There are plenty of hotels in Sydney with spectacular views of the famed Opera House and Harbour Bridge, but the best vantage points are arguably from up above. Take, for example, Altitude Restaurant at the Shangri-La Sydney, where diners are treated to a bird’s eye view of the entire city from 36 stories up; or the hotel’s Horizon Club Lounge, on the 30th floor, which boasts floor-to-ceiling windows and equally striking vistas.
The hotel has attracted a slew of bold-faced guests over the years, like Prince Harry and Sean Connery, but they’re not just coming for picturesque photo opps. Suites at the Shangri-La are among the city’s most luxurious—particularly the 2,600-square-foot Royal Suite (where the Prince stays, of course), which comes with a pillow menu, personal butler and concierge, and a dining room that accommodates 10 guests.
Still, the non-Royal Suites are stunning in their own right. The décor incorporates Sydney’s local culture with the Shangri-La’s Asian sensibility; after checking in, you’ll notice a picnic basket on the dresser that holds a porcelain teapot filled with freshly-brewed tea. All of the rooms at the Shangri-La boast a harbour view—an impressive feat, considering the hotel has 565 of them. But which room do guests request most often? The hotel’s VP & General Manager Michael Cottan weighs in.
The most requested room:
Our Horizon Club Premier Grand Harbour Rooms are the most sought-after.
What makes it so special:
Without a doubt their wrap-around corner windows, which provide full views of the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. All of the premium rooms in the hotel just had a beautiful refurbishment in November and they provide guests with access to the new Horizon Club Lounge and all its privileges, like evening drinks and canapés, private check-in and automatic late check-out.
The Royal Suite is priced from $3,640 while the Premier Grand Harbour Rooms start at $300 per night depending on the season.
We have had many celebrities over the years from royals to actors and pop stars, including Prince Harry and Sean Connery. They usually request our Royal Suite, on one of the highest levels of the hotel, with its vast 2,600 square-feet of bedroom and living space, personal butler and concierge and its enormous living area and dining room seating for 10.
Your personal favorite:
The Horizon Grand Harbour Views and Grand Harbour Suites.
The most heavenly thing to do here is to sit in a room on one of those big window ledges watching the ships move about in the magnificent harbor. It’s pretty hard to beat that. A real secret is that sometimes I sneak up to the top of the building and take in the view from the rooftop, up above Level 36. That’s a real treat.
The Grand Harbour Suites face northwest and also have the big wrap around windows, which allow you to see spectacular sunsets over the Blue Mountains from either the bedroom or the deep bathtub.
Our new Horizon Club Lounge on Level 30, which reopened in November, was designed based around the notion of a lighthouse shining at the head of the harbor foreshore. A huge chandelier made of giant brass rings and hundreds of LED lights glows like the lighthouse’s lamp and can be seen from across the harbour.
Also, we are in the historic district of Sydney called The Rocks, which means the neighborhood is rich for archaeological findings – and even the odd ghost story. It is also the second tallest hotel in Sydney, and the only one to take in views from the mountains to The Heads, where Sydney Harbour meets the ocean.
Photography by Mauro Rische