Home-grown hotel chains have continued their expansion outside the city, a tradition started by Mandarin Oriental and Peninsula a few decades ago.
The Ovolo Group, which owns and operates four hotels and two serviced apartments in Hong Kong, has picked Melbourne as the place for its first overseas venture.
'We've been visiting Australia frequently over the past few years and have been encouraged by what we've seen in Melbourne. We feel we can rejuvenate the local market with our signature Ovolo style and provide fresh city living ideas to Australian residents and visitors,' says Gaurang Jhunjhnuwala, general manager of business development and marketing.
Scheduled to open in the next few months, the hotel will have 43 rooms, ranging from studios to one- and two- bedroom units, and penthouses with terraces overlooking the city. Situated on Little Bourke Street in the central business district, Jhunjhnuwala says the new hotel will follow the same concept as the group's other premises which have become 'all inclusive' this year, offering guests free breakfast, Wi-fi, mini-bar, and flexible checkout.
New World Hospitality has more extensive plans in its overseas expansion.
Formed in 2006, New World now has 27 hotels and the list will continue to grow to include hotels in mainland cities Guiyang, Beijing, Shenyang, Qingyuan and Haikou.
Its New World Hotels brand operates five hotels and two affiliated properties on the mainland, the Philippines and Vietnam.
In addition, the group has stepped up expansion in recent years with the acquisition of the management of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts and pentahotels in Asia.
Rosewood Hotels & Resorts is a luxury hotel brand in the United States. It has 17 hotels and resorts in seven countries, while pentahotels is a brand of neighbourhood lifestyle hotels which has 13 properties in Europe and has embarked on Asian expansion with two hotels, in Beijing and Shanghai, managed by New World Hospitality.
More hotels are planned for Guiyang (2013) and Shenyang (2014) on the mainland and in Hong Kong (2013).
Sonia Cheng, CEO of New World Hospitality, sees tremendous potential for pentahotels in Asia. 'We already have a foothold in the primary cities of Beijing and Shanghai, but the focus will be on secondary and tertiary cities in China, as well as primary and secondary cities in the rest of Asia.'