What We Love
- Waterfront location in trendy Woolloomooloo Wharf
- Light-filled rooms, including split-level Loft Suites, with ample living space
- The all-business (but still charming) concierge, who can arrange a water taxi or a private boat charter
- The eye-catching black-and-white-striped pool and leafy sundeck
- The full fitness center and upscale cocktail bar, both on-site
What To Know
- Expect business travelers — a fair share of them fashion and PR execs
- No views of the Opera House or Harbor Bridge
- Within easy walking distance of the Central Business District and Circular Quay
- The main corridor can be drafty in the cooler months
- No on-site spa
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
The building is a registered landmark, and very little has changed since its construction in 1910. The former wool- and cargo-handling facility has been expertly converted into a luxurious hotel, and they’ve thoughtfully preserved such industrial fixtures as the conveyor belts that were once used for transporting wool bales to market. And the lofty living room–like space that serves as the lobby is set against a red glass wall dotted with portholes and exposed corrugated iron and timber.
Bed & Bath
The guestrooms are arranged along the perimeter of the building and look out onto hardwood decks. Coffee browns and sleek grays meet bright azure accents in the cool decor, and suede chaises are smartly parked next to floor-to-ceiling windows (great perches for lazy afternoon naps). Vintage photographs from the turn of the last century pay tribute to Australia’s maritime heritage. In some rooms original details such as timber beams and colonial-era windows remains intact — and can be blamed, here and there, for an awkwardly shaped niche or a low ceiling.
The hotel’s restaurant, Blue Café, is also home to the Waterbar, a theatrically lit cocktail lounge with plush velvet banquettes. Filling the hotel’s central atrium, the bar is popular with Sydney’s see-and-be-seen set, and the nightclub-style decor (think cube tables and reflective surfaces) makes for an eye-opening contrast to the timber piles and steel trusses elsewhere in the hotel.
In the Area
The Woolloomooloo Wharf complex houses five restaurants, including the award-winning China Doll. But if you’re after something simple yet tasty, try a meat pie from legendary food truck Harry’s Café de Wheels. Camped out in front of the Woolloomooloo naval dock, the popular late night eatery has fed locals and visitors since 1938. Speaking of late night, don’t miss a pint (or two, or three) at one of the area’s salty old pubs. A young and boisterous crowd gathers at the Four in Hand, hidden in the backstreets of Paddington, to watch weekend rugby matches. On a sunny day, nothing beats the Bondi to Bronte walk. The paved track, which runs more than two miles, winds along a dramatic stretch of coastline connecting two city beaches and turns into a temporary art exhibition during Sculpture by the Sea each November. And make sure to visit the fish market for everything from shark to sweet-salty local oysters. The recently refurbished Sydney Seafood School upstairs offers hands-on cooking classes taught by a roster of Australia’s top chefs.
How to Get There
I'm old enough to remember when the wharf building which is home to Ovolo was a rundown squat in a dodgy part of town. Now the waterfront at Woolloomooloo has definitely come up in the world.
Ovolo occupies a significant chunk of the wharf building and has been designed to showcase the original building. It's a short walk through the park to Sydney CBD or up the hill to King's Cross.
The staff are wonderful, friendly, positive and helpful. They're clearly encouraged to express themselves and are quite quirky, which makes for a very human experience. Rooms are generously sized and well appointed, with big flat screen TVs and Apple TV so you can watch Netflix. The bathrooms are spacious and supplied with high end toiletries alongside the usual supplies.
The minibar and in-room snacks are free which is a nice touch. If you want more than one drink you'll need to pop to the bottle shop over the road ... or go downstairs to the free Happy Hour. The bar is a lovely space to hang out in.
We ate dinner at China Doll which is right next door and another good reason to stay here!
Highly recommended for location, amenities and overall charm. A stay here is a great experience.
By the way, should you find yourself in need of a substantial snack at pretty much any hour of the day or night, Harry's Cafe de Wheels is right outside. A Sydney institution and the best - indeed, only - place to get a late night meat pie.
Whilst I always preferred to stay closer to the centre of the city, george and Pitt street the location of Ovolo has opened my eyes to this vibrant part of town. The room was large and bright, well appointed and comfortable.
Breakfast was disappointing however ‘Alibi’ was a great place to hang out in the evening for pre dinner cocktails and then later for a game of pool and drinks.
We will definitely stay at this hotel again.
Night and day from disappointing stay at Sydney Marriott. We moved to Ovolo based on reviews. Such a refreshing change of pace. Location is just on other side of the Botanic Gardens, so only a 15 minute or so walk from Sydney CDB and Opera House. The other reviews capture the essence of this hotel. The difference between walking into crowded lobby with indifferent staff just trying to process people and unappetizing breakfast buffet, and a bank of elevators of which only a few are in use -- that's the Marriott Circular Quay (and this review is by lifelong Marriott fans, but not the Circular Quay one)-- and a hip hotel full of helpful staff and happy to be working in a lovely setting, free of construction cranes and jackhammers. Can't say enough good about this hotel