02 Jul 24

Melbourne Airport precinct’s newest hotel officially opens

Novotel & ibis styles Melbourne Airport opening launch day.

With architecture by Fender Katsalidis and interiors by Woods Bagot, this dual-branded hotel is the first new-build hotel on the Melbourne Airport site in 20 year.

The Novotel and Ibis Styles hotel officially opened 1 July, with architecture by Fender Katsalidis and interior design by Woods Bagot.

The FK-designed, L-shaped building design has been inspired by aeronautical motifs, with the street-facing pavilion deriving its shape from an airplane wing. 

Since the hotel’s inception, Melbourne has officially overtaken Sydney as Australia’s most populous city. The new hotel is intended to support the airport community in response to rising international and domestic travel, adding 464 rooms to Melbourne Airport’s The Hive precinct. It marks the first new-build, international-branded hotel at the airport in 20 years.

With typical stays comprising one night, the hotel attends to the needs of the transient guest, providing the comfort and convenience of airport hotels with an elevated feel and distinctly Melbourne stamp. 

Located within walking distance of Melbourne Airport’s Terminal Four, the lobby marks a decisive arrival point, sequestering the guest from the dynamic airport environment into a tranquil inner sanctum. In addition to fly-in travellers, the new hub is expected to support the airport community.

“We conceived of the space as a retreat from the hustle and bustle of the airport environment, drawing guests into the courtyard space and calm, muted lobby zone,” says interior design leader and Woods Bagot Associate Principal Sarah Alessi.

Through layered experiences and authentic materials, the designers have created an understated but sophisticated arrival zone that speaks to both the Ibis and Novotel brands. Subtle references to the local context are woven into the entry space, featuring bluestone cobbles at the entryway referencing Melbourne’s iconic laneway network.

“When guests cross the threshold, they are met with the pleasing sound of the bluestone cobbles beneath their luggage wheels,” says Alessi. “It’s a moment that helps to ground the visitor to place.”

The L-shaped building was designed by Fender Katsalidis and takes its cues from aeronautical references.

The central lobby space.

The central lobby space is an interface where locals and guests can interact through graduating opportunities for sociability and retreat. Blending the public and the private, the hotel creates a destination precinct with clear social zones, legible wayfinding, natural light and biophilic connections designed to draw in guests and casual visitors alike.

“Using bespoke joinery throughout the lobby and guestrooms we’re creating a truly Melbourne aesthetic that will permeate through the interiors and allow guests to establish a connection to the city as soon as they land,” she said.

The lobby features neutral tones with stone finishes, brass accents, timber veneer and a distinctly local palette. The arrival space is defined by the monolithic, veined stone reception plinths and gridded feature ceiling, opening into a verdant internal courtyard to create a sense of calm and tranquility.

“As the Victorian gateway to the world, these new hotels enable us to meet the demand of a growing passenger base and to provide greater choice to travellers looking to spend the night here before an early flight or rest after a long trip,” says Melbourne Airport chief executive Lorie Argus.

From the lobby space, there is divergence in materiality between the two wings, speaking to the unique identity of each hotel brand.  

“Inspired by the beauty of regional Victoria, Novotel Melbourne Airport delivers a sense of space and openness through a natural palette that creates a relaxing sanctuary,” says Alessi, “while Ibis depicts the urban grain of Melbourne with a uniquely personalised and playfully fun aesthetic.” 

The metropolitan references and urban grain of the Ibis is legible in the bold accents and modular details, down to the custom gridded carpet. By contrast, the Novotel takes on a regional Victorian feel, with muted timbers and greens depicting the natural rural landscape.

With 216 Ibis rooms and 248 Novotel, the dual-branded hotel features a health and wellbeing club; onsite Italian restaurant and wine bar; modern gastropub; café; and co-working and conference facilities.

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Isla Sutherland
Content and Communications Specialist (Australia & New Zealand)

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