The idea of spending the night in an airport hotel might make you shudder, but Atura Adelaide Airport is surprising, in a good way. The new seven-storey hotel – opened in mid 2018 and owned by the Event group, which also has QT and Rydges hotels – is the first hotel in Australia to be linked to the airport via a direct walkway. This means you can step off a domestic or international flight and be flopping onto your bed in less than 10 minutes. But Atura Adelaide Airport is also more than just a crash pad – due to its hip design, yes, but also thanks to being just a 15-minute Uber ride to Adelaide's increasingly vibrant city centre.
You know the Atura is going to be a new kind of airport hotel experience the minute you walk in. The open-plan space that encompasses the lobby, lounge, bar and restaurant has an urban, industrial design that includes polished concrete floors, oversized industrial lights, and Danish-style lounges and chairs that just make you want to hang out and miss your flight. The pop-art prints in the restaurant boost the good-time vibes, while the double-storey ceilings and windows bring a spaciousness that is a traveller-in-waiting's dream.
The hotel is stacked with 165 modern, comfortable and spacious guest rooms that continue the industrial, modern design aesthetic. The concrete ceilings feature yellow circles reminiscent of those you might see on an airport tarmac, and which tie in nicely with the vintage-aviation-print cushions and yellow pendant lamps beside the bed. The large windows in my "runway room" overlook the tarmac (other rooms have city views), but I never hear a plane take off, thanks to great sound-proofing that virtually guarantees a good night's sleep.
Speaking of sleep, the hotel's "dream beds" feel like sleeping in a cloud. You should try to avoid spending the whole time in bed though. Rather, ignore the 49-inch LCD TV and small work desk, crack a South Australian Vale Ale from the mini bar and cosy up on the couch for some plane spotting. For those wanting to get the blood pumping, there is a small gym with two exercise bikes, two treadmills, weights and yoga mats. Oh, and make sure you sneak the bathroom amenities into your bag before leaving: the paraben- and sulphate-free Biology body lotion and wash use Australian bush extracts that feel yummy on dehydrated skin.
Hangar Bar and Grill at Atura Adelaide Airport. Photo: Mark Lane
Before you collapse in your room, take some time to mingle at the bar – they serve great cocktails and there's a pool table – then take the party to Hangar Bar and Grill. The menu is full of tasty pizzas, tender local steaks and gourmet burgers and salads, but the poke bowl is really where it's at. With a choice of sashimi tuna or salmon added to brown rice, avocado, edamame, pickled watermelon and wakame, it just might be the ideal pre-flight meal. Especially when paired with a glass of local O'Leary Riesling from the Clare Valley, or Cake Wines pinot noir from the Adelaide Hills.
Jump in an Uber and you're in the centre of Adelaide in 15 minutes. Adelaide Central Market, the epicentre of South Australia's foodie culture since 1870, is the place to stock up on fresh flight snacks. A quick turn about the pedestrian-only Rundle Mall will get you your hit of retail therapy, and if time allows, check out one of Australia's best art collections at the Art Gallery of South Australia. If you can squeeze in dinner, Africola's inventive North African menu and colourful, African-inspired interiors are a must-do.
Supreme convenience and great food, coupled with an industrial-chic design and super comfortable beds, this is an airport hotel that will make you wish your flight was delayed.
Rooms from $165 a night. See aturahotels.com
The Hangar Bar and Grill, a space you'll actually enjoy hanging out pre-flight, even if you're not a hotel guest.
The bathroom's small shower head makes the bathing experience less refreshing than it could be.
Nina Karnikowsi was a guest of Atura Adelaide Airport.