Crowne Plaza Melbourne Wins Runner Up at Paul Davis Hotel Design Awards 2021

We are very excited to announce that Crowne Plaza Melbourne has today won Runner-Up for Best Refurbishment in Australasia in the Paul Davis Hotel Design Awards at the 2021 edition of Design Inn and AHICE in Adelaide.

Selected from a large number of entrants (including winner QT, Auckland), the award is recognition of the exceptional Crowne Plaza Melbourne refurbishment project completed in 2020, and its demonstration of design innovation, a commitment to sustainability design practices and to delivering an exceptional guest experience.

In the words of the HM and the Judges:

‘This project really addresses the needs of the urban traveller, regardless if they are business or leisure (or both). The renovated property has been given a new life by the addition of new spaces and guest rooms, along with the opening up of riverside views. Sustainability was a critical consideration, which can be especially tricky when dealing with a renovation. Energy savings realised along with a reduction in the carbon footprint was by implementing simple yet effective solutions within both the Engineering and Procuring divisions’.

A huge congratulations to Salter Brothers Development Team led by Tina Schober for their design and project expertise, to Matthew Butcher and the Restaurants & Bars Team for the wonderful contribution the new restaurants and bars in Yugo, Pow Wow and Dive Bar bring to the hotel offering for hotel guests and Melburnians alike, and to Kate Harper and the Crowne Plaza Melbourne IHG Operations Team for their ongoing management of this award winning hotel.

Thanks also to our key partners in Kane Constructions, architect Gray Puksand and our interior design team of 3 very diverse designers who all contributed to the success of the refurbishment project and to creating the enviable hotel and restaurant & bar destination that Crowne Plaza Melbourne now is for business and leisure travelers.

View highlights of our submission below

Salter Brothers completed the transformation of the iconic 30 year old Crowne Plaza Melbourne into Melbourne’s leading upscale riverfront hotel with a ‘new modern’ design concept which focused on regenerating building life, improving sustainability performance and re-positioning the hotel in the Melbourne market through significantly expanding its facility offering and quality. In addition, through clever repurposing of under-utilised and redundant back-of-house spaces within the asset, we successfully added guest rooms and other revenue generating areas to increase asset value.

The refurbishment comprised of:

Stage 1 – a comprehensive guestrooms refurbishment to re-position the hotel as a premium, upscale accommodation offering.

Stage 2 – a full public area refurbishment and clever re-purposing of facilities to drive the repositioning of the asset including:

  • Creation of three new restaurant and bar venues lead by a Tier 1 chef and concepted to hold strong appeal to Melbourne locals, as well as offering significant amenity to hotel guests.
  • 1500sqm of meetings space – a 3 x increase in capacity in events space for the hotel, including a new premier event destination Pearl Riverfront, Melbourne’s only absolute riverfront hotel events centre
  • Addition of 48 new guestrooms through clever re-purposing of facilities and utilisation of available airspace, delivering immediate valuation uplift
  • A reimagined rooftop pool and 24 hour wellness centre

The key outcomes from the redevelopment have been:

  • the significant expansion of the Hotel’s facility set
  • the substantial 3 x increase in meetings and events space
  • significant addition of guest room inventory.

As a “value add” manager Salter Brothers focus on driving asset value and delivering inherent value opportunities for its investors, has been delivered through this project.

Bringing business class to a new level, the fully refurbished Crowne Plaza Melbourne is now much more than a hotel, it is a destination. Since refurbishment completion, the hotel has received exceptional feedback from guests particularly through its guest satisfaction measurement “Heartbeat”.

A significant increase has been recorded in the most recent February results:

  • “Overall Experience”: 92.39 (+29.04)
  • “Overall Arrival Experience”: 90.22 (+29.31)
  • “Overall Guest Room Experience”: 91.30 (+20.23)
  • “Overall Bathroom Experience”: 86.96 (+19.94)

Since re-opening after its closure during Covid, it has received strong and consistent positive feedback on key social media sites including Tripadvisor, and from major industry participants and media. The distinctly different restaurant and bar venues have also received strong reviews from a range of Melbourne’s reviewers, highlighting a forward- thinking approach to the range of experiences and innovation displayed across each.

Diverse designers were engaged for the hotel and restaurant and bar spaces to ensure the delivery of unique experiences for guests as distinct from conference delegates and/or patrons of the stand- alone restaurants and bars. The executed concepts throughout the hotel included a sophisticated and timeless colour palette with a black undertone, to give it a truly Melbourne identity, while the restaurants and bars each carry their own unique personality with features including:

  • Yugo’s private dining room; a glass box that frosts at the touch of a button allowing for a completely immersive experience;
  • Dive Bar’s colour and lighting evoking the old-school atmosphere of New York’s East Village; dimly-lit and layered with neon, it’s the place to socialize.
  • Pow Wow cafe’s eco and health-conscious vibe offers a California-inspired design that’s fresh and bright, and an atmosphere that’s relaxed, perfect as a co-working space.

The consideration of a sustainable design was key for Salter Brothers from project initiation. To reduce energy consumption, Salter Brothers successfully introduced:

  • smart climate control and sensor lighting throughout the guestrooms and public areas;
  • new smart controllers on all plant and equipment to manage utility usage in real time;
  • implemented a new BMS and energy management system to programme, monitor and manage energy centrally via a cloud based solution.

Project/Development Management: Salter Brothers

Contractor/Construction Team: Kane (Salter Brothers as Superintendent)

Architect: Gray Puksand

Interior Design: Joseph Pang Design / AK Design (US) / Brand Bureau (US)

For more information about the awards, visit

Salter Brothers Asset Management Pty Limited: ABN 33 119 833 760, AFSL 308971 is the trustee of all Salter Brothers Funds.