What's New in Melbourne and Victoria 2019
December 17, 2018
Recently named ’Australasia’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination in 2018, Melbourne continues to be a top choice destination for business events.
As a premier destination for delegates and event planners, Melbourne is ever-changing its offering providing an array of new reasons to host business events.
Melbourne continues to succeed in attracting international air services. Recent achievements for new and increased international airline services include:
• On 1 April 2018, Garuda Indonesia commenced a direct service between Jakarta and Melbourne, operating four times a week.
• On 3 May 2018, Singapore Airlines commenced a direct service from Wellington to Melbourne, operating four times a week with 266-seat Boeing 777-200.
• On 1 June 2018, Philippine Airlines commenced a direct service from Manila to Melbourne, operating seven times a week with Airbus A330-300 aircraft filling over 300 seats.
• On 5 June 2018, Scoot commenced a direct service from Singapore to Melbourne with Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner operating six times a week.
• On 8 June 2018, Malindo Air commenced a service from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne via Denpasar, Bali with Boeing 737 fleet operating seven days a week.
• On 14 August 2018, Cebu Pacific commenced a thrice-weekly direct service from Manila to Melbourne with Airbus A330 type aircraft.
• On 1 September 2018, Qantas commenced a direct service from San Francisco to Melbourne operating four times a week with the airline’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
• On 5 December 2018, AirAsia X commenced a direct service from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne.
• On 16 December 2018, Hainan Airlines will commence a new direct service from Haikou to Melbourne operating twice weekly with Airbus A330.
• On 2 January 2019, LATAM Airlines is expanding the Santiago de Chile – Melbourne service operated by Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner from three to five times a week.
• On June 2019, Air Canada Vancouver-Melbourne service will convert to year-round operating four times a week with Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
Avalon Airport - International Terminal
A new international terminal in the Geelong and The Bellarine region at Avalon Airport has recently opened in December. With around 9,000sqm, the infrastructure includes custom and quarantine facilities with passengers being able to fly direct from Avalon Airport to Kuala Lumpur and over 130 destinations.
New Visitor Hubs
Melbourne Town Hall & Queen Victoria Market
The City of Melbourne has opened two new visitor hubs at the historic Melbourne Town Hall on Swanston Street, and at the iconic Queen Victoria Market. The Town Hall hub offers Wi-Fi access, visitor information and activations highlighting the latest events and activities happening across the city. Melbourne’s ‘red coat’ City Ambassadors can provide visitors with tips and inside knowledge of Melbourne’s best experiences. The Queen Victoria Market visitor hub features information and displays to celebrate the market’s heritage and promote its diverse events program along with broader city experiences.
Melbourne City Accommodation
The Savoy Hotel on Little Collins St
This grand hotel at the corner of Spencer and Little Collins Street has returned to its heyday as one of the city’s most glamorous attractions, following a multi-million-dollar refurbishment. The 4-star Savoy Hotel on Little Collins, Melbourne was unveiled in October 2018, under the TFE Hotels Collection brand – a portfolio of beautiful discovery hotels with a sense of story, place and purpose. The Savoy Hotel on Little Collins has 163 guest rooms which adds to Melbourne’s accommodation capacity in the city centre. The hotel also features six spacious and flexible meeting rooms with sizes varying from small to a large ballroom catering for diverse business event’s needs.
Novotel and Ibis Melbourne Central
Recently opened in November 2018, this 4.5-star dual-branded hotel has two hotels occupying one building in the heart of Melbourne’s city centre. Featuring 482 guestrooms, the 35th floor tower is AccorHotels fist vertical multi-hotel development where two brands share facilities. Delegates can get immersed in the famous laneway dining and shopping culture only steps away or take advantage of the free tram network connecting all corners of the city. The hotel offers three naturally lit event spaces to accommodate up to 80 delegates in different configurations.
Crowne Plaza Melbourne
After a 12-month refurbishment program, this 4-star hotel located in the heart of the city, has recently unveiled a striking $25 million transformation of its guestrooms and facilities. All 402 rooms have been completely refurbished with contemporary bathrooms, stand alone showers, premium bedding, designer furniture and stunning artwork. Connectivity throughout the hotel has also been upgraded. The hotel’s City View rooms now boast spacious walk-in wardrobes with sleek workstations, while the hotel’s Luxury suites feature deep bathtubs, walk-in showers, plush bedding, new furniture and sweeping views of the Yarra River and Melbourne city skyline. Crowne Plaza Melbourne also offers meeting facilities with the option of five versatile meeting rooms accommodating up to 140 delegates.
