If you are looking for the best family accommodation in Sydney, from budget hotels to family-sized apartments that offer all the comforts of home you have come to the right place. In this article, we will give you a rundown of the parts of Sydney best suited to family holidays and our favourite family friendly hotels in each area.
Sydney is a fantastic destination for families. There are so many attractions that appeal to kids from toddlers to teens it is easy to plan a fun, action-packed itinerary. The hardest thing about holiday planning for me is choosing the right part of an unfamiliar city as a base.
The right accommodation can make or break the success of the holiday; things like having enough room, so you are not on top of each other all the time, having access to amenities that are important to you, and feeling confident that you have not booked a Fawlty Towers clone. This will help you get to the fun part of your holiday planning, choosing all the fun things to see and do.
So what’s important to you when looking for the perfect family accommodation?
Consider the following list:
- kids eating free or at least kids’ menus
- comfy beds for the whole family with no pull out cots
- free kids tv channels
- free wifi – for everyone
- a bathtub if your kids are not into showers
- having a kitchen for fussy eaters
- having access to laundry (why are kids so messy!)
- a great swimming pool
- a playground or kids club
- a babysitting service
- an airport shuttle service
So many of these things that can add to how enjoyable your holiday is.
To help you with narrow down your search we have put together this list of the areas we feel are best suited to family visits to Sydney. For each area we have listed properties we would be happy to stay in a variety of budget levels. As locals who have raised kids (and now grandkids) in this city, we really know it well.
By the time you reach the end of the page if you still have questions pop over to our Facebook Group and we would be happy to try to help you out.
Note: Few, if any, hotels in the centre of Sydney have kids clubs. Even swimming pools are not common in mid to budget range properties. Because of this, I recommend you look for a hotel near to parks or other public spaces where younger kids can explore and burn off steam.
- Darling Harbour
- Where to stay in Darling Harbour with kids
- Family Hotels in the Southern end of Darling Harbour
- Family hotels in Darling Harbour – Harbourside area
- Family Hotels in Sydney CBD and Circular Quay
- Family accommodation near Pitt Street and Hyde Park
- Family Hotels in Circular Quay and the Rocks
- Beachside family hotels in Sydney
Darling Harbour is my pick for families with young children. The area has some fantastic modern children’s playgrounds waiting to wear the kids out when their energy knows no bounds, and you need a rest (there is coffee right at hand too).
In the evenings, especially on weekends and during school holidays there are lots of free outdoor events to keep the whole family entertained.
Many of the attractions that kids and families will have on the top of their to-do list are located within Darling Harbour too including:
- Sydney Aquarium, Wildlife Sydney and Madame Tussauds ( multi ticketed)
- The Australian Maritime Museum
- Chinese Gardens
- Harbourside shopping centre
Where to stay in Darling Harbour with kids
Darling Harbour is quite a large area, almost 2km in length, so it is worth choosing the best part for your family. I have subdivided into three main areas for this article because they are all a little different.
Where to stay in Darling Harbour – South Chinatown end
The southern end of Darling Harbour borders Chinatown and Paddy’s Market and is home to Tumbalong Park and the Chinese Gardens.
Pros – Super cheap eats, discount shopping and access to the park.
Cons – Long walk or public transport required to reach main sites on the harbour.
Darling Harbour – Harbourside and Darling Park areas
Staying in the central area of Darling Harbour would be a good option if you want to be close to the action. Harbourside shops are the centrepiece on the western side and on the city side, you are close to Town Hall and Darling Park, which features a fantastic children’s waterplay garden.
Pros – An abundance of shops and family-friendly eateries
Cons – Food prices can be quite high, and it can be busy and noisy at times.
Darling Harbour – Northern End (King Street Wharf)
This area is close to Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, Wild Life Sydney, Madame Tussauds and the Maritime Museum. The northern end of Darling Harbour is best for public transport it’s own ferry wharf and a short walk to Wynyard Station. It is the most accessible and my choice if you want to stay in this part of town.
Pros – Closer to Circular Quay and public transport (train and ferry)
Cons – Bit of a hike around to green space at Barangaroo for kids to run around
Family Hotels in the Southern end of Darling Harbour
Holiday Inn Darling Harbour – 4 star
While this hotel is rated four stars, I would consider it more a good budget style property. The rooms could do with an update, but they are a good size and size and also offers a very good buffet breakfast.
