Australia’s first airport resort launches at Darwin Airport – TravelDailyNews Asia
Australia’s first airport resort, a $30 million project, opens at Darwin Airport, offering a unique blend of luxury and cultural immersion.
Australia’s first airport resort will launch on 5 December following the complete reimagination and integration of two existing airport hotels at Darwin Airport.
The unveiling of the Novotel & Mercure Darwin Airport Resort follows a $30 million investment by the Airport Development Group (ADG), which also owns the adjacent Darwin Airport.
ADG’s visionary $30 million project has produced a remarkable transformation of the hotels, with the progressive refurbishment of existing rooms and the creation of new pool villas, suites and bungalows perfectly capturing Darwin’s tropical environment.
Previously, the two hotels had separate receptions, but now a combined reception area has been opened, along with a new 60-metre/one million litre swimming pool (one of the largest city hotel pools in Australia), poolside cabanas, children’s aquatic playground, and new poolside dining.
The newly launched resort will position itself as a premium destination venue for leisure visitors, business travellers and conference groups to the Northern Territory’s Top End.
The provision of world-class resort accommodation is a key component of ADG’s Darwin International Airport 2023 Master Plan, which focuses on the significant infrastructure required to support growth in passenger numbers to between 3.7 and 5.5 million annually by 2043. The Master Plan will guide the development of existing and proposed airport facilities and land use for the next 20 years, as an ‘aertroplis’ evolves in the 80 acres of airport land.
The resort is launched at a time of expansion of direct services into Darwin Airport. The latest airline to fly into Darwin Airport is Australian low-cost carrier, Bonza, which has just commenced flights from Australian east coast destinations, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.
The resort is located on the lands of the Larrakia Nation, the traditional custodians of the greater Darwin area. Indigenous engagement is an integral component of the hotels’ redesign. ADG also established an Indigenous Training Academy to develop and mentor Aboriginal employees for the hotel, airport and the wider Northern Territory tourism and hospitality sector.
A feature of the resort is the diversity of rooms available to guests as part of the 423-room inventory. New-look Novotel and Mercure hotel rooms boast sleek interior designs, and guests can also choose family suites, freestanding bungalows, and new 5-star tropical villas with their own plunge pools.
Offering outstanding comfort, the Tropical Pool Villas have been meticulously crafted for indulgent stays. The interior design and Indigenous-inspired features provide an authentic feel of the tropical Top End environment. The villas offer a plush king-sized bed, large LCD TV, Nespresso coffee machine, and large spa-like bathroom with a rejuvenating rainforest shower. Sliding doors reveal a spacious pool with sun loungers, overlooking the picturesque Rapid Creek bushland, creating an idyllic setting for unwinding and soaking in the serene surroundings.
Capturing their connection to Larrakia country, each of the villas is named after a leading Territorian, with their story outlined for guests to read.
Individually designed and decorated Resort Bungalows are ideal for longer stays, with kitchenette facilities, a veranda and additional space to relax and enjoy the tropical experience.
The resort now offers two poolside dining options. The new Splash Café joins the laid-back Cossie’s Poolside Bar & Bistro, which is situated in tropical gardens and showcases the Territory’s famous barramundi as well as grills, salads, pizzas and burgers. Tropical cocktails and mocktails are created by the bar staff to complement the poolside atmosphere.
The Darwin Airport hotels are a pioneer in Indigenous engagement. As part of the hotel redevelopment, extensive Indigenous art has been incorporated in the design, including two massive murals on the Novotel exterior, while the 41-metre water tower in front of the hotels has been decorated with a striking Indigenous mural designed to give visitors their first connection to Larrakia people and tell their story.
Its official title is the Water Tower Welcome to Country Project – though already known locally as the ‘Darwin Didgeridoo’ – and is part of ADG’s vision to provide visitors with an exceptional gateway experience to the Northern Territory’s unique lifestyle, ancient cultures and stunning landscapes.
Reflecting this, ADG is dedicating each section of the property to different NT regions, each represented through colour palettes, artwork, and landscaping. Information boards enhance the visitor’s experience and understanding of Aboriginal culture and the history of the Territory.
The hotels are planning to introduce the Gurambai Cultural Experience to give guests an immediate appreciation of Larrakia culture. Gurambai is the Larrakia name for the area known as the Rapid Creek Conservation Reserve which features Darwin’s only natural freshwater creek, just a short walk from the airport hotels. The experience will be curated by Larrakia guides who will deliver a one-hour guided walking tour that will include information about the area’s cultural and historical significance, their connection to the land and freshwater, and information about some of the Reserve’s seasonal bush tucker.
A priority of the hotel operation is to employ as many Indigenous staff as possible, and to achieve that goal ADG has established an Indigenous Training Academy to deliver nationally recognised qualifications in the hospitality and tourism sectors. The ADG Training Academy offers traineeship and apprenticeship qualifications, Vocational Education and Training in-school programs, and a mentor program to support students.
Darwin Airport Resort General Manager, Chris Chaffe, said that guests arriving at the resort will be immediately immersed in the Northern Territory’s unique lifestyle, ancient cultures and stunning landscapes.
“Integrating and recognising Larrakia Indigenous culture and heritage has been an integral component of the project,” he said. “The new resort is enriched with Aboriginal art and themes, inside and out, providing an appropriate reminder that this pioneering world-class resort is on the lands of the world’s longest-surviving culture.
“Visitors wanting to explore the Top End will be able to enjoy a complete resort experience, including an Olympic-plus size swimming pool, tropical gardens and a range of dining options.
“It will also provide an ideal base for visitors travelling elsewhere in the Top End. Darwin Airport is a feeder airport to a number of international destinations as well as local Territory destinations such as the Tiwi Islands, Katherine and Arnhemland, while tourism attractions such as Litchfield and Kakadu National Parks are just 80 minutes and two and a half hours drive, respectively, from the resort.”