InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has signed an agreement to manage the Rialto Hotel on Collins, in Melbourne Australia. Following the hotel’s closure and complete transformation, the property will reopen as an InterContinental hotel by late 2008.
The property’s owner, Eureka Funds Management has confirmed the hotel will close on 14 October 2007 for a multi-million dollar upgrade. The upgrade will include complete refurbishment of all public and guest areas and will reinstate one of the city’s best examples of 19th century architecture as a world-class hotel.
Rialto Hotel on Collins consists of two heritage buildings - the brick Romanesque-style Winfield Building designed by William Pitt and Richard Speight Jr’s Gothic-style Rialto Building. Both split by a preserved classic bluestone cobbled laneway, the buildings were constructed in 1891 and originally housed the Melbourne wool stores and offices.
The owner’s vision for the site will see its protected historical aspects restored in conjunction with the National Trust and complemented with a contemporary design that captures everything that’s great about Melbourne’s past , present and future.
“The Rialto and Winfield buildings were designed and built when Melbourne was the richest city in the world and, even before purchasing the site in 2004, we saw its potential to once again become one of the world’s great hotels. Our intention is to reflect that heritage and create a new hotel of international stature through its location, design and of course, the InterContinental Hotels & Resorts brand name,” said Eureka fund manager, Nigel Greenaway.
“Upon completion, the Rialto will become the best-placed luxury hotel in Melbourne’s business and financial district and the closest to local commercial landmarks such as the Australian Stock Exchange. We believe InterContinental Hotels & Resorts is the best complement to our intended positioning of the refurbished hotel, and we’ll continue to work with IHG to create a flagship hotel for the brand,” Mr Greenaway said.
IHG has long considered Melbourne an ideal location in which to establish the InterContinental brand, which is typically situated in key gateway cities and popular high-end leisure destinations.
“We’ve been looking for the right location for an InterContinental hotel in Melbourne for some time and, following Eureka’s capital works investment, the Rialto site will be perfect ..............The prospect of establishing the InterContinental in Melbourne through such an architecturally significant and perfectly situated property is very exciting. Upon reopening, the hotel will complement the likes of InterContinental Sydney, InterContinental Paris Le Grand and InterContinental The Willard Washington DC, all landmark buildings that are also exceptional brand icons,” said IHG chief operating officer Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific, Keith Barr.
The hotel’s 160-strong team have been communicated on intentions to close the hotel for refurbishment and rebranding. All redundancy entitlements will be honoured, with many employees taking redeployment with IHG’s Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn hotels in Victoria and other parts of the country. A number of initiatives are also in place to assist job seekers, including employer networking events as well as resume and interview skills training.