Free. These four letters are one of the best things about traveling.
It starts when I sit on the plane. I scan the seat for freebies: headphones, eye masks, and pea-sized tubes of toothpaste.
Then the food comes down the aisle and my food is sucked out the fire escape. I eat like I’ve just been paroled from a long sentence by Jenny Craig.
Then we arrive at the hotel: the house of gifts. I do a forensic scan of the room like I’m inspecting a crime scene. Anything unlocked is checked for gift status. Shampoos, soaps, pens, cookies and chocolates are bundled up and thrown into my bag like a cheap jewelry heist.
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But my gifting game was completely turned upside down when I arrived at Sydney’s Ovolo Hotel Woolloomooloo. I had met my match.
This luxury hotel prides itself on freebies. Although it is a bit fancy, so they are called “advantages”. It was like the free equivalent of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Here’s why I think it’s one of the best places to stay in Sydney.
This waterfront hotel is part of Finger Wharf, which is the world’s longest wooden wharf built in 1915. The hotel effortlessly blends its historic shell with modern luxury. Step inside and it’s like another world – with a cavernous space in the middle of the hotel.
Here you’ll find a cafe and plenty of space to relax – while rooms line the side of the building, many with harbor views.
The hotel has a range of rooms, with cringe-worthy Aussie names. “Superoo” is the standard, which is perfectly compact – but doesn’t feel too small.
The Deluxaroo Loft has one bedroom upstairs, giving it a luxurious spacious feel – who doesn’t love a loft in a hotel room? The first sequel is known as Ultraroo.
Aside from exceptional service, the freebies are where the hotel really stands out. If you book directly with the hotel, guests enjoy a wide range of “benefits” included in their room.
This includes a free loot bag of goodies (muesli bites, gummy bears, chips, etc.), breakfast, happy hour drinks, free minibar, self-service laundry, and snacks and lollipops all day.
The hotel has a 24-hour gym and an indoor swimming pool. a quiet little place where you can easily forget you’re in Australia’s biggest city.
Ovolo Hotels is one of the first to commit to a vegetarian food offering, with its vegan restaurant Alibi being its flagship restaurant. Unfortunately we couldn’t try the food, but it is highly rated.
Worth going out
The hotel is a short walk from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney where you can walk into town or to the Sydney Opera House. The location doesn’t get much better.
The hotel also has bicycles that you can use to explore the city. As you can imagine, their use is free.
The location. You don’t get much more waterfront than actually being on the water at a dock. The service was also impeccable.
Room names like “Deluxaroo” – it makes a luxury hotel sound like a kindergarten.
This hotel is considered one of the best stays in Sydney for a reason – it’s more than just freebies. Every detail is exceptional.
Rooms start at around $300 a night. See: ovolohotels.com
This story was produced through an editorial partnership with Destination NSW. Learn more about our partnership content here.