Six gleaming airstream trailers perched on a Flinders Lane rooftop, with retro tangerine décor and pale pink accents, make a fine first impression. But it’s the quintessential novelty of Notel that is most alluring. Young enthusiast James Fry, owner of Fry’s Fast Park, has realised a dream that he concocted two years ago and cemented during a trip to the US. Fry deflected multi-million dollar offers from others who wanted to develop the space atop the inner city car park he’s owned for ten years with his dad. Instead, he’s invested more than a million dollars in trans-locating and sprucing up the 1970’s airstreams.
Fry says “It’s prime real estate and after having a million ideas on what to do with the space, I think with Notel (“not a hotel’), we’ve nailed it.”
It’s a stylish and super fun concept. You use a smart phone app as an entry key after booking online. You munch on the bourbon and bacon popcorn or hand-made chocolate goodies while sipping on craft Shiki beer from the Lucas Group or even piccolos of Paul Louis bubbles while nestling in the comfy Queen size bed at one end of the trailer. The other end, thank goodness for smart design, has an in-built toilet, basin and shower – that’s where the bulk of the “tangerine theme” shines. An I-pad Plus pumped full of Netflix and free Wi Fi is attached to the wall next to the mini-fridge but can also be re-located to the trailer’s ceiling – above the bed. There are cushions on a bench that could fit five visiting mates or sleep a couple of kids.
Each suite has sourced products from local Melbourne businesses from the Aura home bed linen and bathroom towels to the Crown posture mattress. Nice touch.
There’s no restaurant but there’s talk of Uber Eats delivery soon enough. Of course, just metres away is an array of coffee shops, bars and eateries. Easy. Or pack a picnic of sorts and dine-in.
Each airstream has a simple outdoor space with white chairs and table and cactus. The communal area is a vibrant red with a backdrop of graffiti walls. It’s unique. And while there’s no concierge and access is via a grungy flight of stairs, there is someone on call, 24/7. I see romantic escapades, milestone birthdays, proposals, weddings and novel getaways ahead.