Accor confirms SO/ Australian brand debut

Architects Elenberg Fraser designs Melbourne-based "WOTEL"

Accor’s SO/ Hotels & Resorts luxury brand has been confirmed for launch in Australia, with SO/Melbourne slated to open in 2023 in the city’s CBD.

Located on the corner of William and Franklin Streets, the 288-room and -suite property will form part of a mixed-use development, positioned in the upper levels between level 11 and level 34, with a tapering form to capitalise on views to Flagstaff Gardens and the Queen Victoria Market.

SO/ Melbourne Lobby | Image credit: Elenberg Fraser
SO/ Melbourne Atrium aerial view | Image credit: Elenberg Fraser

Billed as a “vibrant and playful” hotel collection, SO/Melbourne will be the second hotel in the collection in the region, joining SO/Auckland which opened in November 2018.

“The demand for quality luxury hotels is at an all-time high, so the timing is right to introduce Australia to the audacious and fashionable SO/ Hotel brand,” Accor’s Chief Operating Officer Pacific, Simon McGrath, said.

“SO/Melbourne will bring a bold and playful energy to Melbourne, blending the brand’s vibrant luxury services with the heart and soul of the destination. This flagship hotel will be the place to be seen to socialise, appealing to chic travellers and Melbourne’s savvy early adopters who are renowned for having their finger on the pulse.

“Guests today are looking for travel experiences that excite the senses and they want to stay in places where they feel connected to the heart of their destination,” McGrath added.

The hotel is part of a multimillion-dollar mixed-use urban regeneration project across two towers and a podium comprising the luxury lifestyle property, commercial workspace and a high-end ground floor retail space. An existing heritage building will be retained and incorporated into the lower level design to reflect the diverse history of the site.

While formally announced on Thursday [27 February], SO/Melbourne was subtly flagged several weeks ago when the brand revealed its expansion plan into Spain.

Architects Elenberg Fraser also eluded to SO/ Hotels & Resorts launch in the Victorian capital online, with a recent post about the project stating, “So, for a start, we’ve created something new. It’s a hybrid we’re calling a ‘WOTEL’…where work meets hotel”.

“With conventional wisdom abandoned, guests at SO Sofitel are getting more than a place to crash and a mini-bar to raid. Hotel rooms transition into flexible workspaces that encourage collaboration and autonomy. Guests mingle with office workers at the bar, on the dance floor, and at the gym and pool. Facilities are shared with the locals. So for as long as they’re in residence, hotel guests are Melburnians,” Elenberg Fraser said online.

SO/Melbourne will feature a signature club lounge & private meeting room, specialty restaurant/bar & sky deck, all-day dining & outdoor terrace, lobby lounge/cafe and a ballroom. Wellness facilities will include a SO/SPA and SO/FIT wellness and fitness centre as well as a swimming pool. A standout feature of the property will be its sky gardens.

SO/Melbourne - exterior | Image credit: Elenberg Fraser

Other upcoming SO/ Hotels & Resorts’ properties include SO/ Los Cabos Hotel & Residences (2021) in Mexico. Accor says the brand will also unveil hotels in Kuala Lumpur (2020), Samui (2020) and Jakarta (2021).

Image credit: Elenberg Fraser architects

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