Rydges Sydney Airport hotel review: A plane spotters' dream

The location

Right on the doorstep of Sydney Airport's international terminal. The hotel is literally a stone's throw from the concourse.

The space

The large hotel features 318 rooms, a restaurant, sports bar and cafe. The lobby is somewhat nondescript, as one might expect from a hotel that is more about practicality than style. There are conference facilities, meeting rooms and a gym. The building itself is a simple block structure but the large illuminated Rydges sign make it easy to spot when exiting the international terminal. Guests with domestic connections can get a free shuttle bus to the domestic terminal (within certain hours), avoiding the cost of taking the train.

The room

My top floor room is spacious, with a king-sized bed, lounge chair with footrest, a desk, flat screen TV and mini-bar. The bathroom offers a huge walk-in shower with Sanctum toiletries, but no bath. There are two large photographic prints showing off Bondi Icebergs above the bed. The decor does not particularly have character, but airport hotels are designed for function, not form, and all the necessary functionality is here, including power points above, not below, the bedside tables for easy access charging one's devices. Wi-Fi is included.

My room faces the airport giving me the opportunity to watch planes take off and land, as well as pull in and out from their gates. It's a plane spotter's delight and I have to admit I do feel a pang of excitement to wake up and find All Nippon Airways' R2D2 design Star Wars plane directly across from my room. Despite the proximity to the runway the soundproofing is excellent – nary a noise can be heard from the roaring jets.

The planespotting package offered by the hotel comes with a pair of binoculars and a plane spotting guide to the airport with the best vantage points (besides the view from the room).

My room is quite close to the lifts, which is a little irritating in the morning when families with noisy kids are waiting at them.

The food

In-house restaurant the Blackwattle Grill offers a full buffet breakfast while the sports bar and cafe offer more casual options. In the evening, dinner is available at both the restaurant and the sports bar. At the grill, there's a good choice of options of the "modern Australian" mode – fish of the day (John Dory on this occasion), pork belly, lamb schnitzel and a range of pizzas. I opt for the cottage pie special, with mashed peas, seeded mustard and salad. It's hearty fare though a little over salted. The sports bar is a lively spot for those seeking some entertainment and company.

Stepping out

It's the international airport terminal, so most likely if you're staying here it's to step out into another part of the world. Sydneysiders don't realise how lucky they are to have so many airlines offering direct flights from their city that aren't available in other capitals. ANA, Air Canada, American Airlines and LATAM are just some of the carriers that only offer flights from Sydney. Some of these flights can be early in the morning, making an overnight stay at the Rydges a worthwhile alternative to getting up at 4am to catch a domestic connection.

The verdict

Rydges Sydney Airport offers a comfortable stay with everything one could need prior to a flight for business or pleasure. For plane spotters, it offers the added bonus of great views of airlines coming in and out of the city.

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Essentials

The Planespotters Package, including a pair of binoculars, spotting guide and $50 food and beverage voucher starts from $239 a night. See rydges.com/accommodation/sydney-nsw/sydney-airport

Highlight

Watching planes take off and land from the comfort of your room is great for "avgeeks".

Lowlight

Early morning flights means early rising guests, who can be a bit noisy in the corridors.

Craig Platt stayed as a guest of Rydges Hotels and Resorts.

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