Sydney Airport Sleep Pods + 13 Spots for Sleep

As the busiest airport in Australia handling almost 30 million passengers anually, and top 50 in the world, Sydney Airport has made efforts to install innovative sleep solutions within its terminals such as sleep pods as part of its 20-year strategic plan.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Sydney Airport (SYD) was ranked among the top five airports globally for managing 40–50 million passengers annually. Additionally, it was voted the 20th best airport worldwide at the Skytrax World Airport Awards.

Why Consider Paid Sleep Options at Sydney Airport?

Given the extensive feedback from the reviews, it appears there are no ideal locations for sleeping within Sydney’s International Airport. The airport practices a closing policy between 11 PM and early morning, forcing travelers out of the terminal. Those seeking rest often resort to uncomfortable benches with armrests that make lying down impossible, or the floor in areas not designed for sleeping.

Notably, a recurring makeshift solution mentioned in several reviews is the covered area in the rental carpark, where there are aluminum benches and a toilet facility. This spot, while far from ideal, offered a modicum of shelter and seating in an otherwise inhospitable environment.

The temperature difference noted between inside and outside the terminal emphasizes the need for warm clothing or blankets for anyone considering this as a rest option.

You Can’t Sleep at Sydney Airport – It Closes Overnight

Unfortunately, you cannot sleep at Sydney Airport at night as it recently started enforcing a government-mandated curfew from the Sydney Airport Curfew Act of 1995 which requires the airport to close for the night and for it to not be accessible to the public overnight.

Terminal 1 which handles international passengers is open the longest from 2:30 Am to 11:00 PM and Terminals 2 and 3 handling domestic Qantas passengers open from 4:00 AM to 11:00 PM. On the official website, the airport indicates that no passenger is allowed within its terminals and recommends that layover passengers go to in-airport or nearby hotels. According to its official website, customs operations for departing passengers commence daily at 4 AM (0400).

This is why sleeping in compact sleep spaces or regular-size hotel rooms are attractive options to fliers through this airport.

Sleep at Sydney Airport Aerotel Sleep Pods?

Sydney Airport has installed 15 sleep pods operated by Aerotel in the form of mini-suite rooms similar to those offered by YotelAir in Heathrow and Minute Suites in JFK. The design of sleep pods at SYD is akin to a tiny hotel room and is not similar in design to capsule-style sleep pods as those in Perth designed by GoSleep.

The introduction of sleep pods in SYD is part of its 2039 Master Plan to unveil ambitious development projects, including the introduction of a wide array of hotel accommodations designed to enhance convenience for passengers.

While the Master Plan itself did not indicate that sleep pods or compact sleep solutions would be installed soon, it did communicate that innovative sleep solutions were in the pipes. In 2022, 3 years after the launch of the 2019-2039 Strategic Master Plan, Aerotel announced the launch of its sleep pods in the International/Terminal 1.

Snapshot of the Sydney Airport Masterplan for North West Sector indicating space for hotel development

There is a possibility that more innovative sleep solutions will be added shortly. The Strategic plan outlines the creation of up to 120,000 square meters of floor space dedicated to rest. Excluding Terminal 1, the North West Sector of the airport is poised to support a hotel complex ranging from 200 to 500 rooms. Additionally, the North East Sector—excluding Terminals 2 and 3— is slated for a hotel development that could accommodate between 500 to 900 rooms, marking a significant upgrade in passenger amenities and comfort.

This is a great opportunity for brands such as YotelAir and Minute Suites to expand to this destination and believe the Airport’s 2039 Master Plan will welcome innovative solutions that will efficiently utilize space while enhancing passenger comfort during layovers.

Aerotel Cabin Options:

Aerotel, the innovative in-airport sleep pod hotel brand developed by Plaza Premium Group (PPG), is now a feature of Sydney Airport. As the first facility of its kind in Australia, Aerotel Sydney provides a modern and compact lodging option located directly within the T1 International terminal’s arrivals hall. This strategic positioning ensures seamless access to the airport’s amenities, making it an ideal choice for passengers in transit or those with early flight schedules.

Aerotel Sydney features a selection of 15 rooms tailored to meet the needs of both solo travelers and couples. The room categories include:

  • Solo Plus: Equipped with a single bed and a private bathroom, this room is ideal for solo travelers seeking a quiet and comfortable space to rest.
  • Double Plus: Featuring a double bed and a private bathroom, this option caters perfectly to couples or solo travelers desiring extra space.

