If you are looking for a list of great budget hotels in Sydney, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re travelling with tight funds or just prefer to spend your money on food and sights, I have put together a list of cheaper hotels across the city that I would be more than happy to stay at.
Sydney is not a city known for affordable hotels, in fact, most of the year prices rival those in London and New York. The reason is consistently high occupancy rates most hotels in Sydney are 85% occupied year round.
The average 3-star hotel room in Sydney starts at $250 and anything 5 star is likely to set you back over $400. If you are visiting in high season you can double that.
With this in mind, a “budget hotel” in this city can be priced between $90-$190 a night. If you are looking for something cheaper, then your best bet is probably a private room in a hostel.
How did we choose the hotels on this list?
The hotels that made our list had to meet a few requirements:
- They had to be well located; either walking distance to the city centre or close to good public transport connections.
- They had to be clean; no one likes to go on holiday and sleep in a dirty room no matter how low their budget is.
- They had to have consistently good reviews online regarding customer service – all budget hotels suffer from the odd poor review when customer expectations are too high, but we have only included places that overall rate well.
What to expect in a budget hotel in Sydney
- Older style properties that have been renovated- and the word “boutique” added to the name
- More stairs than elevators although some have both
- Some rooms may have shared bathrooms
- Fewer amenities of the big chain hotels – things like gyms and pools are more unusual
- Limited reception hours – most will not have 24 reception
- No onsite dining or room service – many have a cafe in the same building or next door.
Thanks to the self-rating systems offered on many hotel booking sites some of these properties are mistakenly listed as 3-4 stars. In my experience, most budget hotels are in the 2-3 star range. When the stars go up so does the price!
Being rated 2-3 star does not mean a hotel is bad. It just means they offer fewer amenities to their guest. It is important to set your expectations; you are looking for a good quality over price ratio. This is likely to mean you have to forego some of the extras, but if you are looking for a bargain hotel in Sydney it’s got to be done!
When is it impossible to get a cheap hotel in Sydney?
Any idea of a bargain should go out the window during the following times of the year.
- Christmas and New Year
- Mardi Gras
- Vivid Sydney Festival
- NSW school holiday period or long weekend.
These are the most expensive times to visit Sydney. It’s also wise to check this list of NSW School holiday dates before you plan. If you are travelling at these times, you should book early, as early as you can, and expect to pay over $350 a night, even in these “budget” places. It’s also a good time to look further into the suburbs or consider Airbnb to nab lower priced properties!
Budget Hotels close to Sydney Harbour
If you dream holiday accommodation includes the combination of harbour views and a low price tag you might think you would be out of luck. However, I am pleased to say you can find just that, provided you are happy with the views coming from the rooftop terrace or other public areas and not your bedroom window. The hotels in this section are located within a couple of minutes Walk of the harbour foreshore or have publically accessible views of it.
The Russell Hotel – The Rocks
Well located in a beautiful heritage building on George Street at the beginning of the Rocks the Russell Hotel is a boutique property with a range of rooms and prices. Downstairs is a small bar called The Push that is a nice spot for a pre-dinner drink and right across the road is the Museum of Contemporary Art and Circular Quay
- Budget priced rooms have shared bathrooms however ensuite rooms are available for a few $$ more
- Ceiling fans and windows that open (no airconditioning)
- A lift to most floors – some stair to navigate
- Less than 5 minutes walk to the cruise terminal
The shared facilities are very clean, and service here is excellent. If you can get a reasonable price, it is a great choice. Check out the room photos on TripAdvisor
Location: Circular Quay
Who should stay here: Cruise passengers, couples and singles who want to be close the harbour.
Sydney Harbour Bed and Breakfast
This fully restored heritage mansion is only a 5 minute from Circular Quay. Being heritage listed means stairs are unavoidable unless you book a ground floor room. Rooms vary in style and comfort but it is all very clear when you read the room descriptions just make sure you choose what suits you.
- Free breakfast
- Free wifi
- Variety of room sizes including single and family rooms
- 1-2 bedroom apartments with living areas and kitchens
- Share bathrooms and ensuite rooms are available to help reduce costs
- Glimpses of the Opera House from the windows in some rooms.
- Small courtyard which is a pleasant spot to sit after a day of sightseeing.
The decor here is a little tired but comfortable and for the price, it is good value for money. Check the reviews on TripAdvisor and see if this property suits your needs.
Tip: avoid the rooms on the west side of the property in the summer as the afternoon sun can really heat things up.
Location: Harrington Street, The Rocks
Who should stay here: Cruise passengers, groups and families on short stays
YHA Sydney Harbour
This hostel snuck onto my best “hotel” list because it’s a bit special. For a start, the view from the roof terrace of this Sydney hostel has got to be among the top of the best hostel views in the world, and secondly, cheap rooms are few and far between in this part of town. This is a large property with 350 beds, located on an archaeological site, has been developed around the remains of an old building uncovered when excavation began.
- Excellent facilities with a large kitchen, games room, dining areas.
- All rooms have their own bathrooms.
