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Ferry & Stay Package – R Hotel Geelong

by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt  Published April 19th 2021

a tall building in a cityBay, play and stay packages

The first time I saw the Ritz Hotel, I was staying at the Vue Apartments next door. You can see them to the right of the photo above. I looked out and couldn’t take my eyes off an abandoned white building. It was so evocative, a shell of what had once been a magnificent structure, now covered with graffiti and full of rubble. The mysterious comings and goings, suggesting people slept rough here.

I have just learned that the Ritz had been done up and reopened on March 1, 2021, as the ritzy hotel shown. You can stay in the original shell but most of the old building has a modern/hotel ​building sprouting out of the top like a top-heavy mushroom. There are 128 rooms and apartments over nine floors, mostly with views over Geelong’s north-facing waterfront and city skyline.

While they wanted to build up for the views, they couldn’t pull down the old mushroom stalk of a building because it’s a heritage-listed landmark.


Why the Building is Heritage Listed

The Ritz Hotel, in the city’s heart, sat dormant for 40 years. It was formerly known as the Belle-Vue Hotel and built circa 1854. It later became a boarding house before falling on hard times. According to the Geelong Independent, the derelict building drew the ire of mayors, councillors, and Geelong residents, who labelled it an eyesore; “Anger over the condition of the building resulted in the December 2014 introduction of a neighbourhood amenity law, nicknamed ‘The Ritz law,’ allowing the council to fine the owners $2000 a month.”

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