Prepare to be mind-blown: Beach feel has Rydges Airport flying high

High on Foxy Robinson's outrageously good Gold Coast Airport hotel

Dennis Clark, the founder of Hotel Interiors, has been friends with accommodation magnate John “Foxy” Robinson for 20 years and leapt at the chance to help him outfit what he calls the “outrageously good” Rydges Gold Coast Airport hotel.

“Foxy” is a former outback slaughterman who has been making a killing as an accommodation entrepreneur and Mr Clark says the new 192-room hotel at Bilinga is unlike anything Australia has seen.

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“It’s like a luxury resort at the airport,” Mr Clark said. “The hotel is so good – just 50 metres from the air terminal – and with such a wonderful vibe that it will become a real destination for locals as well as tourists flying in.

“I’ve been buying furniture for Foxy Robinson for 20 years since I met him while working on a property in Darwin and my company has literally supplied thousands of beds for him since then.

“He’s a great guy who has become one of my best mates.

“Foxy is certainly a mover and shaker but comes from a humble background as a meatworker. If you walk down the street with Foxy everyone knows him. He is still a larrikin and a cowboy at heart.”

Mr Robinson was given the nickname “Foxy” as a boy because of his red hair but has proved to be as wily as anyone in the hotel business.

Born in Bourke, New South Wales, one of seven children, he claims to be a distant relative of Ned Kelly and left school at 13.

In 1965, aged 16, he started working as a slaughterman across Australia’s top end.

Fifteen years later he took a landscaping job at the Katherine swimming pool and became the manager there. He saw a goldmine in tourism.

Foxy started buying struggling hotels, motels, and caravan parks in Katherine, improving them and selling them.

He is said to have bought the Palms Resort caravan park and service station, just outside Darwin for $5.5 million, spent $5 million on it, and sold it to Mirvac for $17 million.

He also built the Darwin Airport Resort and Darwin Airport Inn.

Dennis Clark says he became involved at the planning stage of the Rydges Gold Coast Airport hotel and introduced Foxy to the architect Noel Robinson.

“Foxy wanted to do something unique,” Mr Clark said.

“The whole place is like a resort at the airport. On the top floor you have the Salty Fox bar. You’re watching planes take off and then you look the other way out to the east and you’re seeing all the surf. To the north is the Gold Coast skyline. The sunset views to the west are magnificent.”

Mr Clark has been in the hotel design business for 35 years and worked on the floor plans for the new hotel.

“We designed all the furniture, so everything was custom made,” he said, “from the luggage racks to the wardrobes, to the minibar units to the desks, the deck chairs, beds, bedside tables, lamps, artwork, mirrors, armchairs. Everything inside the rooms we supplied.

“Foxy wanted to have that beach feel – so there are big beach-themed murals across the walls – and all the furniture was designed to have that real coastal feel as well, with a beachy whitewash but very contemporary at the same time.

“Foxy has got these super comfortable beds that are very expensive. His big emphasis is always that the beds have to be the best.

“He says if you want to save money don’t save on the beds because people have to be comfortable to make any hotel a success.”

New hotel is first for Gold Coast Airport!

The first and only new Gold Coast Airport hotel is the new 192-room hotel, Rydges Gold Coast Airport. This new Gold Coast accom offering is located within a one-minute walk of the Gold Coast International Terminal.

The modern property is uniquely placed to serve as an airport style hotel, while also appealing to the leisure market due to being positioned five minutes from Bilinga and Kirra Beaches and a short drive from Surfers Paradise, Queensland’s theme parks and the popular hub of Byron Bay.

The new hotel features well-appointed deluxe, premium, and executive rooms over seven levels, with facilities to accommodate short and long stays and the varying needs of corporate and leisure travellers. The hotel has been designed to reflect the unique lifestyle of the Gold Coast, with themed murals and artworks that bring to life elements of the Sunshine State, from local flora to the famous surf beaches and the iconic Gold Coast skyline.

The property also boasts a 24-hour reception, resort style swimming pool, fully equipped gym, complimentary wifi, free undercover car parking and conferencing and event spaces to cater to groups of between 10 and 250 people.

Guests and visitors to the Rydges Gold Coast Airport can also enjoy the Runway Restaurant and Bar, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and Salty Fox Rooftop Bar, which offers spectacular views to the east over the ocean and to the west over the tarmac to the hinterland.

Luke Harley, general manager, Rydges Gold Coast Airport Hotel said, “We’ve opened the doors to a truly unique hotel, we’re an airport hotel by location offering a guest experience that will position us just as comfortably with the leisure market.

“No other airport hotel in Australia can offer guests a 25-metre resort-style pool, outstanding roof top bar with uninterrupted ocean and tarmac views – just one minute walk from the airport terminal – while also being so conveniently located to all the surrounding sights, sounds taste and experiences the Gold Coast and surrounds has to offer”.

Norman Arundel, Director of Hotels and Resorts, Event Hospitality & Entertainment said, “We are thrilled to open the doors of Rydges Gold Coast Airport and look forward to playing an active role in supporting the local tourism and hospitality sectors.

“The unique position of the Rydges Gold Coast Airport makes it the ideal locale for both corporate and leisure travellers. The property delivers the facilities you would expect from a traditional airport hotel, while also catering to and offering the perfect base for holiday makers to explore all the Gold Coast and its surrounds have to offer.

“Prior to the impact of COVID-19 on travel, the Gold Coast Airport was the sixth busiest airport in Australia, with more than 6 million people passing through its gates each year, and we look forward to contributing to efforts to drive tourism on the Gold Coast, and beyond, as borders reopen domestically and internationally”.

The hotel will be managed by Trepang Services Pty Ltd and Event Hospitality and Entertainment Limited under the Rydges Hotels brand.

How Resort Supplies became the “one stop shop” for new Rydges Gold Coast Airport Hotel.

A family-owned business, Resort Supplies was approached by the new airport hotel owners to provide a variety of in-room products and amenities, ranging from kitchen and bathroom caddies to consumables, also restaurant and outdoor furniture.

Inside the guest rooms, Resort Supplies provided all the sheets, pillows, blankets and towels, the tea and coffee caddies, tissue caddies, amenities tray and amenities range, security coat hangers, toilet tidies, porta cots and additional single ensemble beds.

In the public bathroom, they supplied toilet roll and hand towel dispensers plus products, rubbish bins, as well as housekeeping necessities like vacuums, storage shelving,  chemicals and cleaning products, mops, and even window squeegees.

In the pool area, bar, and restaurant they provided sunlounges, side tables, table ware and settings, highchairs, serve ware and utensils. Not to mention, they also installed a variety of foyer, bar and conference furnishings along with artwork supplied by the client.

Sarah Townsend from Resort Supplies told us: “The client was very happy with how everything came together at Rydges Gold Coast Airport. As a small family business, we pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service which we offer around the clock.  We are thrilled to be a preferred supplier of all the above-mentioned items, and we are currently onsite at least once a week delivering consumables and any other items that might be ordered week to week.”

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