STAY: Ovolo Hotel, Darling Harbour
Here is the thing about travelling for work. After all those years of turning green with envy every time someone checked into the Qantas business lounge, once you get there you begin to loathe the clinical feel of your average hotel chain. Because heck your boss won’t send you to a resort but surely he can meet you half way. I mean, what is the point of visiting Sydney if you are reminded you are there for work the minute you set foot in your hotel room.
You see, here at LOVE TWAIN HQ, we much prefer to feel like locals when travelling, not matter the agenda. The desire to get a taste for city living means we look for a central location and a hotel which feels more like you are walking into your own apartment following a long day (a girl can dream, even for a few days). So you can imagine our excitement the first time we stepped into an Ovolo Hotel, which has since turned into an enduring love affair. During one of our many buying trips, we decided to book at the Darling Harbour location. More out of practicality and being somewhat disorganised, the last minute booking was like a little, unexpected present for Christmas in July. In what can only be described as hotel meets city apartment block, the experience was nothing short of energising. No bland sheets, cold lobby’s and your same old hotel vibes in sight.
Now, we will let the images speak for themselves but here are an additional 4 reasons the Ovolo Darling Harbour should be your home away from home.
Expect to find décor on steroids. If clinical bed sheets and eggshell walls are your kind of decor, then we kindly suggest you book yourself into the nearest Holiday Inn.
Nestled in the heritage listed Wool Store building in Sydney’s historic Darling Harbour area, the revamped space is the perfect fusion of old-school 1888 charm and contemporary architecture in a space that is nothing short of a feast for the eyes. Exposed brick and reclaimed ironbark beams are mixed with contemporary art and pops of colour creating spaces which are both inviting and intimate. We liken it to visiting Soho, NYC and while crashing with an artist in their humble abode. Think mural walls, with vibrant colours offset ever so perfectly with full timber shelves and modern furniture. The rooms are designed to make you feel like you are living in your own city apartment, finished with your very own colourful piece by artist Jasper Knight, in every room.
Prepare to receive an old-school, ethnic style welcome. You know, like the one you would expect from your second auntie when you visit eastern Europe. Not to stop at fluffy fresh towels, a packed (complimentary, yes you bet ya) mini bar and a gorgeous skin care package to make you feel welcome and at home, the Ovolo also prepares a perfectly packed parcel of chocolates and snacks on arrival. Trust us to froth over crisps and chocolate, but to be fair, it is Toblerone after all.
So you can give the obligatory trip to the local 7-Eleven a miss. You know, the one we all make because we refuse to pay $7 for bottled water and $9 for a packet of crisps. All you really need is already there to make your stay feel homely and to ensure you are well fed during those late night work sessions or movie nights. The plasmas are too hard to give a miss. You really are spoilt, so no Ross Geller moments of ensuring you make your money back in hotel samples required.
Be prepared to mingle with locals during cocktail hour. Offering a delicious selection of wine and finger foods, the Ovolo encourages its guests to mingle in the hotel lobby in a setting worthy of any trendy hot spot. Not to be confused with offering dry biscuits and bad wine, no, the hotel offers freshly prepared tapas and local wines which are enough to make you reconsider your dinner plans. The friendly staff, vibrant décor and good music encourage locals to pop in after work meaning it could be the perfect place you meet your Mr. Grey (let a girl dream a little).
Now we have left the best till last. Look we should just be honest and admit this had us sold. You will have access to around the clock, fully serviced lobby offering round the clock coffee. For those traveling for work who need their late night coffee grind or for those that need a little dose of inspiration, the lobby offers all the right beverages and WIFI to ensure you get your work done while still feeling like you are on your very own mini getaway.