Cosmopolitan Sydney has long been one of the world’s favorite vacation destinations, and its vibrant gay culture makes it an LGBT hotspot too. Indeed, it’s one of Australia’s most gay-friendly cities along with Melbourne and Canberra. A great portion of the action revolves around western Oxford Street, so it’s no surprise that many of the gay hotels in Sydney, as well as the gay nightlife, are found here. Some Sydney gay bars or pubs are also called hotels, though they don’t usually offer a place to sleep. Of particular interest is the so-called Golden Mile between Paddington Town Hall and Hyde Park, the epicenter of the city’s LGBT culture that’s likewise within easy reach of gay accommodation in Sydney.
There are plenty of other places in Sydney that are popular with local and foreign LGBT people. Aside from Darlinghurst (through which Oxford Street runs), the suburbs of Elizabeth Bay, Surry Hills, and Potts Point count significant numbers of same-sex couples among their residents. The northern part of Bondi Beach is another popular gay hangout and falls under the purview of Lifesavers With Pride—a section of the North Bondi Patrol composed of LGBT lifesavers and allies.
So, whether you’re keen on working on your tan at one of the gay-favorite nudist beaches, going on an all-inclusive day trip to the Blue Mountains, or taking part in the yearly Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, consider one of the following LGBT-friendly hotels in Sydney for your temporary home in the Land Down Under.
A cornucopia of luxurious delights awaits travelers at the 4-star Vibe Hotel. This gay-friendly property boasts close to 200 guestrooms, each equipped with air-conditioning, a mini-bar, and digital TV. At the hotel’s rooftop, you can work out in the spacious fitness center or take a dip in the outdoor pool. After working up an appetite, you can feast on delectable Mediterranean cuisine at the Fino Par restaurant.
Vibe Hotel is on Goulburn Street, mere steps away from Oxford Street’s gay scene. A 6-minute stroll will bring you to the cozy Bear Bar, an intimate pub for bears and their friends. Meanwhile, getting to the steamy Sydney Sauna is just a quick walk of 7 minutes. The heritage-listed Hyde Park, Australia’s oldest public parkland, is also within walking distance. It’s home to the iconic Archibald Fountain and beautiful theme gardens and the venue for cultural events like the Food and Wine Fair.
Sofitel Sydney Wentworth
As the city’s oldest 5-star hotel, the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth knows a thing or two about giving guests a luxury experience they won’t be in any hurry to forget. Take your pick from more than 400 opulent rooms and suites and enjoy an indulgent bath, a thoughtful turndown service, and spectacular views of the central business district (CBD). French influences are everywhere here, from the culinary creations at the Garden Court Restaurant to the brilliant elegance of the exclusive Soirée at the Wentworth bar.
One of the top gay-friendly hotels in Sydney, the property is in the CBD, close to historic government buildings on Macquarie Street. The Chifley Plaza shopping center with its upscale shops and restaurants is a 2-minute walk from the hotel while Oxford Street’s gay bars are a half-hour bus ride away. The iconic Sydney Opera House sits just over 1 km (less than half a mile) to the north. Here’s a helpful tip: get the Sydney iVenture Unlimited Attractions Pass for great discounts on entry fees to the city’s top tourist spots, including the Opera House.
Novotel Sydney Central Hotel
The fact that Novotel Sydney Central puts up decorations to celebrate the annual Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras shows why it’s a popular gay accommodation in Sydney. Sporty types will love its 24-hour fitness center and an outdoor pool. Meanwhile, gourmands will appreciate the seafood and contemporary Australian cuisine at the hotel’s heritage-listed restaurant and bar. The spacious rooms and suites have everything you can expect from a luxury hotel including climate control, en suite bathroom, cable TV, and a refrigerator.
Located in the heart of the Haymarket suburb, it’s a great base for shopping expeditions. Close by is bustling and colorful Chinatown, home to Paddy’s Market, Market City, and of course, the ebullient Chinatown Night Market. Perhaps you want to add to your stash of naughty toys? Then head to the Pleasure Chest adult store, just a 4-minute walk away. And, if it’s fun in the sun you want, pack your sunscreen and set out to Obelisk Beach. This clothing-optional spot lies 12 km (7.5 miles) to the northeast and is a popular LGBT hangout.
Bold and fashionable are just a couple of words to describe Adge Apartments, a 5-star apartment hotel. Its colorful carpets and contemporary furniture are an accurate reflection of Sydney’s urban lifestyle. Each of its 12 spacious 2-bedroom apartments features a full kitchen with European appliances, open-plan spaces for dining and lounging, and laundry facilities. The loft penthouse, offering sweeping city views, is particularly popular.
