St Regis brings old-school glamour to booming boutique sector

An international hotel brand offering butler service and a signature ‘Bloody Mary’ will debut in Australia in 2022.

The St Regis Melbourne, part of the St Regis Hotels and Resorts brand, promises “impeccable service and exquisite experiences” – including butlers to personalise each stay and cater to guests’ every whim.

The announcement comes as new figures from Colliers International show boutique accommodation has ballooned from three percent of the local hotel scene to a massive ten percent in just six years.

The sector, which puts individualism and design at the centre of its appeal, is booming.

That growth is even more impressive when, according to Colliers International’s Karen Wales, the three per cent classed as boutique hotels back in 2012 mainly comprised lodges in regional areas, with boutique accom as we know it a “miniscule” part of the national picture six years ago.

“That’s where we saw the boutique properties previously, but now we’re starting to see it (differently); the definition has changed over time,” she said.

“I think we’re seeing more and more people looking at this style of hotel and that’s what’s coming through the pipeline.”

As larger hotels scramble to create boutique appeal through differentiation, The St Regis Melbourne certainly fits the brief of chic and individual.

According to owners Marriott, the “instant icon” will be a stylish addition to the city’s skyline, offering “refined food and beverage offerings” including the St. Regis Bar, which will serve up the local rendition of the brand’s signature cocktail.

Interiors for the hotel, housed in the Flinders Bank building on the corner of Spencer and Flinders Streets, will be created by interior design studio, Chada.

Each of the 168 guestrooms and suites, spread across levels 2 to 11 of the 33-storey tower, will offer views of the Yarra River or city skyline.  

“This signing is an indication of the investment community’s confidence in the Australian hotel market, where we are seeing a growing demand for premium lodgings,” said Richard Crawford, of Marriott International.

Australia’s boutique accommodation trend is headed by ground-breaking style icons like Sydney’s Collectionist Hotel in Camperdown and Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour.

While it encompasses all levels of accom from luxury to budget (pod hotels are in the mix), the popularity of individualised styling has led major players with numerous hotels to develop their own sub-brands of lifestyle accommodation.

Connie Wu, executive director of the St Regis Melboune’s owners, Century Group Aus, said: “From the outset, we knew we wanted to create a hotel for today’s discerning and sophisticated traveller and the St. Regis brand’s timeless, tasteful and luxurious offering is the perfect fit.

“We are confident this hotel will become an architectural benchmark in the region and the jewel in the crown at Flinders Bank.”

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