Part of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, the 4-star Aloft brand will make its debut on January 1, 2019. Located on the iconic Chapel Street, the hotel will have 176 rooms all featuring the stylish and high-tech finish for which the brand is known for. Delegates will have access to atmospheric public spaces all within the hotel where they would be able to re-energise. A fitness centre, a one-stop 24-hour grab-and-go food and beverage area, a swimming pool and 300sqm of meeting space will all be part of this new sophisticated hotel.
The Sebel Melbourne Malvern
A new apartment style build from AccorHotels is set to open its doors during 2019 in Malvern, Victoria, an inner-city suburb full of charm located 8km south-east of Melbourne’s city centre. The Sebel Malvern will add 98 serviced apartments all with full kitchen and laundry facilities across 17 floors. The 5-star hotel will also feature a fitness centre, an executive lounge and an outdoor recreation centre. Malvern offers plenty of leafy streets, regal buildings and spacious parks such as Central Park and Malvern Urban Forest. There is easy access to the CBD, with a train station and three tram routes.
Quest NewQuay Docklands
Quest NewQuay will provide a striking new accommodation experience for delegates staying in the iconic Docklands precinct. This 3.5-star hotel is strategically positioned to offer easy and convenient access to the city centre and Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, and sits within walking distance to Southern Cross Railway Station, Marvel Stadium and The District Docklands shopping town. Featuring 221 rooms it will become the largest Quest development in Australia and is set to open in February 2019.
Mantra group will deliver another hotel in Melbourne’s vibrant arts and entertainment precinct, Southbank, making it its eleventh property in Melbourne’s CBD. Featuring 162 full service rooms across 32 levels, a new $60 million hotel will be completed in early 2019. The 5-star property will also offer a range of amenities including a restaurant and bar, meeting rooms and a gymnasium.
As part of the IHG hotel brand, Melbourne, Docklands will be home to Australia’s second Hotel Indigo which will open its doors in 2019. Launched in 2004, Hotel Indigo is the world’s first globally branded boutique hotel, as no two properties are alike. Each one reflects the culture, history and heritage of the city and this will be no different with the Melbourne property. This 5-star hotel is expected to become a leading lifestyle accommodation choice with 170 rooms, large resort style pool and gym, two-level restaurant and several meeting spaces. The property will feature unique design combined with a relaxed and chic atmosphere.
Accor Hotels - Chadstone Hotel
Under the bespoke Mgallery Sofitel brand, the brand-new 5-star Chadstone Hotel will make its debut at the end of 2019. With 250 luxury rooms, spa and wellbeing facilities, meeting spaces and a ballroom, it will add to Melbourne’s accommodation options for delegates. Located only steps away from Chadstone - The Fashion Capital, delegates will have access to the largest shopping centre in the Southern Hemisphere.
Shama Luxe Aurora Melbourne Central
Expected to open in 2019, the 4-star property will feature 252 rooms in a 92-storey new building. It will be the only serviced apartment in Melbourne with direct connection to over 200,000sqm of retail in the Melbourne Central Shopping Centre and a central city train station. A dedicated pool, guest lounge and meeting rooms will also be part of the new hotel.
Adina Apartment Hotel Southbank
Opening in 2019, the sleek curved glass façade will form a landmark for Melbourne’s Southbank precinct. Ten new floors will be added to an existing 6-storey building, forming a 220-apartment hotel. The 4-star hotel boasts an excellent location, defined as a new gateway for Melbourne, sitting between the city centre, vibrant St Kilda Road and parklands surrounding the Royal Botanic Gardens.
TFE Hotels – Vibe Hotel Melbourne
A stunning new 24-storey glass fronted hotel will offer breathtaking views of the Yarra River and Southbank all the way to Port Phillip Bay. Opening in 2019 on the corner of Queen and Flinders streets, this 206-room 4-star hotel will feature an indoor heated swimming pool, a gymnasium, restaurant and 200sqm of conference facilities.
