A new era of hotel development is underway in Australia, with 300 new or upgraded hotels scheduled to open by 2025. Australia’s capital cities and regions have experienced an unprecedented wave of hotel openings in recent months and will see the peak of development in the coming years.
While previous phases of Australian hotel development have focused on attracting big name international hotel chains, the current one is characterised by a rise of lifestyle and boutique hotels, reflecting changing preferences.
Lifestyle hotel brands are synonymous with experiential travel, incorporating stylised design elements which reflect the local destination – whether that be a trendy city laneway, picturesque winery or secluded beachside resort. Sydney has led the way with urban boutique hotels which provide individual and authentic travel experiences, with reimagined industrial buildings being converted into experiential destinations for guests. These include Sydney’s Paramount House Hotel, developed on the former headquarters of Paramount Picture Studios, and the Little Albion, located on the site of a restored former convent.
Visitors to Perth are also seeing the fruits of a decade-long urban development boom which has reinvigorated the city and placed it on the global map – Forbes and the NY Times have ranked Perth 11th in the world’s top 14 destinations for 2019.
For guests seeking the boutique, Perth’s Alex Hotel has been charming visitors to the bohemian village of Northbridge, working on the principle that a hotel should be like a home. Nearby, the much-lauded COMO The Treasury, developed on the former site of Perth’s old State Buildings, offers one of the city’s most elegant and stylish stays.
A number of new, luxurious five-star hotels have also revitalised the city in recent months, including the Westin Perth and QT Perth. The Westin, located in the new Hibernian Place Precinct, leads an invigoration of the city’s East End, while a short walk away is the 18-storey QT Perth. There is also significant anticipation around the openings of the AUD500 million Ritz-Carlton and AUD100 million Dorsett Hotel, the former which is set to open in mid-2019.
It’s not only Australia’s capital cities where hotels are boasting authentic designs and offerings which complement the local environment. The Mornington Peninsula’s 5-star Jackalope Hotel, located just over an hour's drive from Melbourne, has attracted international accolades for its uniqueness in both destination and design. Set on a winery, the hotel offers 45 stylish rooms, a seven-metre infinity pool and spa overlooking the vines, in addition to world-class dining facilities and event spaces.
And it's not just hotels. The d’Arenberg Cube in McLaren Vale, located less than an hour from Adelaide, is a five-storey multi-function building set among vines. The Cube has become an attraction in its own right, providing an experience which excites all the senses via a wine sensory room, virtual fermenter, 360-degree video room and many other tactile experiences.
Most recently, Baillie Lodges has announced its plans to create a luxury wilderness retreat on Tasmania’s southeast coast, scheduled for completion in 2020. These plans will complement the group’s existing offerings of intimate luxury lodges in unique wilderness destinations – Lord Howe Island’s Capella Lodge, Kangaroo Island’s Southern Ocean Lodge and Uluru’s Longitude 131. In 2019, Baillie Lodges entered into a joint venture with US-based private equity firm KSL Capital Partners, announcing the Silky Oaks Lodge in Queensland’s Daintree Rainforest, located just over an hour from Cairns, as the first property to join the group.