The design for the new Abode Hotel in Murrumbateman was unveiled yesterday, and local business owner David Laird believes it will prove a positive for the region.
The hotel, which will contain 52 rooms plus communal kitchen facilities, wine-tasting area, open fireplace and a guest lounge, will uniquely not have a dining area for its patrons.
This is to encourage their customers to appreciate the “wonderful dining options” in the area, according to Abode Group General Manager Rien Donkin.
“We expect this property to be well-utilised by Canberrans looking to take a relaxing weekend away to visit the wonderful wineries in the area, as well as by visitors from farther afield, such as Sydney.
“It made sense for us to encourage our guests to get out and enjoy all that is available locally.”
Mr Laird, who runs the Murrumbateman Country Inn, shares the same opinion.
While he admits that the hotel might potentially hurt his business in terms of guests looking for rooms, Mr Laird is confident that his dining facilities will more than make up for the potential loss.
“From what I understand, they don’t have a functional kitchen in the place, so I’ll get a kick-off from the food,” Mr Laird said.
Mr Laird is also confident that his clientele and those of the hotel will differ enough to avoid the risk of losing too many customers to the bigger business.
“We’re basically a worker’s hotel, we have our tradies through the week … that’s our marketplace,” he said.
“This’ll bring other people into the area, I think it’ll be fabulous.”
Mr Donkin explained that the hotel was fully endorsed by locals, and only faced resistance from investors who were initially unsure if Murrumbateman was a big enough draw for tourists.
“For us [the Abode group], we believed in it, we knew it wasn’t [a risk] … but certainly it’s taken a long time to go from planning to where we are today.
“Part of that’s been all the normal planning process that go into these things, but part of it’s also been to do with perceived risk from other people.
“People who do business with our side in Canberra in terms of backing this [hotel].”
The Murrumbateman hotel is the first in what the Abode group is hoping to be a series of rural projects, according to Mr Donkin.
“We don’t have any solid plans … in terms of a site,” Mr Donkin said.
“But we have emailed certain locations in regional New South Wales.
“There are pretty obvious ones around this area – there’s Goulburn, there’s Wagga, there’s Albury, those sorts of places.
“Murrumbateman was just our first step into regional New South Wales out of I guess the comfort zone of the ACT.”
The hotel is expected to have finished construction and take in its first customers in February 2018.