Adge Apartments is in the Surry Hills suburb, a known foodie haven with a seemingly endless supply of restaurants and cafes. Sydney’s gay nightlife is just a stone’s throw away. If you’re in the mood to cruise, you only need a couple of minutes to walk to the men-only Trade Club Sydney, a popular gay bar and nightclub. And for a night of culture, the historic Capitol Theatre is the place to be. Just a9-minute walk from Adge Apartments, it’s the venue for world-class musicals, opera, and ballet.
Mid-range gay accommodation in Sydney is as pleasant as it can get at DeVere Hotel. Many of its 100+ guestrooms and studio apartments have gorgeous views of Elizabeth Bay or the bustling street scene. Start the morning with a buffet breakfast and enjoy Greek and Mediterranean cuisine later in the day at the hotel’s Apollo Restaurant.
DeVere Hotel is on MacLeay Street in the trendy Potts Point suburb, surrounded by hip bistros and edgy fashion shops. The King’s Cross area, widely known for its adult bookshops and strip clubs, is within easy reach. Swimming and sunbathing at North Bondi beach, a haven for members of the LGBT community, are just a 15-minute drive away. Hotel guests also shouldn’t miss the nearby Royal Botanic Gardens. A treasure trove of history and culture, this 30-ha (74-acre) park is home to numerous gardens populated by plants from all over the world, archaeological relics, and Victorian fountains and monuments. This is also where the Mardi Gras Harbour Party is held, where thousands of partygoers dance the night away.
Meriton Suites Zetland
Tasteful luxury is the name of the game at Meriton Suites Zetland, a 5-star aparthotel that’s a hit with many discerning LGBT travelers. This massive complex offers upwards of 300 suites, many with balconies. All are air-conditioned and come with satellite TV, fully equipped kitchens, and separate living and dining areas. You can swim a few dozen laps in the large indoor pool and relieve tired muscles in the bubbling jacuzzi.
Head to the nearby Moore Park Golf to try for a hole in one, or explore the wonders of historic Centennial Park. Once the home of the Gadi people, the park today offers an abundance of picnic spots, sports fields, and ponds that offer a sanctuary to various birds and wildlife. Less than 5 km (3 miles) northwest of the hotel is Newtown, which many consider the lesbian capital of Australia. This is where you’ll find the Imperial Erskineville, a vibrant bar that holds fun-filled drag shows and raucous themed nights. This bar also made a noteworthy appearance in the movie Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
Pullman Sydney Hyde Park
Undoubtedly among the top gay hotels in Sydney, Australia, the Pullman Sydney Hyde Park boasts everything that a grand hotel can offer. It’s 23 floors of pure awesomeness, offering spectacular amenities such as a rooftop pool and recreation deck, a 24-hour gym, and world-class dining and drinking. Its rooms and suites are among the largest in the CBD. Signature Pullman mattresses, contemporary furnishings in earthy tones, and modern in-room conveniences such as flat-screen TVs and mini-fridges make for a pleasant stay.
The 5-star Pullman Sydney Hyde Park Hotel overlooks its namesake park and is an easy 10-minute walk from the cosmopolitan shops of Pitt Street Mall. Oxford Street’s famous gay bars and nightclubs such as Universal Sydney and Stonewall Hotel are just a few blocks away. For a more in-depth look into the city’s rich queer history, sign up for the LGBTQ Culture City Tour. You’ll learn about Oxford Street’s evolution, larger-than-life gay and lesbian characters in Sydney’s past, and the growth of the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
Affordable accommodation needn’t be shoddy accommodation, as the 4-star Big Hostel shows. Its rooftop garden acts as the venue for a host of functions, from zen yoga meetings to casual barbecue get-togethers. You’ll find female-only, male-only, and mixed dormitory rooms, some with shared bathrooms. There are also private rooms with en suite bathrooms, double-glazed windows, and air-conditioning. And with free breakfast and Wi-Fi, it offers good value for money.
Big Hostel is in the gay-centric Surry Hills suburb in the CBD, just a few minutes from the 19th-century Belmont Park. The 1940 Art Deco building of the Golden Age Cinema is also close by if you’re in the mood for classic and cult movies. And if clubbing is your thing, make your way to ARQ Sydney. A 14-minute walk from the hotel, it’s a popular gay nightclub known for outrageous drag performances and lively DJ sets.
With just 17 guestrooms, the Medusa Hotel feels more like a luxurious B&B than a hotel. This 5-star property draws LGBT visitors from near and far with its charming ambiance and exceptional service. Each room is bright and airy, with low-key colors and minimalist furnishings evoking a classic feel. And with large windows and intimate balconies, there’s plenty of natural light.
