6 October 2023

Meriton Suites adds extra dimension to Canberra hotel market

| Ian Bushnell
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exterior of meriton hotel in canberra city

The new Meriton Suites hotel on Allara Street is making an impact on the Canberra hotel market. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

The ACT’s newest five-star hotel has been doing good business since opening in August, boasting an 80 per cent occupancy rate.

Meriton Suites Canberra is part of a $400 million expansion of the Harry Triguboff-owned Meriton Group, which has just opened new hotels in Liverpool in western Sydney and Melbourne CBD.

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The Meriton brand offers spacious, home-style accommodation with separate bedrooms and kitchen facilities, and each hotel includes amenities such as an all-hours fitness centre, an indoor heated swimming pool, spa and sauna, available in Canberra from later this month.

The 16-storey Allara Street building designed by Fender Katsalidis has added 280 rooms to the city, ranging from studios to three-bedroom suites and luxury penthouses.

The stately lobby features a unique striking chandelier with fabric shipped in from Switzerland. A cafe is also opening soon.

The Meriton Suites lobby with chandelier.

First impressions: the Meriton Suites lobby with its unique chandelier. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

Meriton Group general manager Matthew Thomas said the growing national capital was an ideal site for the group to expand into.

“We are always watching the market sourcing new locations,” he said. “Canberra not only boasts a number of attractions and hosts various festivals and cultural events but has also been developing a growing business environment, making it an ideal destination for both business and family travellers alike.

“So when a site was available in Canberra, the time was right to expand.”

Canberra was also a highly requested destination by loyal Meriton Suites guests across both corporate and leisure markets.

The location in the southern end of the city was also a factor, making it easy for guests to get to the National Convention Centre for conferences and events, the Canberra Centre for shopping, as well as museums, art galleries and fine dining.

It is also within walking distance of Floriade.

Mr Thomas said the feedback so far had been positive, especially the fact that Meriton offered two and three-bedroom suites unlike many hotels in Canberra, which suited families and groups.

“We have been open for just over six weeks and our occupancy has been consistently over 80 per cent throughout,” he said. “This shows that our hotel has been well received and is a refreshing change within the area.”

Inside a Meriton suite

All suites have kitchens, a popular point of difference for travellers, especially families. Photo: Meriton Group.

Mr Thomas said the average length of stay was three days and the hotel market was reporting a shift in travelling patterns toward groups and self-contained accommodation.

“For example, we have more groups of friends and families who like to travel together therefore our apartment-style suites, especially our two and three-bedroom suites, which offer larger space with multiple rooms giving everyone the ability to be all together while still having personal space,” he said.

Meriton had escaped the worst of the pandemic compared to other traditional hotels and had enjoyed a strong recovery since COVID, Mr Thomas said.

“We were lucky that our Gold Coast and Brisbane hotels performed really well during COVID, and in NSW we were lucky to leverage our properties into the short-term rental accommodation market,” he said.

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However, the hotel accommodation market is still not at pre-pandemic levels, and growth is dependent on the number of international travellers coming to Australia, which is controlled by airline capacity and the cost of airfares.

“We hope that 2024 will at least be the start of real movement in terms of occupancy and daily rate growth,” Mr Thomas said.

“Hotel rates in Australia have a lot of room to grow, we are still reasonably priced compared to other cities like New York, Paris, London and even Singapore.”

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