Geelong is the complete package. It’s a seaside haven with a relaxed vibe, stunning beaches, and enough restaurants and bars to satisfy any serious foodie. And yet, it’s long been slept on by anyone outside Melbourne (a lot of people). That could be about to change though.
A huge transformation of the existing Geelong Conference Centre site is tipped to create a ‘retreat style’ boutique hotel worth travelling for, paving the way for Geelong to finally escape the shadow of its northern neighbour.
Acquired by Melbourne-based property developer BEKL in March, the bones of the existing 1.6-hectare Geelong Conference Centre site are already pretty impressive, with sprawling gardens and a gorgeous pool area, 46 accommodation suites, a restaurant, guest lounge and bar, as well as seven conference rooms.
The revamped property is scheduled to open in January 2021.
Before that happens though, the property will undergo a two-stage redevelopment. The first will be a cosmetic update to the property’s interiors, which will focus on bringing out the original charm of the building’s stunning, pre-existing design.
BEKL Managing Director Katherine Liu says the development of the renowned local site will feature an artistic feel, drawing local inspiration from its botanical surrounds and ‘bush retreat’ heritage.
“An intrinsic part of our design process is using sustainable and high-quality urban renewal practises,” Lui says.
“We are huge advocates for the practice of biophilic design; connecting people and nature within our built environments as a means of reducing stress levels, increasing mood and the overall feeling of wellbeing. This will be a big focus.”
The food and beverage offering will allow guests to enjoy a taste of the region, with a farm-to-table approach with ingredients sourced locally from the Bellarine Peninsula. The destination hotel will also feature an event space suitable for small to medium scale events between 50-150 pax, along with a retreat style wedding and private event space.
Adjoining the East Geelong Golf Course, the site offers easy access to Geelong CBD, with Avalon Airport just 25km away, and an easy commute to the Bellarine and Surf Coast.