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Review: The Intercontinental Sydney – A Fantastic Redemption

ihg points worth less
Written by Charlie

The Intercontinental Sydney is a fantastic hotel in a perfect location in Sydney. Check out what it is like and what it takes to stay there!

While the Park Hyatt Sydney may be at the top of people’s list for a must-stay with points, the Intercontinental Sydney is certainly not a hotel to overlook when you stay in this beautiful Sydney. It has a great location and rooms that are quite elegant to go along with the city it is located in. If you have a trip to Sydney, make sure the Intercontinental Sydney is one of the hotels on your short-list.

Review: The Intercontinental Sydney

Intercontinental Sydney

The beautiful Intercontinental Sydney | Photo from the hotel website


Intercontinental Sydney

The location of the Intercontinental Sydney and the Sydney Opera House

The hotel is located at 117 Macquarie St, Sydney – just 5 minutes from many of the top tourist spots in Sydney. That means basing yourself here could be really convenient if you want to visit the iconic Sydney Opera House, the Botanic Gardens, the Rocks, or the Circular Quay.

Getting There

When I visited this hotel last year, I was fortunate to be driven there at the expense of Etihad as one of their first class passengers. On the return to the airport the following morning, I took a taxi (I honestly do not remember the cost as I had been only focused on getting to the airport in time for the next leg of my round the world run).

Besides private car service or taxi, other means of getting there include the Sydney Airport Shuttle (which costs 30AUD roundtrip) or city bus (which is the cheapest). You can either ask the hotel for the best options for the time of day you are coming or you can check at the airport (information desks can help out). Another option is to use something like Google Maps as that will give you the transportation options available as well (including Uber).

Hotel Entrance/Check-In

The interior of the hotel was very well appointed as to show that this was definitely a top tier brand hotel. The outside was a fantastic design and certainly a building that is not your cookie-cutter hotel façade.

I felt bad that I was in such a hurry because I would have really enjoyed exploring this hotel a bit more to see all it had to offer. But, I had rushed in and went right to the desk to check-in. There were no customers in line (this was about 8PM in September) and the desk agents were fantastic. IHG is the one main hotel chain that I do not have any status with (strange, I know, since it is the only chain that used to give top tier just for holding their credit card) yet I was greeted with a welcoming smile and given every courtesy even though I was “just” a general member guest redeeming a free night for a stay at this beautiful hotel.

At the front desk, I explained what I was doing in the city (running my 4th of 6 marathon runs in my race around the world) and asked for some ideas of the best routes to run on at that time of night. I had some routes in mind but was not completely sure was to what may be opened or closed. It turns out they have a wonderful map with several routes highlighted for walkers/runners. The route I would have loved to run included the Botanic Gardens, which were unfortunately closed. But the hospitable lady gave me a couple of bottles of water and wished me good luck.

The Room

Intercontinental Sydney

The Superior Room at the Intercontinental Sydney

The Intercontinental Sydney has 509 guest rooms, 28 of which are suites. With such a large amount of rooms, it is pretty easy to secure an award reservation. Award reservations and the cheapest cash reservations book into the Superior Room. It is a room that is large enough for any large city “base” room by any standards.

The room came complete with a comfortable bed (though I found the pillows to be most comfortable of the bed accessories – especially as I tried to nurse a hurt leg after my Sydney run) and a work desk. The desk and chair worked perfectly and I was able to get a few hours of work done.

Intercontinental Sydney

I did not get any sleep that night as I came in after 1AM from my run, took a cold bath (decent tub), laid in bed to work on my leg, worked for a few hours and headed to the airport! Remember, I was not in any place for a long enough time to get on a time zone so it did not bother me to stay up (also, I wanted to sleep on the next flight to Chile so I would be ready to go when landing there).

Intercontinental Sydney

The comfortable lounge sofa in the room

However, in addition to what you would find in an average business hotel room, it had a chaise lounge that was perfect to relax on if you didn’t want to lay/sit in the bed. There as also a sitting area near the wide window that worked for sitting or could possibly even be used for someone to sleep on (not sure how comfortable it would be).


The only thing that I found somewhat disappointing in this room was the television. It was a slightly older model and not something I would have expected in an upscale hotel like this. I realize this is not the US but Australia does get a lot of electronics before the US does so I would have thought it would have been something more modern and higher tech. Still, completely watchable, just not what I would have thought. But, you are in Sydney so you probably will not watch that much on the TV! 🙂

Staying There

This is a top category hotel within the IHG portfolio. That means it will require 50,000 points per night. Or, even better, you can use your free night certificate from your anniversary of holding the IHG card. That is one great redemption!

Note – this will go up to 55,000 points if you book after February 17!

Intercontinental Sydney

I used a free night from the “into the nights” promo. It was a fantastic use and one I was glad I made. The cash price for the hotel was at $330 for that night. It can be had around $240 (or less!) a lot of nights as well but it will go even higher than the $330 depending on the events/season in the area. One case is New Year’s Eve – in fact, it is already booked out for this year this far in advance!

If paying with points, here is the point breakdown:

  • 50,000 points for straight points
  • 45,000 points + $40
  • 40,000 points + $70

Depending on your point amount, any one of these options could work out for you. Just remember as you look that the prices that will show by default (unless you have it changed) are in AUD which is currently at a rate of $1USD to 1.41AUD so the price will be quite a bit less if you are used to US dollars.


I know there are many great hotels in Sydney (I stayed at the Sofitel on a previous trip and that was also fantastic) with many point enthusiasts desiring the Park Hyatt Sydney. While I look forward to staying there sometime, I do think the Intercontinental Sydney makes a compelling option for a top end hotel in Sydney with points. Not only is it a great hotel, but it is also very attainable with either points or the annual free night that comes with the IHG credit card.

My only real regret is that I did not have more time to spend at and explore this hotel. The fitness room is one that I would definitely like to check, but if you are wanting a run, I really encourage you to go outside and run. You will find routes that show you some amazing sights!

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.