It’s surprising that Victoria's Yarra Valley, with its sprawling vineyard-scape, has yet to attract big-name hotels. But the inevitable day has come, with global chain Inter Continental Hotels Group (IHG) announcing plans to open Voco, a 170-room hotel on a large hillside block in Lilydale. And boy, does it sound grand.
In addition to the 150-room main hotel – initial renders for which show a six-storey, Tadao Ando-esque sunken form of raw materials that tapers into the landscape – Voco Yarra Valley will have 20 “treehouse” suites on a separate 4.5-hectare block. There’ll also be several restaurants and bars, a conference centre, a gym, a natural amphitheatre, a lavender farm, a mirrored maze, a provedore and an on-site gin distillery. All opulent touches that provide a fitting end to a day of chardonnay and pinot noir sampling.
IHG has teamed up with development entrepreneur Martyn Barnes to manage the project. Barnes is no stranger to high-profile projects; his business, Barnes Capital, has been responsible for projects including the $55 million mixed-use commercial and residential project Spectra in Dandenong, and recently opened a 200-room Hyatt hotel in Springvale.
The IHG brand has 48 hotels currently operating under four different brands across Australasia, including Inter Continental, Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo and Crowne Plaza. The Voco brand sits between the more casual Holiday Inn and the upmarket Hotel Indigo brands.
Voco Yarra Valley is scheduled to open in 2021.