Boutique $100m hotel for Sydney as study shows Aussies opting to holiday at home

A family-owned former college in the heart of Sydney is set to become a $100 million short-stay boutique hotel.

The existing facades of the old ECA Graduate Institute at 55-59 Regent Street will be retained as the property is transformed into a 119-room hotel with six ground floor retail shops.

The site is adjacent to Fraser’s $2 billion Central Park development and is opposite Central Station.

Known as The Regent Hotel, it will be designed as an extension of the successful Spice Alley under the guidance of Sydney architecture firm Place Studio.

“New developments can no longer be a built for purpose development, but rather, must adapt to the an ever changing social and economic environment,” Place Studio’s James Alexander-Hatziplis said.

“The ground floor here has proposed just that level of flexibility with street fronting tenancies and the opportunity to bleed uses within the common circulation core of the development.”

The property is owned by Wang Management, a family-owned consortium which bought the Chippendale address in 1994 and operates two other hotels in Sydney, the Posh Hotel in Chippendale and the Sydney Boutique Hotel in Darlinghurst.

The development is the latest in a slew of hotels proposed for the NSW capital as new research shows Aussies are increasingly shunning overseas holidays in favour of quality hotels in metro areas Down Under.

Travel analysts Kayak studied the search habits of Australian holidaymakers, traditionally renowned for their penchant for foreign travel, to discover the most frequently-researched destinations.

It found 56 per cent of recent hotel searches were for domestic destinations, with Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane top of the list for the most popular destinations to visit for a short stay. Singapore, Bangkok and Seoul were the only overseas destinations in the top ten.

Melbourne and Sydney also made the list of favourite destinations for visits lasting more than two weeks, with Bali, New York, and Honolulu representing international contenders in the top ten.

The research also shows that while Aussies are down to earth about our choice of accommodation, they’re not prepared to slum it.

The most popular accommodation category is four-star, with 46 percent of Aussies searching for four-star hotels compared to 22 percent searching for five-star luxury – and a measly one per cent actively searching for one-star hotels.

Boutique hotels, accommodation with a spa, great design and luxury elements all feature on the list of desired amenities.

Aussies also have an eye on practicality, with budget-friendly, airport proximity and business-friendly venues all scoring high for desirability.

And they are most likely to research hotels on a Monday, with a browsing average high of 4.5 minutes on the first day of the working week.

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