In a field of out-there new hotels, is this Australia’s quirkiest?

A unique tapering hotel complete with its own gin distillery, lavender farm, maze and amphitheatre is to be build in Victoria’s Yarra Valley.

Entrepeneur Martin Barnes has signed a deal with the InterContintental Group (IHG) to develop Australia’s second voco hotel in the wine region 90 kms east of Melbourne.

The new brand, launched in June with the announcement of its first property on the Gold Coast, is marketed under the tab ‘reliably different’. 

THe 170-room voco Yarra Valley will be the first globally-branded upscale hotel in the region and according to IHG, will encompass a “quirky design that will stand out to anyone passing by”, rising to six storeys at one end and tapering to one storey at the opposite end.  The development will also include 20 cabins.

It will open in 2021, with a host of unique features including an on-site gin distillery, a lavender farm, mirrored maze, an amphitheatre cut from natural ground and a provedore that serves and sells local Yarra Valley produce.

It will also feature the more mundane conference and meeting facilities, a gym, bars, family restaurant and kids’ entertainment facilities.

Mr Barnes, managing director of Barnes Capital, said: “As one of Australia’s premier wine regions, the last thing people want when they arrive in Yarra Valley is a vanilla experience.

“That’s why voco is the perfect fit, giving business and leisure guests a great, globally-branded, upscale hotel that guests can depend on, but that’s different enough to be fun.”

Abhijay Sandilya, IHG’s senior director of development for Australasia, said: “voco delivers a guest experience that stands out, with touches of charm and memorable, distinctive and dependable hallmarks, so we can’t think of a better partner for this new hotel than Martyn Barnes.

“The signing of voco Yarra Valley continues IHG’s ambition to take our brands into regional markets, including suburban micro-markets close to Australian capital cities.”

Aside from its famous wineries, Yarra Valley attractions include the Dandenong Ranges National Park, the Tarrawarra Museum of Art and the Healesville Sanctuary animal haven. Its also also the gateway to Mount Buller, Victoria’s best known ski field.

IHG  has 48 hotels operating under four brands in Australasia, including InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express. It has another 22 in the pipeline, including Hotel Indigo Brisbane Fortitude Valley and Hotel Indigo Melbourne Docklands.

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