Melbourne may have been rocked by controversial lockdowns during the COVID crisis but the accommodation industry is ready for a surge of new business when travel restrictions end.
The recent opening of the luxury W Hotel Melbourne, following the launch of a W Hotel in Brisbane, comes as marvellous Melbourne gears up for what industry leaders say will be an eventual tourism bonanza.
Melbourne has 23 luxury hotels recently opened or coming onto the market, with 4775 new hotel rooms on offer.
Dougal Hollis, the general manager of Tourism Accommodation Australia (Vic), says that room number represents a 14 percent increase in total Melbourne hotel stock, in just two years.
The luxury hotels are rising across Melbourne at what would seem one of the worst possible times for the Australian travel industry.
But Mr Hollis says investors have a “well-founded confidence in the Melbourne hotel market.”
“Melbourne is a key Australian gateway city with a stable political climate, offering historically strong returns on investment,” he said.
“And travel demand drivers for Melbourne remain strong, given the significant depth and breadth of its visitor attractions.”
Mr Hollis said internationally, “the safe, clean and green image of Australia” had been further enhanced, given its relative success in managing virus outbreaks.
“Melbourne is well-positioned to benefit from pent-up international travel demand, once borders reopen,” he said.
“Experience-related travel will bounce back strongly. The variety of lifestyle and luxury hotels currently under development across Melbourne reflects the changing preferences of these experience-seekers.”
While occupancy at CBD hotels still remains a fraction of pre-COVID times, the 294-room W Hotel Melbourne has just opened inside the East Tower of the $1.25 billion Collins Arch complex.
It is the first major international five-star hotel to open in the Victorian capital since the protracted COVID lockdown and it recently advertised for people to fill 100 jobs.
Like most of the new hotels being built in the Victorian capital, the W Melbourne was already under construction prior to the pandemic as businesses prepared to exploit what was a booming international tourism market.
There were 1.5 million Chinese visitors to Australia in 2019, a year in which the nation chalked up 9.4 million overseas.
The W Melbourne is a youthful, bold spinoff from the Westin brand managed by Marriott, and it features five restaurants as well as a gold-roofed indoor pool with poolside bar and DJ booth.
The Extreme WOW Suite on the 15th floor features a massive 40sqm balcony offering expansive views of the Yarra River.
Another major five-star hotel, the Ritz-Carlton Melbourne, also part of the Marriott group, is under construction at the west end of the city as is Marriott Docklands and the Premier Tower Hotel.
Dean Long, the CEO of Accommodation Association of Australia, said like Brisbane, Melbourne had a great range of hotels waiting the inevitable return of large numbers of interstate and overseas visitors.
“There will be a great deal of pent-up demand for accommodation once COVID comes to an end,” he said, “and Melbourne is well placed to take advantage of that demand.”
Peppers Richmond is also on track to open in mid-2022, with construction starting under the direction of Melbourne developer, Amber Property Group. It will be the third Peppers hotel in the Victorian capital.
The 80-room property will be located on historic Bridge Road, and offer a state-of-the-art gym, restaurant and rooftop bar which will overlook Melbourne’s stunning skyline, the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Botanical Gardens.
Simon McGrath, the CEO for Accor Pacific, said: “We are excited to be growing our presence in Melbourne within the suburb of Richmond, and we are proud to be developing our partnership with Amber Property Group who recently opened The Sebel Melbourne Ringwood. Creating jobs and investing in the future of the tourism and accommodation sector has never been more important.”
During construction, the build will create 350 jobs and, once open, the hotel will employ more than 40 staff.”
Melbourne also saw the recent opening of the Lancemore Crossley St, a 113-room luxury hotel in the city’s theatre district, complete with a rooftop terrace featuring an open fire.
Vibe Melbourne opened on the corner of Flinders and Queen Streets in April last year.
The Adina Melbourne Southbank, which opened in November, is wrapped in a curved glass façade, and has rooms with floor-to-ceiling views across the Yarra River, to Melbourne’s CBD in the north, or Port Philip Bay to the south.
The Adina West Melbourne is part of a $350 million luxury mixed-use precinct in Melbourne’s blossoming inner-city fringe, complete with Zen gardens, an on-site supermarket, 24/7 gym, coffee roastery, 10 eateries and a private outdoor retreat complete with a 25m lap pool, plunge pool and spa pool.
The Quincy Melbourne on Flinders Lane will feature distinctive interior design, three signature restaurants, a rooftop pool with views of Melbourne’s CBD, and exclusive club levels and lounge access.
TRYP by Wyndham Carlton Melbourne is a 173-room hotel set to open in March just five minutes’ walk from the restaurants and cafés of Lygon Street, and directly opposite the University of Melbourne.
The 244-room Hilton Melbourne Little Queen St is 500 metres from the Bourke Street ShoppingWi Mall.