New life for Elizabeth Bay's Del Rio through tourism

New life for Elizabeth Bay's Del Rio through tourism
New life for Elizabeth Bay's Del Rio through tourism

The advance of Airbnb vacation accomodation across inner Sydney has been one of 2015's defining property trends. For Del Rio, the divine Elizabeth Bay residential building, the onset has been via the Terry Kaljo classy online tourism booking outfit, Contemporary Hotels.

The garden apartment of Melanie Greensmith who runs the clothing label, Wheels and Dollbaby, with her partner Mark McEntee, former guitarist in the Divinyls, has turned up as a $1,200 a night accommodation offering. More than double that price over the Christmas period for the garden apartment in the landmark Spanish Mission block of five.

Seems like even the grandest of company title apartment blocks can't withstand the disruptive onslaught of short term Rimowa luggage laden, internet arrivisites. I recall the days when it was nigh impossible to come or go from Del Rio without tripping over the walking stick of Lady (Eileen) Noad, who'd watched all from the street-level foyer, with a conversation thrown in too. 

Located on the Billyard Avenue dress circle harbourfront with Moorish mosaic-tiled pool, Del Rio dates back to its 1928 design by John Spencer-Stransfield, who is more famously known for designing Sydney's finest Federation suburb Haberfield.

Attracted by the Chateau Marmont style arches, Greensmith, the Perth based fashion entrepreneur, bought it in 2013 about $4.25 million from Charles Wilkins, a leading Sydney caterer. He'd had the late designer Garth Barnett undertake the renovation from its original layout - with the third bedroom maid’s quarter - into two large comfortable bedrooms with two marble-finished bathrooms.

"Mixing old Hollywood glamour with contemporary features and facilities, The Del Rio celebrates the best of Sydney’s lifestyle and culture," says the booking website. Contemporary Hotels was established by former model turned hospitality pioneer Terry Kaljo whose son, Matthew Fleming now handpicks the website's short term rental selections.

It's the Billyard Avenue block briefly on the radar of Hollywood's then first couple Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman who inspected when one of the tightly held apartments came up for sale back in the mid-1990s. The block's top floor is home to executive deputy chairman of Crown John Alexander and his photographer wife, Alice.

There's neighbourhood whispers that former Fairfax board member and former chief executive of Louis Vuitton, Julia King, and her husband, Peter have recently sold their apartment for around $6.5 million.

This article was first published in the Saturday Daily Telegraph.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

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Tourism Accommodation

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