This is one of the quirkier places to stay in Sydney. Five minutes from Manly or a short water taxi ride across the harbour, Q Station isn’t as isolated as it was back in the 1800s, when the remote bushland cove quarantined migrant arrivals to thwart the spread of smallpox. Hundreds of hapless souls never made it out alive, and as a result, ghosthunters traipse through the site’s former hospital each night on guided ghost tours. There are 72 boutique hotel rooms, but don’t expect anything too snazzy. Stringent Australian heritage laws have heavily restricted renovation, meaning some suites don’t have personal bathrooms. The first-class passenger rooms (ask for 25 or 27) do have private en-suites and French doors that open up to a communal verandah with million-dollar views of the harbour. From here, the resort’s Engine Room bar and The Boilerhouse restaurant, which serves elegant cuisine, wine and artisanal Australian beers, are only a short stroll away. Considering the restrictions, rooms are decently kitted out; beds are super-soft, bathrooms are stocked with Romy products and there are LCD televisions, but some luxury is amiss – there’s no mini-bar or bathrobe, for example, so arrive prepared.
What is a country hotel?