Melbourne Will Receive Australia’s First St. Regis Hotel

Filed Under: Marriott

Well this was great news to wake up to!

St. Regis, part of the Marriott Hotel Group, is widely considered to be one of the most luxurious hotel brands in the world. Ben is a big St. Regis fan, and has reviewed many of their 40 properties around the world, including the:

While Australia has many luxury hotels, including many brands within the Marriott family, there are currently no St. Regis properties in Australia.

St. Regis Melbourne

St. Regis has announced they will be building their first Australian St. Regis property in Melbourne, which will open in 2022, with construction commencing next year.

St. Regis Melbourne mock-up (Source: AusBT/Marriott)

The hotel will be located at 7-23 Spencer Street, in the southwest corner of the Melbourne Central Business District, as part of a three-tower, 33 story, $800 million development known as ‘Flinders Bank.’ This is the site of the former Melbourne Convention Centre, which is now demolished.

The hotel will be in tower two, occupying floors two to eleven. The remaining floors above that in tower two will be built, sold and operated as permanent apartments. There will be 650 apartments in the development (in addition to the hotel rooms).

While it may seem surprising that such a high end hotel would only occupy the lower floors of a 33 story building, and therefore not be able to capture the best views, the price premium developers will be able to charge apartment buyers for space above the St. Regis rooms, as well as the bragging rights to say ‘I live at St. Regis’ will be so high, I could see it making financial sense.

The property will be built close to the Yarra River, so some rooms on one side will feature river views across to Southbank and Crown Casino.

I expect both the hotel rooms, and the private apartments above it, to be some of the most expensive in Melbourne, if not Australia.

St. Regis Melbourne mock-up (Source: AusBT/Marriott)

In announcing the development, Richard Crawford, Marriott’s senior director of hotel development in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific has said:

“This signing is an indication of the investment community’s confidence in the Australian market, where we are seeing a growing demand for premium lodgings.

The St. Regis Melbourne will be an outstanding addition to our strong and growing footprint in the region, where we are on track to boast the largest portfolio of upper upscale and luxury hotels and resorts, with two thirds of the new supply pipeline”

Location

I lived in Melbourne for seven years and worked within a few blocks of the St. Regis site in various buildings the entire time. The location of this development is certainly convenient for both tourists and business travellers, as it’s very central to the CBD, but it is not an especially premium location in the CBD, for such a premium development.

The eastern side of Collins Street in the CBD, especially the area near the Grand Hyatt Melbourne, is known by locals as the ‘Paris end’ of Collins Street, and features most of the high end luxury brands and premium hotels. The new W Hotel Melbourne is being built at the Paris end.

The other (western) end of Collins Street (very near where the St. Regis will be built), does not have quite the same premium feel as the Paris end.

This location is just one block from King Street, which on Friday and Saturday nights (especially between Flinders and Bourke Streets), is, in my opinion, one of the most unpleasant areas of the Melbourne CBD.

St. Regis Bloody Mary

St. Regis designs a different signature Bloody Mary cocktail at each of their properties around the world, as St. Regis claims the drink was invented in their New York property in 1934. Each St. Regis cocktail contains ingredients that personify the city or location in which the hotel is located.

I can’t wait to see what they come up with to capture the essence of the Melbourne CBD. Perhaps some Sriracha sauce to symbolise the amazing dumplings in Chinatown, garnished with a couple of coffee beans to pay tribute to Melbourne’s obsession with excellent coffee?

St. Regis Mauritius Bloody Mary

Bottom line

This is great news for Melbourne, and I have no doubt this will be a spectacular hotel once finished. It will be interesting to see how the complex works as a luxury hotel, given there are more permanent apartments than hotel rooms.

It’s not the most high end location in Melbourne, but developers could have been waiting decades for space to become available at more desirable locations like the Paris end of Collins Street. It’s great to see premium brands coming to Melbourne like this — along with a W Hotel, a Mandarin Oriental will also be built in Melbourne.

Are you looking forward to staying at the St. Regis Melbourne?

(Hat-tip: Australian Business Traveller)

Comments
  1. This is so exciting, thanks for the update James!

    There are also plans for a new Marriott, Shangri-La and Ritz Carlton, in addition to the Mandarin Oriental and W that you mentioned 🙂

  2. It’s about damn time. But too damn late.

    Melbourne’s upscale hotel selection is pitifully mediocre. That’s the best one can say about it. I stick with the most decidedly NOT upscale Adelphi. At least it’s interesting and the service is friendly & competant for the most part.

    The Park Hyatt–that ode to tired, boring 1990s design–has its admirers. But it’s actually as inspiring as a Crowne Plaza.

  3. My favorite property in Melbourne is The Langham. Beautiful rooms, amazing food, and nice FHR benefits.

  4. the CBD is so compact and easy to get around though that this location is fine.

    I was recently in Melbourne for a little over a week and stayed at an Airbnb right across the street from Spencer St station. There is an enormous glut of airbnb apartments across the city at this point. But I suppose the market for a high end luxury hotel is completely different. Personally I prefer the space and amenities of my own apartment at a reasonable price. So I am not the market for a St. Regis.

  5. The location, though far from ideal, is more acceptable now than it would have been even a few years ago when this was very much the dumpy end of town.
    The model is the same as for the Westin: apartments above the hotel; but the developers of the Westin were too dumb/stingy to double glaze it…consequently it’s appallingly noisy . The G Hyatt , just 150 metres away, is well-built and has no noise issues at all.

