Cheap(ish) AirBNB with Harbour Views in Sydney

Published on

Sydney Harbour is one of the most prized water views on the planet. Any hotel room with even a glimpse of water will cost you upwards of $300-400 a night!

AirBNB has some good alternatives, but typically command a similar premium for the view.

We have managed to find a great value option with spectacular views to the west of the harbor all for a daily rate of approximately $220 a night (AUD).

I am a sucker for water views and nothing makes me happier when coming home than the sight of a sunset over ocean! When living out of a suitcase for extended periods of time it is just a nice little bonus.


The apartment is located inside the Sebel Hotel building, but not part of the hotel. While this is unusual it does mean that you have full access to the amenities in the building – which I will get to shortly.

The building itself is wedged between the famous Four Seasons and Shangri La hotels, and overlooks Circular Quay with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge on either side.

A ten minute walk in the opposite direction will get you to the new Barangaroo harborside complex and Darling Harbor.

Closer to home you have Harts Pub right across the road. This is a nice little watering hole from the 19th century that is well known for its craft beer and vintage fit out.

This offers a more casual dining alternative to the Sebel Hotel restaurant. Which is overpriced, and not that good….

The Apartment

You will find plenty of space to spread out in this apartment. It is an older building (likely 1980’s) which means a very spacious floor plan.

The lounge room area leads to a large bay window offering 180 degree views looking directly south of the city, and west overlooking Barangaroo and into the western pockets of Sydney Harbour.

While the couch doesn’t leave much room to stretch out, it is adequate and comfortable enough for two people…. I did fall asleep on it more than once.

The kitchen was fully stocked with two fridges, an electric stove, dishwasher, and a very cheap K-mart kettle (I have the same one).

We loved the views from the bedroom! This was again very spacious and had lots of large windows looking out over the harbor.

The only downside was that with the windows open the noise from the highway that crosses the bridge was quite loud.

The bed was also very comfortable and the quality of the pillows and bedding was good.

What we liked: 

  • The views obviously
  • Lots of space in all rooms!
  • Fully stocked kitchen and laundry
  • Plenty of natural light in the bedroom and lounge room
  • The TV had a channel with a time lapse of a camera perched on top of the building overlooking the harbor running a loop of the previous 24 hours on repeat.

What we didn’t like: 

  • The air conditioning didn’t work so we had to keep the windows open to let the breeze in. This was mostly fine, but some days were hot and smoky due to bushfires around the city.
  • The other downside of open windows was the noise. The early morning rush hour was hard to sleep through.
  • The rationing of some basics. One sachet of laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, one soap, one towel each etc. Come on, these things are cheap and save hassle. Especially for such a long stay!!
  • No cable or Netflix on the TV – free to air generally sucks in Australia.


There is a mezzanine level with a restaurant and bar. I wouldn’t recommend either as there are plenty of alternatives nearby that are far better.

On the 23rd floor there is a swimming pool, gym and observation deck.

Don’t bother with the gym unless you want to just get on a treadmill.

The pool is small, but nice and has some spectacular views! Families tend to take over when in use though but if you pick a quite time for a dip it can be very relaxing.

Outside of the pool area is a large viewing balcony that overlooks Circular Quay.

Absolutely loved this! We were lucky enough to stumble across a fireworks display one night over the Harbour Bridge and Luna Park on the north side of the city.

This is the view that people come to Sydney for and you will be hard pressed to find a better spot anywhere.

Being able to spend some time up here is worth the price of a short stay here on its own.

Final Word

We spent nearly a month in this AirBNB and found it a much better experience than others we have stayed in (usually around the Pyrmont area).

The location is fantastic, the views worth a million bucks, and the space we had made it feel like coming home each day for the month that we stayed.

While it is not flashy, for the moderate price tag it is an excellent option for your Sydney stay.

Leave a Comment