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Novotel Sydney on Darling Harbour
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Reviews (4,792)
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Reviewed July 29, 2013

We were a little disappointed in our visit.

On the positive side, the hotel is in a great location. We were greeted warmly and our check in was excellent. The room was clean and comfortable.

I decided to have a shower and noticed that there was no shower cap which was very inconvenient. I was annoyed and not prepared to wait for however long it took to ring and wait for someone to deliver such a standard item. I later read in the room compendium that comfort packs can be requested but not what I expect. In a motel yes but not at a reputable hotel. I have since noted that others have found the same.

We had hot chocolate in the bar and noticed this was more like the supermarket variety where you add hot water and definitely not what I expected for the price. You can get better in a coffee shop and with a marshmallow or two!

We waited ages for a taxi but there was no concierge or bell boy to be seen (around 10pm) and eventually had to walk down the street to hail one.

I believe I am very fair in my hotel reviews and try not to be negative as I believe sometimes people can have unreal expectations, however, this time I got the feeling that the hotel is cost cutting in certain areas. It may sound like nit picking but the little things make a difference between good and average.

Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
Thank SanMicAus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NovotelSydneyDHH, General Manager at Novotel Sydney on Darling Harbour, responded to this reviewResponded August 8, 2013

Dear Guest,

We do agree with you it is the little things that can count. We would like to thank you very much for taking the time to write this review. You will be happy to hear that as a result of information passed on by guests such as yourself we are reassessing the amenities we offer in our bathrooms.

We pride ourselves on the service we offer and we are very disappointed to hear that you were not assisted at our Entrance. We would like to apologies on behalf of our Porters and Concierge who are always waiting with a smile to great and assist our guests however failed to meet expectations on this occasion.

Whilst we cannot turn back the clock on your recent experience at Novotel Sydney Darling Harbour, we certainly value your patronage and would love to welcome you back when you are travelling to Sydney so that we may have an opportunity to provide the service and standards in which we pride ourselves and one would expect from Novotel.

Kind Regards
The Management Team at the Novotel Sydney Darling Harbour

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2013

The service is average. I was told there is no pool where the pictures have one. Of the three times I have stayed there, haven't only got one very friendly concierge.

The building is old and it is looking run down.

The internet is not expensive in the rooms. The lifts are slow.

The pillows are hard. But the beds are comfortable.

The breakfast is good without being great. Good variety. Plenty to chose from.

I have to five it to the cleaning people ... they are good

The location is good. Very good indeed. It is close to the casino, the pier, the city.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Oz_Star_18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NovotelSydneyDHH, General Manager at Novotel Sydney on Darling Harbour, responded to this reviewResponded August 8, 2013

Dear Guest,

Your review implies that you had a good stay with us however too many things went wrong with this visit. We would like to apologies for these inconveniences. We take pride in the facilities and service we offer and on this occasion we let ourselves down impacting on your visit. We have addressed your comments with all departments and are looking into the issues you raised, especially the quality of service that you encountered during your stay .

Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback on your recent stay at the Novotel Sydney Darling Harbour.

Kind Regards
The Team at the Novotel Sydney Darling Harbour

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 28, 2013 via mobile

Great value stayed overnight
Friendly staff who went beyond my expectation as I was late for breakfast
Great view from my room upgraded to harbour view will happily recommend hotel close to many attractions

  • Stayed: July 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Colleen S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 26, 2013

We stayed for 2 nights, towards the end of school holidays.
Likes :
Easy parking (but expensive at $45 per day)
Spacious room
Fabulous views
Amazing location, with an adjoining mall with some restaurants and cafes, and of course Darling Harbour within a 5 minute stroll.

Dislikes :
Rooms are built around a central atrium - this is noisy if you are at lower levels
We asked for a quiet room, which we got, sort of. It was on a corner, next to a utilities room, so you could hear the room cleaners coming and going from about 7am.
Breakfast was horrendous - extremely busy between 8 and 930, self service for everything, including tea and coffee, egg choices were fried, scrambled or hard boiled (which were cold and runny), breakfast cereal choices were all unhealthy. There were kids running around, touching food, using their fingers etc. That is not the hotel's fault, but probably a good indication of the demographic.

I'd stay here again, but I wouldn't bother with breakfast - I'd eat out nearby. Restaurant choices around Darling Harbour are pretty uninspiring, but we did have an amazing meal at an Indian restaurant, Zaafran.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Allcorners
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NovotelSydneyDHH, General Manager at Novotel Sydney on Darling Harbour, responded to this reviewResponded August 8, 2013

Dear Guest,

We have to agree Darling Harbour is an unbeatable location in a renowned tourist destination. We are glad that you found our location perfect for the purpose of your stay.

We are very sorry of the inconvenience you experience with regard to the service we offered you on this occasion. Please be reassured that this been brought to the attention of Management especially our Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Manager.

Whilst we cannot turn back the clock on your experience, we certainly value your patronage and would like to welcome you back when you are next visiting Sydney, so that we may have an opportunity to provide the service and standard in which we pride ourselves and one would expect from Novotel.