Sydney Harbour Bridge is an 8-minute drive away via the Cross City Tunnel. The leisure complex at Darling Harbour lies six km (3.7 miles) to the east. Cultural attractions such as King Street Gallery and the Sydney Jewish Museum are within easy walking distance. The Medusa Hotel is in the Darlinghurst neighborhood, close to the gay-friendly pub called Green Park Hotel. Meanwhile, Oxford Street’s lively gay bars and clubs are a scant 8-minute walk from the Medusa Hotel.
QT Sydney Hotel
Staying at the QT Sydney Hotel is like stepping back into the past—to the 1920s in particular. It occupies two historic buildings that used to house the Gowings Department Store and State Theatre. Stay here and you’ll see iconic elements from both. The era’s high fashion is showcased in original Gowings glass display cabinets while the rooms have maintained their original timber floors. The hotel’s barbershop is also a Gowings remnant. Art Deco, cinema Baroque, and Gothic influences can be seen in the wonderfully eclectic rooms and throughout the hotel.
Its proximity to Oxford Street makes the QT Sydney among the most popular luxury gay hotels in Sydney, Australia. Nearby, the Sydney Tower—the city’s tallest structure—offers amazing 360-degree views from 250 meters (820 feet) above the ground. The late 19th-century Sydney Town Hall is also within walking distance. It’s Australia’s largest civic building from that period, and its ornate Victorian interiors and decoration make it worth a visit.
Simpsons Of Potts Point
Occupying what was once a 19th-century home, Simpsons Of Potts Point is a lovely boutique hotel where a stay is anything but ordinary. The original entrance porch stained-glass windows, red bricks, and molded timber are throwbacks to the Arts and Crafts Movement. Each of its spacious rooms is individually designed and decorated. Their inspiration from the sophisticated and charm of great European cities is subtle but evident. Yet they all offer modern amenities for a comfortable stay, including air conditioners, flat-screen TVs, high-speed Wi-Fi, and more. You can also enjoy a continental breakfast in the Conservatory, take advantage of complimentary sherry and port, and browse the extensive library.
Oxford Street’s pulsating gay nightlife is an 8-minute drive to the south. And while you’re there, don’t forget to drop by Taylor Square and walk across the rainbow crossing. It’s said to be the world’s first rainbow pedestrian crossing that has the proper colors and shapes of a rainbow. Speaking of street art, you can see more of it along with local markets and charming neighborhoods in an engrossing 7.5-hour tour of fascinating Sydney.
Just So You Know:
- The Sydney-based organization Campaign Against Moral Persecution (CAMP) was instrumental in galvanizing Australia’s early gay rights movement in the 1970s.
- Sodomy used to be punishable by death. The last person to be hanged for it in Sydney was Thomas Parry, in 1839.
- Sydney is the birthplace of Ian Thorpe, a retired swimmer who has five Olympic gold medals under his belt. He came out in 2014 in a televised interview.
Get Some Culture in Sydney:
- Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras – Held every March, this is Oceania’s biggest Pride event. The festivities include Bondi Beach drag races, a queer film festival, and a parade that closes Oxford Street to traffic.
- Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian History and Culture Walking Tour – Learn about colorful LGBT people from the city’s storied past and historic events that helped shape today’s gay life in the Harbour City.
- Red Rattler Theatre – Established by five local queer artists, this theater in Marrickville stages avant-garde performances, film screenings, workshops, and out-of-this-world parties.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Sydney:
- Stonewall Hotel – Not a hotel, but one of Sydney’s most happening gay clubs holding themed events throughout the week. Come on a Wednesday for the Malebox pick-up night or on a Thursday for Boys Bar Up.
- Universal Sydney – Laser lights, spectacular shows, multiple dance floors, and pulsating DJ sets greet revelers at this double-decker gay bar on Oxford Street.
- Bear Bar – Small in size but big in fun, this Oxford Street gay bar for bears and their friends offers refreshing beer, delicious bites, and music by some of Australia’s trendiest DJs.
Best Gay Saunas in Sydney:
- Sydney Sauna – The self-proclaimed premier gay sauna of Sydney is on Oxford Street and is open 24/7. In addition to sauna and steam rooms, it’s also home to cruise areas, a porn lounge, and private rooms.
- Bodyline Sydney – Founded in 1991 in Darlinghurst, this is the city’s first lawfully established gay bathhouse. Only gay/bisexual men are allowed admission here. Safe sex is encouraged within the premises, where you’ll find a spa, steam room, dry sauna, and private rooms.
- 357 – Find this gay sauna on Sussex Street near Chinatown in the CBD. It’s the city’s only gay sauna with a fully licensed bar. There’s always something going on here, from Wednesday Naked Midday Parties to Sunday Foam Parties.