Hotel operator Accor has opened the $150 million Novotel Melbourne South Wharf hotel, one of a number of Melbourne hotel properties that will add to the city’s hotel stock in the next few years.
Located adjacent to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, the 347-room, four-star hotel is owned by Action Hotels Group, a London-listed investment company founded and chaired by Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah, heir to the Kuwaiti throne.
The 27-storey hotel features golden panels on its exterior, and was designed by Woods Bagot and NH Architecture. Fender Katsalidis is responsible for the design of the hotel's interiors. It is the fourth collaboration between Accor Hotels and Action Hotels in Australia.
Woods Bagot principal Andy Gentry told The Urban Developer that he is confident the new supply of hotel accommodation in Melbourne will be matched by tourism demand.
“The number of international visitors to Melbourne continues to grow,” Gentry said.
“The best hotels are all about the finer details and it’s great to be working with world class operators to provide a supreme guest experience.”
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The opening of the Novotel Melbourne South Wharf comes as the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre undergoes a major expansion – with the aim to increase its revenue 70 per cent.
The $200 million expansion will make the MCEC the largest convention and exhibition space in Australia, with an increased total size of over 70,000sq m.
Given the soon-to-be-completed expansion to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre at this iconic location, the brand wanted to appeal to a new generation of guests,” NH Architecture director Hamish Lyon said.
“The design seeks to celebrate and connect people with the precinct and Melbourne in general.
“The building is conceived as two laminated wafers: a golden, city-orientated, east blade and a glazed west facing blade, reflecting Port Philip Bay’s dark waters. The tower aspires to be a slender, elegant and singular addition to Melbourne’s growing skyline.”
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Melbourne has experienced a resurgence in the investment in new build hotels under way with more than 50 active hotel projects which will have a large effect on the market as supply comes online.
The Deloitte Tourism and Hotel Market Outlook found that the picture remains remarkably friendly for economic growth which, together with a supportive Australian dollar, sets the scene for continuing growth of Australia’s tourism industry.
Deloitte reported that Melbourne and Sydney reported occupancy rates 20 percentage points above the national score.
Melbourne did record a drop in overall occupancy of one per cent in 2017 and will face further challenges with occupancy rates due to the added capacity.
Several of the new hotels in Melbourne are positioned at the high end of the market, with brands such as the Ritz Carlton, W Hotel and Mandarin Oriental making their debut appearances in Australia. W Hotel is part of the mixed-use development Collins Arch designed by Woods Bagot with NYC-based SHoP Architects.
These luxury-class properties will help push average rates upward over the three-year forecast period, growing at 2.8 per cent per annum.