- A good number of family and double rooms
- Attracts all age groups from families with children to seniors, and everyone feels comfortable.
It is especially popular on NYE when a one-week minimum stay is required and rooms are usually booked out by March. Check out the fantastic 180-degree harbour views on TripAdvisor
Location: Harrington Street, The Rocks
Who should stay here: Everyone! The hostel is good for friends travelling together, solo travellers and families of any age. It’s a bit of a walk from the station so perhaps not great for mobility issues.
Budget Hotels in the centre of Sydney CBD
While it’s not as picturesque as other parts of the city the centre of town is a good in terms of walkability to main sites and proximity to shopping if that’s your thing. If you are looking for a budget hotel in the Sydney Central Business District, you might find it a challenge, but there are a couple that consistently offers prices under $200 a night, particularly on weekends.
Travelodge Martin Place
The Travelodge situated just a few minutes walk from either St James or Martin Place stations is not going to win any design awards, and the location is a bit sterile however it is walking distance to pretty much everything you are going to want to see and do and on weekends the prices are a steal. You will be well placed to explore Hyde Park and the historic Macquarie Street.
- Spacious rooms that all have a small kitchen area with a sink, microwave and kettle.
- Modern furnishings
- Coin-operated laundry
There is no onsite restaurant or room service but there are lots of cafes close by for breakfast. Check out the lovely Jardin St James at the top of the Street for a delicious breakfast. You are only 5 minutes walk from the shops of Pitt St Mall and ten minutes walk the Circular Quay. Check the reviews and property photos on TripAdvisor
Location: Phillip St Sydney
Who should stay here: Business travellers, solos and couples, shoppers
Megaboom City Hotel
Located within walking distance of the harbour and many of the cities best small bars and only minutes from Pitt Street Mall, Megaboom scores top marks for location. While the decor is a little dull the rooms are clean and comfortable and usually priced around $150 per night making them quite good value.
- Free (and good strength) wifi
- Fridge in room
There is only one elevator at the hotel so it can take a while if you are on a top floor but the tradeoff is a very quiet room. Some guests also say they can hear train rumblings from the first couple of floors. If you are a light sleeper perhaps request a higher floor. Overall this property is great value for money. Check out the images and see what you think on TripAdvisor
Location: Level 1 93 York St, Sydney
Who should stay here: Solos and couples only – the rooms can be on the small side.
Song Hotel Sydney
Previously the YWCA the Song Hotel is not flash, but if you are on a tight budget, it’s worth considering. Located opposite the southern end of Hyde Park and near a busy intersection leading up to Kings Cross, I recommend that you bring earplugs if you are a light sleeper. Having said that a positive of all that noise is that you are in the middle of the city and it’s easy to get to Surry Hills Darlinghurst and the CBD on foot. Even Darling Harbour is within walking distance. Also, plenty of space for kids to run around in the park.
- Single, double and a few rooms that can sleep four.
- Rooms with shared bathrooms to save you a few more dollars
- Premium rooms which have been recently refurbished and have double glazed windows that cut down the street noise
- Family rooms have a microwave
The reviews are a little mixed on TripAdvisor so take a look and see if any of the issues raised would be a concern for you. The updated rooms certainly seem to be popular if you can get one at a reasonable price.
Location: 5-11 Wentworth Avenue
Who should stay here: Shoppers, families with older children.
The Best Budget Hotels in Darlinghurst, Kings Cross, Potts Point and Surry Hills (Eastside Sydney)
This part of the city between the CBD and the Eastern suburbs is home to a huge number of small boutique hotels. Perhaps this is due to the number of small apartment buildings that popped up here in the 1930s when the city saw a bit of a boom in this type of housing. These properties lend themselves to easy conversion to small hotels and there are some really good gems here.
Personally, I love this part of town. These three areas all have a village feel and it’s a real foodie hotspot. Among the cafes and small bars, you will find pretty streets that have retained their beautiful Victorian homes a throwback to the 19th Century when the colony’s wealthy residents. There are lots of lovely harbour views waiting to be found as the streets making their way to the water.
Kings Cross may still be listed in your guidebook as the cities red light and party area but the tide has well and truly turned thanks to the NSW Government lockout laws. Personally, I feel safer here than in some of the streets around Central train station. This area was once the epicentre of Sydney’s underbelly but these days it has become a little more sedate however it is still not entirely sanitised so if you are easily offended you might still find parts of Kings Cross a little seedy.
Cambridge Hotel Sydney
This is a favourite of many regular travellers and they get a lot of return customers so they must be doing all the right things. I have had several friends stay here recently, and they have been pleased with the hotel and the price.
Great location just off Oxford Street, its a short walk to Hyde Park and the city. Oxford Street is the epicentre of Sydney’s gay culture so this is a good spot for Mardi Gras or gay travellers looking to be close to nightlife.
