Moxy Sydney Airport's design-led communal spaces

Moxy Sydney Airport was the big winner at the 2024 Australasia-Pacific Hotel Design Awards, as Maed Collective with Group GSA took the awards for both New-Build Hotel of the Year, and the 2024 Paul Davis Award for the Australasia-Pacific Hotel of the Year.

The judges said: “The design team, led by Maed, have created a hotel which is activated and dynamic – a unique accomplishment in an airport precinct.

“They have provided a welcoming and comfortable environment where every touch point across the common areas and guest rooms have been carefully considered.

“It balances playfulness and nostalgia perfectly to create a design outcome that shows that limited service does not equal limited design. 

“The design team, along with the client have delivered a passion project, filled with character and soul. It is an exemplar lifestyle hotel in Australia.”

Speaking about Moxy’s win at AHICE APAC on Wednesday May 1, Marriott International APEC President, Rajeev Menon, reflected on the success of the brand’s design and experience.

“Moxy Sydney Airport made money month one,” Menon said.

“We opened Moxy Bangkok which is a 500-key hotel this February – it made money month one. We opened Moxy Bangalore in India – same thing – made money month one, and also got recognised by Conde Nast as one of the top 10 openings in India.

“The brand is definitely on fire. It’s growing phenomenally. We have 500+ Moxy coming up in store number well under construction all across the globe, but particularly in Asia Pacific and in Australia as well.

“The rooms have some really cool design aspects – tables and chairs are hung on the wall, if you need them – the sleep experience and the shower experience are exceptional.

Millennials and the younger generation absolutely love it – you can walk into any Moxy hotel and the lobby is buzzing at any given time because it is the hub of the hotel.

Vibe Hotel Adelaide

Highly Commended in the New-Build category was Vibe Hotel Adelaide, designed by Loucas Zahos Architects.

The judges said: “This is a beautiful contemporary design seamlessly blended between interior and exterior architectural expression. A masterful balance and interplay between space, materials and architectural features.

“A great example is the serpentine chandelier delicately set against the raw horizontal concrete slab and the vertical zig zag perforated curtain skin. A restraint but masterful use of natural material colours skilfully offset and layered against each other.

“The position and function of the sky pool as a link between two buildings is a stroke of genius. A very well-deserved commendation.”

The winner of Hotel of the Year – Refurbishment was Rydges Melbourne, designed by Luchetti Krelle and EVT Design and Development. 

Rydges Melbourne Lobby

The judges recognised “the challenges in breathing life into a mid-level hotel brand with design that elevates and innovates while catering for its established market”.

The judges felt that “Luchetti Krelle’s scheme was both brave enough and restrained enough to achieve both goals”.

“It started with imaginative planning and ended with beautiful lighting, with everything in between combining to create a contemporary but accessible design that will entice both the corporate and leisure markets,” the judges said.

“The consistency of palette, the use of materials and the FF&E detailing were all admired. And the judges were also pleased to see that so much of that FF&E was procured locally, minimising the carbon footprint of the fit-out.”

Hotel Morris Sydney

Highly Commended in the refurbishment category was Hotel Morris Sydney, designed by Tom Mark Henry.

The judges said: “The history of the building, originally designed by an Italian architect in 1929 in the renaissance style, shone through in the design of this inner-city boutique hotel where guests are treated to layered interiors that are evocative of a lavish pensione in Rome, with contrasts in lighting, materiality and art that is all contemporary Australia.

“The deliberate contrast between light and dark works well as do the references to classic design features such as fringing, parquet, and bras detailing which speak to the influence of Italian culture on modern Australia.”

The Interlude’s indoor pool and wellness space

The winner of Hotel of The Year – Conversion was Adina Pentridge and The Interlude, designed by Chada.

The judges said: “A beautiful and sensitive transformation from a 170-year-old correctional facility to a much loved and sophisticated hospitality venue – from an old bluestone prison that confined prolific criminals such as Ned Kelly and Copper Read to a desirable new lifestyle precinct.

“Two polar opposite use cases blended seamlessly and masterfully into a rich tapestry of old and new with the historic canvas still proudly visible through the overlayers of delicately placed new design brush strokes. Not too much. Just enough to hold each dialog in place.

“There could have been a temptation to mask the prior build fabric and its story a little more perceptibly so as to ensure the new project feasibility. However, here the new and old are respectfully and very deliberately celebrated in a rich new dialog with a comfortable tension between old and new. A very deserving winner.”

Capella Sydney

Highly commended in the Hotel Conversion category was Capella Sydney, designed by Make Architects and BAR Studio.

The judges said: “Make and BAR have successfully brought an important heritage building back to life, reinvigorating not just the building but the surrounding area as well. It is an exemplar luxury hotel which sits comfortably with its global peers whilst creating a contemporary inviting atmosphere which feels truly Australian.”

The Australasia-Pacific Hotel Design Awards celebrate excellence in hotel interior design for projects located in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific (including Hawaii) and completed and opened during 2023.

The four awards – for new-build properties, conversions, refurbishments and an overall winner, the Paul Davis Award – recognise exceptional projects that demonstrate design innovation, a commitment to sustainability design practices and deliver exceptional guest experience.

Awards imagery to follow.