Crowne Plaza crowns major Geelong development

Pictured: rendering of Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre including Crowne Plaza.
IHG Hotels & Resorts (IHG) plans to bring its Crowne Plaza brand to the Victoria, Australia regional city of Geelong, in partnership with Plenary Group.

The newbuild 200-room Crowne Plaza Geelong will open in 2026, part of the Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre precinct development project.

Multipurpose waterfront development

The redevelopment includes the construction of a purpose-built convention and exhibition space. There will be a 1,000-seat venue, two large exhibition spaces, meeting rooms, conference facilities and flexible event spaces.

New retail spaces will feature hospitality offerings, a large public plaza will become a feature of the Geelong waterfront and a new 200-room hotel under the Crowne Plaza brand is designed to boost local visitation.

The hotel will feature 200 rooms and is expected to include suites up to a spacious 57 sq m in size, an extensive restaurant and bar offering, as well as a pool and gym, And, while it will be connected to the convention and exhibition centre, the hotel itself will feature meeting spaces that guests would expect from the Crowne Plaza brand.

Crown jewel precinct

Cameron Burke, IHG’s director of development for Australasia and Pacific, said: “We’re thrilled to be planning this partnership with Plenary Group and extending our reach across regional Victoria with the Crowne Plaza brand.

“This is an incredibly exciting development, and we will be delighted to be part of a precinct that will become a crown jewel for the city of Geelong. The addition of Crowne Plaza to Geelong would help capture visitation from both corporate and leisure travellers alike and serve as a strong endorsement to the pipeline of growth opportunities we’re currently experiencing throughout metropolitan and regional markets. With the opening of Holiday Inn & Suites Geelong also imminent, we’re excited at the prospect of becoming the largest global operator in Geelong and to maintaining our accelerated growth trajectory across Australia.”

Game-changing project

John O’Rourke, Plenary Group chair, commented: “This project provides a great opportunity for Geelong and the greater Bellarine and Surf Coast region to add to its reputation as a leading regional city and a tourism, business events and retail destination, creating local job opportunities and further contributing to Greater Geelong’s visitor and tourism economies.”

Victorian Minister for regional development Harriet Shing added: “This project is a game-changer for a rapidly growing region, generating hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars into the local economy – once complete it will be yet another drawcard for this vibrant, prosperous and beautiful part of the state.”

Ahead in Australia

The Crowne Plaza brand has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts in Australia over the past few years. Looking ahead, the 107-key Crowne Plaza Melbourne Carlton and the 181-key Crowne Plaza Shell Cove Marina will open in 2024, and the 325-room Crowne Plaza Fiji Nadi Bay Resort & Spa is set to open later this year.

With the new 180-room Holiday Inn & Suites Geelong due to open in September, IHG is on track to be the largest global hotel operator in Geelong. It continues IHG’s suburban and regional expansion in Victoria that has also seen it add Holiday Inn Dandenong earlier in the year, Holiday Inn Werribee in 2021 and InterContinental Sorrento in 2022. It will also open six new hotels in Greater Melbourne in the next 12 months under the Crowne Plaza, voco, Hotel Indigo and Holiday Inn brands.