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Kirribilli Guest House Review: a Boutique Stay for Under $100

Kirribilli is home to some of the oldest and most beautiful streets in Australia, is the suburb you’ll find the Prime Minister’s official Sydney residence in and has an enviable harbourside location. Not exactly the sort of place that you’d expect to find budget accommodation.

But as I discovered, it is possible to spend a night for under $100 in this exclusive suburb thanks to a renovated 19th century Kirribilli guest house that goes by the name of Glenferrie Lodge.

Cheap and Cheerful Kirribilli Accommodation

Just three doors down from Kirribilli House and Admiralty House, and around the corner from the Kirribilli ferry stop, Glenferrie Lodge offers boutique budget accommodation with a range of rooms from singles with shared bathrooms to a family ensuite room.

The owners, who are also behind the Cremorne Point Manor, may have spent more than a million dollars renovating Glenferrie Lodge and fixing up its gardens, but they’ve kept the room rates nice and low.

Prices in this Kirribilli guest house start at around $70 for the budget single room and go up to over $300 for the family ensuite that includes two rooms, two doubles and one single bed and a private bathroom.

When booking it is worth keeping in mind that a lot of the rooms do not have private bathrooms, including the Queen Balcony room which I called home for a night.

It’s been a while since I’ve pottered down a hall in the middle of the night to use a shared bathroom, but it brought back memories of the old backpacking through Europe days. Ah yes, good times.

Happily I had a kettle and cups so I could enjoy a brew in my room. There’s no mini bar but there is a little fridge waiting for you to fill it with whatever you want from the shops. Another good budget trick.

Breakfast and WiFi are included, and there’s a large garden area out the back to sun yourself in. They’re also pet friendly and can help put pooches and their owners into rooms close to the nice green grass outside.

Then there’s the curious statue at the front of the lodge. The owner says he has no idea why there’s a statue of a Philippine hero out the front of a Sydney lodge with a Scottish name, but it’s one of those quirks that Kirribilli locals know well, and I’m glad he decided to keep that one in its place.

Statue at Kirribilli guest house, Glenferrie Lodge

Exploring in and around Kirribilli

Kirribilli is one of those Sydney suburbs that has a village atmosphere and is fun to just potter around in.

With its killer harbour views, a walk along the foreshore is a must. If you like to stretch your legs further, you can make your way to Cremorne Point and enjoy one of the prettiest walks in Sydney.

It may cost money to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but it’s free to walk across it. It’s only around 3km to the CBD from your Kirribilli guest house so you can walk to the city and back, or maybe walk one way and ferry the other if you find yourself carrying a few shopping bags at the end of the day.

Speaking of shopping, if you have to choose a weekend to stay, the fourth Saturday is usually a good one as that’s when you can enjoy the Kirribilli markets  (that’s all year except for December when they change it to being the first and third Saturday).

They have around 200 stalls of new and second hand fashion and accessories, emerging local designers, home and giftware, art & craft, food, live entertainment and of course those views.

The markets are found at the Burton Street Tunnel, and they also have an Art and Design market and a Fashion Market on the 2nd Sunday of the month.

Kirribilli also has the Ensemble Theatre, which is Australia’s longest continuously running professional theatre company, having started back in 1958 before moving into their current converted boatshed space in 1960.

Of course just next door to Kirribilli you have Luna Park and the North Sydney Olympic pool, which has been named one of the top ten public pools in the world. And rightly so.

And while it’s technically Lavender Bay, when you’re in Kirribilli you should also walk around to Wendy’s Secret Garden, the space Wendy Whiteley transformed from a rubbish tip into a garden filled with plants and sculptures following the death of her husband Brett Whitely. A very special spot indeed.

Kirribilli’s First Small Bar: The Botanist

After saving all of that money on your room you deserve to treat yourself to a cocktail or two and a good meal.

Kirribilli has some lovely cafes and bars to try, and on my Glenferrie Lodge stay I finally had the chance to visit one I’d heard only good things about: The Botanist.

Kirribilli’s first small bar and restaurant, The Botanist’s name is a nod to the botanist Gerard Fothergill, an Englishman who travelled the world researching plants for Queen Victoria, and who is said to have spent the last years of his life running a small bookshop in the building the restaurant is now in.

The restaurant and bar plays with the botanical themes, and I fell a little bit in love with my Elderflower Lychee Martini after selecting it from a cocktail menu full of floral illustrations and field notes.

The menu is a mix of reasonably priced sliders, tacos, pizzas and share plates and The Botanist’s slider and taco bar has also been making appearances at the Kirribilli Markets.

But even if you do have a nibble at the markets, I recommend heading to the restaurant and bar itself. It has a good vibe, some quirky features, and while I’m not sure how a man who disappeared to the other side of the world to become a recluse would feel about so many people knowing his name, I do love the backstory.

If only all the other buildings in Kirribilli could share their tales. We may be able to get to the bottom of that strange statue story.

Amanda Woods stayed as a guest of Glenferrie Lodge but as usual all opinions remain her own.

Looking for more fun Sydney ideas? Check out my list of 20 great tours and things to do in Sydney for every budget. 

Leave a Comment

  1. Kirribilli sounds like a fun suburb to explore, and that accommodation is such good value! I especially love the look of the Botanist, gotta find a spot for good cocktails!

    • Thanks Em! It is indeed a great little part of Sydney, and oh yes those cocktails are good at The Botanist. I know I’ll be heading back there when I’m in that neck of the woods again 😉

  2. What a lovely lodge. I love how the garden looks. Thanks for the share what to do around Kirribilli.

  3. what a great little Northside bolthole! Have heard good things about the Botanist, must get there soon.

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