Quest Docklands: Renovation zeroes in on the business guest

Melbourne’s Quest Docklands Serviced Apartments has recently undergone a stunning new refurbishment to benefit its ever-growing lineup of business guests.  

Owned by the dedicated team that is Michael and Anne Hibberd, Quest Docklands has been in operation since 2005 when it was one of the first businesses in the Docklands precinct. Michael and Anne have owned the property since it was a green field site and, according to general manager Brendan du Kamp, “have done a wonderful job running the business and making sure that funding was available for the refurbishment”.
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With a $2 million budget, the extensive renovations were able to completely reinvent the hotel’s appearance, creating a beautiful new environment for guests and staff to enjoy. January of this year witnessed the launch of all 133 freshly rejuvenated apartments that now feature open plan living space, private balconies, fully equipped kitchens and laundry facilities, stunning contemporary furnishings, custom reverse cycle air conditioning, iPod docking stations, broadband Internet, top of the line television sets equipped with DVD players and Foxtel, and much more.

The property now also offers a valet dry cleaning service, a business centre, complimentary DVD hire, access to their YMCA health club, use of conference facilities and a pantry shopping service.
The vast refurbishment has also enabled a breathtaking restyling of the property’s reception, lobby and common areas, as well as the completion of their new business centre, now appointed with upgraded meeting facilities and much faster wifi Internet connections.

Jodi Beare, senior architectural consultant with Godfrey Hirst, worked closely with Quest Docklands on the refurbishment, selecting new carpets for the property renovations.

“The brief was simple,” according to Jodi Beare, “the fit out had to be upmarket and sophisticated, easy to maintain and meet the budget requirements.” Ultimately the process ran smoothly in their eyes, where “the extensive design capability of our designer jet technology was used to create a unique carpet that met the above criteria”.

The resulting effect is a fantastic looking carpet with “great appearance retention and cleanability, perfect for a hotel environment”. Quest Docklands 1

Overall, Godfrey Hirst is very pleased with the outcome “but more importantly”, Jodi Beare states, “so is the client”.

The 18-month long renovation was initiated in efforts to improve the quality of stay for business  guests in particular. According to Mr du Kamp, “The majority of our guests are travelling for business and our offering needs to provide a balance between a comfortable home away from home as well as providing the facilities they require to work productively and efficiently”.

Increasing the spaciousness and functionality of the apartment layouts and self-contained facilities as well as working to improve the business services available at Quest Docklands enabled this to happen, driving the encouragement of more business guests returning to the property.

Major high rise developments have recently spread through the centre of Melbourne’s Dockland precinct where Quest Docklands Serviced Apartments is located. The hotel recently outlined some of these developments: “Office buildings due for completion in mid-2013 and 2014 include the new 15-storey office tower housing the operations of the National Australia Bank at 700 Bourke St, a 20 storey office tower at 740 Bourke St that will be occupied by Medibank and the completion of Walker Corporation’s Collins Square development with Commonwealth Bank, Australian Tax Office, Pearson Group and Marsh & McLennan Companies being the major tenants.” Quest Docklands 3

This huge growth in local business has stimulated demand for corporate guest accommodation in the surrounding areas and thanks to its fresh new facilities, Quest Docklands has risen to meet the needs of this newly vast and increasing amount of guests. Mr du Kamp elaborates, “The newly restyled apartments with enhanced business facilities will further strengthen our position as a premium accommodation provider in the precinct at a time when demand is ever-climbing.”
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In this way, further enhancements to the hotel include: new colour schemes, custom designed interior decor and larger work desks in every apartment; brand new Apple Mac computers connected to printing and copying facilities in the completed business centre; and new data projection with AV equipment available in the renovated conference facilities.

In a show of community outreach, Quest Docklands also opted to donate all of the replaced furniture, bedding and electrical equipment, appliances such as televisions, stereos and miscellaneous furniture  to the St Vincent de Paul Society. This simple act ion gave this society the option either to use and distribute all the items to families and individuals who require welfare assistance or to sell off, or alternatively auction off, some of the goods through the Vinnies Centres, where profits would also go toward funding charitable work within the local community. This caring attitude is something Quest Docklands constantly seeks to reflect in its guest service. Tony Tame, state president of the St Vincent de Paul Society exclaimed, “We were delighted when Brendan came to us with this offer. A donation this size of goods that are great quality is something that doesn’t come along very often and something we can put to excellent use.”

Evidently, Quest Docklands is a unique property in that it has managed to create a homely atmosphere for its corporate guests whilst also providing the ultimate environment in which to conduct effective business. The team behind Quest Docklands clearly understands its appeal and has closely interpreted the surrounding area and local community to which it belongs, in order to both maximise its own appeal and ensure that it operates responsibly within its community. In this respect it is certainly an accommodation property to inspire others.  

Refurbishment challenge for Quest Docklands

Furn-niche was appointed to the refurbishment of the Quest Docklands in 2011 and worked closely with the client through all stages of the interior planning and furnishing design and rollout.

This program included the reception and foyer upgrade, the creation of a business centre and the interiors and furnishings of the 133 apartments. With an extensive background in both refurbished and new serviced apartment projects, Furn-niche has been responsible for re-developments at the Grand Mercure Flinders Lane Apartments, Melbourne for the Accor Vacation Group and the Hyatt Regency Coolum in Queensland.

The company also has a stable of Quest new apartment developments completed including Sydney Olympic Park and Breakfast Creek in Brisbane in 2012 and currently in production of a second new development in Mackay, Queensland. Quest refurbishment projects include boutique Jolimont and St Kilda Bayside, Melbourne and Cavenagh in the Darwin city precinct.

The Docklands property sits in a key inner city Melbourne location attracting a strong corporate clientele weekdays teamed with significant weekend leisure and sporting crowd. This corporate and leisure mix dictated a refurbishment direction that is also a combination of the corporate and more contemporary.

Furn-niche, in conjunction with the client, developed a design theme inspired by Italian contemporary design tailored to the requirements of both the corporate traveller and the leisure guest. Work commenced with the foyer and reception refurbishment. To minimise disruption and to meet an event deadline this fittings and furnishings redevelopment was completed in three weeks. Following on from this new face of Quest Docklands was the interiors planning for the corridors and rooms. All Quest serviced apartment needs have both been met and enhanced with a fresh, modern and stylish refurbishment plan.

The Quest Docklands furniture range takes its cues from the sophistication of its surroundings. The warm monochromatic colour scheme has been carried through from the foyer into the apartments while the playful colour splashes that define the precincts architecture are represented in the interior as tonal colour harmonies introducing warmth to the clean lines of the furniture. The underlying tones and colours are appropriately targeted to the Docklands guest profile.

Quest Docklands has always been a model of excellence in the Quest portfolio and the current refurbishment program raised this bar to an even higher level going into the property’s ninth year of operation.

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