Who isn't ready to celebrate the end of 2020? If you're planning to take to the streets for the Street Feasts program on New Year's Eve or January 1, why not turn it into a true occasion by booking yourself a room in one of the city's best hotels?
The fireworks in Sydney may be pared back this year – the 9pm fireworks cancelled, the midnight fireworks centred around the harbour bridge - but Sydney's best-placed hotels are still going all out to get you feeling festive. In fact, with the foreshore viewing spots closed and people being urged to stay home, a hotel stay is one of the few remaining options for a safe spot to view the fireworks (and you'll need to get a New Year's Eve Pass to enter the area around Circular Quay, which are available to hotel guests staying in the area).
If you are in the mood for a big night out, try one of these on for size.
Shangri-La Hotel Sydney: Dine in style
The Shangri-La Hotel birds-eye views of the harbour bridge aren't its only drawcard, according to the hotel's Sylvie Woods. "We also have the largest windows of any harbourfront hotel," she says. The hotel's dining packages include both early and late sittings in Altitude restaurant on Level 36. Tickets for the late sitting, which includes a five-course dinner with wine pairing, are $1200 per person for standard seating, or $2200 for premium window seating. If you really want to splash out, Altitude's private dining room is still available (at time of writing). Up to 16 guests can enjoy a 10-course dinner and three hours of free-flowing dom Perignon P2 for $55,000.
Get a room: Harbour-view rooms start from $995 per night (for views of Darling Harbour). See shangri-la.com
Pullman Grand Hotel: Get your glam on
With its pastel seating, lush greenery and front-and-centre views of the Harbour Bridge, the Pullman Grand's Hyde Hacienda Bar + Lounge pops up regularly on Instagram posts. No wonder, then, that tickets to its New Years Eve party are selling fast, with only premium packages still available. Grab at least five friends to book a booth and enjoy cocktail shots and champagne on arrival, free-flowing wine and beer, and a seafood platter, charcuterie board and canapes. The night kicks off at 7pm and tickets are $799 per person. Alternatively, the six-course dinner at Q Dining costs $459 per person ($129 per teenager, $89 per child) with free-flowing wine and beer. The hotel's rooms are fully booked.
Park Hyatt Sydney: Up close and personal
Boasting a location almost directly beneath the harbour bridge, guests at the Park Hyatt have a prime perch for the fireworks action. Two dinner sessions: the early session, which includes a three-course set menu and a glass of champagne, runs from 5.30 to 7.30 and costs $295 per person for adults ($145 for children under 12). Tickets for the later session, which runs from 8.30 to 12.30 and includes a four-course set-menu and a glass of champagne, are $650 per person. Diners at the late session will be able to watch the fireworks from the boardwalk that flanks the hotel.
Get a room: New Year's Eve stays are subject to a three-night minimum booking. Rates, including daily breakfast and French champagne delivered to your room on New Year's Eve, from $2300 a night. See hyatt.com
Intercontinental Sydney: High society
The clue is in the name: the Panorama Lounge Bar has sweeping views right across the harbour. Located on level 32 of the Intercontinental Hotel, Panorama is home to five hours of fun on New Years Eve, with a special event starting at 8pm. Each ticket includes substantial canapes, a beverage package, a glass of French champagne at midnight and live entertainment, and prices vary depending on the views. Front row harbour view seats top out at $549 per person; if you're happy with an eastern harbour view, you can get a ticket for $349 per person.
Get a room: View Rooms, which have Harbour Bridge views, start from $2,290. See icsydney.com.au
The Macleay: Far from the madding crowd
It's a secret that insiders keep to themselves: one of the best views of the fireworks can actually be enjoyed in Potts Point at The Macleay Hotel's rooftop. Guests who book a harbour view room are the only ones to have access to the rooftop, which opens at 11pm with drinks and canapes supplied. As far as dinner goes, The Macleay doesn't have its own kitchens, but is located in the heart of a lively dining precinct, so there are plenty of options within walking distance.
Get a room: Harbour view rooms start at $1000. See themacleay.com
Many of the properties located adjacent to Street Feasts' outdoor dining precincts still have rooms available: some are offering celebrations of their own. Whether you book yourself a room or a just a seat at the table, these experiences promise a memorable ending to a long, hard year.
Lancemore Crossley St
If you like your New Year's celebrations to have a healthy dose of glamour, the Lancemore Crossley St is for you. Inspired by its setting on the edge of the Theatre District, this newcomer brings a sense of drama to the arrival experience with its stage lighting, its sweeping blue velvet curtains and the eye-catching chandelier rescued from the Georges department store on Collins Street. The mood is dialled down in the rooms, which opt for a restrained elegance, and in-room dining comes courtesy of a range of restaurant partners.
Rooms from $449. See lancemore.com.au
No surprise to learn that the QT Melbourne is pulling out the stops for New Years Eve. The high-energy hotel is hosting its own festivities at its ever-lively bar, The Rooftop at QT. The celebrations include free-flowing wines and beer as well as sumptuous food including oysters sucked to order, smoking grills and an elaborate dessert station, all done with the inimitable QT flair. Doors open at 7.30pm and the party kicks on until 1am. Tickets are $225 per head.
Rooms from $374 per night, minimum three-night stay applies. See qthotels.com
Sofitel Melbourne on Collins
"It's a very different New Year's Eve this year," says Ashish Rajput of Sofitel Melbourne on Collins – but on the upside, you can snap up a room for a much lower rate than in years past. For those who want an elegant start to 2021, the Sofitel is staging four-course dinner in their No.35 restaurant, with plates including lobster ravioli and a trio of Tasmanian lamb. Tickets are $275 per person and include music by a live trio and an unlimited beverage package.
Rooms from $425. See sofitel-melbourne.com.au
It's not just Ovolo Laneways' location that makes it a smart choice to see in the new year: its fun, freewheeling vibe – which includes laneways-inspired artworks in the hallways – suits the festive mood. It also has a good selection of larger apartment-style available, giving you room to spread out. "I recommend the one-bedroom suite, which has a dedicated living area to get the party started and a separate bedroom to retire," says Ovolo's Chris Lee.
Rooms from $389; $459 for a one-bedroom suite. See ovolohotels.com
The new year's action isn't confined to the heart of town. Street Feasts is also hosting outdoor dining along Domain Road, with Entrecote, the Botanical Hotel and Matilda 159 all putting out the welcome mat. Make an occasion of it with a stay at United Places – mothership of Matilda 159 – using it as a base from which to join in the fun. Alternatively, if you'd rather celebrate a deux, the hotel has a special package that includes a four-course dinner by Matilda 159 served in-suite, wine on arrival and late check-out on New Year's Day – all for $876 per room.
Rooms from $524 per suite. See unitedplaces.com.au