About the 1831 Hotel

With a nod to its heritage, fresh paint and a bedding upgrade transformed the long-standing Pensione Hotel on popular thoroughfare George Street, into the budget-friendly boutique 1831 Hotel.

Keeping prices relatively low for the city centre, it offers the bare minimum of facilities, trimmings and room size, while keeping convenience and cleanliness.

This still shows the old Pensione Hotel branding above the doorway next to Charlie Chan's Bar on George Street. Roadworks at the time of Sydney Coast Walks stay blocked this view. My room at the rear of the hotel was not affected by street noise. (Image: 1831 Hotel)

Where Is It

Conveniently positioned in Chinatown between Central Station and Darling Harbour, the 1831 Hotel is walking distance to everything the  city’s southern end has to offer.

Surrounded by restaurants, a longer walk or frequent public transport opens up the rest of the city.


An uninviting street entrance and perfunctory reception desk is redeemed by attempts to make the communal lounge and kitchenette appealing.

However, a funky mural, touches of green and a large street-view window is not enough to distract from boxes of cleaning supplies that should be out of guests sight.

The Room

It’s one thing booking a single bed “matchbox” room online and quite another stepping into the 8m2 space.

The “matchbox” room has no space for a wardrobe. Kettle and minibar fridge sit beside the single bed.

Thankfully, it’s full of natural light and the bathroom with rain shower is nearly as big as the room itself.

It is clean and the beds mattress topper, decent pillows and linen mean comfort is on par with more expensive hotels.

A good, clean bathroom with generous rain shower makes up for a lot.

Food Options

A lack of in-house restaurant is barely noticeable smack bang in Chinatown. Countless cheap and cheerful Chinese, Thai, Korean and Japanese restaurants are contained within a few blocks. The problem; which one? (Try Australian chef Neil Perry’s suggestions.)

While the hotel can provide a $10 breakfast pack of muesli, juice and fruit, nearby cafes serving the usual poached eggs and smashed avocados are harder to find. Try Steel Mill Lane or cafes in Quay Street.


It’s a quick walk via the Goods Line to the restaurants of a revitalised Darling Harbour, and to the Convention Centre. Like any central Sydney hotel, the Sydney City Walk is within reach.

Light rail at the hotel’s front door provides quick access to The Rocks and Circular Quay – a jumping-off point for ferries to Watsons Bay, Bradleys Head and Manly.

Theatregoers will appreciate 1831 Hotel’s proximity to the Capitol Theatre, while walkers can jump on a train from nearby Central Station to Royal National Park (via Cronulla), or west for a day trip to the Blue Mountains (via Katoomba).


A budget hotel that knows which corners to cut, the 1831 Hotel is a welcome step-up from hostels. Its room variations and central location make it an appealing choice for visitors who plan on spending more time exploring outside than relaxing inside.

Booking Details for the 1831 Hotel

Rooms from $116. 631-635 George Street, Sydney.
See 1831.com.au
Tara Wells travelled at her own expense (February 2019).

Our rating out of five

* * *


A comfortable, quiet bed in the centre of Sydney’s Chinatown.


The smell of cigarette smoke from a fellow guest, despite in-room signs warning of an extra charge.

Where else to stay in Sydney?

Find more accommodation reviews with all our suggestions of where to stay in Sydney to walk. Includes links to more than just hotels… there are also AirBnBs, campgrounds, ideal locations for different trip styles, and more.


Tara Wells is a freelance journalist who is delighted to combine her love of hiking – and Sydney – with storytelling.

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