It’s about a seven-minute walk to Central Station but right on Darling Harbour (Chinatown side) for good for entertainment and cheap dining. The nearest light rail stop is 2 minutes away.
Location: 68 Harbour St, Haymarket
Family friendly facilities: cots complimentary
Room types: suites are best for families (2 queen beds, sleeps 4) and feature a small dining table and mini fridge
Special deals: up to 4 kids can eat free with paying adult, kids under 18 stay free with existing bedding
Dining tip: Head around the corner to Ho Jiak restaurant – winner of this years Time Out People’s choice and really fabulous Malaysian food! It’s one of my favourites in the city.
Seasons Darling Harbour – 3 star
Seasons, not to be confused with the Four Seasons chain, offers studios, one and two bedroom apartments. Each apartment has a kitchenette with basic facilities and a small table and chairs making meal times more comfortable for families who may not want to eat out all the time. There is a sofa area, and some rooms have balconies.
This property is in need of a spruce up so don’t expect luxury, however, the room sizes are great. It’s a short walk to Town Hall station, and Darling Harbour is just three mins walk away.
The two bedroom apartments are actually two x one bedroom connecting rooms. They can accommodate up to 6 guests. Wheelchair accessible rooms are also available. The property was previously known as Clarion Suites
Location: 38 Harbour St, Sydney
Family friendly facilities: heated rooftop pool (and gym)
Room types: studios, 1 and two bedrooms
Special deals: late checkout on Sundays, up to 4 guests can stay without extra cost
Tip: ask for a high floor corner room if possible – they are quieter and have large balconies.
Dining tip: Head to Yum Cha institution Golden Century for breakfast one day (11am-3pm)
Radisson Hotel and Suites – 4 star
This hotel, only a few hundred metres from Darling Harbour and a short walk to Town Hall train station, is well positioned for family stays in Sydney. The two bedrooms, two bathroom apartments can sleep up to six and are almost 100 m2 making them great for extended visits.
The property is well maintained, and the service is generally very good.
Location: 72 Liverpool Street, Sydney
Family friendly facilities: two tv’s in the two bedroom apartments, indoor pool
Room types: studio, one and two bedroom apartments
Costs: Children under 12 years stay free when occupying the parent or guardian’s room, using existing bedding
Dining tip: Lots of affordable eat at World Square shopping centre try Fratelli Famous for Pizza and craft beer
Woolbrokers Hotel – 2 star (Budget choice)
If you have a large family, this is probably your best bet short of booking an entire hostel dorm! It is not a fancy hotel, more like something you expect to stay at on a school trip but if you need big and affordable, you could do far worse. This hotel should only be an option if you are on a budget.
Location: 22 Allen Street Darling Harbour
Family friendly facilities: guest laundry and some onsite parking.
Room types: family rooms can sleep eight guests (3 sets of bunks plus a single and a king)
Costs: kids under 18 stay free with existing bedding, up to 4 kids can eat free with paying adult
Note: This property does not have air conditioning which may make summer nights uncomfortable. Although there are ceiling fans, I would probably not risk staying in summer. There is also no lift so probably best suited to family groups with older kids.
Family hotels in Darling Harbour – Harbourside area
Oaks Goldsbrough Apartments Darling Harbour – 4 star
This 320 room apartment hotel is located in a historic building and has retained the period features including beautiful hardwood floors and exposed beams. These apartments are good value for families mainly because of their size and location. Ask for a renovated room as these are very nice, older rooms only worth booking if you get a very good deal.
Location: 243 Pyrmont Street, Darling Harbour
Family friendly facilities: indoor swimming pool, free wifi, kitchen, shuttle to the airport
Room types: large studios, one and two bedroom apartments sleeping up to six people. Two bedroom apartments have two bathrooms.
Cost: Children (5 years old and younger) stay free when occupying the parent or guardian’s room, using existing bedding
Dining Tip: Head 5 mins around the corner for breakfast and great coffee at Social Brew.