  6. I agree with Imperator. What Melbourne calls five star wouldn’t cut it in Europe. Was at the Sofitel this year. Wow, talk about tired, dull, small, stuffy and very full of itself. The London Sofitel, now that’s luxury. Melbourne’s loc is riding on its name. (Although no one has mentioned the Lindrum, there are some fantastic rooms facing south, and very friendly staff plus a perfect location.) The “Paris” end is coming along, lots of high end condo developments, not a bad strategy in the long term. And all the VIPs at the Aus Open tennis stay at the Crown, so now at least there will be more choice…

  7. The other end of the city (the “Paris” end) is better. This area is nicknamed the Beirut end. Currently surrounded by strip clubs, backpacker/ homeless accommodation.

    The plus to this site is that it is close to Crown Casino Complex, Jeff’s Shed (Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre) and Docklands.

    It should be a good addition to the Melbourne hotel offering. Hyatt should take note and lift their game on the two appalling properties in the city.

  8. James – W Hotel seems to be going up in the 400 block of Collins. Quite a distance from the ‘Paris end’

  9. This is the same company that touted the fabulous new Ritz in Sydney circa 2016. Those were some fancy damn mock ups and a great location, but . . . no hotel.

  10. James – originally, you were correct – that would have been amazing! I believe a boutique hotel will go up in it’s place, but not the W.

    Per the Marriott and cbus website, it will be on the 400 block of Collins.

  11. @James

    This request might ask too much but since you are based in Oz and have an interest in the hospitality landscape, can you do an in-depth article/interview re: Accor’s absolute domination in the Ozzie market. It really is an anamoly, nowhere else does one chain eclipse every other chain *combined* in such a one sided manner. Even more of an anamoly that it is Accor taking on the big American groups and handily beating them. It might require some digging and research but should be illuminating.

    Accor is usually strong in its traditional hinterland, colonies/areas of French influence, and emerging markets. Australia is the outlier.

    From a business perspective, what incentive do owners have to sign up the 37th Accor flag in the city vs the 8th Marriott, 3rd Hilton or Hyatt group flag. What is the divide between franchise/managed? Are Accor significantly underquoting franchise/mgmt fees having established a insurmountable moat? Was the growth organic or largely driven by acquisitions (I suspect such a lead is only possible by a succession of acquisitions).

    Thanks!

  12. Agree with Vineet, an interesting topic – I was glad to have Accor Plat via my Amex Plat when I stayed there in 2015/16!

  13. St. Regis — ugh. The brand mistakes “luxury” for service, in the same way that Ritz-Carlton has ever since it came under Marriott ownership. Don’t get me started about the “butlers.” I’ve never had a St. Regis butler that provided any value. If you had said Rosewood, I might have been excited.

    @Doug The Langham in Melbourne is dowdy and dated, but I was shocked by how great the service was when I stayed there last October. Same great service at the Langham Chicago (an eye-popping-ly beautiful hotel) a few months later and the Langham Sydney earlier this year.

    I agree with Tyler Brûlé (who I find mostly annoying, but occasionally insightful) that Australia is surprising for never having generated a great local hotel brand. Meriton?? Rydges?? James, what is up with that? The Park Hyatt Sydney can charge absurd premiums because there’s little else there other than the Langham–and while each is lovely, neither provides a good sense of place. The Four Seasons Sydney is the largest and certainly one of the worst hotels of that brand. When it was a Regent, it had an amazing bar on the top floors, which the Four Seasons converted into crummy rooms. When it opened, the W at the Long Wharf was fun but is now crap as an Ovolo hotel. Based on my own travel, I think the best hotels in the country are COMO The Treasury Perth (no shock there, it was supposed to be an Amanresort), the Southern Ocean Lodge, Longitude 131, and the Capella Lord Howe Island — none in SE Australia, where most tourists and business travelers go.

    @HereHare Speaking of Sofitels in Oceania, the new-ish one in Wellington is a disgrace — cramped rooms, no views in beautiful Wellington, neglectful service, and a bar that closes at 11 p.m.

  14. Agree with you James on the less-than-ideal location. Doesn’t seem very befitting the St Regis brand.

    Also, that room mockup looks almost exactly like the rooms at The Darling in Sydney!

  15. It does seem a rather strange location for the St Regis, at the far West End of Melbourne.
    I am surprised that they didn’t locate the St Regis at the East End of Melbourne, at the new development at 85 Spring Street.
    The W Hotel is being built ay 447 Collins Street, on the site of the old NML Building.
    The site originally proposed for the W Hotel was 20 Bourke Street, on the site of the old Palace Theatre. It has been announced that a Le Meridian Hotel will be built there now.

  16. @Jack speaking of the brand COMO, I’ve stayed in a few properties of theirs including Phuket, Maldives and the Turks and Caicos and I can vouch this brand is giving Aman a serious run for its money. Service and ambience is consistently excellent and very exclusive without the points and membership nonsense. Something Lucky better start paying attention to instead of always claiming Aman is in a league of its own.

    Heard the brand is Singaporean btw.

  17. Jack (and anyone heading to Oz): was in Tasmania in February and stayed at the relatively new MACq01. The name is dire but the inanity stops there. Superb location. Spacious luxe rooms superbly appointed. Great service and a decent restaurant. Free valet parking included with room rate. You could do a tango in the bathroom. Makes the rather dreary Henry Jones across the street seem like an interstate motel. As Oz hotels go highly recommended.

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