Element Melbourne Richmond
Opening in May 2019 and situated off lively Swan Street in Richmond, Melbourne, the Marriott branded 4.5- star hotel will feature 168 rooms and two conference spaces, as well as a state-of-the-art fitness centre, swimming pool and spaces for working, networking and relaxing.
Beyond 2019 - Melbourne City
• AC Melbourne Southbank Hotel by Marriot – The 200-room hotel opening in 2020 will feature 150sqm of meeting and event space, 24-hour fitness centre, pool, three food and beverage outlets, along with a range of collaborative areas such as the AC Lounge, a co-working space for gatherings by day and a 'social hub' offering European-style tapas by night.
• W Hotel on Collins Street – Due to open in 2020, 5-star hotel featuring 294 rooms, restaurant, indoor pool and gym.
• Novotel & Ibis Styles Melbourne Airport – Due to open in 2020, a 10-story property will feature 464 guestrooms, a pool café, two bars, a restaurant, a wellness centre and a rooftop garden as well as conference facilities.
• Ritz-Carlton - Opening in 2020 on Spencer Street, the 5-star property will be Melbourne’s tallest hotel with 263 rooms.
• Holiday Inn Melbourne Coburg – Due to open in 2020 with 120 rooms, the 4-star hotel will feature mirrored glass design, city views, gym and meeting spaces.
• Le Meridien Hotel – Opening in 2020 by Marriott, a 12-storey 5-star hotel will replace the former Palace Theatre featuring 235 rooms and a 90-seat all day restaurant.
• Docklands Marriot Hotel – Due to open in 2020, a 5-star resort facility with 200 guestrooms, a 15th floor infinity pool, bar and dining area.
• Jackalope Melbourne - Due to open in 2020 Jackalope Melbourne will boast 32 designer suites located in Flinders Lane, within the heart of Melbourne city.
• Hyatt Centric Melbourne - Due to open in 2020, this 5-star brand will featue 280 rooms in Flinders Lane, restaurant and rooftop bar with views of the Yarra River and Southbank.
Enjoying one of the best locations in Geelong, right on the waterfront and in the heart of the CBD, Novotel Geelong is the city’s premier hotel. The convenient hotel has recently undergone a full refurbishment of all 109 guest rooms with a new painting scheme, carpet, curtains, chaise lounge, feature wall, smart TVs and feature wall. Incentive groups can enjoy comfortable accommodation and premium dining facilities close to popular attractions and all just 20 minutes from Avalon Airport.
Princetown Eco Stay – Great Ocean Road
Boutique accommodation, restaurant and activity centre close to the 12 Apostles will open its doors late 2019, which will include a 300-seat restaurant. Ideal for groups wanting to explore the Great Ocean Road region and host their meetings in a bespoke hotel.
Sorrento’s Continental Hotel – Mornington Peninsula
The 143 years old hotel is undergoing an $80 million-dollar makeover with its first stage due to be completed September 2019. The revamp will include three new function spaces on the upper level, a fine-dining restaurant and a bar. This stage will also open a new stand-alone 5-star hotel with 38 rooms.
Beyond 2019 - regional Victoria
• The Ritz – Geelong and the Bellarine – Due for completion in 2020, a historic 1853 building is being turned into 4.5-star accommodation with Geelong CBD and eastern beaches views.
• Holiday Inn and Suites – Geelong and the Bellarine – Set to be the largest hotel in Geelong, the 4-star 180-room hotel will open its doors in 2020.
Flemington Event Centre is adding to its offering:
• The Club Stand – Recently launched, the highly anticipated $128 million Club Stand provides unique experiences. With 13 food and beverage spaces over five levels, outdoor seating decks and rooftop garden it offers the perfect opportunity for delegates and incentive groups to experience a day at Melbourne’s famous horse racing carnival.
• Flemington offers a wide range of venues within the precinct that caters for groups from 80 to 2,500 guests. Bespoke hospitality programs are available on race and non-race days to experience one of Melbourne’s most loved and popular major events in the calendar.
