The lobby is to your right as you walk in, with reception to your left. We liked the cozy-industrial vibe with exposed brick, untreated beams, and mixed furniture, but were most impressed with the staff: the receptionist who checked us in hit just the right note of Ozzie laid-back professional friendliness, offering to prank-call’ us when our room was ready, avoiding the extortionate international dialing charges we would incur otherwise.
Next to the entrance is 1888 Eatery & Bar, which serves breakfast seven days a week; a continental breakfast is AU$21 ($20), with a few a la carte dishes available too. We didn’t get beyond having a coffee and a croissant one morning, but the continental spread looked good.
The cozy-industrial vibe continues in the accommodation, which total 90 rooms and suites. We stayed in a Loft room, which had a bathroom and small sitting room downstairs, as well as a work area with desk. A right-turn staircase (below) takes you up to the loft, which has a king-size bed with second TV. WiFi is free throughout the hotel, and worked reliably throughout our stay. Each room has a tablet with a range of information about the hotel and local area.
The 1888 doesn’t have a gym, but you can use one of the membership passes to the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre nearby, which has a massive gym, as well as the expected multiple pools. We used this twice and were very happy with the set up.
Bathrooms were pretty straightforward, with neutral grey and white tiling, and a good rain shower.
Entry-level rooms are called "Shoebox" (above), but the one we saw – while compact – was much airier than we would have pictured, largely due to the two massive windows that allowed light to flood in. True, with three large suitcases and two people it would have been full, but as a single traveler or if you pack lightly, we could happily see staying in here and save a bit.
The above is an unusual "King Deluxe", which sits on the top floor and comes with floor-to-ceiling windows surrounded by a concrete wall. Light comes in from above. While it’s probably not a room you’d book for weeks on end, hiding away for an overnight or a weekend could be quite cool – the vintage-inspired chairs we loved too.
Upgrade to "The Attic" suite and you get private outdoor space, with views towards Darling Harbour and the southern end of the CBD. The Attic is one of two suites the hotel has; the other is ‘The Williamson’, which has its own street entrance.
Sydney’s hotels tend to be the larger, corporate type (think Westin, Hilton, etc.), so we’re happy to see that 1888 is trying to shake things up – Pyrmont is a great alternative to staying in the CBD, giving a bit more of a local feel, and between the stylish rooms and the friendly service, we enjoyed our stay.
Want to try it out yourself? A Shoebox starts from AU$169 (about $160) a night, going up to AU$239 (about $224) for a Loft.
[Photos: JasonD for HotelChatter]