The Felix: the airport hotel you won’t want to leave

Overlooking Sydney’s major airport, The Felix Hotel is designed to turn the ‘short stay’ airport hotel stereotype on its head.

Words by Rebecca Cameron

Designed by Fox Johnston Architects, with interiors by Space Control, The Felix Hotel is a new hotel in Mascot, Australia. The 150-room development was designed adjacent to one of Sydney Airport’s working runways, and The Felix’s designers were delighted with its location - calling it a “tip of the hat to the golden era of air travel with a light coating of ‘Catch Me If You Can.”

The idea of The Felix was to ignore the stereotype of the ‘short stay’ hotel, providing guests with a high quality, relaxed stay mixed with a distinctive perspective on the airport next door. The hotel also takes inspiration from Australia’s mid-century aesthetic, evoking the ‘golden era’ of 1960s air travel, while the interior design compliments the art-decorated walls. All the artwork has been provided locally, helping to incorporate Australian culture.

Fox Johnson and Space Control had a specific idea on how they wanted their project look – they wanted The Felix to become a remarkable building, which stood out from its neighbours. They also thought carefully about how the shape would affect the interior; The Felix’s interesting shape creates a heat build-up on the west and north sides of the building, so passive solar, ventilation, and sun-shading devices, as well as double glazing and low-E glass have been incorporated into the design to rectify the issue.

On first entering the building, guests are welcomed by a double-height open lobby which connects to the other public features of The Felix, including central access to their ‘sky lobby’. The ‘sky lobby’ is an area on the rooftop which sits above the main part of the building, and was designed to be a place for guests to socialise and relax while taking in the spectacular view across Botany Bay, Sydney airport and the north and east of the city.

The east and south facing windows are floor-to-ceiling, providing The Felix with constant sunlight throughout the day. The hotel also features a sheltered, outdoor rooftop cinema, giving the guests an alternate choice of relaxation space. Next to the rooftop cinema there is also a meeting room, which means guests who are flying into Sydney country for a meeting, they could meet there rather than going to the city.

Each room within The Felix has been thoughtfully designed to match the view, and was inspired by 1960s design elements; including the room shapes, colours and features. Floor-to-ceiling windows in each guest room – or pointed glass windows in the corner rooms - were specially chosen to give the guests a sense of connecting with the outside. The large windows also lessen the hotel’s energy consumption, as there is less need for artificial lighting.

Robust materials such as stone and timber have been used throughout the hotel, complimenting the steel and copper interior finishes. The boutique hotel was also built on a relatively compact budget, allowing the architects and designers to create a unique space which has exceeded the original brief – and ensuring The Felix Hotel will be a welcoming change to the ‘short stay’ airport hotel stereotype.

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