• A new partnership with Ctrip, the largest online Chinese provider of travel services, and an International Visitor Centre over Melbourne Cup Carnival offering language translation services, has made Flemington ready for Chinese delegates planning an event during this period.
Melbourne & Olympic Parks Redevelopment
Melbourne & Olympic Parks is currently undergoing a multi-million-dollar transformation with the intent to cater for the growing popularity of the Australian Open and year-round events. The design will secure the future of the Australian Open event in Melbourne and cater for the growing event calendar, ensuring that Melbourne & Olympic Parks continues to be a world class sporting and entertainment precinct for generations to come.
Redevelopment works will place a strong emphasis on the comfort of patrons, with more open space and shade, increased seating capacity, better connections to public transport and the city, and easier movement into and within the Melbourne and Olympic Parks precinct.
Broken down into 3 stages over 13 years, the works are improving significant elements of the Melbourne and Olympic Parks sports and entertainment precinct to make it one of the world’s best facilities.
A significant component of the final stage is a new state of the art conference centre that will join the impressive list of arenas, stadium and venues in the cultural hub of the country. With capacity to host up to 3,000 guests, the new conference centre promises to elevate Melbourne Park’s capabilities yet again. Opening in February 2022, bookings are available from early 2019.
The new rooftop space is located on level three rooftop at Crown Towers in Southbank. The space is fully heated and air-conditioned. Suitable for 550 delegates in a cocktail setting or up to 400 seated, the Crown Aviary offers the perfect setting with the city as backdrop.
Grand Hyatt Melbourne Grand Club Lounge
Grand Hyatt Melbourne’s exclusive Grand Club Lounge soaring high on level 31 has reopened after a design refresh. Boasting 180-degree views of Melbourne's city skyline, ideal for delegates to enjoy Melbourne city views. The Grand Club Lounge offers additional services including; exclusive check-in and check-out, concierge services, all-day refreshments, evening drinks with canapes and exclusive meetings rooms on request.
Half Acre by Food & Desire
After over two years in the making, an urban sanctuary in Melbourne’s industrial south will open its doors in 2019. Half Acre spaces cater for events offering intimacy and warmth with versatile options. Timber feature wall, high ceilings and an open floor plan will allow for flexible and memorable meetings. The venue is catered by Food & Desire and with Michelin and Hat experienced chefs it will offer bespoke menus encouraging the involvement of clients for their creation. Packages incorporate international flavours with a focus on modern Australian cuisine. Half Acre caters for 264 seated guests, 400 cocktail and 400 theatre style option.
Urban Alley Brewery
Recently opened, this 700-capacity microbrewery is located in Docklands. Brewing their own beer which is constructed from recycled materials this venue focuses on minimising environmental impact. The venue will offer flexible spaces for hosting group functions with a wide range of food and beverage packages.
Beach House Geelong
Due to open in January 2019, a 120-seat café will be in the heritage listed 1930’s waterfront property on the Eastern Beach at Geelong. The venue will include a 200sqm event space upstairs which will cater for larger groups offering a range of catering packages. The appointed chef will showcase regional produce giving some dishes a wellness and healthy focus.
Coming in August 2019, a brand-new winter festival will showcase the city’s unmatched music and cultural offerings. The event will bring Melbourne’s famous after-dark experiences incorporating the iconic White Night Melbourne into the festival. White Night is an all-night celebration of culture and creativity featuring illuminations, installations, exhibitions, music and street performances. Additionally, the Winter Festival will feature a multi-day program packed with cultural and creative experiences.
Fleurage Natural Perfume
New experience in which guests participate in a hands-on workshop to create their own customised scent of Melbourne. With the assistance of master perfumer Emma Leah, world-class niche perfumer, and her team, participants add drops from each place in Melbourne that sparked their imagination to the base scent provided (rain, grass, smoke and coffee). Incentive groups can enjoy this team-building experience and take home their own scent of the city.
Melbourne Zoo – Australian Wildlife Tour
A new exclusive group tour offered by Melbourne Zoo before it opens to the public allows small groups to experience the Australian Wildlife in an intimate setting while learning all about the creatures. Koalas, wombats and Tasmanian devils are some of the animals groups can meet, and delegates can feed the local kangaroos breakfast The tour finishes with a walk through the Great Flight Aviary experiencing the colours and sounds of native birdlife.