One of the standout conveniences of Aerotel Sydney is the flexibility in booking, offering rooms by the hour to accommodate varying layover times. This feature is particularly beneficial for passengers arriving early for their flights or those needing a quick refresh upon landing.

After a restful night’s sleep, guests can enjoy a full buffet breakfast, and with just a short walk upstairs, they find themselves ready to check in for their departure. Similarly, weary travelers arriving in Sydney can utilize the hotel’s facilities to shower, snack, and rest before continuing their onward journey.

Aerotel Sydney not only provides comfort and convenience but also enhances the travel experience by ensuring passengers leave refreshed and ready for their next destination.

Amenities to Expect:

  • Shower and personal amenities: Includes shampoo, bath gel, body lotion, dental kit, bath towel, and hairdryer
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • Access to Freeview TV platform (Double Plus)
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Wake-up call service
  • Iron and ironing board

Aerotel Sydney is conveniently situated inside Sydney Airport’s T1 International terminal, specifically at Level 1 Arrivals B, outside the airport restricted area. This prime location is just one level below the international check-in desks, facilitating a quick and smooth departure process for international flights.

Check rates here

Getting to Aerotel Pods at this Airport

  • From Within Sydney Airport:
    • If you’re already at the International Terminal (T1), Aerotel Sydney is easily accessible on foot within the terminal.
    • For those arriving via Sydney Rail, the terminal is within walking distance from the train station.
  • From Domestic Terminals (T2 & T3):
    • Passengers arriving at Sydney’s Domestic Terminals can reach the International Terminal by taking Sydney Rail or one of the airline-operated transfer buses. Once you arrive at T1, proceed to Level 1 Arrivals B.
Map Showing Location of Aerotel Sleep Pods in Sydney Airport T1

Entering Aerotel Sydney:

  • During Airport Operating Hours:
    • The entrance to Aerotel Sydney is located inside the Arrivals Hall. After you clear arrivals passport control and customs, look for signage directing you to Aerotel.
  • After Hours:
    • Access to Aerotel after regular airport hours is via an external entrance located opposite the taxi rank, near the external stairs. A doorbell is available to alert reception of your arrival.

13 Locations to Sleep at SYD – Free Alternatives to Sleep Pod:

Overnight Waiting Area near the Train Station (T1)

Description: This designated area is specifically for overnight passengers. It offers basic seating with limited comfort and is accessible only with a valid passport and boarding pass.
Amenities: Basic seating without armrests, proximity to restrooms and vending machines.
Tips: Bring a sleeping mat or travel pillow for added comfort, as the seating is hard and space can be crowded. Earplugs and an eye mask are recommended due to noise and light exposure.

Level 3, Near the Showers (T1)

Description: A quieter spot near the showers, offering a more secluded sleeping option away from heavy foot traffic.
Amenities: Access to shower facilities, relatively peaceful environment.
Tips: Ideal for those looking for a quieter environment. Ensure to bring your own sleeping gear.

Near the Prayer Room (T1)

Description: This vestigial hallway close to the prayer room is carpeted and has power outlets, making it a comfortable choice for a short rest.
Amenities: Carpeted area, power outlets.
Tips: Arrive early to secure a spot and use earplugs to mitigate noise from nearby foot traffic.

Near Gate 14 (Domestic Terminal)

Description: Located on the 2nd floor (administration level), this area offers a shower facility and a relatively quieter space for resting.
Amenities: Shower facility, quiet environment.
Tips: Suitable for those needing a shower and a quick nap. Bring soap and towels.

Observation Deck (T1)

Description: Offers a vantage point for plane spotting with some seating available. It is accessible through the Terrace Bar or the passageway near check-in counter B.
Amenities: Seating with a view of the tarmac.
Tips: Best for short rests and relaxation rather than sleeping. Suitable for those who enjoy plane spotting.

Car Rental Area (T1)

Description: Provides some sheltered benches, though not ideal for long waits, offering basic protection from the elements.
Amenities: Sheltered benches, basic protection from weather.
Tips: Bring warm clothing or a blanket to stay comfortable in cold weather.

McDonald’s near Domestic Terminal

Description: This 24-hour location provides free WiFi and cushioned seating, making it a decent option for a more comfortable wait.
Amenities: Free WiFi, cushioned seating, 24-hour food availability.
Tips: Arrive early to secure a good spot as it can get crowded. Ideal for those looking for food and warmth.

Between Check-in Counters A and K (T1)

Description: Landside area near the general check-in that includes shower facilities and some seating.
Amenities: Shower facilities, seating.
Tips: Good for a quick refresh before continuing your journey. Bring personal toiletries.

