March 17, 2022 | By Joyce DiMascio

As Melbourne readies to welcome another new hotel, its general manager says the point of difference is they like to “overthink” their hotel experience.

Harry Singh is overseeing the final styling before AC Hotel by Marriott Melbourne Southbank opens on April 27.

The plan was to be operating in time for next week’s Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) but COVID-related delays pushed the opening back.

But the Spanish-concept AC property in Melbourne will be a first for Australia and according to Singh guests will be delighted with what they’ll experience.

Located minutes from Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, the new hotel is hoping to attract the corporate market both for its convenient proximity to the venue and because of its highly designed elements.

Beautiful spaces, rooms with views and even a service that allows guest to “borrow” everything “from a guitar to a peloton bike”.

“We are a little different, we’re not a rooms factory,” says Singh.

His management style is also different. He says he’s not a traditional hotelier and is casual in his approach. He says he manages his team without hierarchy.

“That’s how I liked to be managed. I thrived under that flexibility,” he says.

Singh has come through the Marriott family and worked across seven different brands and nine hotels. This is the second hotel he’s opened in Melbourne. The last was Element Melbourne Richmond. His longest Australian placement to date has been in Sydney working under Kim Mahaffy at Pier One Sydney Harbour.

He says Mahaffy really understands brands and how to build them. He learnt a lot from her over the four and half years of working for her.

His passion for hospitality started at hospitality school in India in 2001 – this led to him becoming Banquet Manager at the Renaissance Hotel in Mumbai.

“There we worked on events for up to 10,000 people,” he says.

Singh moved to Australia in 2005 and has worked between Sydney and Melbourne. He says Australia is “home” – he just can’t decide which city.

Various people have been his mentors – Mahaffy was one he says “it was amazing to work for”. He’s also looks up to Rajeev Menon, Marriot’s president for Asia-Pacific to whom he is grateful for the opportunities that have been possible within the company.

Singh loves the buzz of hotels and especially one in full operation. Asked to name the favourite area of his new property, he says “it’s wherever the action is – wherever it’s busy that’s where I like to be”.

With the opening of AC Hotel by Marriott just a few weeks away, Melbourne will have another stylish hotel and events location for business events with capacity for 200 for sit-down dinners and up to 400 guests in the multi-purpose upper level.

The 576m2 meetings spaces are located on Level 6, with floor-to-ceiling windows opening to the wrap-around terrace.

There is also an outdoor infinity swimming pool spanning the width of the building, a 24-hour fitness centre and food and beverage outlets including the AC Lounge – a co-working space for gatherings by day and a social hub by night.

The AC opening marks Marriott International’s ninth hotel in Melbourne and the third new hotel to open in the Victorian capital over the last 12 months.

It is owned by Capital Alliance and has been designed by DKO Architecture and Singh