Sydney is an expensive place. More than once I’ve left the city wondering where my money has disappeared and accommodation always seems to be the biggest budget drainer, especially if you want a property in within walking distance to the city centre.
I’ve found a solution. It’s well priced and in one of Sydney’s best locations, Pyrmont Bay.
The ibis Sydney Darling Harbour.
I’m all for spending money on a great luxury hotel when you have the time to spend making the most of the properties facilities or you want to take a break and vege out, but on my last few visits I’ve realised that there is so much to do in Sydney so I’m always out exploring the city rather than lazing at the hotel, so I needed a well priced option that had quality facilities, friendly staff and a great location.
ibis is all about good properties in great locations with simple but effective amenities, and their Darling Harbour property definitely ticks all of these boxes.
Even before I had checked into the property the staff members in the lobby had greeted me with a smile and was telling me just a few of the features about the property.
With only one person serving that afternoon and the customer before me having a complex question it did take a little longer than I’d normally expect to check in, but I did receive a big smile, apology and friendly conversation whilst the process took place.
The rooms at ibis Sydney Darling Harbour are on the smaller size that other cities, but somewhat standard in Sydney. The white walls, white bed and light wood furnishings the room gave it a light, modern feel and offered the impression of more space, but it was the window that offered the most value to the review and remained the place where I spent the majority of my time when I was indoors.
Outside my window was the most stunning view of the Sydney skyline and Pyrmont Bay below. Restaurants, bars, ferries, Sydney Aquarium and a host of other activities could be seen from the window and it really excited me to be amongst it all. Despite having the feel that I was separated from the city the truth was that I was still within walking distance or everything Sydney has to offer.
The room comes with an iPod dock/alarm and small mini bar for anything you might need, as well as coffee making facilities and ironing board. There’s also a TV screen fixed to the wall in front of the bed which is great, but the small size of it made it frustrating to watch and the remote was a little clunky as I sometimes had issues changing channels.
The bathrooms are, again, a little on the smaller side but clean. The towels were soft, the hairdryer worked well and the water pressure in the shower was great. For a girl on the go, everything worked well when I needed it to.
If I don’t get a great nights sleep when staying in a hotel I get grumpy, so I put ibis’ Sweet Beds to the test. As one of the signatures of the properties, and the only brand within the Accor company to offer them, I was curious to test them out to see how ‘sweet’ they really were.
As I cuddled into the light quilt, I was asleep within 10-minutes and I slept through my alarm as well – whoops!
For those who like super soft beds, these may not be your favourite choice; but for others who like something firm but with softness then I think you’ll like them… well, I did!
If you’re feeling a little creative, download their Sleep Art app – currently only available in the iTunes store – and leave your phone on the edge of your bed for the night. The app will use an accelerometer to measure your movements and breathing and in the morning you’ll have a piece of art that was created with your sleep behaviour.
The app also comes with an alarm which will make your phone vibrate and chime at the set time and also a social sharing function to email or Facebook the art you created in your sleep.
As an Internet junkie it was disappointing to note that ibis only offer 30-minutes free WiFi in the lobby. If you prefer to get your WiFi fix in your room then you’ll be booking at paying either AU$12.50 for 2-hours or AU22.50 for 24-hours.
If walking around Sydney isn’t enough exercise for you ibis guests has reciprocal access to the Novotel’s (next door) gym and pool for no extra cost.
Lets be honest – it’s not a five-star hotel and they don’t pretend to be – there was a broken tile and a small scuff on the wall, but aside from that I was nitpicking to find something wrong with the property – but the hotel is marketed as a budget-friendly and business hotel which has the basics and do them well; Don’t expect a minibar laden with sweets in your room or room service, but you’ll find all of that in the lobby.
What ibis Sydney Darling Harbour will provide you with a comfortable and clean room, friendly staff, be in one of the best locations in the city and do all of this without burning a hole in your pocket.
Hot tip! Fancy making the most of the buffet breakfast in the dining room? Usually AU$20, if you speak with reception in advance they will be able to do a deal and make it AU$15!
ibis Sydney Darling Harbour
70 Murray Street,
Phone:+61 (0)2 9563 0888
Price: rooms start at AU$140/GBP£90 per night.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of the ibis Sydney Darling Harbour during this stay, but hopefully you will see that this has not influenced my thoughts about the property. A huge thank you must go to Klaus and his amazing staff for arranging and making my stay so pleasant.
I also stayed at ibis Sydney Airport on my own dime the night after and can attest that both properties have similar amenities and the same friendly service!