A pair of Chinese property giants are delivering new levels of luxury to Australia’s hotels sector, with St Regis Hotels & Resorts revealed as the operator for a 168-room five-star resort at Melbourne’s $800 million Flinders Bank.
Marriott International said the property would be the first in Australia to feature the world-renowned St Regis brand, which the world’s largest hotels group owns among a suite of other well-known resort franchises, including Ritz-Carlton and The Westin.
St Regis Melbourne will be housed in levels 2 to 11 of the 33-storey Flinders Bank, which is being developed by Century Group Australia, a joint venture between Chinese property giants – Beijing-based China Century Group and Chengdu-headquartered Exhibition and Travel Group (ETG).
China Century Group is a diversified conglomerate, with operations across technology, private equity and finance alongside its real estate development arm.
It has more than 9,000 employees and more than a dozen subsidiaries across China, South East Asia and the United States.
ETG was founded in 1997 and employs more than 15,000 people, with its core operations being investment and development, real estate construction and property management.
Its portfolio includes 11 four- and five-star hotels with more than 7,500 rooms, with a further 2,000 rooms under construction, in partnership with InterContinental Hotels Group.
Century Group Australia’s Flinders Bank, located on the corner of Melbourne’s Spencer and Flinders streets, will be a high-class mixed-use precinct, comprising the St Regis hotel, 500 residential apartments and 21,000 square metres of retail and public space, on the banks of the Yarra River.
The site was acquired in 2016 for $97 million, while the build is expected to be complete by 2022.
Century Group Australia executive director Connie Wu said the developer was excited to debut St Regis in the Australian resorts market.
“From the outset, we knew we wanted to create a hotel for today’s discerning and sophisticated traveller and the St Regis brand’s timeless, tasteful and luxurious offering is the perfect fit,” Ms Wu said.
“We are confident this hotel will become an architectural benchmark in the region and the jewel in the crown at Flinders Bank.”
St Regis Hotels & Resorts global brand leader Lisa Holladay said Melbourne’s vibrant mix of world-class dining, art galleries and rich history made it an ideal fit for the brand’s first Australian property.
Marriott International Australia and New Zealand senior director of hotel development, Richard Crawford, said the signing was an indication of the investment community’s confidence in the Australian hotels market.
“We are seeing a growing demand for premium lodgings,” Mr Crawford said.
“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 scale and luxury hotels and resorts, with two-thirds of the new supply pipeline.”
Along with St Regis Melbourne, Marriott International has also been responsible for the return of Ritz-Carlton to the Australian hotels scene, with properties under construction in Perth and Melbourne, and new hotels being planned in Sydney and Brisbane.
Marriott has partnered with the Australian arm of Hong Kong-headquartered Far East Consortium to deliver the Ritz-Carlton hotels.
Internationally, Marriott added 473 hotels with 76,589 rooms to its portfolio in 2017, according to its latest annual report, while it has a further 460,000 hotel rooms in its development pipeline.
The company signed more than 750 management and franchise agreements for new hotels in 2017, with 80 per cent in its top three tiers of luxury.
In the Asia-Pacific, Marriott added 77 properties to its portfolio in 2017.