A masterful conversion of a 19th-century warehouse, elegant luxury, sublime atmosphere, perks for popular Instagram users: Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour finds the sweet spot between the classic and the trendy.
“All those converted monasteries and private-island hotels notwithstanding, much of the hospitality world has been moving away from the cloistered-off, disconnected hotel experience, heading instead toward something a little more open, interactive, even social.
And so perhaps Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour—where the lobby, restaurant, kitchen and bar all blend together into one soaring, central space, and where guests’ own Instagram photos contribute heavily to the décor—is just a natural progression of the trend.
A “selfie space” in the check-in area, a digital mural that rotates through the best, most artfully filtered phone-pics from past guests: while viewed from a certain angle it seems perhaps a bit too enthusiastically of-the-moment if you just let your guard down and go with it, this place is irresistibly fun.
None of which would matter if all the social-futuristic eccentricities weren’t backed by a comfortable, well-run hotel in a good location. And they are. 1888 sits just on the far side of Darling Harbour, near both the Sydney Fish Market and Convention Center, in Pyrmont. Though it’s a short trip from downtown, the blocks around the hotel have a low-key neighborhood feel, with plenty of good, locals-oriented bars and restaurants.
The rooms start out small—in a charming moment of self-awareness, the entry-level one is called the Shoebox—but they’re well put together, with high ceilings, cloud-like beds and plenty of sunlight.
Sound-proofed period windows and desks built from timbers salvaged during renovation serve as reminders of the building’s industrial past, without making it feel too much like you’re sleeping in the 19th-century wool factory that this used to be.
At the top of the scale, those shoeboxes turn into spacious, multi-level suites, one with its own private entrance (through a pair of ornate, gigantic blue doors), and one with a private roof terrace. And in every room, the technology skews toward the genuinely useful—not a mess of remotes or mood-guessing avant-garde light shows, but free wi-fi, pre-loaded iPads, and big, smart televisions.” Main text (above) via Tablet Hotels.
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