For more than four decades, the Sydney Hilton has owned its place in the narrative of the city skyline. Through several changes of ownership in that time, the hotel has been at the forefront of a number of redevelopment applications both within and around its perimeter.
From the removal of the much-maligned pedestrian ramps in the late 1980s to a comprehensive rebuild of the hotel’s podium in the early 2000s, little of the Hilton Sydney circa 1975 remains from what stands at 488 George Street today.
Not all works capable of generating significant improvement in the hotel façade and visitor experience requires unsightly scaffolding and hard hats though. To many regular visitors, little to no indication of a major improvement in its internal offerings would have been evident, yet the hotel will soon sign the notice of completion to a major undertaking nearly five years in the making.
Project managed by JLL from start to finish, the work began as the full refurbishment of the hotel’s conference and event spaces, which spreads across three levels of the hotel’s podium section. The project included a new concierge desk, new carpets, furniture, wall treatments and artwork. Carried out under the cover of darkness in some cases, guests awoke to find a different-looking hotel to the one they had entered only a day earlier.
From there, it was a natural move to continue the momentum and build on the success of the project to date by moving on to the award-winning Glass Brasserie. Moving carefully among the delicate wine cellars and artworks with very little advance notice, the restaurant’s kitchen was gradually upgraded by January 2018 with state=of-the-art equipment and ventilation.
Now with two projects under its belt and scheduled room renovations upcoming, JLL was retained to oversee the renovation of the iconic hotel’s 579 rooms – a project which allowed for the creation of eight new keys, taking the total room count to 587. As of February 2020, work is nearly complete and expected to be open in full before the middle of the year. Working as the conduit for communications between the hotel’s owner and Hilton as its tenant, JLL ensured the needs and objectives of both parties were met and exceeded, with the operating relationship enhanced as a result.
Moving across the country to Perth, JLL’s scorecard of success also includes the Holiday Inn Perth – an eight-storey dual-tower edifice linked by a linkway. Over an 18 month process concluding in June 2016, the hotel received major upgrades to guest rooms, seven meeting rooms and public areas, with major changes seeing the total relocation of a first-floor restaurant to ground level, making way for four new hotel rooms. Key to the success of the project was the careful application of value engineering solutions jointly devised with the construction management, which saw works begin and conclude on time and within budget.
Overseen by a hotel consulting team and the main contractor, works at the Western Australia property led to the hotel being named the winner of the AHA WA Accommodation Award for Excellence as the best-redeveloped hotel for 2016.