As the Southern Hemisphere moves closer to spring and summer, the reopening of Australia’s borders is triggering a huge visitor boom to the country. Two years of pandemic lockdown have shut down much of the world, but the tides are changing. Airlines are increasing the number of flights (although prices remain high due to limited capacity being exceeded by demand) and hotels are expanding their portfolios.
Phillipa Harrison, chief executive of Tourism Australia, says it’s “the start of a renaissance” for travel, with many visitors planning longer visits and often splurging on higher-end experiences after saving over the course. of the last two years. Australia ranks seventh in the world for the strength of its tourism revenue, she says.
Tourism is essential for the nation. Before Covid-19 hit, the destination welcomed nearly 10 million visitors a year, who were responsible for $45 billion in travel spending. Nearly one in 13 jobs in the country was travel-related.
Harrison noted that the recent travel boom initially came from visiting friends and relatives, but leisure traffic and conferences soon followed.
The hospitality industry is ready to welcome travelers to the “lower country” and over the past year many new hotels have prepared to open in time for this upsurge in demand. Over 100 properties have recently opened for the first time or have undergone major renovations.
Here are some of the newest hotels to open in Australia where travelers can take advantage of promotions, sweepstakes, loyalty program points and other perks.
The Tasman, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Hobart
In Parliament Square in Hobart, Tasmania, this luxury Marriott Bonvoy hotel opened in late 2021 to rave reviews. Within walking distance of St. David’s Park and Salamanca’s famous markets, Tasman’s guests are at the center of the action. Once a former government building, the hotel has been fully restored featuring three different design styles: Georgian, Art Deco and Contemporary. In addition to an outdoor lounge and Italian restaurants, many of the original windows, floors and fireplaces were restored during the renovation. The property has 152 rooms and suites and has sparked a boom for the luxury travel market traveling to southern Tasmania.
The recent opening of Marriott’s popular fashion and music-focused W brand in Melbourne caused quite a stir. With its hip and urban design, the W Melbourne brings something entirely new to the city. In addition to contemporary rooms and a lively bar, the property also hosts “Wet Sunday Sessions,” offering visitors the chance to enjoy the pool, a cocktail with snacks, and music from the resident DJ.
Marriott has been busy in Melbourne also opening the new Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands and the AC Hotel Melbourne Southbank, the first AC Hotel by Marriott in Australia. A new Ritz-Carlton is also in the works for Melbourne, which will become the second in the country after Perth opened a few years ago.
Hyatt Centric Melbourne
The first Hyatt Centric property in Australia opened this year in downtown Melbourne. The design features subtle nods to the region’s wool-producing industry as well as the gold rush. Bedrooms feature custom-designed rugs, and public spaces feature Victorian-inspired brickwork. Local food producers, artists and designers are also involved. Staff uniforms are the work of a local designer while rooms feature locally produced toiletries by Mr. Smith. Street art in public spaces and locally roasted coffee provide even more Melbourne flair.
Hyatt also opened Hyatt Place Melbourne Caribbean Park earlier this year, surrounded by 275 acres of natural parkland and featuring a farm-to-table restaurant.
Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street
Another Melbourne hotel to open recently is the Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street, near the Bourke Street Mall. It is now one of two Hilton Honors properties in town. The restaurant serves a mix of Australian and Italian cuisine as well as a bar menu featuring regional wines and craft beers. Hilton’s portfolio in the country includes 17 hotels currently open.
InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula, near Melbourne
Opened last summer, IHG One Rewards members have a new option to explore with the InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula, which is not far from Melbourne in Victoria. Most rooms in this 145-year-old heritage-listed limestone building offer water views. Locals who have known it for almost a century love it and call it “Le Conti”, but they have new amenities to explore soon. The Grand Ballroom has been completely restored and a new spa and bathhouse will open later this year. At the property, there are more than a dozen “welcome spaces” with food and drink options.
In the city and on Lonsdale Street, voco Melbourne Central, another IHG One Rewards property, opened in April as part of the 380 Melbourne skyscraper development. Many Melbourne awards are on IHG’s radar, including the new Holiday Inn Express Melbourne Little Collins, which opened in February.
As Australia’s first Kimpton, Kimpton Margot Sydney caused a stir when it opened earlier this year in the heart of the central business district of New South Wales’ largest city. The Art Deco building dates back to the 1930s and features over 600 works of art as well as a rooftop pool. Australian chef Luke Mangan runs the restaurant and bar, drawing after-work crowds from across town. Kimpton is part of the recently revamped IHG One Rewards loyalty program.
Less than two miles from Bondi Beach is the brand new Holiday Inn & Suites Sydney Bondi Junction, offering guests another IHG option close to the famous coastline.
Indigo Hotel Brisbane City Center
IHG has also set its sights further north in Queensland with the new Hotel Indigo Brisbane City Centre, part of the design-focused Hotel Indigo brand. This is Queensland’s first hotel for Hotel Indigo. Local artists have painted various murals and artwork throughout the hotel showcasing the area’s history and back streets. The speakeasy-inspired bar serves local beer, wine, and cocktails.
Overlooking the Brisbane River is another of IHG One Rewards’ many new hotels, the voco Brisbane City Centre, the brand’s second in Queensland. The hotel is a short walk from Queen Street Shopping Centre.
The Langham, Gold Coast
This long-awaited hotel opening breathes a little luxury into this tourist hotspot. In addition to 169 rooms and suites, The Langham Gold Coast has an almost equal number of serviced apartments. Nicknamed Surfer’s Paradise, the area attracts tourists from all over the world for its epic waves and crystal-clear coastline. The hotel is at the center of three iconic towers on the rising skyline, and the facade was designed to mimic quartz crystals that can be seen for miles. The on-site Chuan Spa offers philosophies of traditional Chinese medicine for wellness, and guests can also dine in the Michelin-recognized T’ang Court, which serves Cantonese cuisine.
The House, Great Barrier Reef
It’s not just major cities that have seen new investment in hospitality. The popular Great Barrier Reef hosted the summer opening of The House on Lizard Island. Designed as a reef house using local materials and furnishings, the luxury accommodation is sure to be a popular spot for small groups or multi-generational accommodations looking to mix a bit of high-end city travel with the famous natural wonders of the country.
The Crocodile Hunter Lodge, Sunshine Coast
This summer, a new luxury lodge inspired by Steve Irwin’s life and love for wildlife and wild places has opened on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. The Crocodile Hunter Lodge has just eight family-friendly cottages, and all guests get unlimited access to the Australia Zoo. The hotel is also home to a habitat with red kangaroos, emus, and koalas, which guests can admire while enjoying the hotel’s infinity pool, known as The Billabong. Guests can also view some of the koalas the property adopted after the 2020 bushfires.
Billed as Adelaide’s first five-star hotel, French brand Sofitel opened the Sofitel Adelaide late last year along Currie Street. The hotel dominates the city skyline and features a French restaurant, champagne bar, indoor pool, and executive club. The hotel is part of the Accor All Live Limitless loyalty program where guests can earn or redeem points during their stay.
Finniss River Lodge, near Darwin, Northern Territory
In the northwest region of the country is the recently opened Finniss River Lodge near Darwin in the Northern Territory. Designed for the perfect outdoor experience, guests can fish, hike and explore with professional guides. With only six suites, the stay is completely personalized according to what the travelers wish to experience. It is a place where wilderness meets luxury that is the epitome of the Northern Territory experience.
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