NEXT Hotel – Below the surface
Image: Next Hotel Rooftop Pool Bar
2 July 2015
By all accounts, NEXT Hotel has been embraced by business travellers and locals since it opened in Queen Street Mall last October.
The multi-million dollar redevelopment of the former Chifley at Lennons Hotel injected much-needed rooms into the Brisbane CBD and marked the launch of Singapore-based Silverneedle Hospitality’s flagship NEXT Hotels’ brand.
The building was redeveloped and designed with Geyer, a leading independent interior design practice operating across Asia. The greatest challenge was incorporating a highly valued and functional terrace pool in the new design.
The former Chifley at Lennons Hotel also had a pool, but it was a circular design described as being more akin to a house pool, rather than a 21 metre pool that spans almost the entire length of the hotel’s new rooftop terrace.
Vice President Hotel Operations Australia and New Zealand Cameron Stuart said installing the pool was a key feature of the redevelopment but almost didn’t happen.
“From a building and construction perspective it was quite a feat,” he said.
“Not just the relocation of the pool but to maintain the depth of the pool so it was a great experience to swim in the thing. The depth that the pool is actually created additional concept management and re-engineering of that whole structure.
“The way that the hotel was constructed it had these really large concrete beams that ran basically the entire width of the main building and extended across the entire development site footprint.
“To create the new pool we had to almost remove the support structure for the whole building and simultaneously replace it before creating the pool that we got.”
Stuart admits the final design for the pool took some time.
“It was iteration number eight. We went through having glass bottoms, port holes looking down into the restaurant and then having it butted right up against the Queen Street Mall façade, with port holes onto Queen St Mall,” he recalls.
The final design took into account safety and modesty concerns, allowing seating along the edge of the terrace, making it a popular venue day and night for functions for both hotel guests and locals.
So, what’s next? Cameron Stuart says the next HEXT Hotel is under construction in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Silverneedle Hospitality’s success also looks set to continue locally.
“We have an appetite to expand our portfolio in Brisbane,” Stuart told Brisbane Marketing, clearly very happy with the group’s first foray into the market.
“(We’re) delighted to open in Brisbane, delighted with the development of the hotel, delighted with the customer, the way it has been received in the market, delighted to have not just our customers happy but to have our competitors constantly walking through the front door keeping an eye on what we’re doing.
“It’s great to feel in a position of having thought of a concept, created it, implemented it and have customers come in and love it.”
Silverneedle Hospitality was made aware of the possible sale of Chifley at Lennons Hotel in December 2011. An inspection revealed a very outdated building but one with huge potential given its location. Redeveloping the property into a NEXT Hotel with a larger shopping area and pool terrace as key attractions has given new life to Brisbane's night scene and further improved the options in the Queen Street Mall.
The amount of retail space under the hotel has doubled, creating the opportunity for big box retailers and Forever 21's tenancy.
The company also eliminated seldom used ballrooms for the development of Lennons Restaurant and Bar that overlooks Queens Street Mall and created a new entry in Burnett Lane, with glass lifts, to further activate that space.
Take a staycation at NEXT Hotel Brisbane now with free Wi-Fi, breakfast for two and four free mini-bar items daily. Find out more here.
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