- Some rooms have balconies
- Indoor swimming pool and spa
- On-site restaurant
- Parking available (cost)
This is a good option for foodies as you are in walking distance to many of Sydney’s local favourites and there are several bars and hotels within walking distance. Check out the property photos and find the current price on TripAdvisor
Location: 212 Riley St Surry Hills
Who should stay here: Suitable for all types of travellers but especially foodies and anyone wanting to experience the gay nightlife.
Springfield Lodge is a good budget option located just a 240m walk from Kings Cross station. With prices here often around $95-100, there is lots to like about this place. This street reminds me very much of inner London and its just minutes away from lots of fantastic dining on Victoria Road including The Butler with its great views over the city and Asian fusion hotspot Ms G’s.
- Old style windows that open allowing excellent air circulation
- Free wifi
- Fridge in room
- On-site restaurant
- Laundry facilities
The staff are friendly, and the surrounding area offers lots of dining choice. Single rooms are available, but they are tiny, so even if travelling alone I would probably pay extra for a double. Check TripAdvisor for photos and reviews.
Location: 9 Springfield Avenue Potts Point
Who should stay here: Solo travellers, couples and foodies
The small hotel offers friendly service in a great area with Kings Cross train station is just 500 metres away. You can walk to the Botanic Gardens in 15 mins and the centre of the city in 25 minutes. The street is lovely with plenty of dining options at your door including favourites Billy Kwong and Cho Cho San and great vegetarian option Yellow. There is a supermarket a short walk away too.
- Small but well-appointed rooms and clean. The small economy rooms are a fantastic choice for solo travellers.
- King rooms are well priced and a lot more spacious than the others so worth checking
On the downside, there is no lift in the three-story property, and the reception desk is only open until 7.30pm, but neither of these issues would stop me from staying here. Check the reviews and latest property photos on TripAdvisor
Location: 31 Challis Ave Potts Point
Who should stay here: Solo and couple travellers are best suited here due to the room size.
Morgans Boutique Hotel
Morgans Hotel is a great find for budget travellers. The 27 rooms offer fantastic value with one bedroom apartments under $200 a night outside peak times. The studios often priced under $150 are 30m², and they are among the largest budget rooms in the city.
- Free wifi
- Guests bbq area on the roof
- Apartment rooms with kitchen and living area
- Rooftop views of the Harbour Bridge
The decor is a little dull and functional, but if you are looking for a spacious room close to transport and cafes, it’s well worth a look
The property is located near the famous Coca-Cola sign and a short walk from King Cross trains stations. Great views of the city from the roof which you can check out here on TripAdvisor
Location: 304 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst
Who should stay here: Couples, foodies, anyone wanting a larger budget room but possibly not suitable for families.
Sydney Boutique Hotel
This small hotel is surrounded by cafes and restaurants with plenty of variety to keep you busy in the evenings. Right underneath the hotel is the ate night dumpling and cocktail bar Ginko Bar and Dining which is pretty lucky if you ask me. The 311 bus (Railway Square via Wolloomoolloo to Barangaroo) stops around the corner, and Kings Cross train station is a 3-minute walk from the hotel. You can walk into the middle of the city in 20-25 minutes
- Free wifi
- Fridge in room
- Renovated in 2017
- King rooms have balconies
The “small” rooms are tiny and only suited to solo travellers or friendly couples I have not yet inspected the inside of this hotel but have some members of our community stay here and been happy with it. Do your due diligence and read what other travellers have to say at TripAdvisor
Location: 114 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst
Who should stay here: Best suited to solo travellers and couples wanting to be close to cafes, bars and nightlife. I would not recommend this for a family as there is not a lot of space and nowhere nearby for kids to let off steam.
Best Budget Hotels to the south of the CBD
For the purposes of this article, I have defined south of the CBD to cover the areas around Central station, Glebe, Redfern and Chippendale. Some parts of the southern CBD are pretty ugly with lots of building sites and run down properties around Central Station itself however other pockets like Chippendale and Surry Hills have seen a resurgence over the last few years and are much sort after hipster hotspots. I suggest you check any address on Google maps street view to see what the surrounds look like. Alternatively, pop over to our Facebook group and ask for a local opinion.
Central Railway Hotel
The surrounding streets can look a little run down much like those near any major train station in the world. However, it does not feel unsafe, and the road is well lit. Surrounded by cheap eats and walking distance to Chinatown. A quick bus or decent walk to Allianz Stadium and the Entertainment Quater if you are in town for a big game or event.
- Rooms suited to groups of 5 are available
- All rooms have fridge and microwave in a small kitchen area
- Parking available for $25
It is just a 7-minute walk to Central Station where you can access all whole city and regional transport network. A few minutes walk in the opposite direction will bring you to Redfern and plenty of great cafes and small bars. Check out Breadfern for some morning baked goods and the small bars along Redfern Street. See property photos and current reviews on TripAdvisor
Tip: There is no lift so ask for a room on the ground floor if stairs are a challenge for you.
Location: 240 Chalmers Street, Sydney
Who should stay here: Interstate sports fans attending events at the stadium. Families – Prince Alfred Park and swimming pool are across the road, so this is a great choice for families.
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