Novotel Sydney Darling Harbour – 4 star
This large hotel is located on the Pyrmont side of Darling Harbour just behind the Harbourside shopping centre. Tweens and teens will appreciate being close to the outlet style shopping in Harbourside shopping centre.
Location: 100 Murray Street Darling Harbour
Family friendly facilities: children tv channels, play area, children’s menus and child-friendly buffet, pool and tennis courts
Room types: 16 family rooms and over 40 interconnecting rooms
Special deals: family packages with local attractions and dinner specials included
Costs: 2 kids up to 16 years can stay free if no extra bedding is required.
ParkRoyal Darling Harbour – 4 star
Park Royal is on the city side of Darling Harbour and offers all the standard hotel facilities. Many rooms have views over Darling Harbour. While there are no special facilities for kids, their family packages might appeal to families with older kids.
Location: 150 Day Street, Sydney
Room types: standard twin rooms can accommodate three kids. Families can also choose to book Superior King and Superior Twin Rooms connecting rooms.
Family friendly facilities: babysitting service is available
Costs: Kids under 12 years of age stay and eat free when dining with a paying adult.
Family Hotels in Darling Harbour – Northern End
Adina Apartment Hotel Harbourside – 4.5 star
Sydney Expert Top Pick for parent comfortThis hotel is located by King Street Wharf and is my pick of Darling Harbour hotels. I have stayed here on several occasions, and I really like both the property and the location. You are steps away from kid-friendly activities and the dining strip of King Street Wharf and Barangaroo. There is a ferry wharf a few hundred metres away, and it’s a 7-minute walk up to Wynyard Station (uphill though).
Location: 55 Shelley Street King Street, Sydney
Kid-friendly features: indoor pool, bbq area, full-sized kitchen, grocery shopping service, babysitting, washer and dryer in the apartment, free internet for four devices.
Room types: one and two bedrooms (interconnecting) apartments can sleep up to 5.
Metro Apartments Darling Harbour 3.5 Star
These large modern apartments are less than 50 metres from Darling Harbour. Rooms feature full kitchens, and some have washing machines. They are best suited to families with older kids as they are split level apartments and there are also stairs at the entry that are annoying for prams.
Like many other apartments in Sydney, these are also in the middle of renovation so request an updated room if possible.
Location: 132 – 136 Sussex Street, Sydney
Room types: standard and exec apartments – all loft style, all feature a queen bed in loft and sofa bed downstairs.
Kid-friendly facilities: free bicycles hire available, free wi-fi, swimming pool, 90 cable TV channels
Costs: up to two children (12 years old and younger) stay free when occupying the parent or guardian’s room, using existing bedding
Family Hotels in Sydney CBD and Circular Quay
If you are on a whirlwind visit to Sydney that involves things like the zoo, the Opera House and the Manly ferry it makes sense to base yourself in the centre of town. Being in the CBD means less reliance on public transport that can keep costs down and simplify getting around with a pram too.
This is a good part of Sydney to stay because:
- There is easy access to all forms of public transport
- The area is relatively flat so good from prams – and it’s a straight walk to the harbour
Main attractions here include
- Sydney Harbour/The Rocks
- Sydney Tower
- Main Shopping area
- Theatres and Cinemas
- Australian Museum, Art Gallery and Botanic Gardens
Family accommodation near Pitt Street and Hyde Park
The area around Pitt Street Mall is the central shopping area of the city. From here you can walk to most of the main sites and attractions in under 20 mins.
It’s a good spot for families with teens who might want to spend time exploring the shops. There is also plenty of space for little ones to running around in Hyde Park.
Swiss Hotel Sydney – 5 star (Top pick for younger kids)
Swiss hotel was one of the first hotels to really go out of their way to cater to kids with specially designed rooms for children aged 2–12 years. The hotel is literally on the top of one of the cities biggest department stores and just three minutes walk to Hyde Park. It is less than 10 minutes to Darling Habour and 15 minutes to Circular Quay.
Location: Level 8 reception, 68 Market St, Sydney
Room types: unique kids rooms with two extra long double beds and interconnecting adult rooms.
Family friendly facilities: free internet, kids minibar, special kids patterned linens, toys, books (age appropriate so advise ages when booking), pool, great kid meal options, babysitting is available.
Tip: Book kids rooms as early as you can as these do book out quickly.
