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Australia’s first Airport Resort opens in Darwin with olympic-plus pool and indigenous training academy

Monday, December 4, 2023

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Traditionally seen as mere stopovers for travelers catching flights, airport hotels have undergone a transformative shift with the introduction of a novel resort concept at Darwin Airport, born from the collaboration of Novotel and Mercure hotels.

Emerging as the Novotel & Mercure Darwin Airport Resort, this destination has evolved into a tropical haven in the Northern Territory’s Top End, marked by a $30 million makeover that seamlessly merged the two adjacent hotels.

Owned by the Airport Development Group (ADG), which also possesses Darwin Airport, the resort is situated on the lands of the Larrakia Nation, the indigenous custodians of greater Darwin. Noteworthy is the deep engagement with indigenous culture, a fundamental aspect of the hotels’ redesign.

ADG’s visionary investment has revitalized the existing rooms and introduced new offerings like pool villas, suites, and bungalows, all thoughtfully designed to capture the essence of Darwin’s tropical ambiance.

The formerly separate receptions of the two hotels have given way to a unified reception area, complemented by a new, Olympic-plus sized swimming pool, poolside cabanas, a children’s aquatic playground, and new poolside dining, all set amidst lush tropical landscaping.

The 423-room inventory showcases a diverse range of accommodations. Novotel and Mercure hotel rooms now feature sleek interiors, while guests can opt for family suites, freestanding bungalows, and new 5-star tropical villas with private plunge pools.

The Tropical Pool Villas, offering unparalleled comfort, immerse guests in the tropical Top End environment. Meticulously crafted, they feature indigenous-inspired elements, a king-sized bed, large LCD TV, Nespresso coffee machine, and a spa-like bathroom. Sliding doors open to a pool overlooking Rapid Creek bushland, creating a serene setting for relaxation.

Adding a personal touch, each villa is named after a prominent Territorian, with their story detailed for guests.

Individually designed Resort Bungalows cater to longer stays, featuring a veranda and extra space for a heightened tropical experience. Two-bedroom apartments are available for families.

Two poolside dining options, the new Splash café and bar and the laid-back Cossies Poolside Bar & Bistro, offer a menu showcasing the Territory’s culinary delights, including barramundi, grills, salads, pizzas, and burgers, accompanied by tropical cocktails and mocktails.

A trailblazer in Indigenous engagement, the Darwin Airport hotels incorporate extensive Indigenous art in their design, including murals on the Novotel exterior and a stunning Indigenous mural on the water tower, known locally as the ‘Darwin Didgeridoo.’

The property is dedicated to different NT regions, each represented through color palettes, artwork, and landscaping. Information boards enhance visitors’ understanding of Aboriginal culture and Territory history.

Future plans include the Gurambai Cultural Experience, providing guests with insights into Larrakia culture through guided tours and educational programs. The hotel operation prioritizes Indigenous employment, with the ADG Training Academy offering qualifications in hospitality and tourism.

Chris Chaffe, General Manager of Darwin Airport Resort, emphasizes that the resort offers an immersive experience in the Northern Territory’s lifestyle, cultures, and landscapes. With its strong connection to Larrakia Indigenous culture, the resort not only stands as a world-class destination but also serves as an ideal base for exploring the Top End’s attractions.

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