New Ibis and Novotel hotels for Melbourne's CBD

New Ibis and Novotel hotels for Melbourne's CBD
Mark BaljakNovember 7, 2015

Recall last year that ran dual pieces highlighting the forthcoming wave of 5,000 plus new hotel suites located within City of Melbourne. With the majority of those rooms in planning at the time, these new suites were predominantly located within large scale mixed-use towers championed by developers with Asian-based expertise and finance.

All indicators since have suggested inner Melbourne is suffering from a shortage of hotel accommodation, with a 2015 Deloitte report on the state of the Australian Hotel sector showing Melbourne's occupancy rate has and continues to push well into the mid-90% range on peak nights. Coupled with a Deloitte forecast indicating Melbourne will nudge 90% average occupancy by 2017 and the time is ripe now for new hotel projects, particularly in Melbourne's CBD.

Enter Well Smart Investment Holdings who after recently gaining Ministerial approval for their new hotel accommodation project at 399 Little Lonsdale Street have unveiled Ibis and Novotel as key signatories to the tower.

New Ibis and Novotel hotels for Melbourne's CBD
399 Little Lonsdale Street. Images courtesy k2LD Architects

Designed by CBD-based practice k2LD Architecture, 399 Little Lonsdale Street will stand as a 34 level, 125 metre tower located at the foot of Melbourne's retail precinct. Containing 478 hotel suites, the project will represent Melbourne's first dual hotel housed within the same building.

Ibis will account for 270 suites in a three-star configuration while Novotel will take the remaining 208 suites under their four-star operation.

Externally patterned glass with differing opacity to the eastern elevation will be the defining design feature while the western elevation will consist of patterned concrete, although an adjoining planning application will likely all but cover the wall. At ground level a landscaped laneway has been introduced that will connect with Hardware Lane while the podium will hold a bar, lounge, restaurant, gym and conference facilities.

Design nous

We approached the design of the building differently, envisaging the built form as a fabric in which the stories and journeys of its transient inhabitants are interwoven with the urban cityscape.

With the building’s use as a dual hotel in mind, we were able to push the boundaries of design to create something that will become iconic in nature, just as the Westin and Sofitel have become iconic forms in Collins Street, we wanted to create a similar effect at 399 Little Lonsdale Street.

Tisha Lee, Principal, k2LD Architects
New Ibis and Novotel hotels for Melbourne's CBD
Exterior terrace area. Image courtesy k2LD Architects

The wider context

With international arrivals amounting to almost 750,000 passengers during August 2015, the robust year on year growth experienced by Melbourne has a flow-on effect into the hotel sector. 399 Little Lonsdale Street joins many a Melbourne project looking to service the expanding hotel room requirement.

Curiously though only one noteworthy hotel project is currently under construction within the CBD, namely QT Hotel which will add a further 182 suites. Docklands fares better with Peppers Docklands almost at completion while Four Points by Sheraton is heading skyward as part of the Marina Tower project.

Pending projects however read as a who's who of the hotel sector. Among the many contending chains seeking a Melbourne footprint Ritz-Carlton and Dorsett will preside in Far East Consortium's West Side Place project, PARKROYAL is awaiting commencement of their mixed-use tower in Docklands, Aloft Hotels will likely land at 380 Lonsdale Street while the largest of all proposals is headed by Crown and Schiavello.

Their 1 Queensbridge project is seeking 388 additional Crown-branded hotel suites in addition to private apartments within a 317 metre tower.

Mark Baljak

Mark Baljak was a co-founder of He passed away on Thursday 8th of November 2018 after a battle with cancer. He was 37. Mark was a keen traveller, having visited all six permanently-inhabited continents and had a love of craft beer. One of his biggest passions was observing the change that has occurred in Melbourne over the past two decades. In that time he built an enormous library of photos, all taken by him, which tracked the progress of construction on building sites from across metropolitan Melbourne.

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