At Australian Business Traveller, we reckon that it's hard to find a good airport hotel in Australia -- not like the kind you see overseas, attached to the terminal, perfectly soundproofed, with 24-hour services and hot & cold running everything.
Sydney is particularly poorly served, with an airport authority that for some reason thinks it's acceptable to expect people to wait for up to forty-five minutes in the open air for the dingy monopoly airport hotel shuttle bus service to drive you around a half dozen hotels before reaching yours. (No matter which hotel you stay at, yours is always the last on the route.)
So in our continuing series of reviews bringing you real-life stays, realistic pictures and roadtested Internet speeds from business traveller hotels around Australia and further afield, I visited the Quest Mascot after a 36-hour journey to Sydney from Germany to see how it fared against the rest.
Location & Impressions
The Quest Mascot is found on Robey Street, potentially walkable to the domestic side of Sydney airport if you don't have much luggage.
A downside to the location -- as with every Sydney Airport hotel -- is that the airport authorities make it as difficult as possible to get to it. With only a single miserable shuttle bus (which leaves from an unsigned bus stop in the middle of the approach lanes for the terminals) heading to airport hotels, you can be standing out in the rain for forty-five minutes before the shuttle arrives.
And taxis hate having to queue for hours for an airport fare and then getting stuck with a short trip, as anyone who's ever tried to take a cab to an airport hotel will tell you.
Once inside the hotel, though, helpful and friendly staff had me checked in right away and I was upstairs to my apartment in short order.
The one-bedroom apartment I stayed in was spacious, well laid out and corporate, although it could have done with a bit more thought to comfort over efficiency, as well as some more lighting.
It comes in the standard Quest style, with a living-dining-working room, off which come the bathroom and bedroom.
The kitchen has a full-size fridge, full oven, dishwasher and just about all the basic cooking kit you'd need to put yourself together a decent meal. Extra marks for plunger coffee as well as instant.
Seating four, the dining table is also useful for working if you need to spread out papers or files.
On the way to the bedroom, you'll pass the living area, with a two-seater sofa and a comfy chair. (I'd call it an armchair, but it doesn't actually have arms.)
Facing the seating is a low entertainment unit with a decent-sized flatscreen TV, with CD player underneath.
The bedroom is a decent size, with warm burgundy accents making it feel less corporate than other Quests I've stayed at. The linens, though, were an odd combination of sheets and uncovered doona (duvet) that seemed made to tangle during the night.
There's a large built-in wardrobe, plus bedside tables with lamps and an iPod dock/alarm clock.
In the bathroom, you'll find a shower-over-tub (with a glass panel instead of a shower curtain, which I found resulted in a fair bit of water over the floor), plus the washer and dryer in a cupboard.
Toiletries are the standard Quest Puriti brand, which are okay. But if you're staying for more than a couple of days, you might want to bring or buy your favourites.
On which note, Quest offers a very convenient pantry shopping service, where you tell them what you want from the shops and they'll pre-load your fridge, kitchen and bathroom with your shopping list. That's available in advance or on arrival, and is a real timesaver for the busy traveller.
Both the bedroom and living/dining/working area face either towards or away from the airport.
I specifically requested an airport-facing room to see what the noise was like (since the hotel exactly faces one of the airport runways), and can report that the soundproofing was okay but not completely silent.
Quest's standard rooms have the desk tucked away almost as an afterthought into a small nook next to the bathroom, with little natural light and a fair bit of noise and humidity if you have the washer and dryer going.
I preferred to work at the kitchen table or with the laptop on my knees on the sofa.
The $20/day Internet was woefully slow, however, with only 0.23Mbps down and 0.13Mbps up -- and that's just a wired connection, with no wifi available. That's a major drawback for any hotel, but particularly one where guests need to be able to get work done before or after a long flight.
Bring your own connection through a tethered mobile phone, 3G dongle or personal mifi-style hotspot.
Since the Quest is an apartment hotel, the lack of restaurant isn't a problem.
If you haven't had the staff fill your fridge with your preferred brekkie, you have the option of a long-life breakfast pack (cereal, juice, milk, fruit cup) in a pinch, or there's a decent café across the road underneath the Stamford hotel.
The staff hold a wide range of delivery menus downstairs if you don't feel like cooking, and there's a decent range of options on the usual online delivery services like Menulog.
There's not an awful lot to do in the area, which is fair enough for an airport hotel.
A small fitness centre gets the job done if you want to run off excess energy or get yourself into the right time zone.
And the apartment itself is spacious enough that you can chill out on the sofa, catching back up with the news after an international flight or getting your fix before you head off overseas.
I expect an efficient, easy, corporate experience from Quest apartment hotels, and the Quest Mascot absolutely met my expectations.
The only downside of the Quest was the glacial, wired-only Internet, so make sure you're happy travelling with your own connection.