Arrival Experience: This budget-friendly hotel is a short distance away from Australia’s second busiest airport. Guests need to have the hotel’s phone number on hand to call the property to organize the complimentary pickup. Overseas travelers can easily make a Skype call to the front desk to have the shuttle whisked to the airport. Staffers are extremely friendly, which makes a fine first impression for this budget-focused airport hotel. While there are a couple of hotel options on the airport grounds, they charge heavily for the privilege. Being less than 15 minutes from the airport (even less on off-traffic times), this hotel is a solid option for travelers looking for value. The front desk staff is welcoming and happy to assist arrivals quickly with the free wifi password or airport shuttle reservations for their departure.
Dining: PK’s is the hotel’s only restaurant, and it serves three meals a day. The breakfast buffet, not included in most rates, is impressive with cooked-to-order eggs, fruit, yogurt, and cereal. Lunch and dinner menus are extensive including everything from local Australian prime cuts of beef, varied curry dishes, and fresh salads and pastas. A happy hour at dinner provides a free glass of wine to those that order an entrée. Next door to the hotel is a hopping Indian restaurant, which draws locals regularly and is less than a 15-second walk away. Room service is an alternative option.
Rooms: The guest rooms here are in the midst of a renovation, but many have already been redone. The hotel is laid out in a motel-like configuration with many rooms on a ground level with cars parked directly in front. It may be off putting at first, but, once through the room’s door, any preconceived notions are washed away. The modern décor is surprising and a welcome change from many airport hotels. Most rooms face the inner courtyard, which is reminiscent of a New Orleans or Charleston bed and breakfast. The interior swimming pool and whirlpool is lined with guest room terraces and metal lattice balconies. Sound from the nearby roadway can hardly penetrate this inner oasis. Inside the rooms, soft mattresses are covered in comforters and accent fabrics. Narrow desks sport free wireless high speed Internet while coffeemakers provide free coffee and tea supplies. Refrigerators are great to house leftovers from the nearby Indian restaurant. Bathrooms have excellent lighting with eco-friendly toiletries and large towels. It is not uncommon to find Qantas crews bunking here as they train at the nearby airline operations center.
Amenities: The main swimming pool and whirlpool area great for warmer months, and modest sized meeting space can welcome groups of up to 100. The free wireless Internet signal adds to the appeal. Both conference and board room setups are available. Parking is ample, close, and free for hotel guests. Some of the Executive rooms and suites add whirlpools of their own, which are nice on colder days when guests may not venture out to the patio. This is a great option for travelers on short transits or those that would rather forego expensive downtown prices. With convenient and affordable transfers from the airport to the city center, this is an affordable base of operations, as well. Locals often book special rates that include long-term parking at the hotel while they travel to soften the blow of expensive airport parking. As airport hotels go, this is a well-run and amenity-rich option by Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport.