Tricked Out

New lease on life for Airstream trailers at rooftop NOTEL

Trailer parks are typically found on the outskirts of town. But not NOTEL, which consists of six restored and tricked out 1970s-era Airstream trailers sitting atop a parking garage in downtown Melbourne, Australia.

Every new wrinkle I have and every bag under my eye has been worth it.

This unusual rooftop lodging and event space is the brainchild/obsession of James Fry, who has owned the three-level garage with his father for the past decade.

NOTEL | Melbourne, Australia | James Fry

A curvaceous and comfy interior of one of the NOTEL’s trailers. Photo: Andrew Curtis

“I had a million ideas of what I wanted to do with the space,” says the younger Fry. “I tossed around rooftop cinemas, restaurants and even a pool, but I wanted something totally different and something that would excite everyone. I feel with NOTEL we’ve nailed it. This prime real estate in the heart of the city that will bring people into Melbourne.”

Fry traveled to the U.S. to find the needed trailers (most are from California) at a cost of about $70,000 each. They were gutted, shipped by boat to Australia, and then hauled overland to the base of their new home, where they were lifted by crane onto the top of the garage.

NOTEL | Melbourne, Australia | James Fry

Pink partitions cordon off the private ensuite bathroom in a NOTEL trailer. Photo: Andrew Curtis

Next, they underwent a restoration and update involving several local individuals and firms, including interiors by Edwards Moore; planning by architects FMSA; branding by self titled; and marketing/media by Catchy Media Marketing and Management.

The resulting trailers are outfitted with queen-size bed and private ensuite bathrooms. And the complex offers free parking for guests—one of the perks of NOTEL’s location atop a parking garage, Fry notes.

Two years in the making, NOTEL’s owner is understandably proud of his creation. “Every new wrinkle I have and every bag under my eye has been worth it,” he says.