CONSTRUCTION of the first internationally branded five-star hotel to be built in Adelaide for nearly 30 years will begin in 2017, after the international hotel chain Accor was selected by the Palumbo Group to operate the hotel.
The 32-storey development at 106 Currie Street will be the tallest mixed-use development in South Australia and will also feature 80 apartments over the top eight levels with the remaining floors comprising the hotel's suites and facilities.
The Sofitel-branded hotel will include 250 rooms and suites, with extensive leisure and business facilities, including a restaurant, four bars, ballroom, swimming pool, health and fitness centre, meeting and conference rooms and a signature Sofitel Club Lounge.
Premier Jay Weatherill said the establishment of a five-star branded hotel in Adelaide was one of the objectives outlined in the Economic Priority, 'South Australia – a growing destination for international and domestic travellers' in August last year.
"This is another example of the private investment now flowing from the public investments in the Adelaide Oval, Convention Centre and the new Royal Adelaide Hospital," he said.
"Over the past 12 months we have seen at least three new hotels open and many more apartment complexes begin construction or near completion.
"This development also would not have happened if it weren't for the comprehensive changes to the CBD planning laws.
"Having a luxury branded five-star hotel in Adelaide will be a further boost to our $5.1 billion tourism industry which employs more than 33,000 people.
"As a valuable industry to the state's economy, it is important we support new and refreshed tourism developments, further develop accommodation in the city and continue to invest in South Australia's tourism assets and experiences."
The $140 million hotel development is scheduled to open in late 2018. The hotel will be the sixth Sofitel in Australia and the first in SA. The project will create hundreds of jobs during the construction phase and employ about 150 people once operational.
Managing Director of Palumbo Pty Ltd, Daniel Palumbo, said that the process to identify a hotel partner for 106 Currie Street took over a year to conclude and involved the world's leading hotel brands.
"Sofitel was chosen because, quite simply, it offers the best premier hotel experience," Mr Palumbo said.
"Sofitel Adelaide will be South Australia's premier hotel destination and is a French luxury hotel brand associated with beauty, quality and excellence.
"It will offer the best of both worlds, it will combine the very best South Australian wine and produce with the finest French pastries, wines, cheeses and breads, all of which create a uniquely European experience for guests."
Australia's largest hotel operator, Accor, will manage the hotel for Palumbo Pty Ltd.
Chief Operating Officer Accor Pacific, Simon McGrath, said the development of the Sofitel Adelaide hotel will further elevate Adelaide's international profile.
"It is almost 30 years since a hotel of this status and quality has been built in Adelaide's CBD and it will help attract significant increases in tourism, business travel and conferences to the city," Mr McGrath said.
"The demand into Adelaide's visitor economy is growing despite new hotel supply entering the market last year.
"Occupancy for the total market finished just under 80 per cent in occupancy while revenue per room grew by 5.5 per cent.
"This growth is being fuelled by major projects such as the Adelaide Oval and Convention Centre."
Palumbo plans to characterise 106 Currie Street and its immediate surrounds as an 'arts precinct', with several planned initiatives expected to soon be announced for the area.