| Andy Cowan |
Sales & Marketing Manager
Hi Andy, what is the name of your hostel, where are you located, and how long have you been open?
G'day Paul, we are called Wake Up Sydney Central. We're located in the heart of Sydney's CBD. We've been open for 16 years now.
What sets you apart from other hostels in the area?
I think our size is definitely one. We are a larger hostel, 550 beds, a mix between private and shared dorms, definitely one thing. I think the fact that we're a family owned business, run by families, we've been there for a long time, really sort of helps create that great sort of hostel environment that travellers are looking for.
How to you get to and from the bus station or the airport to Wake Up Sydney?
It's super easy. So we're right next to Central Station, so the quickest and most effective way is actually to just jump on the train. It's literally nine minutes and then you're at Central Station, and a short walk to the property. Otherwise we run a free shuttle as well, that operates, that you can book if you were a bit unsure about the train. That as well as Uber and taxis are quite easy, a bit more expensive but are very quick to get to.
So with the shuttle, is that only operational between certain hours?
You can book it pretty much any time, as long as you email and let us know what rough time you'll be arriving, we can arrange a pickup for you.
we love giving away free stuff and doing free stuff for guests. So there's an activity on that a guest could do every day of the week,
What types of rooms are available at Wake Up Sydney? How long do people usually stay?
We've got a full mix of rooms from our 10 shared dorms, which tend to be our most popular and for our frequent travellers, right up to our private ensuite rooms which are a bit more like hotel quality. In between them we've got eight shares, six shares. We also offer a six share all female dorm as well. Look and generally length of stay would be three to four nights, so definitely for that sort of first time traveller, coming through, wants to get a really great snapshot of Sydney, that's a perfect opportunity. Long term stay definitely is available as well.
Do you have a time of year, high or low season? Any events on that travellers should be aware of?
Yes definitely for us, like most Sydney properties Summer is our peak time. So really kicking off from about September or so, things start to get busy. Around Christmas time in particular, Christmas and New Years, Sydney is one of the best places to be in Australia. So you'll find that we really do fill up. That's why we often do put a minimum stay around Christmas of around 10 days to two weeks. I guess it really gives the traveller a chance to really experience Sydney over that period and stay there, as well as to make sure they've secured accommodation during that time. That as well as few events like Vivid Festival, a few other sort of large scale sporting events and festivals, they're always good times to be in Sydney.
What facilities do you offer at your hostel for your guests?
We've got a pretty wide range of facilities. So we have a fully licensed large bar on site called Side Bar, which is in our basement. That's open seven nights a week. We've got as café and restaurant, Roy's Café on site as well. We have a small travel shop. As well as that we've got a large communal kitchen area, a communal eating area as well. We've got a reception area as well, where we have, and throughout the hostel we have free WiFi available too.
Obviously you've got a kitchen where people can cook their own meals. What time would it be open till?
The kitchens open twice daily, so from 7:00 AM right through till 11:00am for breakfast. We close down and clean up. They're open again at 12:00pm till 2:00pm. Then reopen again for dinner from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM at night
Where's the closest supermarket or do you have a 24 hour convenience store close by?
We've got two or three 24 hour convenience stores in short walking distance for your general easy goods. Otherwise there's two Coles and Woolworths which are located within a five minute walk of the hostel.
When checking in, what should guests have ready? Do you offer luggage storage? Do you offer early check ins or late check outs? What's the procedure there?
We'll always offer early check ins when available, but we welcome our guests at any time of day. If the room's not ready, we'll always be able to put their bags into luggage storage, and they're welcome to use any communal facilities in that time, while they wait for their room, including the free WiFi.
Most importantly, do you guys offer any free stuff, activities, events for travellers who are staying in-house?
Yeah we love giving away free stuff and doing free stuff for guests. So there's an activity on that a guest could do every day of the week, where they don't have to spend money. Our most popular are our walking tours. We run free walking tours of the city, Mondays and Fridays, where guests just meet in reception at 11:00 AM and then we take them out, explore the city. On Wednesday we run what's probably our most popular walk, it's the Coogee to Bondi Beach Walk, so we'll bus guests down to Bondi Beach on public buses, and then they basically run a guided beach walk from Coogee all the way to Bondi. Stop for a swim in the surf on the way, and stop for a beer at the end of it. As well as that we do nightly activities including a wine and cheese night, a trivia night, a free pool competition just to name a few.
What do guests find most surprising about your venue?
Because of the size I think guest probably maybe expect to maybe get a little bit lost in such a big property, but we really try to create a small hostel feel in a large hostel. So I think they'll find there's so many opportunities to meet guests and make friends from the get-go, especially our activities really are geared toward helping people make friends and introduce themselves to people, and meet their travel partners they're going to do for the rest of their trip. That as well as all the add-ons we do and the free stuff are definitely a big bonus and a par of the stay. It really adds to the overall experience.
What measures do you have in place in regards to guest safety and their belongings?
Safety and security is probably one of our most important things that we really do offer out to guests. So for starters with entry into the hostel, so you need an electronic keycard to get into the hostel after 11:00 PM at night. When you're going up the lift at any time of day you need your keycard to access the lift. Your electronic keycard will only get to your floor, so you can't be roaming other floors. Once you're in your room there's large lock-up lockers, which can fit a medium sized rucksack in and all your personal belongings. You can purchase locks and keys from reception as well, for a small price. So those are a few. We also have 24 hour staff on site, which is a really big bonus. So even after 11:00 PM a guest can get down, and if they've got any concerns, or they've got any questions, they can come down and ask our friendly staff on desk. We also do have security on site, in and around the building after 11:00 PM. So there's plenty of security, it's one of our best features.
Can travellers charge their phones or electronic devices in their rooms?
We've actually got a great feature especially next to all of our bunks. Every single bunk has a small light box next to it, that has a power cord charger connected directly to it. So they can charge directly in their own bed without using communal power points. Of course then all of our privates have charger points. We also have plenty of charge points in and around reception if they are waiting around.
What would you say the most popular tour activity that people do in Sydney?
I think, aside from obviously a few of our walking tours and things like that, I think getting down and checking out the Opera House, Darling Harbour, the Harbour Bridge are really awesome activities they can do. One of my personal favourites is jumping on the Manly Fast Ferry over to Manly, it takes 15 minutes to get over, it only costs I think $7, and it's one of the best ways to see the Harbour I reckon.
What's your closest favourite late night eatery, such as KFC, McDonalds, kebab shop, or a secret hidden gem?
It's got to be Five Star Kebabs, which is just around the corner. If you ask any traveller, they'll know exactly where it is.
Last but not least, do you have a funny story about the hostel that you could share with us?
Probably none that I can say online. Hahaha.