Upon Arrival: Sydney

Indagare ambassador (and Sydney resident for 14-plus years) Carrie Bellotti reports on the brand-new Capella Sydney—and what to see and do in the neighborhood.

After a seven-year renovation of a 1900s sandstone building in the heart of the Central Business District (CBD), the transformation of Capella Sydney is complete—and the result, extending across an entire city block, is spectacular. The integrity of the original architecture has been maintained: the modern and sophisticated interiors offer a nod to the past through expertly curated art and exquisite craftsmanship and incorporate wood, wool and stone from Australia throughout. The hotel, with 192 rooms and suites across nine floors, brings the heritage of Australia’s First Nations front and center through artwork in the lobby. Prestige suites on upper floors are the ones to book. Thanks to the roof extension, massive windows bring in the light in upper-floor rooms, and some have views of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, which is just around the corner, as is Circular Quay, a key hub for the city. The staff is attentive and enhanced by various roles including Capella Culturists, a whole new level of concierge team, with members who can tailor customized activities during a stay, along with a program called Little Stars that focuses on kid-friendly projects and activities. Here, Carrie shares what not to miss in the neighborhood.

Contact your Trip Designer or Indagare, if you are not yet a member, to start planning a trip to Australia. Our team can match you with the itineraries, accommodations and reservations that are right for you.

Fresh Start

“Indulge in a fabulous breakfast at Brasserie 1930 at Capella Sydney. The buffet has a stunning array of house-baked bread, pastries, fruit, cheese and sliced meats along with a full menu that includes fresh juices and healthier options.”

Stroll, Then Spa

“Go for a brisk walk down around Circular Quay, the Opera House and through the Sydney Botanical Gardens, all within a few blocks. Back at the hotel, visit the Wellness Spa Auriga, located on the sixth floor, with its 20-meter swimming pool, state-of-the-art gym and Indigenous-inspired treatments invoking local traditions.”

A Perfect Lunch

“Walk to the nearby favorite of Sydneysiders, Mr. Wong. It is a perfect Cantonese restaurant with delicious dim sum in a chic setting transporting diners back to 1930s Shanghai.”

Art Moment

“See the newly completed addition of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney Modern, nearby. This ambitious project—both architecturally and as a cultural development—has transformed the art scene in Australia and is not to be missed.”

Shop Around

“Head to 25 Martin Place on Castlereagh Street, a recently regenerated luxury shopping precinct, which adds new depth to international shopping in Sydney, including Hermès, Dior, Valentino and Missoni. Plus, there is Alinka, a local favorite jewelry designer, among many others.”


“Sydney is spoiled for choice when it comes to great coffee. Near the hotel, Regiment Café or Gumption by Coffee Alchemy are excellent options—or simply indulge in a heavenly flat white in the atrium lounge Aperture, adjacent to the lobby.”

Drink It In

Maybe Sammy offers a glamorous twist on cocktails—the vibe feels very 1950s, but it’s within a cool setting in the Rocks district. Rooftop bar Aster makes you feel on top of the world. And the McRae Bar and lounge at Capella has a buzzy scene.”

This article originally appeared in Indagare Magazine’s Summer 2023 edition, available exclusively to Indagare members.

Contact your Trip Designer or Indagare, if you are not yet a member, to start planning a trip to Australia. Our team can match you with the itineraries, accommodations and reservations that are right for you.

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