Werribee Open Range Zoo – Sunset Safari
A new and exclusive after-hours event to experience a night out with some of the world’s most iconic animals. The experience starts with a complimentary drink at a pop-up bar before setting of for a night filled with unique experiences including; adventure on to the savannah for a guided sunset tour, an intimate group dinner alongside meerkats in the Meerkat Bistro while enjoying African cuisine and an immersive performance showcasing the rhythm of African music. This experience is available for delegates booking in advance up until April 2019.
Phillip Island Nature Parks Project
Major upgrades to the iconic Phillip Island Nature Park and Penguin Parade are underway and due to be completed in July 2019. With a $58 million-dollar investment, the popular attraction will enhance the visitor’s experience. Upgrades include:
- Restoration of 6.7 hectares of penguin habitat
- A 400-seat restaurant and a 100-seat café to be incorporated allowing diners to see the penguins while having dinner
- New habitat for over 1,400 breeding penguins
- Enhancing the visitor experience with over 1,800sqm of language translation services and public spaces
- Modern retail outlets aligned with environmental priorities
- New touring options
Lamplight Tours of Sovereign Hill
The popular Sovereign Hill gold rush experience has launched new night tours to take groups to the darker side of the goldfields’ life exploring all the streets, cottages and laneways all under the glow of a lamplight. Led by costumed Sovereign Hill guides, groups will learn about the characters that lived in the region. Tours will run for 60 minutes each evening twice a day from Thursday to Saturday.
Based on a 20-hectare property west of Apollo Bay along the Great Ocean Road, a first of its kind wildlife experience has recently launched called Wildlife Wonders. The ecologist led guided walk takes visitors through the Otways region to explore Victoria’s native wildlife. Located in bushland delegates can watch koalas dozing in the treetops, potoroos and bandicoots foraging on the forest floor and kangaroos hopping along the horizon against a spectacular ocean backdrop.
100 Mile Foodie Cooking School
A new and unique cooking school located on the Mornington Peninsula and South Gippsland focusing on local, sustainable and ethically farmed food and wine all sourced from local regions. Ideal for smaller groups to enjoy a team-building session against a beautiful setting while learning cooking skills with some of Victoria’s best produce.
New photography tours and workshops will be available in the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and Dandenong regions with experts accompanying groups to great locations for the perfect shot. From searching for a kangaroo in the wild to capturing the Yarra Valley hills in the best light, tips and recommendations will be offered throughout the tour and visitors will be able to take home the best memories of their regional experience. Tours include the popular Hot Air Balloon flights.
Sebastian Beach Grill and Bar
A new restaurant on Williamstown Esplanade, to open at the end of 2018 will be inspired by famous Basque region San Sebastian, renowned by its high-rated food offering. The restaurant will open in a beach-front site and will offer 5-star seafood and other Basque-inspired dishes including famous pintxos. Capacity for 250 seated across dining, bistro and waterfront deck.
Sardine Eatery & Bar
Located in the Gippsland region and in its first trading year, this restaurant was awarded one hat by the Good Food Guide. Owner is Mark Briggs, former chef of ‘Vue de Monde’, renowned Melbourne restaurant. The restaurant offers the best produce of the region on an ever-changing menu, highlighting Gippsland produce, farmers and fisheries to source the freshest ingredients.
Little Lon Distilling Co
Named after the infamous Little Lon District, the illicit red-light district of nineteenth century Melbourne, that was divided by small laneway and brick and timber cottages once filled with bordellos, dance halls, bohemians, opium dens, and gangsters. Now one of the few remaining heritage-listed cottages from 1877 has been turned into a quaint gin distillery and bar. The cottage has 3 rooms: one for the gin distillery, one for the fermentation tanks, which has the capacity for around 200–300 litres of fermentation, and one for the bar, which is licenced to hold 20 people.
A new touring company offering 2 day / 1-night tours on the Great Ocean Road, focussed on 4.5-star accommodation and culinary delights, catering to delegates seeking a deeper understanding of the land, people and history of the Great Ocean Road region & 12 Apostles. Run by two experienced travellers the tours will take in locations skipped by the larger, faster tour companies, and provide a personal level of service.
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