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Geelong to get its first ‘retreat style boutique hotel

The Geelong Conference Centre will feature a redeveloped hotel under its new owner, BEKL.

A new wellness-themed boutique hotel will be constructed on the site of the Geelong Conference Centre following the site’s acquisition by property development firm BEKL.

The 4,500 square metre site adjacent to the East Geelong Golf Course will be turned into a 46-room hotel – two of which will be in a two-bedroom layout. The property will offer seven conference rooms, a restaurant and bar, guest lounge, mezzanine floor, swimming pool, spa and expansive garden areas.

Once operational, the hotel will focus on providing guests with a farm-to-table gastronomic experience, drawing on ingredients sourced from the Bellarine Peninsula.

According to figures from Tourism Australia, wellness tourism is growing at twice the speed of the industry as a whole, with an average growth rate of 7.6% annually over the last five years. In 2018, more than 900,000 visitors sought out wellness-based experiences in Australia.

The newly landscaped garden and pool area at the Geelong Conference Centre hotel.

BEKL Managing Director, Katherine Liu, said the destination would be inspired by the area’s botanical surroundings and a ‘bush retreat’ heritage.

“We are huge advocates for the practice of biophilic design – connecting people and nature within our built environments as a means of reducing stress levels, increasing mood and the overall feeling of wellbeing. This will be a big focus as we move to create a wellness destination to be enjoyed, be it by corporate guests, leisure travellers or locals,” Liu said.

“We identified a huge gap in the market, given the region is lacking in small, high-quality accommodation providers with a focus on experiential accommodation, especially where wellness is concerned.”

BEKL says it is in discussions with a number of hotel operators about managing the property and will make an appointment later this year.

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