InterContinental, Sebel and Rydges making accom headlines

A $203 million facelift of Sydney’s landmark InterContinental Hotel has been approved by NSW planners despite the objection of the City of Sydney.

The major upgrade of the five-star luxury hotel includes plans for a ballroom above the adjoining Transport House, an extension the NSW Independent Planning Committee ruled would not jeopardise the “exceptional heritage significance” of the building.

The InterContinental Sydney incorporates the 1880s-built former NSW Treasury building.

Aside from creating a 900-capacity ‘grand ballroom’, owners Mulpha Australia plan to extend the hotel’s rooftop club lounge, incorporate a wellness centre and upgrade all guest rooms and public areas, including Heritage-listed lobby features. The refurb will result in a reduction of rooms from 509 to 492.

While the City of Sydney objected to the development on visual and heritage grounds, the commission judged it “would not have unacceptable impacts on views” and that overshadowing on the nearby Botanic Gardens would be “minor”.

Sebel sale

Sebel’s Canberra hotel has sold for $48 million, less than eight months after opening.

Real estate investors DWS and the Pro-invest group bought the Zapari-designed Sebel Canberra Civic in an off-market deal, shrugging off the city’s recent low occupancy figures caused by the bushfires to describe the property as a strong performer.

The 11-level hotel encompasses 144 serviced apartments in a CBD location on London Circuit.

JLL Hotels & Hospitality managing director Mark Durran, who negotiated the deal, told Commerical Real Estate: “It offers attractive yields relative to other capital cities, with a positive long-term growth profile for the hotel market.

“Taking into account the supply pipeline for the city and increased international and domestic demand, Canberra is expected to see continued growth in trading performance over the medium to long term.”

Rydges refurb

Rydges Sydney Airport has opened the doors on a suite of newly refurbished public spaces.

The Ascot restaurant and Smithy’s Bar offer quality food and drink options “181 steps” from the airport’s terminals, the hotel group says.

Designers Akin Atelier used sustainably-sourced Tasmanian oak timber, earth-toned rendered walls and local marble in the lobby to reflect the Australian environment, while “utilising floor-to-ceiling windows to allow natural light to flood the space”.

Inspiration for The Ascot and Smithy’s bar comes from the heritage of the area, which was a racecourse before it became an airport.

Executive chef Michael Box, formerly from Gowings, QT Sydney, brings “a passion for locally sourced ingredients and produce to the hotel’s food offering, which is sure to delight guests” the hotel group says.

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