In muted red and rising up like any of the classy hotels, the City Central YHA is already inviting from the outside. Just walk a bit further and underneath the metal signs declaring the way for even the most confused traveller (like me sometimes), you will be guided to the entrance and find yourself in huge entrance area next to a cosy restaurant and with lots of fancy potted plants.
It’s really one of the best locations possible. Just a stone’s throw away from the central bus and train station to take you away in all directions over the metropolis that is Sydney. Directly in the heart of the city, the bars, restaurants and clubs are not far away. To be exact, there is one restaurant conveniently located on the ground floor right next to the shiny reception area. It did remind me of a hotel.
I seriously had a lot of questions. It’s kind of embarrassing and I think I might have been considered a resident customer already but the staff never seemed to mind and always were ready with an answer or a quick google search for my requests regarding opening times and walking distance coordinations. The good thing was that the reception is open 24/7 and so I didn’t have to wait at all. The hall could be quiet busy, though. There were a lot of people checking in and out and I was glad I had booked in advance.
I wouldn’t call this a party hostel, thank god. But it was not boring either. There were always groups gathering for one of the many special events nights that can be easily overseen in the lobby in screaming neon colours. A daily cinema night, special drink deals in the bar next door and pizza nights were just some of the many daily things going on. Some were in cooperation with the nearby Railway YHA and thus a great opportunity to meet even more people.
If you feel lazy but still like to socialise, why not hang out in the games corner, the book nook or cinema rooms or just chill out in the comfy lounge areas. There are multiple ones to choose from. Since the YHA is that huge, there are always people to chat to, if you feel like it. Sometimes they come to you. For instance, I even had a reporter approach me. Hold your horses because sadly I couldn’t provide enough input for their specialised topic. Not gonna be famous just yet.
Ah, and besides all these chillaxing areas, you can do that in the rooftop pool as well. And there’s a view over the city. Or just stand on the balcnoy and have a truly Aussie barbie (aka BBQ). Or just heat up in the sauna. Yes, there’s a sauna next to the pool. I call that a spa. Did I mention there’s free wifi? It’s a bit slow but it’s definitely working. And free. Of course, you can always top up on high speed internet.
One more thing (I will stop after this, I promise), YHAs pride themselves on sustainability and supporting green travel. So I was happy to see lots of signs all over reminding wasteful guests of proper recycling (even though Australia is still quite bad at this!), not letting water running and so forth. On top of that, there was a small side room for recycling clothes and batteries, which I made instant use of (need to get rid of some of my clothes. They keep multiplying).
Nothing to declare here. The cleaning staff are coming through multiple times and are also helpful when remembering to grab your late night chocolate snack out of the kitchen that is supposed to be closed this minute. Corridors looked tidy, nothing lying around and they actually smell good. Every time I came out of the elevator I could smell something flowery. I appreciated that.
There were enough big lockers in the room. One for each bed. And it had a rail in it to hang clothes over. However, if you want to check out or lock away your huge backpack, then you have to use the locker room, where you have to pay for the lockers.
So there you go. I already miss the YHA Central. I liked hanging out in the lounging area, enjoyed the free wifi, the air conditioning (which was a little but too cold) and just some private working time. It was a good place for that. And if you really need to retreat some more, there are always other lounging rooms, the balcony or park next door. Would definitely recommend staying here. One word of warning, you’ll be spoilt afterwards and shouldn’t get your hopes up for hostels you’re staying in after.
I would like to thank the YHA again for having me. As always, my opinion remains my own.