IHG Hotels and Resorts is set to bring its premium accommodation brand Crowne Plaza to the Victorian city of Geelong, through a partnership with Plenary Group.

Opening in 2026, the new 200-room Crowne Plaza Geelong is expected to include suites up to a spacious 57 sqm in size, an extensive restaurant and bar offering, pool and gym, as well as meeting facilities.

The hotel will form part of the Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre precinct development project, which will see the construction of a 1,000-seat convention centre and exhibition spaces, retail and hospitality offerings, as well as a large public plaza.

The announcement comes ahead of the September opening of a 180-room Holiday Inn and Suites Geelong, which puts IHG on track to be the largest global hotel operator in the area.

“The addition of Crowne Plaza to Geelong would help capture visitation from both corporate and leisure travellers alike and serve as a strong endorsement to the pipeline of growth opportunities we’re currently experiencing throughout metropolitan and regional markets,” said IHG’s Director of Development for Australasia and Pacific, Cameron Burke.

“With the opening of Holiday Inn and Suites Geelong also imminent, we’re excited at the prospect of becoming the largest global operator in Geelong and to maintaining our accelerated growth trajectory across Australia.”

Plenary Group Chair, John O’Rourke, said the project provides a great opportunity for Geelong and the greater Bellarine and Surf Coast region.

“[Crowne Plaza Geelong will] add to its reputation as a leading regional city and a tourism, business events and retail destination, creating local job opportunities and further contributing to Greater Geelong’s visitor and tourism economies,” he said.

Victorian Minister for Regional Development, Harriet Shing, described the project as a “game changer” for the rapidly growing region.

“[Crowne Plaza Geelong will generate] hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars into the local economy – once complete it will be yet another drawcard for this vibrant, prosperous and beautiful part of the state,” Shing said.

IHG’s suburban and regional expansion in Victoria has seen the addition of Holiday Inn properties in Dandenong and Werribee in 2023 and 2021 respectively, and InterContinental Sorrento in 2022. Over the next 12 months, it will also open six new hotels in Greater Melbourne under the Crowne Plaza, Voco, Hotel Indigo and Holiday Inn brands.

Crowne Plaza Melbourne Carlton and Crowne Plaza Shell Cove Marina will open in 2024, while Crowne Plaza Fiji Nadi Bay Resort and Spa is set to open later this year, bringing a world-class offering to the Pacific region.