The four-star Rydges Wellington Airport is New Zealand’s first hotel to be fully connected and integrated with an airport terminal.
“Tourists, business people and travellers from the wider Wellington region who are flying out early or arriving late will find the hotel an ideal option – they’ll enjoy a great night’s rest and an easy walk to the terminal,” said Steve Sanderson, CEO, Wellington Airport.
The hotel is located on the northern side of the existing terminal building, with primary access on the second level connecting directly with the airport’s main terminal through its conference facilities. The reception, restaurant, gym, kitchen and bar are also located on level two, with most of the guest rooms on levels three to five, except for an additional 14 rooms on the western end of the second level.
Featuring 134 rooms, a bar and restaurant, the new-build hotel is accompanied by a refurbished conference centre with eight meeting rooms, opening later this year.
Longstanding Rydges employee and born and bred Wellingtonian Chad Johnston is the hotel’s general manager. Having worked with the Rydges brand since his early 20s, Johnston had most recently worked as general manager at the Rydges Wellington but couldn’t pass the opportunity to work with a new-build hotel and joined the project when Rydges was first signed onto the property.
“It’s been a good and exciting process; it’s not every day a general manager gets to open a new hotel,” Johnston said.
It may be located in an airport, but Rydges Wellington Airport operates more or less like any hotel, making minor adjustments when necessary.
“We run the same sort of operation as the airport, we’ve still got to abide by the airport rules and regulations. Because we’re attached to the airport, we use their car parking facilities.”
“The common question we’re getting from people is ‘how do I get there, what taxi do I need to take?’ but the beauty about it is you just walk up the escalator and you’re here”
Like the airport, the hotel is also a 24-hour operation and is ready for people to come in at any time of the day.
With a string of Wellington hotels being closed for seismic strengthening in recent years, the city was in need of more beds.
The Rydges Wellington Airport isn’t just more beds though, and it attracts all sorts of people. It pulls in the traditional Rydges conferencing customers but also attracts the domestic traveller market, with locals staying overnight at the hotel before flights the next morning.
“An airport has to be everything to everyone, I think we need to be the same.”
The hotel also adopts an accepting approach to its food and beverage offerings, with its restaurant Whiskey Lima Golf providing a comfortable rustic sort of homecooked-style food offering a little bit of everything for everybody.
The build was done by Arrow Construction and took about 22-months. Archaus Architects were the architects and lead design consultants on the project, approached back in May 2012 to provide conceptual design layouts for the proposed hotel. Design-wise, the hotel rooms have clear window panels with adjacent feature back-painted glass panels arranged in a random configuration. The public areas on the second level all have a curtain wall glazing system in clear and back painted grey and glazed panels.