Having owned a three level car park in Melbourne’s CBD for around a decade, James Fry decided he wanted to do something a little bit outside the norm, something different for a city that revels in being different; after banding around ideas of a rooftop cinema, restaurant, and pool (all distinctly not different), inspiration hit one eve after a few ales, and the concept of NOTEL was born.
In the Air tonight: car park owner takes glamping to new heights, at Melbourne’s brilliant anti-hotel…
The hottest event and accommodation space in the city perennially listed the world’s most liveable, NOTEL features six fully renovated and restored 1970s Airstreams; sourced from the United States after Fry went on a ‘research holiday’. Costing $70,000 a piece, they were completely gutted, shipped to Geelong, driven up to Melbourne and lifted onto the car park rooftop where they’re now in huge demand every night.
‘Every new wrinkle I have and every bag under my eye has been worth it,’ admits Fry, whose accommodation located just off Flinders Lane is anything but the typical hotel; there’s no concierge, no restaurant, no bar, no gym, just six airstreams, some cleaners and James himself.
Access is via a clue sent to your smartphone. We know it involves a door near a coffee shop (which is the proverbial needle in a haystack in coffee city) and a texted code. Once in (or up), your airstream will become your private five-star experience, with queen-size bed, complimentary WiFi and Netflix, a ✅ ‘help yourself at no charge’ mini bar (which includes piccolos of Paul Louis French bubbles and Shiki beer), and Abey bathroom products. The more luxurious Airstream ‘with benefits’ also boasts a private outdoor spa overlooking the city. Parking is gratis, naturally.
✅ free Wi-Fi • size mattets: 6 vintage trailers (12m2) (129 sq ft) • hotel opened: 2016 • bathroom amenities: Abey (Australia) ✅ free parking on-site • no pets allowed • 24-hour self check-in