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Apartment hotels have changed a lot since I first stayed in one during a trip to Canberra in my days spent working the corporate sector. Back in the mid 1990s, this style of accommodation was marketed as ‘executive residences’ and was so beige, drab and soulless that most travellers couldn’t wait to get home. But when I saw a few SKYE Suites Sydney reviews, I began to wonder if things had changed. SKYE Suites Sydney Kent Street apartments sounded a lot different to the horrible accommodation I remembered from my Canberra days.

It turned out my recent stay at SKYE Suites Sydney, Crown Group’s first boutique serviced apartment in Sydney’s CBD, could not have been more different to those dreary early days. The ice cave-themed lobby looked like it had swanned into the CBD direct from the pages of a design magazine. Beyond the lobby, a glass wall revealed a tantalising glimpse of a chic indoor swimming pool that practically screamed ‘come to me, darling, and let me soothe your soul’. If only I hadn’t forgotten my swimmers.

SKYE Suites Sydney pool
SKYE Suites Sydney lobby

The staff at the full-service reception desk were charming (another change from the bad old days) and explained the hotel’s mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom hotel apartments were located on levels 2 to 9. Above this there were high-end residential apartments, hence the top-notch in-house facilities like the swimming pool which lucky hotel guests also got to enjoy. Those SKYE Suites Sydney reviews were telling the truth!

SKYE Suites Sydney entry
SKYE Suites Sydney entrance

The 25 storey building housing SKYE Suites Sydney has created a new pedestrian thoroughfare linking Kent, Clarence and King streets. It’s an easy stroll from the hotel to Chinatown, Darling Harbour, Martin Place and the Pitt Street Mall. If you have your walking shoes on, it is possible to walk to the Opera House and Circular Quay. Floors only have a small number of apartments so there aren’t countless people coming and going outside your room. When you exit the lift, the design details continue with a spectacular curved central atrium. This is usually open to the sky but it was closed on my visit as it was raining. The descending white curves lead your eye down to a birds eye view of staff far below at the check in desk.

SKYE Suites Sydney atrium
SKYE Suites Sydney atrium

My studio apartment felt enormous, even though it was the smallest room category, and all apartments have a balcony. Bookings made direct with the hotel come with a complimentary mini bar which is generously stocked with alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and snacks. Each apartment has a fully equipped kitchen, washer and dryer (cleverly tucked away in a cupboard), coffee machine and ‘virtual concierge’ tablet so you can access hotel services with the touch of a button. I found this quite bright at night so I turned it face down while I was sleeping.

SKYE Suites Sydney kitchen
SKYE Suites Sydney studio living area

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SKYE Suites Sydney room
Sleeping area viewed from the lounge
SKYE Suites Sydney bathroom
SKYE Suites Sydney bathroom

The compact bathroom had a luxe feel and included delicious vanilla-scented Kevin Murphy toiletries. There was plenty of room to lay out my own products and make up on the shelf in front of the vanity. Each apartment has a Google Chromecast TV so you can pair your own devices to it and watch Netflix, listen to Spotify or work on documents on a large screen instead of a tiny laptop.

SKYE Suites Sydney TV
Connect your own devices to the TV in the lounge

My apartment also had a small study equipped with a work desk and desk lamp which came in handy. It was a luxury having a proper and separate place to work as I usually have to perch on the bed with my laptop. There are no in-house dining options at the hotel but it is surrounded by an impressive array of eating and drinking options and there’s an in-room coffee machine if you want a caffeine hit.

SKYE Suites Sydney is a welcome addition to the CBD accommodation scene and seamlessly blends high-end style and facilities with the warmth and effortless comfort typically associated with smaller – and invariably very expensive – boutique hotels. With just 73 suites, you get the best of both worlds at SKYE Suites Sydney, with luxurious self-contained Sydney accommodation for the price of a hotel room.

Disclosure: The writer stayed as a guest of Crown Hotels. She would not hesitate to stay at SKYE Suites Sydney again at her own expense.

If you’re looking for some fun Sydney things to do while you’re in town, take a ride on Thunder Jet or check out our 10 things to do in Sydney.

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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.