September 16, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier | Image: Inside the new Porter House Hotel in Sydney

Just over three decades after entering the Australian market with the opening of the Novotel Sydney Darling Harbour in 1991, Accor has opened its 400th property in the Australia and Pacific region, with the debut of an old-meets-new central Sydney hotel this week – and there’s more to come.

After some delay, the Porter House Hotel opened on Castlereagh St in the heart of the Sydney city centre this week, with 122 rooms and suites across the first 10 floors of a 36-storey mixed-use development, which combines the heritage listed Porter House building with an adjoining new high rise.

The new hotel is part of Accor’s M Gallery brand.

The original Porter House building has become a dining and drinking hub, with Henry’s Bread and Wine on the ground floor featuring a four-metre wine wall for afternoon drinks, a 90-seater restaurant called Dixson & Sons, which heroes produce from NSW, on the first floor and cocktail bar Spice Trader to open on the top floor later this spring.

There are also two floors dedicated entirely to meeting and private dining spaces in the heritage building, with level three offering four private dining rooms, two of which seat eight diners each and the other two seating up to 16 each and featuring libraries and fireplaces.

Reaching 400 properties

“To reach 400 hotels in just over three decades is a remarkable achievement and highlights Accor’s success with strategic partnerships and acquisitions,” said Accor Pacific CEO Sarah Derry.

“The addition of the Mirvac and Mantra groups to the Accor portfolio in the past decade almost doubled the network, giving Accor particular prominence in the serviced apartment sector, which is very popular in the domestic market.

“An essential ingredient in Accor’s growth in the region has been our relationship with multi-hotel property owners.

“By being able to offer brands to fit a wide range of different styles of properties and locations, we have been able to attract owners with established properties wanting to take advantage of our rapidly growing market presence and our pioneering approach to sales, marketing and distribution.”

Derry said Sydney is now experiencing its highest growth since the start of the pandemic.

“Sydney is experiencing its fastest growth since March 2020, with recovery in corporate, conference and events business and continued strength in the domestic leisure market,” said Derry.

“We are seeing similar revivals in other key cities around the Pacific, complementing the success of regional holiday destinations in Australia and New Zealand.

“While there is still some way to go before international travel returns to pre-pandemic levels, the ramping up of international flight schedules and growing confidence in long-haul travel bodes well for the renaissance of the region’s hotel industry for the rest of 2022 and 2023,” she said.

A period of expansion

Accor is in a period of significant expansion in the local region, with 11 more hotels set to open before the end of 2023, including the debut of the 25hours brand in Australia, with an opening in Paddington, Sydney, and the restoration of the near 100-year-old Hotel Morris, also in Sydney, which will become a boutique 84-room property.

“Our expansion program has a full range of hotel styles – from luxury to economy – in the pipeline: in city centres, airport precincts, regional centres and suburban growth areas,” said Derry.

It’s been a big week for Accor, which celebrated being named Australia’s best large employer in the Australian HR Awards last Friday and is revelling in the accommodation revival in Western Australia, after two years of pandemic disruption.