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History of Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour

Nestled in the historic heart of Pyrmont, set back from the bustling vantage of Darling Harbour, lies one of the world’s most instagrammable hotels, Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour. Housed within a former wool store built in (you guessed it) 1888, Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour fuses art and history, blending modern design with rich heritage to bring a truly unique hotel experience to the Sydney CBD.

Tailormade with creatives in mind, Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour is captivating at each corner of the hotel’s heritage-inspired designer interiors. Setting a picture-perfect moment just waiting to be experienced at every turn. Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour offers the perfect home base for the modern traveller to experience the best the city has to offer. With the perfect blend of Sydney’s history and modernity just a stone’s throw away.

 Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour lobby

Building History

Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour lives within Sydney’s oldest former wool store with a sawtooth roof, constructed in 1888, the fourth oldest of 21 wool stores surviving in Sydney. Once home to the beginning of Australia’s wealth, the wool industry, Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour embraces the history of its heritage site, while injecting some serious designer cred into the Sydney hotel game.

Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour reimagines the original building with Ovolo’s signature twist to create a triumph of restoration and a new genre of hotel, heritage-modern chic. Renowned interior designer Luchetti Krelle has successfully intertwined modern elements with the building’s heritage design base. Punchy quintessentially Australian artworks by Jasper Knight and Oliver Watts, along with vibrant furniture feature throughout, creating a new story of Australian history – the Ovolo story.

 Bespoke Jasper Knight modern industrial artwork featured throughout Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour

Exposed brick, concrete, understated and original ironbark beams and pillars, period windows and more, remain to celebrate the building’s biography. Original features such as the old horse cart track keep the iconic Sydney building’s history alive, as does the carriage entrance which now exists as a private double-doored entrance to one of Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour’s two superior suites – Shaken. A split-level space which gives you the freedom to create your own uniquely Ovolo experience. The other, Stirred, features a studio layout with panoramic city views, a sun-drenched rooftop patio and all the luxurious inclusions of the modern high life. Quite far removed from the life once led at Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour.

Shaken suite, Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour

History of Pyrmont

Prior to European settlement, the area was inhabited by the Eora tribe whose fresh spring water source later acted as the inspiration behind ‘Pyrmont’. In 1795 the 55 acres of land of Pyrmont’s peninsula was granted to a man by the name of Thomas Jones who sold the plot a year later to Obadiah Ikin for 10 pounds. An investment that was then traded for a gallon of rum in 1799, giving ownership to wool pioneer, Captain John Macarthur. And so began Pyrmont’s industrial identity, an export point for the wool industry.

In 1806, John Macarthur, hosted a group of ladies for a picnic on the peninsula, with one of the women claiming the “pure and unadulterated” springs reminded her of similar waters at a spa in Pyrmont, Germany. It was not until 1840 however when John parcelled off the land that industry in the area really began with ironworks and ship building. At the same time, quarrymen were cutting out sandstone from three Pyrmont sites: Paradise, Purgatory or Hell Hole. Named for their level of difficulty, these sites built many of the iconic Pyrmont sandstone building that stand today.

Pyrmont in 1888

Who is Mister Percy?

You may know Mister Percy as Pyrmont’s Neighbourhood Wine Bar, which has been welcoming patrons with warmth and wine since opening its doors in 2018. However, this Mister Percy is not the first of this name to make its mark on the history of Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour’s heritage site.

Etched on the sandstone windowsill of one of the buildings now 90 guest rooms, is the name of a former wool classer at the original wool-store. Percy Ewart. As history would have it, Percy was a man who enjoyed a tipple or two. In his honour, Mister Percy raises a glass to their namesake serving up a thoughtful collection of palette pleasing pours alongside produce-led, vegetarian Italian fare, from the historic heart or Pyrmont.

Mister Percy sets an intimate lounge-style setting with old worldly charm and contemporary accents. A space where vintage décor and modern sensibilities meld together to create a warm candle-lit space for you to settle into your seat, vino in hand.

Mister Percy

Want to become a part of the history of Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour? Book your stay now, or first, get a taste for the space, with a night under Mister Percy’s candlelight.