Cheap and Cheerful in Sydney

With the amount of other things to spend your money on in Sydney, it can be a wise move to place limits on the cost of your accommodation. There will, of course, be some compromises on style and amenities, but that doesn’t rule out comfort, cleanliness and a great atmosphere.

How low in price you want to go, and how highly you value your peace and privacy, will influence your choice. It’s possible to stay very cheaply indeed at backpacker properties and hostels, but they’re not everybody’s cup of tea. They’re ideal for young, hip travellers who don’t mind a communal atmosphere and who love the social side of travel. All offer cheap dormitory options, plus rooms suitable for singles or couples. There are plenty to choose from, including Base (which has ‘sanctuary’ rooms for girls only and private doubles), Maze (singles and doubles available), Wake up Sydney Central (‘don’t go to sleep’ might be more to the point in this party-minded place; singles, doubles available); 790 on George (doubles available); the centrally located Home Backpackers (singles and en suite rooms available) and the Jolly Swagman at King’s Cross (doubles and twins available).

Some smaller Sydney Hotels offer a more personal environment, such as the well-located, art deco-style Highfield Hotel in Potts Point, Harbour Breeze Lodge, Mariner’s Court in Woolloomooloo and Glenferrie Lodge in North Sydney. However, all four do have shared bathroom facilities, and if this doesn’t sound like you, you’ll need to refine your search further.

The funky Billabong Gardens in Newton has en suites; so does Goodlet Lodge in Surry Hills. Others offer a choice of both, such as the very pleasant Woolbrokers in Darling Harbour. Then there are the Y hotels (Hyde Park and Sydney South): good value for money, with rooms ranging from dorm to deluxe. Sydney Central on Wentworth is another that offers dorm and en suite accommodation.

Then there is the ‘flashpacker’ category, such as Central Railway Apartments: custom-designed for guests wanting something a better than basic, but at a budget price. All rooms are en suite with cooking facilities (a way to make big savings on the cost of eating out three times daily). Aarons Hotel is another with a good amenities, including en suite showers, and rooms sleeping from one to six.

Formule 1 at Kings Cross has a choice of bunk rooms which sleep four, or queen rooms, sleeping two, all with private bathrooms. There are other Formule 1 properties in the Sydney area, including the airport.

Standard Sydney Hotels are available at budget prices too, including the Central Private Hotel and Leisure Inn Sydney Central, both of which are near the railway station, the award-winning Ibis, the Crest Hotel in King’s Cross and the Grand Hotel in Hunter Street.

Motels are always a good bet for thrifty travellers – and there are literally hundreds. Choose your location then do your research on the internet. Some, such as the City Crown in Surry Hills, are centrally located; others are further out, such as Sleep Express near Homebush – a good location if you’re heading to the Telstra Stadium, showgrounds or Acer Arena. For family-style accommodation in the Randwick area, try Avoca Lodge – it’s within walking distance of Coogee Beach. The Metro Inn in Edgecliff has good facilities, including air-conditioning (a definite plus in this city) and enjoys harbour views.

An apartment is another option: as with motels, there are hundreds available and you can check things out on the net. If you’re struggling with a decision, go to Tripadvisor for travellers’ personal reviews: these should give you a clearer picture of what’s what.

Still not satisfied? If you’re prepared to spend around $100 a night, there’s plenty of choice, including the award-winning and excellent Vulcan Hotel, Capitol Square (a heritage-listed boutique property near the Haymarket), Macquarie Boutique Hotel (heritage pub-style accommodation), or the very stylish Altamont in Darlinghurst. So, whether you opt for a 10-bunk dorm or a single heritage room, Sydney doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With just a little bit of time spent on research, you’ll be able to find a roof over your head at a price that you can afford.