Dining tip: Grab a take away burger from Mary’s to eat in Hyde Park
Hotel Stellar – 4 Star
These apartments just a few minutes walk from Hyde Park are a great family choice because they can accommodate so many. Their three bedroom apartments also have three bathrooms and can sleep up to 7 people, a rare find in this city. The property is very close to museum station for easy airport train access. There is a supermarket just up on Oxford Street.
Location: 4 Wentworth Avenue Sydney
Room types: studios, two and three bedroom apartments (apartments have two bathrooms) Can sleep up to 7 people
Family friendly facilities: free wifi and pay tv, large kitchen and dining table, onsite restaurant.
Costs: One child 12 years old or younger stays free when occupying the parent or guardian’s room, using existing bedding.
Tip: Higher floors are much quieter.
Dining Tip: Head up Oxford Street to Mr Crackles and grab some pork rolls to eat in the park
Hyde Park Inn – 4 star (Top pick for value)
This hotel really delivers for families with free parking, light breakfast, wifi, and newspaper. It’s located directly across the road from Hyde Park and Museum train station for easy commuting to the airport and around the city. Buses to Bondi stop opposite. A supermarket is just a 5-minute walk away, and you can easily reach most sites on foot.
I have booked this for visiting family members on several occasions and been very happy with the service and facilities
Location: 271 Elizabeth St, Sydney
Room types: standard and deluxe family rooms, sleep five people (deluxe rooms have bathtub and balcony), two bedroom Apartments, sleep up to 6 people)
Family friendly facilities: free self-service laundry, kitchenette, free parking (must book), free wifi, light continental breakfast provided to your room.
Costs: Children under one year free
Dining tip: Visit Holy Basil for some of the best Lao food in the city
Fraser Suites Sydney – 5 Star
These modern serviced apartments will have you just 5 minutes’ walk from Town Hall station, and only ten mins walk to Darling Harbour. The apartments are very well furnished and offer a high level of comfort. It’s a bustling part of the city so probably best for families past the pram stage as the footpaths are quite busy and crowded.
Location: 488 Kent St, Sydney,
Room types: two bedroom apartments sleep 5
Family friendly facilities: free wifi and newspaper, heated indoor pool, washer and dryer in apartment, kitchenette, Nespresso machine, babysitting service available.
Deals: complementary baby cots.
Family Hotels in Circular Quay and the Rocks
The York by Swiss-Belhotel 4 star
Quay West Suites Sydney – 5 Star
With generously sized rooms, the smallest is 50sqm and some fantastic harbour views, these modern apartments are not in the budget category, but they do offer a lot. Located between the Shangri La and the Four Seasons it’s a short walk to Circular Quay and The Rocks. Trains and ferries are only a few minutes away although there are some hills to negotiate if you don’t choose your route carefully.
Location: 98 Gloucester Street, The Rocks
Kids friendly features: indoor pool, kitchen with dishwasher, babysitting available
Rooms: one and two bedroom suites sleep, 4-6 guests.
Costs: up to 2 children (up to 12 years) stay free when occupying the parent or guardian’s room, using existing bedding
Sydney Harbour YHA – Budget Pick
If you have not stayed at a youth hostel since your backpacker days, you may not realise that many hostels today really cater to all age groups. This hostel in the Rocks offers rooftop views and great facilities for a no-frills family holiday.
Location: Harrington Street, The Rocks
Kids friendly features: share kitchens and a Bbq offer cheap meal prep opportunities, a supermarket is ten mins walk away at Wynyard Station.
Rooms: 4 and 5-bed family rooms with private bathrooms.
Beachside family hotels in Sydney
For many people, Australia is synonymous with beach life. If you are after a beach holiday in Sydney for your family, then you have several areas to choose from. As far as hotels go, you will be mainly limited to Manly, Bondi or Coogee.
If you are happy to book an Airbnb or similar you can look anywhere along the coast that has good transport. The eastern beaches are a quick ride to the city, but the Northern beaches are more relaxed and entirely different in look and feel.
Where to stay in Manly Beach with kids
Manly has it all, ocean beaches, harbour beaches, beautiful walks of all descriptions, playgrounds, kid-friendly cafes and restaurants and all sorts of places to stay.
