29/11/2019 - 10:38

Adnate picture perfect in hotels mix

29/11/2019 - 10:38

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George and Peter Atzemis’ $90 million investment into Accor’s latest Art Series hotel on Hay Street reflects a return in confidence for the once flagging hotel market.

Peter Atzemis (left) and Craig Kelmar say The Adnate stands apart as a contemporary offering for travellers. Photos: Gabriel Oliveira

George and Peter Atzemis’ $90 million investment into Accor’s latest Art Series hotel on Hay Street reflects a return in confidence for the once flagging hotel market.

Craig Kelmar, general manager of The Adnate, admits the norm for Perth’s hotels is to have rooms facing south, given the desired view of the river that comes with it.

When it came time for Jaxon to build the Campion Design Group-designed hotel though, Mr Kelmar points out that a simple reversal of that norm, with rooms instead facing towards the city and its malls on one side, and the ocean and Lake Monger on the other, was enough to change the ambience of the building itself.

Take its pool as an example; located on the building’s first floor, the open air dining area staffed by Hyde Kitchen leads on to a terrace facing on to Hay Street, with the intention to have more sun shining directly into the area.

Hyde Kitchen, located on The Adnate’s first floor.

“It’s good with having heritage buildings, no one’s going to build up and block the sun,” Mr Kelmar said.

“There are so many properties I’ve seen where they build the pool that’s great for the first four hours of the day.

“By the time the sun goes over this way, if they put the pool on the other side, it’d be pointless.”

Located on the former Musgrove Music site on Hay Street, The Adnate adds to a series of major hotel openings in Perth’s CBD in recent months that have brought hundreds of rooms in capacity to the city’s hotel market.

That includes the five-star rated Ritz-Carlton in Elizabeth Quay, which features 204 rooms and ranks 10th on the BNiQ list of hotels and resorts, and Ibis Styles East Perth, developed by Accor and Rehawk Property Group.

Part of Accor’s range of Art Series hotels, The Adnate’s construction dates back to 2013, when hotel developer George Atzemis paid about $10 million for the site.

Though Mr Atzemis is perhaps better known for his involvement in retail development, between 2009 and 2017 he and business partner Constantine Berbatis owned the 189-room, 4.5-star Holiday Inn Perth City Centre on Hay Street.

At the time of purchasing the site, the hotel market made for a poor proposition, as George’s son Peter Atzemis, admits.

Coming off the tail end of the mining boom at the time, the industry relatively quickly went from high occupancy rates and profit margins to hundreds of hotel rooms left empty.

Despite that, Mr Atzemis told Business News he was convinced to take a chance on the site, believing the right operator could make the site stand out regardless of market conditions.

“We went through a period (where there were) super booms, no rooms available, rates were high, then obviously the mining boom went bust and everything went away,” Mr Atzemis said.

“The government seemed to look at a reactive … view. They got reactive to, there’s not enough rooms, in a market that was dropping.

“For the old stock that’s in the market, they needed to become relevant again; it wasn’t about value adding, it was just about becoming relevant because there were so many new hotels because the government was focusing on it.

“We knew there were rooms coming into the market, we also know the cycles involved in hotels.

“Things flipped around and (there was) a real positive outcome when Accor came on board and saw the same as us.”

Mantra was originally selected to operate the hotel before it was acquired by Accor in 2016, which then decided to make it the ninth in its brand of Art Series hotels.

Featuring art inspired by contemporary Australian artists, The Adnate utilises works commissioned from its namesake Matt Adnate, who designed the 75-metre tall mural on its exterior, as well as installations throughout the foyer and pieces in each room.

Matt Adnate’s works make prominent use of hands and faces.

Mr Kelmar said the focus on contemporary art made the hotel a more distinct and modern offering, with guided art tours where guests could learn about Mr Adnate’s work and history adding to that experience.

“It’s more about providing the experiences now than just come in, got your bed, you’ve done your work and you go home,” he said.

“Now we add to that element of travel.

“There’s a place for your standard hotel … but to create something a little different with a bit more of an experience is what makes us different.”

Artworks are visible from the hotel’s main entrance on Hay Street.

Mr Atzemis agreed, saying he didn’t see The Adnate as a competitor to the likes of Ritz-Carlton or The Westin Perth, but rather as an offering for travellers looking for distinctly contemporary accommodation.

“That mural sums up where I believe this hotel sits in the marketplace,” he said.

Mr Kelmar said The Adnate’s uniqueness would help it stand apart, as an influx of new rooms comes to the market.

That includes the Parmelia Hilton Perth, which will complete $45 million in renovations and add an additional 25 rooms by September 2020.

Regardless, he recognised the state government’s renewed focus on tourism spending would help the leisure segment grow.

“I think the tough time’s gone and now Perth’s starting to pick back up,” Mr Kelmar said.

“By having eight years of the mining boom and not much availability … there wasn’t much tourism going on.

“The marketing for tourism wasn’t going on, because you couldn’t provide something if there’s no availability.”

As for Mr Atzemis, who said the final product cost upwards of $90 million to develop, he emphasised that he would not soon abandon his commitment to The Adnate.

“We took a stance that we’re not sellers,” he said.

“Generally, we’re in it for the long haul.”

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