June 22, 2021 | By Graeme Kemlo

Quest, the apartment hotel group is well represented in greater Melbourne with more than 42 properties and more on the way. But it is moving to expand its presence in the regions to cater for both leisure and business travellers.

It has just turned the sod on a second property in Geelong, Victoria’s second largest city. The $70 million Quest Geelong Central development is set to open early in 2023 with 87 apartments ranging from studios to three bedrooms.

It will be well positioned to take advantage of the move away from Port Melbourne to the Port of Geelong by the Spirit of Tasmania ferry.  It is expected passengers on the vehicle ferry may include an overnight stay in Geelong prior to departure or arrival.

And while Quest in the past has offered small corporate groups meeting space in a two or three bedroom apartment, you can now find more business options than the typical short-term executive accommodation in regional cities. More often there is dedicated meeting space, sometimes a business lounge and facilities including gyms and pools. The new Geelong property will have a rooftop fitness centre and meeting facilities.

Recently Quest opened a second offering in Ballarat, adjacent to a $30 million government project to upgrade Ballarat railway station to become a community hub containing restaurants and retail space.  Quest Ballarat Station is a new build offering 77 serviced apartments from studios to three bedroom apartments, each with kitchen, laundry facilities and king beds.

Ballarat’s other Quest property is about one kilometre away in an historic building – the former Loreto College. It has 53 rooms and conference facilities for up to 35 in theatre style.

Other major regional cities including Bendigo and Shepparton also have substantial Quest properties, while the group’s franchisee of the year was recently awarded to the operators of Quest Portland, 450 km from Melbourne at the western end of Victoria’s Great Ocean Road tourist route.

But even back in inner suburban Melbourne, Quest is building a 83-room Quest Collingwood due to open late next year. And like its latest regional cousins, there will be a choice of studios and one, two, and three bedroom apartments, alongside conference facilities for 80 plus a business lounge and gym, all just a punt kick away from a CBD brimming with full-service five-star hotel rooms.