Location, Location, Location! Holiday Inn Old Sydney Review

Last month, at the beginning of our two-week trip to Australia and New Zealand, my family of five stayed three nights at Holiday Inn Old Sydney. It turned out to be a fantastic choice for my family!

Holiday Inn Old Sydney

Why Didn’t We Book Park Hyatt Sydney?

First, let me address the obvious question most miles and points fans are wondering. Why didn’t we stay at Park Hyatt Sydney? That’s the most popular hotel in Sydney among travel bloggers and readers in this miles and points niche. It’s located just across the harbour from the famous Sydney Opera House.

If it were just me and my husband, I might have been tempted to stay there. However, we traveled as a family of five. One room at Park Hyatt Sydney costs 30,000 World of Hyatt points. There is no way to squeeze five in one regular room, nor would I want to. So, we would need to spend 60k World of Hyatt points per night for three nights, or 180k total. I’d rather spend my points for a longer stay at Andaz Papagayo in Costa Rica (which is where we’re going for spring break next year!)

Cash prices are no better. At a price of $1000+ per night, we’d be looking at over $2000 USD per night. Uh, no thanks! Because we travel with our three kids, our reality is that we have to spread our miles and points resources to more people. Also, Leana’s review of Park Hyatt Sydney last year solidified my choice to skip it.

Booking Holiday Inn Old Sydney

We had just three nights in Sydney before moving onto New Zealand. Originally, I booked a 2-bedroom apartment hotel for around $1100. Ouch! Yes, Sydney is an expensive city.

But then last fall, my husband and I both decided to apply for the Chase IHG credit card with the intention of using our points to book free nights at the Holiday Inn Old Sydney.

The sign-up bonus on the card was 100,000 points at the time we applied. As luck would have it, we applied just a few weeks before Chase added all of its cards to the 5/24 restriction. In late November, we participated in IHG’s “Home with IHG” Twitter promotion to get another combined 10k points to top off our balance.

Then, luck was on our side once again as we received our points bonuses just in time to book the rooms before the IHG devaluation on January 25, 2019. Each room was 40k points a night. We had to book two separate reservations, but I requested connecting rooms.

Arrival and Check-in

Our flight into Sydney arrived at 6:25 a.m. We took an Uber to the hotel, and we arrived around 9:00 a.m. after a 20-30 minute car ride.

The building itself was completed in 1926 and is a registered historic building.

Holiday Inn Old Sydney

Upon entering, we noticed the atrium-style lobby. The check-in desk is located at the very back.

Holiday Inn Old Sydney

To the side, there is a kids’ entertainment area.

Holiday Inn Old Sydney

Unfortunately, our rooms weren’t ready yet that morning. Despite traveling for so long, that news was not devastating for us. We felt surprisingly good after our long 17-hour non-stop Qantas flight in Economy.

The front desk associates were very friendly and helpful. They gave us some recommendations for nearby restaurants and advised us to check out the rooftop pool.

Rooftop Pool and View

My family was ready to head to Taronga Zoo. But first, we wanted to check out the view from the hotel. The rooftop did not disappoint!

Holiday Inn Old Sydney is located in the perfect place in Sydney to take in the views and explore the most popular attractions. It’s just one block from Circular Quay with views of both the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Holiday Inn Old Sydney

When we saw the view, my family was in awe. We couldn’t believe our eyes. It was so surreal to be looking at those famous landmarks, and we were actually right there!

Holiday Inn Old Sydney

My kids checked out the pool and hot tub. Since it was winter in Australia, outside temperatures hovered in the 40s and 50s. However, my kids never met a pool they didn’t like. My son swam in the pool a few times (it’s heated), and the rest of us enjoyed the hot tub after touring the city.

Holiday Inn Old Sydney

Holiday Inn Old Sydney

Note: Since we traveled during Australia’s winter, we didn’t have to deal with cruise ships obstructing our view. When a cruise ship is docked, that great view is blocked for most of the day.

Rooms at Holiday Inn Old Sydney

Later in the afternoon when we returned from the zoo, we stopped by the front desk to get our room keys. I was a little disappointed that we did not get connecting rooms. However, our rooms were on the same floor just down the hall from one another. Because of that distance, I wasn’t comfortable letting my kids have a room by themselves. My husband and I had to split up and share a room with our kids.

Holiday Inn Old Sydney

Each room had two double beds, a desk and a TV stand. We also had a safe and small refrigerator with a couple of bottles of water.

Holiday Inn Old Sydney

The bathroom looked like it belongs in a historic building, which it is. The bathroom was very white, but clean.

Holiday Inn Old Sydney

Our view was a nearby office building, so nothing special. The beds were very comfortable. Honestly, we spent very little time in our rooms since we only had three days to explore Sydney. But the rooms had everything we needed.

Nearby Restaurants and Attractions

While the hotel did have a restaurant with a breakfast buffet, it would have cost us almost $100 USD to eat there every day. There really was no need to do that since there are many less expensive restaurants within walking distance.

Just across the street and down a few steps is Pancakes on the Rocks. My kids loved all the different pancake options. I might have even splurged on pancakes with ice cream. Vacation calories don’t count!

Ice cream on pancakes? Yes!

In addition to a few coffee shops nearby, within a five-minute walk we had access to all the restaurants at Circular Quay. Along with Italian restaurants and burger joints, there is a McDonald’s and Subway, which we used for a quick dinner for our kids one night.

Holiday Inn Old Sydney is just a five-minute walk to the ferries that go all over the city. We took one ferry to the zoo and another to Darling Harbour. The train station is right there as well, with access to the airport.

Bottom Line

The location of Holiday Inn Old Sydney was perfect for our three days in the city. We visited the rooftop pool every day to take in the views. Having restaurants and the ferries of Circular Quay so close to the hotel enabled us to save our energy for touring adventures.

None of the apartments we looked at renting came close to the same ideal location. If we ever return to Sydney, I would absolutely consider staying at Holiday Inn Old Sydney again.

Click here to view various credit cards and available sign-up bonuses


Author: Nancy

Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.

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4 thoughts on “Location, Location, Location! Holiday Inn Old Sydney Review

  1. For IHG fans, I can vouch for the Intercontinental Sydney. They have rooms with 2 double beds and it’s very nice as you would expect. It’s a 5 minute walk to the train station. Some of the rooms on the highest floors have views of the opera house which you can also see from the indoor pool. My family of 4 stayed there for 2 nights at the end of a nearly 3-week trip to Australia using the old Chase free night certificates. Ironically, I had booked a night at the Holiday Inn Old Sydney for a different date but we changed our itinerary mid-trip and Holiday Inn wasn’t available on the new dates. “Pancakes on the Rocks” for breakfast vs. the hotel buffet, is a no-brainer, certainly one of the best food values in Sydney CBD. If you are a fan of xiao long bao – Shanghai soup dumplings – there is a Din Tai Fung (world’s cheapest Michelin-star restaurant) in the Gateway building food court directly across the street from the Circular Quay train station. If your back is to the train station and you are facing McDonald’s, it’s the building to the right.

    For what it’s worth, on a previous trip our family stayed on SPG points at the plush Westin Sydney, which is located in an old post office at Martin Place a few more blocks away. It also had rooms with 2 double beds. I’m not sure if I received an upgrade, but I can say that our room at the Westin was huge, especially the bathroom.

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