Melbourne-based developer Tim Gurner, the founder and director of eponymous property group Gurner, has recruited an all-star design team to compose the company’s first luxury hotel. Architect Ed Glenn of Powell and Glenn will spearhead the sustainability-focussed design, working in close collaboration with Jerry Wolveridge of Wolveridge Architects. Landscape architect Myles Baldwin is onboard to cultivate the property’s lavish tropical gardens while Tim’s wife, stylist and interior designer Aimee Gurner will guide the direction of the project’s sumptuous interiors. “It has been inspiring watching my wife Aimee, Ed Glenn, Jerry and Myles put together this incredible creation,” says Tim. “Something I know people will fall in love with.”
- Gurner has lodged plans for the company’s first boutique hotel, comprising 18 luxurious rooms, a wellness spa, restaurant and bar.
- 16 prestigious residences will accompany the development, each of which will be listed for sale.
- The site for the development is one of the last remaining beachfront plots in Port Douglas, Queensland.
- The project team includes architects Ed Glenn of Powell and Glenn, Jerry Wolveridge of Wolveridge Architects, landscape architect Myles Baldwin and interior designer Aimee Gurner.
- The project is set to break ground in 2021.
Situated at 67–73 Murphy Street, one of the last remaining pockets of vacant beachfront land in Port Douglas, Queensland, the 18-room boutique hotel is planned to be accompanied by 16 private residences. While the hotel and its spa, restaurant and bar tenancies will remain under the ownership of Gurner – marking a “new chapter” in the company’s portfolio – the prestigious homes will be listed for sale. “Port Douglas has been an incredibly important part of our family’s life over the past 15 years and is without doubt our favourite destination to visit in Australia,” says Tim. “We want to give back to this amazing town and create something that does not currently exist.”
“We are exploring a number of new asset classes across tourism, wellness, accommodation and food and beverage,” he adds. “These next few years will be all about pushing the boundaries of our portfolio and recreating the luxury experience we provide to our apartment residents at a much larger scale.”
Initial town planning designs submitted this week show that both the residences and the hotel have been designed to draw inspiration from the idyllic Port Douglas vernacular, translating to an architectural response which is “part grounded” to the earth and “part floating” among the palm fronds. An abundance of verdant foliage is forecast to cascade down the buildings’ facades, seamlessly integrating the dwellings with the lush locale.
Featuring a restrained palette of materials that evokes the laidback spirit of Far North Queensland, artist’s impressions of the development illustrate dual-sided terraces with pitched roofs and plantation shutters, surrounded by tranquil swimming pools and private landscaped retreats. “We will not be doing any of this by halves,” says Tim. “People can expect it to be something truly special when it is complete – private, luxurious, homey and welcoming at every point.”
The hotel will include holistic wellness facilities comprising a spa, sauna, ice baths, cryotherapy, pool and treatment rooms, operating under the umbrella of Gurner’s own Samsara Wellness brand. Melbourne’s sold-out Saint Moritz project by Gurner will be the first site to roll out the developer’s wellness offering, followed by Port Douglas, ensuring that Far North Queensland enjoys access to luxury experiences on par with the Whitsundays and Byron Bay region. “When you look at what Antony Catalano has been able to do with Raes [at Wategos Beach], offering something truly special and unique, and what the Oatleys have done with Qualia on Hamilton Island – they are without question a big inspiration for what we are doing,” says Tim.
“We have been incredibly fortunate over the past seven years to have built a defining portfolio of luxury residential projects along the eastern seaboard of Australia,” he adds. “Now we want to take this philosophy and evolve it into something that extends the lifestyle offering through boutique hotels.”