Sorrento’s Hotel Continental, or the Conti, as it’s affectionately known, is set to re-emerge this December with a new name, a new signature restaurant, 108 restored hotel rooms and a ballroom returned to the grandeur of its heyday.

The 145-year-old, heritage-listed seaside hotel was bought in April 2020 by a consortium comprising the Victor Smorgon Group, the Kanat Group and Trenerry Property. After a renovation in excess of $100 million and a series of delays in approvals, it’s now slated to open in stages from summer 2021 to June 2022.

The Great Ocean Room development precinct will go by a new name, The Continental Sorrento, with food and drinks spearheaded by celebrated chef-restaurateur Scott Pickett (Longrain, Chancery Lane and Le Shoppe), and publican Craig Shearer (North Fitzroy’s Terminus Hotel, Brisbane’s Plough Inn).

The late-night venue will have 13 dining and drinking spaces, including a public bar, beer garden, dance floor, rooftop deck, pool, and signature restaurant, Audrey’s, named after Pickett’s grandma, who he says inspired him to cook. The Conti nickname won’t be lost forever – that’s the name of the new public bar. Pickett expects that at the height of summer the venue will attract around 5000 patrons a day.

The accommodation side of things, the Intercontinental Sorrento Mornington, delivers 108 hotel rooms, some with ocean views, 24-hour in-room dining, a wellness centre, an outdoor pool and a gym.

The Hotel Continental first opened in 1875 under the auspices of entrepreneur George Coppin, who was a driving force in early Australian theatre. The actor, philanthropist and businessman wanted to provide a venue close to the city where Melburnians could enjoy the seaside, and its development spurred an wave of business and activity in Sorrento.

The Continental Sorrento is slated to open in summer 2021.

continentalsorrento.com.au