Tuesday, 17 November 2015

A Sydney hotel room for $129 a night. What could possibly go wrong?

A room in a good hotel in Sydney costs around $250 a night. A room in a five-star hotel can set you back $500 a night, or more, depending on the season. 

So when I needed a night in a central Sydney location and saw a double room at the Sydney City Lodge, on Hunter Street, available for $129, I knew there had to be a catch. 

The www.wotif.com website rates the property at 3.5/5 and claims 78% of guests are happy. 

Well, if all you want is a small room with a bed then Sydney City Lodge will do fine for a night or night or two. Although if you are a couple be aware that a "double" means two single beds pushed together. 

Wotif says it is a "three-star Sydney aparthotel in Sydney CBD, near Sydney Opera House. Cable TV, coffee/tea makers, and hair dryers are featured in all 20 apartments. Refrigerators, phones, and desks are also available."

Cable TV, nah. None. Nada. Just the regular channels. And the sign in the bathroom that you shouldn't put toilet paper down the toilet or it would become blocked was also a concern.  

Lounge area. Clean and basic.
The hotel's website says it "assures you of a memorable and truly authentic Sydney experience". Hmm. The rooms are generic and bland. And mine was quite dark, although the aircon worked well. 

And be prepared to walk up three or four flights of very steep stairs to get to your room. The hotel claims heritage considerations prevent it from putting in lifts or escalators. The stairs certainly rule out elderly and/or infirm guests and it did concern me what would happen in the case of a fire.

There is a feel of faded hotel meets backpackers hostel. My room was small, but adequate, and the free wifi worked. And best of all you can check in at noon if your room is ready. 

Stairs. Lots of stairs. 
Oh, but if you check in at noon you will be subjected to the noise of renovations on the second floor. Think electric saws and hammers.

Ambiance? nuh. Charm? Not at all. But the City Lodge appeared to be very clean - and the shower provided hot water on demand. 

Not great - but you get what you pay for. And in Sydney terms you aren't paying a lot. But I still think I'd rather pay a little more for a little more. 

Sydney City Lodge,  Level 2, 15-17 Hunter Street, Sydney NSW 2000 Australia. 
(02) 9112 8888. www.citylodge.com.au 



  1. I generally stay here when I am in Sydney - definitely quirky (its the Masonic headquarters) and right in the middle of town. It is not flash, but certainly more upmarket than your experience above. I think it is good value for money with rooms generally between $160-$200. http://www.choicehotels.com.au/en/castlereagh-boutique-hotel-an-ascend-hotel-collection-member-sydney-hotel-au852

  2. Thanks Jan. Strange, but someone else recommended the same hotel to me. I'll check it out next time I am on my own tab. Best wishes.