Budget-Friendly Hotels in Sydney

In this edition of Adventures Abroad, the Paranoid Traveler gives the low-down on some of Sydney's more affordable hotel options to help you find a place to stay in the land down under...

Image Source: Wikimedia
Often times, what is limiting and frustrating for Filipino travellers abroad is the cost of accommodation. It helps if we have a friend who is willing to take us in (a friend’s second cousin’s former officemate’s step-sister will also do). But for some who might not have connections in Australia or are too shy to impose themselves on others including yours truly, there are reasonably-priced hotels, at least by Sydney Central Business District (CBD) standards. Did I get my money’s worth or should I have just implored my friend for a room in exchange for Pinoy food pasalubong? Let’s see!

Capitol Square Hotel
3 Campbell St, Haymarket

This was my hotel on my very first visit to Sydney. It was kind of old and really reeked of three-star but what’s important for me is that it’s clean and looks safe.

Image Source: Agoda.com
  • Service: They’re ho-hum and not helpful at all when it comes to directions and places to go with their stoic, “I don’t know.” But I do appreciate that they gave me free breakfast buffet throughout my stay when I had mistakenly booked a day early with no recourse for refund. The check-in and check-out process was fast.
  • Guest Room: Small but with some walking space. Bed was comfortable. The size of the bathroom won’t make you claustrophobic.
  • Internet: Fast and free in-room use.
  • Access to Transportation: Ten-minute walk to Central Station, very accessible to the Light Rail Network as the station is right behind it, short walking distance to a bus stop.
  • Shops and Restaurants: Near to a lot of cafes and restaurants especially Asian restaurants as well as convenience stores and a pharmacy; walking distance to Chinatown.
  • Best Thing About It: Situated in the same building as Sydney’s classic theater, Capitol Theater. Can you just imagine the convenience of just coming down the stairs to watch a musical with no need to commute? Too bad that when I was there, it was off-season.
  • Will I Return? Yup, if only to experience literally coming down to watch a musical!
Rendezvous Hotel
5/45 Jones St, Ultimo

This is a step-up from Capitol Square with its more sophisticated interior design but competitive with Capitol’s rates even though Rendezvous is one star higher.  

Image Source: Agoda.com
  • Service: Robotic in its service. Fast check-in and check-out process. I was very disappointed with housekeeping as they were haphazard in replenishing room amenities like towels and coffee. It took several follow-up calls for them to act on it. I even had to list down everything they forgot to provide me and yet, they still came up short.
  • Room: Spacious including the bathroom and bed was comfortable.
  • Internet: Free limited in-room use
  • Access to Transportation: Five-minute walk to Central Station
  • Shops and Restaurants: Near to a lot of restaurants especially Asian restaurants as well as convenience stores
  • Best Thing About It: Three-star rates for four-star comforts (at least during my stay, as you know, hotel rates fluctuate)
  • Will I return? Will look elsewhere
Travelodge Sydney
27 Wentworth Avenue

I chose this if only to experience the other side of CBD and it was cheaper than the rest in its category at the time of my booking. If you’re Filipino, you would appreciate the fact that its next-door neighbor is the Philippine Consulate of Australia. It’s also near a federal police station to make you feel very safe.

Image Source: Agoda.com
  • Service: Robotic although very kind in helping me find places and ways to commute. Fast check-in and check-out process. Key card had to be refreshed at least five times during my stay and I was not the only guest with that problem.
  • Room: Spacious including the bathroom. Bed was comfortable. I initially had a problem with its warm air-conditioning even though it was set at 17 degrees Celsius. Their solution? A dust-covered electric fan. I tried it for five minutes and decided to put my foot down. They immediately transferred me to a room with a working air-con. 
  • Internet: Free use for 15 minutes but only at the lobby. Had a hard time logging in the first three days. I was supposed to be assisted by one of the staffers but she forgot all about me. 
  • Access to Transportation: Short walk to either the Museum Station or Central Station, shorter walk to the nearest bus stop.
  • Shops and Restaurants: Not as accessible as the previous two hotels but it’s a convenient walk to World Square Mall that offers varied restaurants and free unlimited Internet.
  • Best Thing About It: It has a microwave oven!
  • Will I Return? Only if I have no choice
If my hotel experiences in Australia do not impress you, the Central Business District in Sydney has a lot more hotels to choose from including dormitory style backpackers' outfits. For just $100/night, you get to spend it with strangers (play the theme from “Psycho”). I have not tried these and probably would never as I have seen too many slasher films but a friend has tried them and he seemed satisfied with them. And if all else fails, Filipino residents there sometimes offer their extra bed for a minimal fee, if not totally free in exchange for some good ol’chismis from back home!

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