The trip, a 30-40 minute ferry ride across the harbour from the city to Manly is gorgeous and a lovely way to commute. This feels like a real beach holiday destination. It’s busy but not quite as busy as Bondi and the Eastern Suburbs in regards to traffic, so it has a much more laid back vibe in my view.
The Sebel Sydney Manly Beach Hotel
Located directly opposite Manly Beach and only a 5-minute walk to Manly wharf for city ferries. The family rooms feature a queen and two single beds. Plenty of shops and restaurants nearby and a few minutes walk away at Shelley Beach is a marine reserve perfectly for learning how to snorkel.
We stayed here before my daughter’s wedding and really loved both the view and the service. The apartments have everything you need to prepare meals and relax between exploring the city and swimming at the beach across the road.
Location: 8-13 South Steyne, Manly
Room types: studio and one-bedroom apartments can accommodate a max of 4 people
Kid-friendly facilities: 2 swimming pools and a spa pool, guest laundry, babysitting service available.
Tips: The North tower rooms have beach views.
Dining tip: The best fish and chips does not come with a beach view but grab some take away from Fishmongers to eat on the beach
Location: 55 North Steyne Road, Manly,
Room types: studio and one and two-bedroom apartments can accommodate four people, two bedroom apartments have two bathrooms. Kitchenette and laundry facilities in apartments.
Kid-friendly facilities: indoor play area, kids library and children’s TV cable channels, rooftop pool, spacious living area, across the road from the beach.
Tips: Best stay mid-week if you are light sleepers as weekends can be quite noisy from bars downstairs.
Dining tips: Choose from the 30 plus salads on the menu from Dolce Terra for some healthy eats to balance out the holiday treats.
Quest Manly at the Wharf
Located on the Harbour side of Manly right by the wharf Quest Manly is a large (53 room) property with water views and plenty of room for large families. The apartments here are bright and sunny with great harbour views.
In the evening it is not uncommon to see fairy penguins coming up onto the beach opposite the hotel by the wharf.
Location:54a West Esplanade, Manly
Room types: studio and one and two-bedroom apartments can accommodate a max of 6 people; two bedroom apartments have two bathrooms. Full-Size kitchen and laundry facilities in apartments.
Kid-friendly facilities: small gym, guest laundry, spacious living area, supermarket at the door, babysitting service available.
Tips: The hotel is opposite the wharf and is a high traffic area during peak hour so bear that in mind if you are a light sleeper and request a high floor room.
Dining tip: Take a morning walk around to Little Manly Beach and visit the Kiosk for breakfast. The beach is perfect for the kids to play on and the coffee will make you smile.
Where to stay in Bondi Beach with kids
Bondi is probably more suited to teens and older kids than under 5s with its graffiti wall, skate park and reasonably wild surf. The streets have some pretty decent hills, and the Bondi to Coogee walk is not pram friendly.
The trip into the city can take a while, so it’s probably not a great option for first-time visitors or anyone on a short trip who wants to do lots of sightseeing. There is plenty to do in the area if you want to relax by the beach and just do a few day trips to key city sights.
Adina Bondi Beach – 4.5 star
The Adina is a fairly new property just 5 minutes walk from Bondi Beach. The furnishings are modern, and the facilities are adequate for a week-long holiday in Sydney. Car parking is a premium in Bondi so try to secure a deal that includes parking if you are bringing your car.
Location: 69-73 Hall Street, Bondi Beach
Room types: studio and one and two and (1x) three-bedroom apartments can accommodate a max of 6 people, two bedroom apartments have two bathrooms. full-size kitchen and laundry facilities in apartments.
Kid-friendly facilities: unlimited wifi for up to 4 devices, children’s TV channels, pool, small gym, shops and cafes at the door, babysitting service available.
Dining Tips: Don’t miss the old time fav the Gertrude and Alice bookshop/cafe around the corner and be sure to treat yourself to a Gelato from Messina (Pandan and coconut is my pick)
So there you have my thoughts on the best options for family hotel and apartment accommodation in Sydney. If you have any specific questions please pop over to our Facebook Group and ask us for help.
Also while I am a big fan of the airport train for convenience and speed if you are arriving with kids in tow a shuttle could be a better idea!