Why stay here?
Ovolo Woolloomooloo should stand for “fun”. This is a hotel where it’s all about having a good time (and a sense of humour) – it’s definitely not your standard luxury hotel. Not far from Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens, and only a stroll from the CBD, the hotel is housed in the heritage-listed Finger Wharf building at Woolloomooloo. Inside, the staff are dressed in cool outfits, and the sounds of classic rock and dance music waft through the building. Beyond the reception desk is Lo Lounge, the hotel’s bar and social space. Look out for the billiards table and old-school arcade games like Centipede and Donkey Kong.
Rise and shine breakfast time
Breakfast is served at the back of Lo Lounge and there were several delicious options on offer. There was a full buffet where we could choose from Sonoma breads, T2 teas, smoked trout and salmon, cheeses, muesli and yoghurt. You can have breakfast cooked to order – I chose soft poached eggs with dukkah, labne, mushrooms, coriander and sumac oil.
What’s for dinner?
The dinner offering is casual lounge dining. Everything is prepared in-house and you might like to try spiced calamari with squid ink aioli, deboned and scallop-filled chicken wings with truffle mayonnaise, or something more substantial like the roasted Tinder Creek duck or grilled flank steak. Other options include sandwiches, share plates, cheeses and desserts.
Private dining is part of the hotel’s events offering and can be pre-booked by guest groups of 10 or more in advance of a stay. The chefs blew us away with their creations for our degustation dinner, including yuzu gel and sea grapes; roasted pork and scallop with squash puree and golf ball carrot; duck with rhubarb puree and toasted grains, and a dessert of blueberry, lavender cream and milk crisp. It was an absolute standout.
We stayed in one of the hotel’s Ultraroo suites and, for some real wow factor, ours was themed around Australian rock band INXS, complete with song lyrics “I need you tonight” emblazoned on the wall in bright neon light. Overall, the suite was impressive with a huge lounge area and a round bar stocked with scotch, gin, beer, wine and soft drinks – all complimentary. The bedroom is in the loft above, complete with a vanity with tea facilities, a desk and a fabulous bed.
Could do better
I would have loved a big bathtub to relax in.
If you’re not into INXS, there’s also an AC/DC-themed Ultraroo suite.
The sundeck and indoor heated pool