Novotel Auckland Airport Hero

Building a new tourism asset: Novotel Auckland Airport

In 2009, a joint venture was signed between Accor Hospitality, Tainui Group Holdings and Auckland International Airport to develop and operate the world-class, 260 room Novotel Auckland Airport in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Auckland Airport handles over 13M passengers each year. This is projected to grow to 24M by 2025. With more than 70% of international visitors to New Zealand arriving or departing from Auckland, the development of the Novotel was strategic for the country’s short and long-term tourism needs.

As the first building that most international visitors see on their arrival into New Zealand, the Novotel Auckland Airport had to be much more than a hotel – it had to encapsulate as much as possible about the country in its physical design and appearance.


Tainui Group Holdings, Accor Hospitality and Auckland International Airport’s aim:

  • To build an elegant, contemporary 4-star hotel in the airport terminal precinct to meet demand from the tourism industry and travellers.

What we did

During the tender process, we put forward a refined design that featured programme benefits. This was favoured and, in turn, adopted by the design team.

We were awarded the contract for the construction of the Novotel Auckland Airport on a lump sum tender basis. Work commenced on 1 December 2009.

We built this striking 4-star hotel within the existing airport car park space at the front of the main international terminal. The tight timeframe and fast-track nature of the programme required thorough planning, preparation and a team approach.  We were able to construct the building and surrounding landscape on time. The finished hotel comprises:

  • 12 levels
  • 263 bedrooms
  • A gymnasium
  • A 150-seat restaurant and bar
  • 11 meeting rooms
  • A conference/function room for 300 people
  • An airline crew lounge
  • A stunning 10 metre high living wall in the ground floor reception area.

We were also contracted to complete all siteworks associated with the new hotel, including:

  • Excavation and drainage works within the existing carpark
  • Construction of kerbs and channels, honed concrete walls, basalt paving, exposed aggregate concrete, asphalt and line-marking
  • Fitting of architectural light fittings
  • Design and installation of carpark barrier arms
  • Soft landscaping across an extensive area.

We worked closely with both the client and architects (Warren & Mahoney) to value engineer the soft landscape concepts prior to installation. We used our horticultural knowledge and experience to coordinate a solution which met both budget and aesthetic requirements. This included relocating existing mature Pohutakawa from around the airport into the site. This required careful programming and road closures at night.

Unique challenges:

Undertaking a project of this size in close proximity to a busy international airport was challenging and required close, regular coordination with the airport operations staff.

The site’s location and size posed multiple challenges including:

  • Working around existing services (many unmarked) in a heavily trafficked area - the airport operates around the clock.
  • The logistics of working around multiple subcontractors requiring access to the site and the storage of materials within the siteworks area.

The outcome:

Since opening on May 27 2011, the Novotel has transformed the airport district. Located a mere 50 metres from the international terminal, the hotel immediately provides a flavour of New Zealand. The V-like steel supports have been designed to replicate the bow of the Maori waka canoes that first arrived in the area many hundreds of years ago, and a variety of motifs within the hotel reference both traditional designs and New Zealand’s flora and fauna.