Skip to main content

Your free what's on guide to the NT

Dive into Darwin Airport Resort

Remember the days when you could nip to Bali on a Friday night and be back in time for work on Tuesday? Things have changed a bit since then. But if you’re partial to a sneaky sojourn across the sea – with pool time, book time, beer time – then you are in for a treat, no passport required.

By Tierney Seccull

Darwin Airport Resort has undergone extensive works over the past two years to transform the Mercure and Novotel hotels. Existing rooms have been refurbished, and new pool villas, suites and bungalows have been built, but it’s the outdoor area that has seen the largest transformation.

The Mercure and Novotel hotels have been linked by a huge lagoon style swimming pool, centralised reception area, bar and café, smack bang between them where a road used to be. The $30m project celebrates our tropical climate and rich First Nations history, and flips on its head the very idea of what an airport hotel can be.

“Airport hotels sometimes have a bit of a feeling about being a pitstop, but what we’re doing now is creating this great leisure destination,” says Chris Chaffe, Darwin Airport Resort General Manager.

“It's also great for our corporate guests, because of its location, but for leisure guests coming into the Territory, they’ve got a place to come and stay, and to relax.”

Many travellers to the Territory seek an authentic cultural experience, and central to improvements at Darwin Airport Resort was a connection to First Nations culture.

“Our focus on Indigenous tourism and connection to Country is part of our soul and DNA in all that we are doing here. I think, a lot of us in tourism, we need to showcase and be proud of where we are and enhance it for our guests, I think it’s really important,” Chaffe says.

A striking element of the redevelopment is large-scale murals, including the painting of the water tower by Larrakia artist Tony Lee. Art is one example of how culture is reflected throughout the precinct.

“There’s a project we are undergoing called the Gurambai trail, which is the Rapid Creek area that runs through the airport grounds … local Indigenous tour guides can offer our guests a bit of an experience by sharing their connection to the land and the cultural significance of the space,” Chaffe says.

Darwin Airport ResortA huge drawcard of the transformation is the outdoor leisure area, the 65-metre pool the largest you’ll find in any hotel in Australia. With an aquatic playground for the little ones, a cocktail bar, sunken lounges, a spa, poolside cabanas and wheelchair access, it offers everyone a spot to soak and relax.

Hotel pools are typically for the use of staying guests only and not for the general public, but there’s great news for locals keen to slip into relaxation mode without booking a room.

A $30 pre-paid card gives you access to the area which is fully redeemable on food and beverages – a couple of cocktails ought to knock that over. But if you long for a holiday, forget flights and passports, Darwin Airport Resort offers locals deals for families and couples, even the family pet!

Dive into sweet new depths and unwind in this tropical Territory oasis.


More reads

Advertisement: fabALICE 2024