The McGuire’s have owned and operated the Colmslie Hotel since 1969, during which time the venue underwent numerous renovations to keep abreast of market expectation.
Come 2004, the flag was waved to commence planning once more. The brief was clear – to reinvigorate the hotel well into the next century with modern and appealing hospitality architecture, a task which is now nearing completion and already being enjoyed by many.
The ‘bulldoze and rebuild’ approach was not an option. A more subtle opportunity was exploited, a Master Plan that divided the refurbishment into three logical stages, where the venue could maintain “open doors” during all the intervening periods of staged construction.
As project architect Craig Chandler explains, “The existing building offered us opportunity to exploit its hidden talent so to speak – to open up and reinterpret the inside in a way
that modernises well into the future. We devised a strategy to do this while enabling the venue to remain trading all the while. It was also the catalyst for upgrading the building in line with current building standards”
The Colmslie Hotel is sited at the busy suburban intersection of Wynnum Road and Lytton Roads in the Eastern suburb of Morningside. For those who recall, the building was long and sprawling, and didn’t have a clearly defined point of entry. “So we fixed it” explains Tom McGuire. “We gave it the ‘face’ it always needed: It was the genesis for the entire project”
Stage 1, completed in May 2005, dealt with the northern most end of the building. A new two storey entry foyer, designed to incorporate a new sweeping curved staircase and passenger lift to the first floor function rooms is now a light and airy introduction to the building. The entry space is high with steel and glass predominately featured. The existing function rooms now sport a new mezzanine pre function lounge area, which overlooks the bar lounge in sweeping vista.
“The new Foyer centralises the entire building”, explained Tom.
The new gaming lounge, which occupies the former ‘Chandelier Room’ is opposite the foyer. There is no mistaking it’s whereabouts, yet to ‘arrive’ means passing by the new ‘quiet bar’ lounge which also adjoins the new dining area, both on the ground floor.
These areas have been totally redesigned to incorporate a relaxed and intimate dining experience. The original garden courtyard was retained and now provides the restaurant with its outlook. The bi-fold window doors facing the garden courtyard can be opened on warmer days to capture the breeze, or enable wedding parties inside/outside access. A fully refurbished kitchen is central to this upgrade and now serves to cater for both function and restaurant business.
The adjacent quiet bar is a smaller intimate space and a great spot to enjoy a pre dinner drink or two. With contemporary styling and colours, the space fully complements the restaurant area. It also serves as a late night drinks centre when other parts of the venue are closed for business.
Stage 2 was quietly opened for business in December 2005 and completed the design ambitions of Stage 1.
“Internally, this is a large volume space, featuring a oblong ‘raised’ bar lounge and seating area” said Richard McGuire. “We wanted to elevate the status of the bar and give it some prominence, so raising the area helped to establish a better feel in what is otherwise a large overpowering space.” “This was the exciting part of the project” explains Craig. “We designed a two sided bar that forms the focus of a large raised lounge area. Along its perimeter are secondary sub roof features that establish a strong symmetry and define areas without having to build walls. We wanted the ‘open space feeling’ to prevail. We believe this has been well achieved”
The bar features a rich clear finished laminated Jarrah counter top and banded timber valence to the front and sides. It’s hard to miss with its clean lines and decorative LED lighting features above the mid bar refrigeration. To one side of the bar is the new snooker lounge, and to the other a new Sports/Tab lounge. The TAB is now fully paperless, and uses its high ceiling to best show off the display LCD monitors to best effects.
The majority of the raised bar lounge feeds out onto a new external beer garden by way of large bi folding glass doors. The outside space adjoins the new foyer and features a dynamic high translucent roofed area that is important for tying the building elevation together.
“You can’t miss it – it’s the first thing you see when you come to the intersection at the front of the hotel” said Richard. “It houses our new signage proclaiming the ‘Colmslie Hotel’ in large red lettering” A water feature, landscaping and cool afternoon breezes makes this area the perfect meeting place for any time of the day, any time of the year. “We extensively employed latest technology lighting effects to colour wash the new roof and outside area, so at night you experience a huge colour variety that all adds to the fun of the experience. The response to this so far has been excellent”, remarked Craig
“The entire venue has also been fitted out with a custom designed Acoustic Technologies professional sound system, so the acoustics are second to none. We worked with the A.T. crew to incorporate sound into the design from the early days – it’s the best way to go”.
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