Kind Regards
The Team at the Novotel Sydney Darling Harbour

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 26, 2013

We stayed in an Executive Darling Harbour room on the 8th floor on a Saturday night for my son's birthday. After reading about the 'Go Wild' family package here on tripadvisor, I decided to research it a bit more. I got the room upgrade to an executive darling harbour room for the extra $100. For $471, we got the one night's accommodation, buffet breakfast for 2 ad and 2 ch, family movie in the room, limited room service menu of burgers or pizza and 2 family passes to 2 attractions of our choice (we chose sydney wildlife and the aquarium).

I booked the package directly with the hotel and found reservations to be polite, knowledgeable and easy. I did tell them that it was for my son's bday, requested high floors (as recommended here) and requested an early check in/late check out if possible.

We drove into and was warmly welcomed by the bell desk staff. It was quick and easy and they took our bags and advised us that they would deliver it to the room when we checked in. Shame I didn't get the man's name. He took our bags and directed us to drive through to the hotel's parking area which was a stone's throw away from the entrance. We arrived at the hotel around midday and found our room to be ready already. :) we stayed on the 8th floor and had a great view of the harbour. Check-in was easy and quick and everything was explained well. They have game consoles in the lobby which the kids played with whilst I was checking in. We were given our voucher to redeem the family passes and were pleasantly surprised that we had 30 days to use redeem and use our tickets.

The room we got had two double beds, perfect for a couple with two small kids. As it was my son's bday, he was given a small box of chocolates and some complimentary sparkling wine for the adults. very nice and very much appreciated! The room was clean although looking tired in some places. We did not have a day bed/sofa in our executive room. I'm guessing this has been removed from our room as some of the photos of the executive room posted on tripadvisor still had it. The bed was too soft for my liking and sagged a bit in the middle - not the most comfortable sleep I had. The bathroom was clean but again looking tired. There were marks on the bath tub and the fixtures look like its seen better days. Overall, although clean, the rooms, very much like the hotel looks like it is in need of a refurbishment. Clean but starting to show its age.

Breakfast the next day was standard fare in my opinion. Good but nothing to rave about. They had everything that you would expect from a hotel buffet breakfast. I liked the fresh orange juice machine they had. Just an observation, the container which holds the fresh milk had the sun shining on it. The dining room was incredibly sunny due to the huge windows and the mlilk was sitting in the sun- that can't be good for the milk. Not so much now because its so cold out but maybe rearrange the buffet set up during the warmer months.

That night, we ordered a cartoon movie(included in the package) to help us unwind after a tiring day out. We decided to order the in room service pizza which was included in our package. We got two adult sized margarita pizzas and 2 small hawaiian pizzas for the kids. The pizzas were just ok. Maybe try the burgers, it might be better. We were told it would be ready in 40 minutes but arrived after 20 mins which was good.

Saturday night, they had a fireworks show at darling harbour which was amazing. We had front row seats and both kids were thrilled with all beautiful colours of the fireworks display. Paying extra for the harbour view room was definitely worth it.

I rang that night to ask if I could have a late check out. After being told I could stay until 12. We received a phone call from reception advising us that as part of our package we could stay until 5pm. I had to ask him to repeat the time as I couldn't believe that we didn't have to check out until 5! This was perfect for us as we used the 2nd family pass the next day, had lunch at darling harbour and then headed back to the hotel for a quick shower and a snooze before checking out. It was perfect as it was truly a lazy sunday for us.

The best thing about this Novotel is its location. It is truly in the heart of Darling Harbour with all the attraction all within easy walking distance. There is also a food court across the walkway with fast food places if you're looking for a quick bite. Darling Harbour has no shortage of quality restaurants to suit every palate.

Just a comment regarding the wake up call. I had ordered a wake up call for 9am the night before just in case we all slept through and missed breakfast. The next day I was up by 7am and decided to ring reception to ask if they could cancel the wake up call so as not to wake my kids up as they were still fast asleep. The guy on the other line told me that it is their hotel policy that all wake up calls must be put through. Furthermore, he stated that since he noted down that I was already awake, i didn't have to pick up the phone when the wake up call comes through. I just let it go and didn't bother arguing as we were having such a terrific weekend. At 9am, the call did come through and they only rang once, it was very loud though and the ringing was shrill and woke my youngest child up. Note to parents: might be better to just set up your alarm on your mobile rather than through the hotel due to this hotel policy. A bit ridiculous if you ask me, but I guess they have their reasons.

Parking was $45 overnight which is pretty standard for overnight hotel parking in the city. So no complains here.

All in all, the package was great value for money. Novotel is a good family hotel. They cater well to families with children (game consoles in the lobby, kids corner near the restaurant, kids stay and eat breakfast free if sharing a room with adults). I wouldn't recommend this hotel if you are after a 5 star luxury experience or on your honeymoon. Otherwise, it ticks most of the boxes for us. Thanks Novotel for making my son's birthday a memorable one! :)

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Aquarianchick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NovotelSydneyDHH, General Manager at Novotel Sydney on Darling Harbour, responded to this reviewResponded July 30, 2013

Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed review of your stay with us.

We find that our 'Go Wild' package is perfect for a family getaway and we are glad you thought the same!

We really appreciate the constructive comments you have provided also and please rest assured that we will be following these up.

We hope to welcome you back next time you visit Sydney!!

Kind Regards,
The Management Team at Novotel Sydney on Darling Harbour

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