New $120m hotel for Victoria’s Yarra Valley

IHG has signed on to operate a new hotel in the Yarra Valley under the voco brand.

IHG is pressing ahead with its Victorian expansion, signing a deal to manage a new $120 million, 170-room hotel in the Yarra Valley wine region east of Melbourne. 

The hotel giant will badge the property with its voco brand, the second of its kind in Australia, and target leisure and corporate travellers.

The new destination is being developed by Martyn Barnes, managing director at local boutique investment management group Barnes Capital.

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The project comes after IHG recently announced plans to operate a Holiday Inn in the Melbourne suburb of Coburg, another new-build project developed by Barnes Capital.

IHG is also set to open a dual-branded hotel in the Melbourne CBD, with a Holiday Inn facing the Bourke Street Mall and a Hotel Indigo on Little Collins St.

The brands will share one building and back-of-house operations, but offer separate entrances and experiences.

“The Yarra Valley is the premier wine region in Australia, and it is a tourist attraction in Victoria [but] there isn’t quality, international-standard accommodation,” IHG senior director of development for Australasia Abhijay Sandilya told The Australian. “During the week this asset will have a great meetings offering, we’ll have a large meeting events space that will cater to corporate clients looking to do events there.

“We will (also) cater to families with the facilities we provide … there’s a concerted effort to make sure it is wide appeal.”

The hotel is set to open in 2021 and will feature an on-site gin distillery, a lavender farm, mirrored maze, an amphitheatre cut from the ground and a provedore selling Yarra Valley produce such as cheese and charcuterie.

Aside from the conference space, amenities at the upscale — but not luxury — hotel will include a gym, bars, a family restaurant and children’s entertainment facilities.

Sandilya says the hotel group is unlikely to grow significantly in the CBD from here but will consider opening new hotels in smaller markets elsewhere and also expects to do more deals with Barnes.

“We think with all real estate asset classes there will be some cyclical growing pains, but we believe in the long-term fundamentals of Melbourne CBD,” he says

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