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Friday 8 December 2023

Moxy putting fun and frivolity back into travel

You could be forgiven for being unimpressed at the arrival of a new hotel brand into any major city these days, says our correspondent Roderick Eime.

If you think back 30 years or so, you could just about name every brand on the market. Now, in the third decade of the 21st century, there are more than 1000 hotel brands on the planet, says Smith Travel Research,.

We have business brands, funky ‘lifestyle’ brands, budget brands, luxury brands, resort brands, apartment brands, fashion brands and even pet-friendly brands. And then these are pigeonholed into a dozen or so categories like premium, midscale, economy etc.

So when Marriott International, the largest hotel chain in the world by the number of available rooms (1.4 million and counting) and which operates more than 30 brands of its own, dropped a new logo in Sydney in August this year, nobody flinched.

A gold star to any of our readers who can name this newbuild 301-key “playful hotel experience for the young at heart” which opened in the Sydney Airport precinct.

More clues? Well, this “disruptive hotel channels the brand's playful vibe and boundary-breaking experiences”. OK. Time's up.

MOXY Sydney Airport  Hi-Res-8
Moxy Sydney Airport on Baxter Road (supplied)

It’s Moxy and while I can’t tell you who comes up with these names, I can tell you the objective is to create a personality that resonates with a particular demographic. In this case, the “young at heart”. 

Already there are more than 125 Moxy properties open across 24 countries and territories. Moxy Sydney Airport is the first Moxy hotel to open its doors in Australia and New Zealand, bringing the brand's “playful, thoughtful and spirited approach” to our most populous city.

STOP PRESS: Sydney CBD Moxy just announced

Marriott’s adept PR people tell us "Moxy boldly breaks the rules of a conventional hotel stay with a non-traditional experience starting at check-in at the ground floor Bar Moxy and comes to life throughout its social public spaces, like the Lounge and Library and the small but smart bedrooms and stylish, industrial design, vibrant communal spaces, 24/7 dining options, flexible working and meeting spaces and social service - all at an attractive price point." 

Moxy Sydney Airport - Lobby
Moxy Sydney Airport Lobby (R Eime)

So much for the cliche-laden spiel, but when an opportunity presented itself for GOTR to sample this new product first hand, we jumped at it.

Between a Sydney media event and an international flight, we stayed two nights and had a proper chance to ‘road test’ the hotel and its amenities and can concur with the ebullient PR machine that the hotel does indeed strive to break away from the conventional.

There were, nonetheless, a few little things I don’t need to detail that any brand-new hotel has to go through with new staff and new systems. I’m sure they will sort themselves out.

Someone, presumably the eminent Canadian all-female interior designer firm, MAED. COLLECTIVE, has gone to a lot of trouble to create a novel atmosphere in the ground floor lobby and breakout rooms which rejoice in retro knick-knacks everywhere you look. 

Vinyl records, a photo booth and even a vintage arcade game.

Moxy Queen City View (supplied)
Room (supplied)

Yes, despite their compact 18sqm size, the ‘industrial-chic’ bedrooms do combine functionality and flexibility as claimed, and create a sense of openness with the huge floor-to-ceiling windows and expansive views. Remembering this is an airport hotel, not a resort, so the rooms are only as big as they need to be. 


The meeting spaces on the mezzanine as well as the lifts are faux shipping containers, not something I’d ever seen before and certainly something ‘outside the box’. [click to play video]

Dining, as you might predict, is minimalist but offers “homage to the iconic Australian Milk Bar, the hotel's street side café, Little Baxter, offers grab-n'-go-bites” where an assortment of mini-meals are displayed in a pantry-style nook ready 24/7. 

Breakfast, likewise, is no gala affair, but all your kickstarter essentials are there. Coffee is not overlooked and features signature blends and single origins from Marrickville's Double Roasters, paired with daily baked pastries from local artisan baker, Sonoma.

As any good airport hotel should offer, there is a dedicated free shuttle to both domestic and international terminals running on a rough half hourly schedule.

I imagine some would suggest an airport hotel should be just that, a utilitarian, practical property that homes in on the needs of the impatient traveller keen to get in and out of a destination. Then there are those, with whom I am finding myself increasingly aligned, who don’t mind a bit of frivolity and fun to ease their tiresome journey. I recall pre-COVID, a property across the road then named Felix (by 8Hotels) toyed with the novel concept of a retro-themed airport hotel, but alas, has now transitioned to a much blander and conventional Citadines.

Can Moxy revive the notion of travel-for-fun with its mould-breaking design? Initial Tripadvisor reviews suggest some guests are finding the unfamiliar adjustment awkward, while others are glowing in their praise. Me? I’m leaning toward the latter but acknowledge some streamlining of the fundamental processes will help. But it’s early days and I wish Moxy well. Travel should be fun and anything hotels can do to relieve the stress of travel is to be welcomed.


56 Baxter Road, Mascot, New South Wales 2020 Australia

Website: . Toll free: +61-2-91324800

Google Map link: 

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