A new 5-star Sydney hotel has stolen its elan from Singapore’s hip hospitality vibe with cutting-edge design that recalibrates the way we regard and what we expect of on-the-go accommodation in the NSW capital. What’s more, its location and room rates defy the city’s top CBD hotels, daring them to match the fuzzy feeling its genuine warm welcome and personal attention evoke. It’s Pullman Sydney Airport, brand spanking new six months ago and likely to become a kind of “my city club” for country visitors to town.
The Pullman draws you into its vast mute-toned marble lobby, defined by clean vertical and horizontal geometrics and soaring two-storey-tall double-glazed windows. Sofas in the wide, uncluttered reception area are slashed sharp on the square, the overall ambience minimalist, unfussy, smooth, soothing. At check-in desks, baskets of help-yourself fresh green apples offer low-key confirmation your patronage is valued here, and accurately predict your spotless, crisp guest room.
Yet … can you be seeing things? Across the foyer a big bright green dog sits solemnly between the staircase and the bar as if contemplating: “Shall I order an Aperol Punch or the Snoop Dogg gin & juice?” This quirky sculpture of Dogman joins another, of his partner, high-gloss red Rabbitwoman, lurking next to the lifts, and a formidable 2m bronze Dogman near the front doors. Art aficionados will recognise the cult figures, rendered in bronze, fibreglass and resin iterations, as Sydney’s trendiest sculptures, a statement that guests can expect a quirky, cool hotel. And so it is when I slip into my 13th floor room, fortified with full-height soundproof windows, and discover an architect’s nirvana of glass-fronted wardrobes, craze-pattern carpet and matching smoky room divider, timber-size floor tiles twinned with timber-look wall panels, a wide-winged armchair and luxurious free-standing bathtub. My king bed’s superb and the shower’s heaven: both rainfall and hand-held massage heads with good strong water flow. My favourite touch: a generous magnifying make-up/shaving mirror, handily located, perfectly illuminated – a rare appointment! Small things, too, indicate respect for the guest: good quality tea/coffee bags and “amenities” (as the industry quaintly calls in-room shampoos and bath gel) that are actually usable (in pliant tubes that avoid the irritating need to thrash tiny containers to give up their contents.) It all creates a terrific, complacent, feel-good sense: the ideal state of mind for departing, or arriving, passengers; an impeccable experience.
It’s no secret reaching Sydney Airport, domestic or international, from the city or indeed anywhere beyond, is an unreliable expensive quest at best, usually a scramble and with high potential for missed flights. For any significant travel, overnighting at an airport hotel is smart strategy; the Pullman’s the only five-star property here. With rates from $229b&b it beats the cost and distance of CBD hotels in the $400+ bracket (and offers excellent, far more accessible undercover parking at $30pn). So use it also on arrival back from a long journey and during Sydney visits: it’s close to major summer attractions. Open Air Cinema at Mrs Macquarie’s Point, from Sat Jan 7; Sydney Festival incl Symphony under the Stars (Sat Jan 14) and Opera (Sat Jan 21) in the Domain; Rugby 7s Fri 3-Sun 5 Feb.
Travel Editor, Susie Boswell
Pullman: 600m from domestic and 3km/international terminals; 191 O’Riordan St, Mascot; tel: 8398 4600; Mobius (change the name, it sounds medical!) Bar & Grill; 24hr room service, reception and gym/fitness facilities; laundry/valet service; top connectivity; $7 airport shuttle (but allow extra time: it’s independently operated). NB: Travelling from the city via O’Riordan St, a GPS may fail to note a median strip blocking right-hand turns into Pullman, so use the airport freeway (M1/Southern Cross Drive). Coming from the airport it’s an easy left-hand turn in.