Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour is arty in the extreme. Set inside a 120-year-old former wool warehouse one block back from Darling Harbour, the space honours its heritage with exposed brick, ironbark beams and soaring ceilings but is thoroughly modern in its adornments. An enormous piece by acclaimed Australian artist Jasper Knight – in his signature primary colours – watches over the lobby and communal lounge area and a glass elevator that’s constantly in motion ferrying guests. Room numbers aren’t indicated in the traditional sense; instead, the number is cast in shadow on the door thanks to a clever lighting arrangement. On-site restaurant Mister Percy is sleek enough to attract patrons not staying at the hotel with its well-designed wine list and appealing décor.
Ovolo 1888 is one block back from Darling Harbour, on the Pyrmont side. It’s a 10-minute walk to the International Convention Centre Sydney and around 30 minutes drive from the airport. It’s also a few minutes walk from a light rail stop, which links to Central Station.
There are 90 rooms at Ovolo 1888, ranging from the cheekily named Shoebox designed for solo travellers (which clocks in at 15 square metres but has all the same cool design features and facilities) to the 35-square-metre Junior Suite. All rooms come with smart TVs, in-room iPads and Bluetooth speakers. There are also two signature suites that are a little extra: Shaken and Stirred. The former resembles a New York loft, with a kitchen and large dining space downstairs (the leather lounge is particularly comfy) and a bedroom with king bed upstairs. The suite is flooded with light thanks to huge windows that reach all the way to the ceiling (curtains are operated by a switch near the front door) and the black-and-white bathroom is spectacular; the centrepiece is a huge freestanding tub encircled by a chic and sheer black shower curtain.
Food and drink
All meals are served at Mister Percy, the on-site wine bar with a decidedly hipster aesthetic. Breakfast is buffet-style for guests (with a la carte options like superfood bowls and milk-bun breakfast burgers) including cereals, fresh pastries, fruit and an assortment of toast toppings but dinner service is when the venue really shines. The light-and-bright brekkie space becomes moodier with low lighting and candles and the Mediterranean menu is mostly pintxos style, with some pastas and larger mains suggested “to share”. A mound of silky burrata, adorned with black garlic and peppers, is especially good (enjoyed with the house-made focaccia), as is the fresh pasta with generous chunks of spanner crab. The wine list is extensive, curated by Shun Eto, with international and Australian drops.
For business travellers
There are two Mac computers in reception for guests to use and staff will happily scan or print any documents. During the day, you’ll likely find entrepreneurs working over coffee in Mister Percy and there’s a conference space for hire on the ground floor, with AV equipment and boardroom seating for 14. The Shaken Suite can also be booked for events and has separate street access.
For wellness travellers
Collect a free pass to the 24-hour Snap Fitness gym on Harris Street, a five-minute walk from the hotel. In-room massages can be arranged and the information tablet in each room is loaded with recommendations for nearby salons and treatment spaces.
Feeling snacky? There’s a 24-hour lolly bar in reception and each room comes with a free, fully stocked mini-bar of wine and beer plus a “loot bag” filled with chips, nuts and chocolates.
Best for: Couples and creatives
Number of rooms: 90
Parking: Guests who park in the Wilson’s Parking lot opposite the hotel will be issued a 24 hours pass by reception for $42.
Address: 139 Murray Street, Pyrmont, Sydney
Telephone: 02 8586 1888
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