The Five Star Tourism Trend Opening Up Australia's Grand Old Sandstone Buildings

04/10/2015 10:41 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:50 PM AEST
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Fairfax Media /South Australian Tourism Commission

When it comes to history tourism, Australia's got nothing on Europe but an emerging trend is seeing the grand sandstone buildings of our young country becoming luxury hotels.

Plans were revealed Friday for the historic homestead where Picnic At Hanging Rock was filmed to become a luxury spa and hotel in South Australia.

COMO The Treasury | Perth, Australia

With a history spanning 135 years, the State Buildings are reopening to the public. #COMOTreasury – 15/10/15

Posted by COMO The Treasury on Thursday, August 20, 2015

Also on Friday, Perth's newest luxury hotel opened in the historic old treasury building, surrounded by a new city square built around 19th century heritage listed state buildings.

In Sydney meanwhile, a series of sandstone buildings in the financial district on Bridge St are set to be redeveloped into a 240-room five-star hotel.

sandstones

An artist's impression of the Sydney sandstone buildings to be developed by hotel group Pontiac. Picture: Supplied

Has Australia reached an age where our built history is becoming, well, historic?

Heritage tourism consultant Cathy Dunn says yes.

"There is a new big market of people who travel because they just love history," Dunn said.

"They're mostly semi retired anywhere from 40 up, and they've got a big disposable income.

"For some it's about connecting with their own family history and for others, it's the way history enhances luxury hotels.

"There's a real character that comes with refurbishing a grand old building into a five-star hotel or bed and breakfast."

The developments in Clare Valley, Sydney and Perth are all government-owned buildings and Dunn said their development was a win-win situation.

"The hotel companies leasing the building will look after it -- probably better than the state government alone -- because it's an integral part of their business," Dunn said.

"It's a way of protecting our heritage and letting people enjoy it."

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