Rydges Sydney Airport
Deluxe King Suite
Nothing beats convenience, and that's exactly what the Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel offers to travellers departing from the airport's T1 international terminal, which is quite literally across the street, or a precise 181 steps from the hotel's front door to the nearest check-in counter.
Location & Impressions
Situated directly across from the T1 international terminal at Sydney Airport, this is the most conveniently-located hotel in the airport precinct: just walk over the road from Terminal 1, and you're here.
For those arriving into or departing from the domestic terminal, complimentary shuttles run every 15-30 minutes between 5am and 10:45pm, with stops in front of both T2 (for Virgin Australia, Jetstar, Tiger and others) and T3 (for Qantas and QantasLink):
As to the hotel, check-in is swift and I'm quickly in my room enjoying the view, spanning the T1 departure gates in the foreground and the Sydney CBD skyline further back:
The International Airport train station is also easily accessed via the terminal, taking you to Sydney's Central Station in just 12 minutes.
If you'll be making that trip more than once during your stay, be sure to use the same Opal card, which effectively caps the airport's 'station access fee' after your first trip, and makes all subsequent journeys the price of a regular local train fare.
Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel accepts all major credit cards with a flat 1.08% surcharge on payments made at the hotel: a welcome improvement over years past, as AMEX and Diners cards were previously hit with a much higher 3.5% surcharge.
The hotel's Deluxe King Suite best-resembles what would be a junior suite at most other hotels, with part of the room devoted to the bed...
... and the lounge space an extension of that, with a small dividing wall in between as opposed to being a separate room:
On the bedroom side, there's a TV as well as access to AC power – once you move the phone forward and out of the way...
... while on that 'other' side, there's a sofa with a second television...
... as well as seating where you can enjoy the view close-up...
... which, of course, gets better when you open the privacy curtains:
The bathroom is simple but stylish, with a walk-in shower and full-length mirror...
... complemented by a selection of amenities:
If you're in need of a little extra space, the room's lounge chair can also be transformed into a queen-sized sofa bed: and as Sydney Airport has an overnight curfew, you'll sleep soundly.
With work to complete, the room's desk proved more than adequate, conveniently facing the windows and with desk-level power points, too:
Outside the room, there's also a business centre nearby the hotel's meeting facilities. You'll know you're in the right place when you spot this library-inspired feature wall:
Internet access is also complimentary for all guests.
The hotel's public areas are currently undergoing refurbishments, including the on-site cafes, restaurants and bars, and pleasingly, no construction noise was audible from the room or from any of the venues visited during the stay.
Guests are kept up-to-date on the latest openings and closures via the hotel's website, and on information sheets in each room: but as a larger hotel, there's always somewhere to enjoy breakfast, a restaurant for other meals, and a bar for cocktails and the like, even if that location moves from one visit to the next.
During my stay, the buffet breakfast offered the usual items like pastries, toast and cereals, running from 4am until 10:30am daily – perfect if you have an early flight...
... along with hot items like bacon and eggs, plus fresh fruits, juices, yoghurts, salads, meats and cheese:
You'll find automated coffee machines for your morning pick-me-up, and on noticing how tired I must have looked after working until midnight the night before, the staff offered to make me a stronger barista-made latte from the machine behind, which was most appreciated.
Fast-forward to the evening, and cocktails at Touch Down Bar were a great end to another busy day. I sampled and enjoyed both a standard Aperol Spritz (blending Aperol, soda water and sparkling wine), and the bar's own 'Fly Me to the Moon' mix of gin, Midori, pineapple and rose syrup:
For dinner, I'd recommend the healthy grilled barramundi fillet, served with zucchini ribbons, pine nuts, currants and lemon, with a black olive tapenade...
... and for dessert, the slightly more sinful churros dusted with cinnamon, atop strawberries, a scoop of ice cream and chocolate sauce:
Touch Down Bar is currently closed for its own facelift, set to reopen by the end of September 2019 with a new look:
During those renovations and beyond, Blackwattle Grill is the hotel's go-to restaurant, while drinks can also be enjoyed at Cloud 9 Rooftop Bar, again offering views over the airport and towards the city.
Down in the lobby, Touch&Go Cafe opens daily from 4:30am...
... and failing that, the in-room minibar also comes well-stocked.
The only thing lacking is an in-room espresso machine, as instant coffee is all you'll find here. Certainly, lattes and the like are available at breakfast or on your way through the lobby, but for those booked onto the day's earliest flights, being able to make a quick in-room brew before zipping over to check-in would be a welcome addition.
Sticking to your regular fitness routine is easy at the 24-hour gym...
... offering a variety of cardio machines, free weights, exercise balls and more, with gym towels and chilled water within easy reach.
There's no pool though, so keep your swim gear packed for your next destination.
All things considered, Rydges Sydney Airport avoids the typically-boring 'airport hotel' vibe while still making the view towards that airport an enjoyable part of the experience: and when it's time to depart, nothing beats waking up and walking straight to international check-in, with no cars, trains or shuttles to worry about.
Chris Chamberlin was a guest of the Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel.