Planning a Vivid Staycation? Novotel Sydney Central has got you covered!

Have you ever left a hotel thinking, “I had a lovely time, but it would have been so much better if they had a pink ball pit in reception”…? 

Novotel Sydney Central has teamed up with Sugar Republic to provide a little something extra for visitors during this year’s Vivid season. With a giant ball pit available for kids big and small, it’s a convenient place for families to relax and play before heading down to the main event.

The giant ball pit is not just for kids…

The Vivid Staycation Package runs from 19th May – 18th June with prices starting at $295. This includes accommodation, buffet breakfast (plus kids eat free), parking, and a special welcome package of wine, sodas, and glow sticks. We visited Novotel earlier this week to sample this offer and check out the Vivid festivities.

The great thing about Novotel is that you know exactly what you’re getting. It’s not particularly plush but it gives you everything you need (plus a little more) at an affordable price. When you arrive at reception, the friendly staff are helpful and efficient. The large open-plan space has various nooks and areas to suit all types of visitors. The temporary ball pit is an obvious draw for kids (and anybody who loves a good photo op) but there are also quiet areas for working, cosy corners for catching up with colleagues or clients, a restaurant area, and both indoor and outdoor bar seating.

The lobby area has plenty of room to add a ball pit!

I stayed in an executive suite on the seventeenth floor and arrived just in time to grab a few snaps of the spectacular sunset over the Anzac Bridge in the distance (which I inevitably butchered with my archaic phone). After that, I relaxed in my room while waiting for my guest to arrive. 

The room itself was spacious and clean. The decor is modern and relatively plain. No muss, no fuss, yet everything you need is there – exactly what you’d expect from a Novotel suite. The bed was soft and cosy, there was a seating area with a small coffee table, a balcony with a table and two chairs, and a desk space from which I could (and did) work comfortably.

Along with the wine and glow sticks, the mini bar area was stocked with chocolates, snacks, and an assortment of drinks. Unlike many hotels where these are charged at extortionate rates, everything here was complimentary. So if you, like me, lack any sense of self-control when snacks are present, you – and your wallet – are safe here!

A dramatic sunset butchered by terrible photography skills…

All of the mod cons and services were easy to access and the WiFi was available for ten connected devices (which is more electronics than I actually own). Although we didn’t take advantage of it, the room service menu was available via QR code. Meanwhile, the on-site gym has everything you need for cardio or weight-based training and there is also an outdoor pool. I was nowhere near brave enough to attempt a winter swim but this would be a great spot to relax in the summer months.

There were also plenty of nice little touches in terms of sustainability. The water provided in the fridge was in a carton made from renewable sources and the vanity kits in the bathroom came in paper packaging instead of the usual plastic. The shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, hand soap, and lotion were all fixed to the wall in large refillable bottles instead of small single-use plastic ones. Guests are also encouraged to take the complimentary slippers home with them for future use. None of these details are life-changing, but they all demonstrate a level of thoughtfulness and consideration that I appreciated.

Novotel rooms come in a variety of sizes and layouts but they all have crisp, clean decor.

Before heading to Vivid, we had a couple of drinks at the in-house Thomas St Kitchen & Bar. I enjoyed a cheeky little rum and coke before trying their Vivid cocktail du jour, Sour Power. Made with Midori lemon liqueur, lime juice, egg white, and sugar syrup, it was sweet, bright green and served in a novelty light-up glass. We also sampled their Vivid-themed lemon cheesecake. Light, fluffy, and tangy, it was more like a lemon mousse on a biscuit base, which was fine by me! Beautifully presented with multicoloured coulis and topped with raspberries, it was a great way to get into the Vivid mood (and would be a lovely treat for kids on a staycation).

Cocktails and cheesecakes – Novotel sure know the way to a girl’s heart!

The hotel is located just a short walk from Central Station (although this took a little bit longer for me thanks to my terrible sense of direction). It’s walkable to the heart of Vivid in Circular Quay but if you don’t fancy the stroll through the city, there’s a light rail stop near the hotel, and plenty more along the way where you can hop on or off at your convenience. This is particularly useful for families negotiating prams and tired children!

Operating without children, we decided to take our time and walk both ways. In hindsight, we probably should have headed for dinner first and then enjoyed the lights. While a lot of the free light shows are on until 11 pm, the surrounding restaurants are not. By 9 pm we struggled to find anywhere to sit down and eat and ended up shovelling down a disappointing burger in the only place we could find where the kitchen was still open. Smarter humans would have probably bought something from the many Vivid food trucks or retreated to the hotel and enjoyed some room service with the aforementioned complimentary wine, but we live and learn!

The next morning, we enjoyed a hearty breakfast. It was buffet style which is pretty much what we expected. What we didn’t expect, however, was the variety of options available. Along with the standard fruit, yoghurts, cereals and cooked breakfast items, there was a juice machine with fresh ingredients to create your own juice just as you like it. There was a pancake machine with a variety of syrups as well as several baskets of pastries and muffins to choose from. The coffee machine also had all sorts of different options from long blacks and lattes to mochas and cappuccinos. It’s your standard hotel breakfast but on steroids in terms of choices.

Fresh juice anyone?

Ultimately, Novotel Sydney Central is a great option for families looking for an affordable, convenient, and comfortable place to set up camp for Vivid. Surrounded by a number of bars, restaurants, and public transport options, it’s also great for those visiting on business. It’s not 5-star luxury, nor is it trying to be. You get exactly what you would expect from a Novotel hotel with an extra bit of Vivid flair just for fun!

Novotel Sydney Central  – 169-179 Thomas Street
Tel: +61 2 9281 6888
Book your Vivid Package:

About the author

Originally from Wales, Siri is a native Welsh speaker and bilingual writer living in Sydney. With a background in film and television production, particularly comedy, she loves to make people laugh - usually at her own expense. Siri writes about all sorts from film and restaurant reviews to marathon running and adventure travel. She loves pale ale and shiraz and is yet to meet a chocolate mousse she can’t devour in seconds. An intrepid adventurer trapped inside the body of a couch potato, there’s nothing Siri won’t try - but she can’t promise to be even remotely graceful while doing it.


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