Near the Meeting Point (T1)

Description: An area often used by travelers waiting for connecting flights. It has some seating but can get crowded quickly.
Amenities: Seating, close to restrooms.
Tips: Suitable for short-term waiting. Bring a blanket for warmth.

Terrace Bar (T1)

Description: Located landside, this area has a designated smoking section and some seating.
Amenities: Smoking area, seating.
Tips: Best for short breaks rather than overnight stays.

Train Station Entrance (T1)

Description: Overnight area near the escalator to the train station. It has basic seating and some power outlets.
Amenities: Basic seating, power outlets.
Tips: Bring a sleeping mat for more comfort. Earplugs and eye masks can help with noise and light.

Near Gate 31 (T1)

Description: An airside location with shower facilities nearby, providing a spot for quick naps.
Amenities: Shower facilities, seating.
Tips: Ideal for those needing a shower and rest before their flight.

Near Gate 51 (T1)

Description: Another airside location with male-only showers, suitable for freshening up and a brief rest.
Amenities: Male-only shower facilities, seating.
Tips: Bring toiletries for shower use and consider earplugs for noise reduction.

These locations provide various options for resting at Sydney Airport, accommodating different needs from quick naps to more extended waits.

Sleep at Hotels Inside Sydney Airport:

1. Ibis Budget Sydney Airport

  • Location: Minutes away from T1 International and T2 & T3 Domestic terminals.
  • Services: Offers a shuttle service between 05:00-23:00hrs, free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, LCD TV, digital alarm clock, private ensuite, and onsite parking.
  • Convenience: A 13-minute journey to Sydney’s CBD, close to dining and retail options.
  • Rates: Starting from $81.
  • Ideal for: Travelers seeking affordable, basic accommodations close to the airport terminals.

2. Mantra Sydney Airport

  • Location: Conveniently close to T1 International and T2 & T3 Domestic terminals.
  • Amenities: Stylish rooms with free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, LCD TV with FOXTEL channels, deluxe showers with rain shower heads, 24-hour reception, restaurant with all-day dining, and a kids’ play area.
  • Services: 24-hour room service available.
  • Rates: Starting from $149.
  • Ideal for: Passengers looking for a more luxurious stay with contemporary facilities.

3. Rydges Sydney Airport

  • Location: Steps away from the International Terminal Check-in desks, with easy access to Sydney’s CBD and public transportation.
  • Facilities: 318 rooms and suites, many with runway views, complimentary Wi-Fi, Chrome Casting, 24-hour gym, library with computer access, and several dining options including a rooftop bar.
  • Services: Special day-use rates, 24-hour in-room dining, and event spaces with state-of-the-art AV equipment.
  • Dining: Includes Smithy’s Bar, The Ascot restaurant, and Cloud 9 Rooftop Bar offering a range of cuisines and drinks.
  • Rates: Available on request.
  • Ideal for: Travelers and business guests looking for full-service accommodations with excellent amenities and dining options.

You can check rates of Aerotel as well here.

Other Budget Hotel Options Near Sydney Under $100:

  1. CKS Sydney Airport Hotel
  2. Meriton Suites Waterloo
  3. Meriton Suites Coward Street, Mascot
  4. Cambridge Lodge Guest House

Review of Sydney Airport Sleep Quality:

Pros

  • Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the airport, which can aid in passing the time or staying connected.
  • Certain sections of the airport offer adequate seating and power outlets for charging devices.
  • Some areas are less frequented by staff and passengers, allowing for quieter spots.
  • The presence of bathrooms and showers provides basic amenities for freshening up.

Cons

  • The airport is reported to close at night, forcing passengers to leave the terminal buildings and find alternative places to rest outside, often in uncomfortable and cold conditions.
  • Seating arrangements inside the terminal are described as uncomfortable for sleeping, with many seats having armrests that prevent lying down.
  • Reports of inadequate customer service, including rude staff and insufficient assistance for passengers stranded overnight.
  • Limited food and beverage options during night hours, with most establishments closing early.
  • Security checks and the need to show tickets and identification during the night can disrupt sleep or comfort.
  • The overall environment during the night hours is described as unwelcoming, cold, and unsuitable for restful sleep, with some passengers feeling treated with a lack of dignity and care.
Image of Nathan Kip Rotich

Nathan helps travelers find the most comfortable sleep setups during layovers, from cozy airport hotels to futuristic sleep pods. His insights aim to transform layovers into rejuvenating sleepcations, offering travelers an alternative to costly hotels and uncomfortable benches.