Review: Rydges Darwin Central Hotel

4-star Hotel

21 Knuckey Street, Darwin NT 0801

Central Location

Friendly Staff

Outdated Rooms

The 4-star Rydges Darwin Central has a prime position in the CBD and is within walking distance of most downtown shops and restaurants. I stayed for three nights to get to know the Top End and visit Kakadu National Park for a day trip. Read on to find out how much I paid and if it was value for money. Rydges is part of my article about the 5 best hotels in Darwin.

AT A GLANCE

Budget: $$

Big rooms

Fitness Centre & Pool

Free wi-fi included

Mini-fridge

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Location

The Rydges Darwin Central building incorporates the hotel as well as a range of restaurants and services that includes a McDonalds!

It's about a 15 minute drive from Darwin Airport to the hotel, at a cost of around $30 AUD. You can get an Uber (prices vary) or a shuttle bus that will drop you off in the CBD for around $15.

Most people are visiting Darwin to see the main city sights, so there's little reason to hire a car. Everything is a walk away from the hotel and excursions will pick you up outside.

First Impressions

The lobby is clean and fresh and this is one of those hotels with a huge internal atrium, with corridors overlooking the central lobby.

The welcome at reception was very professional, if a little stiff. I've seen a number of reviews concerned that the hotel now prefers people to check-in via app or a computer screen on arrival, which can make things slower. During my visit, it was quick.

The Room

Everything hinges around the room and this one was outdated and had a strong smell of damp. This can come with being in a tropical location with heavy AC use and no way to air out the room (the windows don't open).

Bed

in Rydges Darwin

Storage

in Rydges Darwin

Seating

in Rydges Darwin

Outlook

My room (611) had a good view of downtown on a burning hot Top End day. The city seemed to be pretty quiet.

Bed & Pillows

The interior design has an older look with the yellow-stained wood furniture and wall treatment. The hotel has tried to keep this fresh with petrol blue accents on the beds. It's bright. The actual pillows were well-worn as was the mattress.

Room Amenities

Rydges lists amenities including free wi-fi, a TV, mini-fridge, hairdryer, iron and ironing board. The fridge was well stocked (there was a price list).

Tucked away in one of the cupboards was a kettle and tea/coffee making facilities. That's always welcome to me.

Workspace

There is an extensive desk area and light, which offered lots of space for digital nomads to stretch out. Wi-fi speed was adequate on my visit – not perfect for uploading large video files, but good enough for day to day email and file management work.

The Bathroom

The bathroom was a pleasant surprise and was absolutely spotless.

There was a little piece of carved wood with four small bottles of ‘Biology Smart Skincare' products – these were very nice and gave the room more of the 4-star appeal you might expect.

The shower was pretty generous (room for two!) and the towels felt fluffy and quite new. No complaints here!

Facilities & Services

Rydges Darwin Central has access to food (see below), a pool, a gym, but no spa. There is parking should you need it, and larger rooms suitable for family groups.

There is a 24 hour front desk and they double up for concierge services. I found the staff to be polite and prompt. I had no complaints about housekeeping at all. Good job!

Food

As the hotel is part of a building with 7 other cafes or restaurants, it recommends that guests use those. The options include an Italian restaurant, sushi, dumplings, and McDonalds. Room-service is provided by Salvatores Café. So this is not a traditional approach. When I was there, breakfast was on offer for $28 AUD per person per night. I chose not to spend that much and got a coffee and granola from a local cafe instead.

Value for Money

I stayed at Rydges Darwin Central for 3 nights for a total of $200.16 AUD. That includes 10% VAT of $18.30 AUD. Breakfast was available for $28 AUD per person per night, which I did not use.

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Although the room was pretty tired, I think that price represents very good value for a 4-star hotel in a city location.

The room cost allows up to 3 people to stay in the room.

Highlights & Recommendations

I would recommend that you ask for a higher floor away from the lifts/elevators if you choose to stay at Rydges Darwin Central. That should guarantee a better view.

You should note that the lifts do get busy at certain periods and you might end up waiting a little bit.

  1. Must-do: Kakadu National Park day trip. This is just fantastic and is the main reason I travelled to Darwin
  2. Free: Mindil Beach Sunset Market. About 2km out of town, this is a big food market (think street food options) plus general market. A lot of fun. Take buses 2 or 4.
  3. Darwin hop-on, hop-off bus. Fun way to get to know downtown.
  4. Crocosaurus Cove – fun day out for the kids.
  5. Free: Bicentennial Park. A short walk from the Rydges Darwin, the Park runs the entirety of the oceanfront and makes for an enjoyable post-lunch wander.

Conclusion

At this price point, there aren't many 4-star hotels in Darwin. The Rydges Darwin Central ticks many boxes, if you can overlook the outdated rooms. I couldn't get past that and so I award it a Patrick Planet Rating of 3/5.

This page is part of the Australia Ultimate Guide series.

Considering an overseas trip? Enjoy this eating tour of Athens, Greece.

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