When looking for accommodation in Sydney in the Darling Harbour precinct, the Novotel caught the eye for a reasonable price- a room including breakfast was available for $198, good value in the heart of Sydney where decent accommodation comes at a premium from $300 and above per night. The booking process was typical Novotel- online, reliable and easy which is what you’d expect from a major chain. On arrival at the Novotel, it was reasonably easy to find the car park and proceed to the hotel. There was a lack of signage to the actual location of check-in- finally a staff member indicated that it was one level up from the entry. At reception, there simply weren’t enough desks open to cater for the check-in rush with a fair wait. The entire hotel looked reasonably dated and in need of a refresh of décor.
Finally, check-in was complete and I found that I had been upgraded to room with harbour views- a nice gesture from the Novotel. The room had a similar feeling to the rest of the hotel- a little dated but the offering with adequate for one person. Cleanliness is a basic and the room was lacking a little- a black oddly-shaped hair (further elaboration not required) was found on the bed, and the surfaces of the bathroom looked like a good wipe down was in order. Simple but not done- more time was needed for rooms to be cleaned. Generally the bathroom could use a refresh.
The TV system was very dated and not really acceptable for a hotel catering to the modern traveller. The picture quality showed a dated, on demand, analogue system was in use. The controls weren’t very responsive and the interface lacked the user-friendly nature of modern systems. Either go back to normal TV, or if on-demand is essential purchase a new system as guests don’t want to be troubleshooting TV issues after a long day.
WiFi was disappointing- the price was $30 for 24 hours which is unacceptable. Reading through the reviews on Google shows how disappointed travellers are with this aspect of the hotel. It’s a real hit for business travellers who need to stay connected. Clearly the hotel needs to make money somehow, but when household internet can be purchased on an unlimited basis for $25 / month, one has to wonder.
The breakfast was a strong redeeming feature and offered good value. There was a great selection of hot and cold dishes, and even a machine making real orange juice. It was a tasty and enjoyable offering. The complimentary newspaper delivered to the room in the morning was also nice touch. Checkout was slow again, with only one desk available for non-airline staff who were all checking in. Surely the Novotel can do better here. Parking was expensive but at around the level of price one would expect in Sydney.
Overall, the Novotel on Darling Harbour offered a great price, and with some enhancements this could become a great offering. Staying here again would be considered if the price was right. However, it’s not in the league of other Sydney hotels who can get away with charging more per night.
Our take on the Novotel Sydney on Darling Harbour
Value: The price was fair and acceptable for what was delivered
Location: Darling Harbour location- moments walk from the Pyrmont Bridge and The Star. Good.
Sleep Quality: No problems
Rooms: A little dated
Cleanliness: A few issues with the rooms
Service: Lines in reception but once we were served it was acceptable