Entrepreneur Martyn Barnes has signed a management agreement to badge his new Yarra Valley property as voco, IHG’s new upscale hotel brand, making it the second voco signing for Australia.
Victoria’s Yarra Valley has built a reputation as one of Australia’s premier wine regions, famous for its chardonnay and pinot noir, as well as for bringing big name artists like Robbie Williams, Stevie Nicks and John Farnham to perform at Rochford Wines’ annual Day on the Green concert series.
The trouble is it’s never had a great hotel to welcome its visitors after a day of wine tasting and music.
voco Yara Valley will be the first globally-branded, upscale hotel in the Yarra Valley, creating a destination for guests, who are looking to eat, sleep and everything in between.
With a different mindset and an informal attitude, it will be a place that guests want to relax and enjoy themselves in – whether it’s a quiet morning coffee, or kicking off a great evening.
The 170-room new-built hotel will open in 2021, with charming touches guests will remember long after checkout, such as an on-site gin distillery, a lavender farm, mirrored maze, an amphitheatre cut from natural ground and a provedore that serves and sells local Yarra Valley produce.
It will also feature large conference and meeting facilities, a gym, bars that draw on the best of their surroundings, an onsite family restaurant and kids’ entertainment facilities making it perfect for both weekday MICE travellers, weekend leisure guests and families.
The building itself will be a quirky design that will stand out to anyone passing by, rising to six storeys at one end and tapering to one storey at the opposite end, and will also include 20 cabins for an intimate Yarra Valley experience.
Abhijay Sandilya, IHG’s senior director of development-Australasia, said: “IHG launched voco in June with the first signing for the brand in Australia, and we are so pleased to see the brand momentum continue here with the second signing.
“voco delivers a guest experience that stands out, with touches of charm and memorable, distinctive and dependable hallmarks, so we can’t think of a better partner for this new hotel than Martyn Barnes.
“The signing of voco Yarra Valley continues IHG’s ambition to take our brands into regional markets, including suburban micro-markets close to Australian capital cities.”
Martyn Barnes, managing director at Barnes Capital, said: “As one of Australia’s premier wine regions, the last thing people want when they arrive in Yarra Valley is a vanilla experience.
“That’s why voco is the perfect fit, giving business and leisure guests a great, globally-branded, upscale hotel that guests can depend on, but that’s different enough to be fun.
“I’m excited to work with IHG to open voco Yarra Valley, building on our partnership that will also see us opening Holiday Inn Melbourne Coburg in 2020. Watch this space, because we have more to come.”
The hotel is situated in at the gateway to the Yarra Valley of Maroondah Highway, less than an hour’s drive from Melbourne’s CBD, with prominent visibility to motorists and ample parking facilities to welcome road trippers from the capital. Lilydale is the closest train station, and Coldstream and Lilydale airports are nearby.
Beyond wineries, Yarra Valley offers walking trails at Dandenong Ranges National Park, the Tarrawarra Museum of Art, the Healesville Sanctuary animal attraction, as well as skydiving and hot air ballooning.
It’s also the first stop en route to Mount Buller, Melbourne’s most popular ski field.
Launched in June this year, the voco brand will strengthen IHG’s offer in the $40 billion upscale segment, which is expected to grow by a further $20 billion by 2025.
Working with high-quality individual and locally-branded hotels, this distinctive brand will offer owners the ability to drive higher returns through delivering a compelling guest experience and leveraging IHG’s powerful systems.
This includes best-in-class revenue management and technology capabilities and IHG Rewards Club, one of the world’s largest hotel loyalty programmes.
IHG currently has 48 hotels operating under four brands in Australasia, including: InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express, with another 22 in the pipeline, including voco, Hotel Indigo and EVEN Hotels.
Watermark Hotel and Spa Gold Coast joined the IHG system in June and will rebrand as voco later in 2018.