobby is a shimmering montage of mirrored columns, plush sofas, and a six-story bespoke crystal chandelier. And then there’s the spectacular fifth-floor infinity pool — a selfie magnet complete with daybeds, harbor views, and private Vegas-style cabanas.
Rooms: All 349 rooms and villas feature floor-to-ceiling windows to showcase Sydney’s most alluring feature: its shimmering harbour. Unfortunately, the view of the Harbor Bridge and the Opera House from my Executive Opera Suite on the 18th floor is marred by the vast construction site below. Better to opt for a room with a view of the Anzac Bridge and the Parramatta River. The design is opulent residential, with high-end furnishings and a rich color palette of royal blues, creams, and grays. Every detail and fittings are top-notch, from the silver-piped Italian linens in the bed, to the tablet-controlled bedroom technology, to an iron that looks like it could win a Formula 1 race. Special occasion? Upgrade to a villa and enjoy a private outdoor terrace, 24-hour butler service, and personalized Salvatore Ferragamo amenities.
Bathroom: Can a bathroom be sexy? It is. A sea of smoky black marble, the standout feature is a freestanding egg-shaped bath with built-in TV. The amenities are from the Australian organic brand Grown Alchemist, the hair dryer is a Dyson (a big deal according to my partner) and the bathrobe feels like you’re being hugged by a cloud. Even the Japanese Toto toilets are pretty. When you approach it, it automatically opens and lights up blue in an alluring and seductive way.
Food and drink: Eleven of the 14 planned restaurants and bars were open during my stay. Highlights included modern Aussie fare cooked over charcoal in Woodcut, flamboyant theater at a’Mare Italian restaurant (handmade pesto at your table) and the life-changing ice cream-filled charcoal waffle at the hawker-style 88 Noodle. There’s also Sydney’s first Nobu restaurant (book well in advance), an upmarket Cantonese eatery and the Instagram-designed Tea Room with its interior lantern gazebos. Be warned: your biggest challenge will be finding space after breakfast. Epicurean serves up an expansive Roman orgy of a buffet with nine cooking stations, a chocolate fountain, and an ice cream stand (yes, I had one).
Facilities: Valet service; a sumptuous 2000 m² spa with a 37Cs vitality pool, a Moroccan hammam and an infrared sauna; a large fitness studio equipped with Technogym and a superb cobalt blue tennis court. What you won’t find is a casino. Regulatory hurdles prevented its opening.
In the neighborhood: Barangaroo could so easily have become one of those new soulless, energyless, soulless shopping districts. Instead, it’s a vibrant and welcoming neighborhood with an excellent beachfront
Restaurants and bars: Nearby Barangaroo Reserve is a lovely harborside park and a new foreshore path allows you to walk to Circular Quay.
Friendly and family: No babysitting service on site, but the concierge can recommend local providers.
Accessibility: Six special access rooms with toilet seats for the visually impaired, lower sinks and accessible bathrooms.
Durability: The hotel hopes to achieve Australia’s highest 6-star Green Star certification thanks to its extensive use of solar panels, efficient cooling systems, rainwater harvesting and waste reduction.