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Ovolo Woolloomooloo, Sydney, NSW

Joanna Hall

Where Is It: Woolloomooloo, Sydney.

Why Go: The contemporary design, the generous happy hour, the friendly service. 

Best For: Stylish couples seeking a romantic escape in the city with a twist of fun.

Three Things We Loved: The Lo Lounge, the spacious loft suites, the happy hour.

The Ultimate Factor: It’s one of Sydney’s new, hip places to be, and be seen.


Ovolo Hotels has recently debuted in Australia, adding three iconic properties to its portfolio of six located in key parts of Hong Kong. They include the Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour and Ovolo Woolloomooloo in Sydney, and the Ovolo Laneways in Melbourne. Dubbed “lifestyle” hotels, they are ultra-cool and design driven properties aimed at modern travellers looking for more than just a home away from home. Besides contemporary interior styling, what you also get staying with Ovolo is a range of detail-driven comforts, many of which other hotels charge for, also a number of all-inclusive services as perks, and plenty of technology, all delivered with a vibrant, youthful and friendly service. More properties are promised by this independent Hong Kong brand, but while we wait, we checked out our first of its three Australian hotels, Ovolo Woolloomooloo to see what the fuss was all about.

Set inside one of Sydney Harbour’s most famous structures - Finger Wharf on Woolloomooloo Bay - from the moment we arrived we knew we were in for a slightly different hotel experience, something akin to the Virgin brands’ approach to travel. The word is fun. It was a filthy afternoon marked by torrential rain, and the poor valet was soaked to the skin as well as run off his feet, but the concierge politely who took our car keys assured us that everything would be taken care of, and welcomed us up to the elevated reception desk to check in. This was a quick and easy process, and in a new position directly up a sweeping staircase from the entrance. While waiting briefly, we took the opportunity to do a few quick comparisons with the hotel's prior incarnation. What we discovered behind the preserved Edwardian facade was an array of colourful and cheeky artworks, twinkling fairy lights, inviting areas with different personalities meeting in a single open space, and overall a very different feel from what used to be. It's a lovely if haphazard mix of heritage meets modern, the ambience embracing the rich history of this iconic building while packing its interior styling with plenty of unique touches. 

The Accommodation:

Ovolo Woolloomooloo has a wide range of rooms starting with a Superoo, which has a king sized bed, a smart TV with 20 Foxtel channels, an in-room iPad with information and room service menus, a walk-in shower and electric blinds. In terms of freebies, included in the room rate is high-speed internet Wi-Fi, a continental breakfast, a mini bar with beers, mineral water and soft drinks, a selection of snacks, national phone calls, a happy hour in the Lo Lounge Bar, a pool and gym, and a self service laundry. Moving up through the room categories, they continue with a Deluxaroo King which boasts additional space, a Deluxaroo Double Double, which is ideal for families with the bonus of two double beds, a Cityvoo King with a city view and plenty of extra space, a Cityvoo Double Double with those two beds, and an Ultraroo, a split level mini palace with wharf and city views. There are also split level Cityvoo Lofts and Deluxaroo Lofts, essentially the same styled space with the Cityvoo boasting an expansive view of the Sydney Skyline. All rooms come with the inclusions and freebies; it’s up to you how much space you need for your stay, or how much you want to spend.

Where We Stayed:

Our home for the night was a Cityvoo Loft Suite, which had a lovely bright and contemporary design, and that skyline view which you’ll never tire of. The space is long and narrow. On entry into the room, via a short flight of stairs from the open corridor outside, there was a nicely concealed bathroom to the left with a toilet and hand basin, and to the right a narrow entry way with an open wardrobe and a pantry area, where the mini bar, the Nespresso style coffee machine, and other essentials including coffee pods were housed. Moving into the living space, there was a small table with two chairs to the left where we found the snacks and a free tote bag for our use, and a long, deep softa which ran along the wall and continued under the expansive, almost floor-to-ceiling windows. Opposite this was a long narrow desk and chair with a wall mounted flat screen TV and the in-room iPad. The decor throughout was a neutral palette of soft cream walls, warm grey carpet and a fusion of black and blonde wood, fired up with splashes of colour from the bizarre artworks, the deep lime green sofa, and cushions of a combination of grey with red trims, and bright red. Back at the entrance to the room is a staircase which leads up to the the sleeping area, and which followed the same style of decor. The space was about half the size of the area downstairs with a balcony overlooking the lounge area, a huge and very comfy king sized bed, another wardrobe with bathrobes and slippers, and a small but tidy bathroom featuring a large combined shower and tub, and a range of toiletries for your convenience. Completing the picture was another wall mounted flat screen TV with the same generous selection of Foxtel channels. It proved to be a space which was hard to leave.

What Else Is There:

The Lo Lounge Bar is the place to be between 5pm and 7pm, which is the all-inclusive happy hour for residents. We were there on a Sunday night with horrendous wet weather, yet it was busy with both hotel guests and locals enjoying a cocktail or a gathering. There was a choice of a house beer, wine, sparkling wine and some basic spirits, and the bar staff were on the ball when it came to replenishing your glasses. Also on offer during happy hour were more snacks; on this night they included some cold meats and cheese with crackers, garlicky rice balls and more. The Lo Lounge also has a fire pit and a pool area, and a lovely brightly lit Garden Lounge which had you feeling like you were in a gorgeously lit conservatory. Although there isn’t a restaurant on site, there is a room service menu on offer via the in-room iPad, which has a decent selection of light meals, fuller meals and snacks to suit most tastes. Given the awful weather we opted to stay in, order in, have a soak in the bathtub, then surf through some of the 20 Foxtel channels. There is also an gym and an inside pool at the hotel which wasn’t yet open when we stayed; ditto the self service laundrette which will be a convenience for longer term residents. 

The Verdict:

Ovolo is a new name to the Australian market and it will be one which will become well known quickly and likely enjoy a cult following. The hotel is bright, youthful and with so many extras included in the room rate you won’t want to leave!


This review has been updated. To read the latest version click here.

The Ovolo Woolloomooloo is located at 6 Cowper Wharf Roadway, Woolloomooloo, Sydney,

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