Imagine a loft suite with high ceilings in a converted former wool store where you can stylishly enter and leave as your inner diva desires through your own private rockstar entrance. Thank you Ovolo 1888 for making my dreams of being the ultimate diva come true. The hotel combines historic charm with modern simplicity perfectly and you’ll notice this as soon as you walk through the front doors – exposed brick walls and intact ironbark beams are some standout features.
The 007 inspired Shaken room is one of my picks of the property and though I may not be British or a secret service agent – it didn’t stop me from enjoying the room, Bond Style. The room is a mixture of classic and contemporary – think vintage leather couches surrounded by modern technology – including an in-room iPad control, 55” smart TV and Harman Kardon Bluetooth speakers – it was almost too high-tech for a technologically challenged dinosaur like myself. True to form, I gave the speakers a good work out with Lil Jon and twerking may or may not have been involved (haha). If you follow my on snapchat (helenchikx) you’ll understand. With your own cocktail bar and oversized bathtub – I don’t think I could really ask for more. The Shaken room has incredibly high ceilings in the lounge area with large period windows allowing for an abundance of natural light.
Though I stayed in the Shaken room – the Stirred suite offers a completely different ambience as it is located on the top floor of the property with its own balcony and views of Sydney CBD. It’s equally as spacious and the floor to ceiling glass windows make you feel like you’re living in a contemporary glass house. Did I already mention that the mini-bar is also complimentary?! That’s not all; you’re also given a bag of goodies (party favors as I like to call it) to take home with you. I must admit, it makes the depression of checking out that much more bearable.
I think one of my favorite perks of this place is the happy hour in the lobby from 5-7pm, which comes with drinks and finger food inclusive if you’re a guest of the hotel. This more than makes up (in my opinion) for the fact that the hotel doesn’t have their own restaurant and I’ve provided a number of dining options for first time visitors below. The property has offsite parking across the road (additional charge), free WiFi and access to the local gym. You’re so close to the harbour that I think ditching the gym and going for a run by the water is one of the best ways to enjoy this picture perfect city.
If it’s your first time in Sydney and want to know what’s available to you food wise then you have a variety of options. Seafood lovers can visit Sydney’s Fish Market; just a short stroll away from the property and believe me, seafood doesn’t get fresher. Oysters, salmon, lobster, king crabs – you name it, you’ll probably find it in this place; just don’t be scared to battle the crowds and seagulls over the weekends.
If you want close dining options then you have your choice of the harbour side restaurants including Meat & Wine Company, Hurricanes, Crinitis are probably the high profile spots along the Darling Harbour circuit. If you’re after fine dining then you have an array of options at The Star Casino down the road including Sokyo and Momofuku (both Japanese) and BLACK by ezard.
If you’re feeling adventurous then head for a 15-minute stroll into town and visit my top picks including Mr Wong, China Lane, Sake and The Gantry. If you’re after a place with great cocktails then head to Grandma’s, The Rook, Assembly Bar and Gowings.
Things To Do
I could recommend the standard things in the area like the Maritime museum and the aquarium but for those who want something not so ‘touristy’ then check out the Glebe or Paddington markets on Saturday mornings. Enjoy wandering through the streets of Surry Hills and the various mix of boutiques and vintage stores there. If you’re looking for a scenic stroll then walk along the Darling Circuit through to the newly unveiled Barangaroo reserve which can take you right through to Walsh Bay and around to Circular Quay. Another favorite that’s a little out of the way would be the Bondi to Coogee Coastal walk.
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For those who are unfamiliar with the Ovolo group – Girish Jhunjhnuwala founded the company in Hong Kong in 2002. Between Hong Kong and Australia the group now boasts eight properties; two of which are located in Sydney. Can’t wait for my next stay!
Please note that I have stayed as a guest of Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour and opinions and recommendations here are true to my experiences at the property.
Peace out guys! xxx