Winston Aldworth checks in — and feels right at home — at the Ovolo 1888, in Sydney.
Darling Harbour in Sydney, a 25-minute cab ride from the airport should get you there.
Check-in experience: Once inside the foyer, you'll find a light-filled atrium. Off to one side is the very good restaurant Mister Percy, more on that in a minute.
The building — a storage warehouse for wool built in (you guessed it) 1888 — retains much of its original tone. There are bare brick walls, narrow spaces and odd-shaped rooms, all offset by streaks of vibrant colour from artworks and feature walls. They call the style "heritage-modern boutique".
What's in the neighbourhood? Darling Harbour is home to a load of Sydney's name attractions, the Aquarium is there, as is Madame Tussaud's — not really my cup of tea, but there are loads of great bars and restaurants scatteWinston Aldworth checks in — and feels right at home — at the Ovolo 1888, in Sydney.red from nearby Barangaroo (across the footbridge) down to Darling Harbour itself.
The International Convention Centre is a few minutes walk away, and this would be a decent place to rest your head when in town on conference business.
Rooms: Mine was 422, on the fourth floor, then up a set of stairs. Among the 90 rooms, there's a mix of different shapes and sizes spread throughout the woolshed warrens.
The bed: Did the job.
Price: My room would set you back $539 a night. Starting rate for their smallest spot is a thrifty $229.
Bathroom: A good size, and nicely fitted out.
Toiletries: I scrubbed up well.
Food and drink: Mister Percy's serves modern Mediterranean, in a setting with low-light, big-city feels. Yes, it's the hotel restaurant, but Mister Percy's also serves as a superb local wine bar and eatery for locals.
The minibar: This is worth discussing. One of the annoying things about being in a hotel is the inescapable fact that you're in a hotel — you're not at home.
Ovolo have smartly made their minibars free. I'm sure to some travellers that looks like an invitiation to start along the path to munterishness. To me, it cleverly gives the place a homely touch. When I'm at home, if I want to a beer, or a nibble of snack food, I can have it without a flicker of thought as to the cost — the beer in my fridge is paid for. Well played, Ovolo.
Facilities: There's a 24-hour gym — but no swimming pool.
Wi-Fi: Free and fast. As it should be.
View: Not so much.
Noise: Not a peep.
Perfect for: Anyone looking for accommodation with a bit of character, fabulous food and homely touches.
The bottom line: A stylish base for your Sydney adventure.