Grand Hyatt Melbourne is in the midst of a major refurbishment that once complete, will place the property high on the list of the brand’s top hotels in the Asia-Pacific region.
WORDS JAMES WILKINSON
Grand Hyatt Melbourne’s major refurbishment has been one of Australia’s most significant hotel projects undertaken in recent years and once completed in 2011, the property will stand tall as a leading high-rise for the brand in the Asia-Pacific region.
As it stands, the majority of rooms have now been remodelled in the 546-room, HM Award-winning property (2010 Hotel Refurbishment of the Year) and that’s on the back of last year’s total revamp of the lobby, retail and F&B outlets.
According to Grand Hyatt Melbourne General Manager David Mansfield, the project is progressing well.
“The complete interior redesign of the hotel’s guest rooms commenced in October 2009 and 60% of the rooms are complete – this includes the premium suites, Grand Club Lounge and Club floors,” he exclusively told HM.
“Designed by renowned hotel designer Joseph Pang, this total transformation includes an update of the carpets, drapery and furniture to create a new level of comfort for our guests.
“The design concept is based on the need to match the luxury image of the newly refurbished public areas with a contemporary residential style.
“These updates complement the Hyatt custom beds and Egyptian cotton linen that was placed in the rooms at the end of 2008, along with new LCD flat-screen televisions. Guests can also enjoy enhanced multimedia features including WiFi access in all rooms and iPod docking stations in all Club rooms and suites.
“This was also an important opportunity for the hotel to extend its water and energy initiatives, and all rooms will be fitted with energy saving sensors and lighting in addition to water saving devices in the bathrooms.
“All guest rooms will be complete by 2011, and will mark the completion of the hotel’s upgrades, which were undertaken to offer our guests the best possible experience whilst enjoying premier facilities and service,” he said.
Mansfield said the total interior redesign is isolated floor by floor “ensuring that there is minimal disruption to in-house guests” and the guest feedback has been very positive.
“Guest feedback has been very encouraging, from both corporate and leisure travellers,” he said. “Many of our regular guests had been eagerly awaiting the new rooms, and it is pleasing to see that the product has met, or exceeded, their expectations.
“A resounding theme has been the comfort of the new rooms – the new residential design concept has taken away the impersonal feel that some hotel rooms impart and guests have been particularly impressed with the new work area.
“We also took on board past feedback and comments and the new room layout has greatly enhanced the guest experience. Another key focus of the interior redesign which has attracted positive feedback has been the energy saving initiatives, which was very important for the hotel to continue its commitment to sustainable environmental practices,” he said.
Mansfield said while the rooms are only 60% complete – due mainly to the hotel needing the inventory – it’s an exciting time for the hotel to be in the middle of completing the final piece of the refurbishment puzzle.
“It certainly is very exciting,” he said. “The guestroom refurbishment is the final, yet vital component of the hotel’s transformation.
“Complementing the recent redevelopment of the public spaces, the complete interior redesign of the guest rooms completes the hotel’s enhanced offering, and ensures that we can strive to consistently meet and exceed our customer’s expectations,” he said.
Not just on guest satisfaction, Mansfield said the property has been performing well across the board, particularly in the MICE segment where the new rooms will play a key role going forward.
“Grand Hyatt Melbourne has been experiencing good growth in all markets, however our true drivers for Q3 and Q4 were our robust corporate clients and secured pieces of MICE business,” he said. “Additionally, there will be increased opportunity in the MICE market due to the enhanced room product, which places us in an ideal position to maintain growth in this area.
“Our online market also continues to perform as the business environment changes, and travellers become increasingly technologically savvy,” he said.
Mansfield said the MICE market in general should be a strong segment for the property over the next 12 months.
“We are seeing very encouraging trends for the first two quarters of 2011, and we expect to see continued growth in the domestic and international MICE markets,” he said.
“Whilst there are still large pieces of business confirming inside a three-month window, longer lead bookings are beginning to return. Customers will also increasingly seek out the best value in the form of value-adds rather than price, and the new guests rooms will ensure the continued appeal of Grand Hyatt Melbourne to the meetings and events market.
“The hotel continues to take a pro-active approach to secure new business and align ourselves with partners who share the same value proposition, so that we can continue to strive to be recognised as the premier MICE venue in Melbourne,” he said.
Major events, such as the Ashes, Australian Open tennis and Formula 1 Grand Prix, are also expecting to be strong periods for the property.
Grand Hyatt Melbourne
123 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC, Australia
Owner: Grand Hotel Group
Operator: Hyatt Hotels & Resorts
General Manager: David Mansfield
Opened: 22 November 1986
Rooms & suites: 546
F&B outlets: Collins Kitchen and RU-CO
Conferencing: 17 meeting rooms, including two ballrooms, Savoy & Mayfair, and the premium events space, the residence.
Recreation facilities: City Club Health and Fitness Centre, Sanctuary Day Spa, tennis courts, golf practice nets, luxury retail precinct.