“I’m reluctant to call Felix a ‘luxury’ hotel,” says Michael Smith. He’s the group operations manager at 8hotels, whose new property – Felix – opened in Sydney in February. “We’re rethinking how transient visitors use the airport and what they need from a hotel,” he tells Broadsheet.
As he’s speaking a flight attendant leans over to fill a crystal flute with Moet & Chandon. We’re aboard a private jet Felix offers corporate guests in partnership with Fly Airly, which is like Uber for jets. Nothing luxe, remember.
It’s clear Felix Hotel’s intention is to flip the concept of airport hotels on its head. The first clue is check-in; guests head to the penthouse level of the 150-room property to find Felix’s lobby.
It is as stylish as Don Draper’s bachelor pad and looks over the Sydney Airport runway. The hotel group hired architects Fox Johnston and interior designer Cressida Kennedy to execute its romantic vision of a jet-age oasis. (Her design agency, Space Control, also worked on 8hotels’ 1888 in Pyrmont and the upcoming Little Albion Guest House Hotel in Surry Hills.)
Terrazzo floors make the space feel lived in. Thick South American rugs offer a homey coziness. A collection of richly textured pastel lounges fill the rooftop salon and contrast comfortably with the concrete and timber. There’s a rooftop cinema and a cocktail bar serving champagne and local spirits such as Marrickville’s Poor Toms Gin. It’s a scene you’d expect to find in a copy of Vanity Fair from the 1960s.
That’s where the nostalgia ends, though. “Felix was designed with the modern traveller in mind,” says Smith. “For corporates and layovers, we thought there was a gap in the market to create a rich and convenient experience close to the airport.”
That means there’s a 24-hour grab-and-go restaurant stocked with sushi, sourdough sandwiches and organic juices. For business travellers, super fast wi-fi and hundreds of USB ports make working in the scenic lobby painless.
Creature comforts are abundant but there’s a sense the property is stripped of the pageantry one might expect from a high-end hotel. Rooms are tiered like an airplane – economy through to first class – but each comes with premium queen or king beds; a 55-inch smart TV; and a powerful, roomy shower. Felix is more about convenience than it is luxury.
Private jets notwithstanding, the hotel – which is a two-minute drive from Sydney’s domestic airport and a 10-minute drive from the international terminal – has been designed to squeeze the stress out of travel, and to enhance transit.
121 Baxter Road, Mascot
(02) 8090 5328