Geelong is a destination we love to escape to during the year. With the waterfront setting the backdrop for a family escape, or a stolen weekend away kid-free, we are always on the hunt for the perfect Geelong accommodation. R Hotel opened its doors in 2021, revealing a refurbished hotel that brought a contemporary twist to this heritage-listed site, while still leaving the bones and prestige of its former glory.
R Hotel Geelong is a 9-story property made up of 128 deluxe rooms and self-contained apartments, with guests able to book the hotel guestrooms, one and two-bedroom apartments, and one and two-bedroom pet-friendly apartments. With the hotel prominently positioned on Bellarine Street, you can choose whether you want to wake up with a view of Corio Bay, Austin Bay or Geelong CBD.
Now before we review this new-build Geelong hotel, let’s step back in time and explore what this local icon used to be.
The history of R Hotel Geelong
First built in 1850, the hotel was known as Belle-Vue and was described by the press at the time to “rank second to no house in town in the excellence of its arrangements, in its healthy situation and in the civility and attention of ‘tain hosts”. The prominent reputation continued when the hotel was renamed Bay View Temperance, then Ozone Coffee Palace and finally R Flats in the 1980s. Unfortunately by the 1990s the property was closed and sat vacant for more than 40 years until the Victorian State Government gave the green light for re-development in 2017. R Hotel Geelong was born!
The stunning base of the hotel has been restored to its former glory, giving guests a glimpse of an era past, with the top of R Hotel newly built, with heritage and contemporary design perfectly complimenting one another.
Original exterior facade of R Hotel Geelong accommodation, built in 1850 and restored in 2018.
Geelong accommodation to suit any guest
When I am looking for Geelong accommodation, I want the grandeur of a hotel but the function of a service apartment. R Hotel Geelong is a perfect balance of both and the new rooms and premium aesthetic really deliver more than impact. We were fortunate enough to get the penthouse room when we stayed in early 2022, and we were literally placed behind the giant R of the hotel sign which had a real novelty to it. Oh, and R Hotel Geelong has rooms that are dedicated to guests with pets. So if you are looking for pet friendly hotels in Melbourne, check out the pet Geelong accommodation.
Our one-bedroom apartment was furnished with a lounge set, small dining table, kitchen and balcony.
R Hotel Geelong is split into different accommodation types:
Hotel rooms in Geelong
The hotel rooms are perfect for corporate travellers and couples, with free Wi-Fi and parking. Guests seeking central accommodation close to the shopping and business district would be very pleased with these Geelong hotel rooms.
The hotel rooms feature 1 King Bed or 2 x Single Beds, and a private balcony. There are also the standard amenities like FOXTEL, espresso coffee machine, mini-fridge and housekeeping.
Picture of Geelong hotel room at R Hotel
One-bedroom serviced apartment Geelong accommodation
The one-bedroom apartments are what makes R Hotel Geelong such a great stay, as you get that added level of comfort and confidence that comes with booking services apartments in Geelong. The space is very well utilised, and the balcony means you have two ‘entertaining’ areas to dine, enjoy a wine or even check your emails. The separate bedroom comes with an ensuite, and there is the option of inter-connecting to a hotel room – which is great for groups and families.
The hotel rooms feature 1 King Bed or 2 x Single Beds, and a private balcony (note, Geelong serviced apartments in the original Heritage Building will not have a balcony). There are also the standard amenities like FOXTEL, espresso coffee machine, mini-fridge and housekeeping.
Picture of the one-bedroom serviced apartment Geelong accommodation
Two-bedroom serviced apartment Geelong accommodation
Perfect for groups and families, the two-bedroom apartments are going to rival even the best Airbnb in Geelong, and can accommodate up to five guests. These two-bedroom Geelong serviced apartments have two floors, and so both bedrooms are spacious and private in their own right, sharing a bathroom. The open-plan kitchen, dining and living area will make family travel a breeze, especially with the laundry facilities in the apartment. There are also two-bedroom serviced apartments that come with two bathrooms.
The hotel rooms feature 2 x King Bed, or 1 x King Bed and 2 x Single Beds. There are also the standard amenities like FOXTEL, espresso coffee machine, mini-fridge and housekeeping.
Picture of the two-bedroom serviced apartment Geelong accommodation
What to do near your Geelong accommodation
There is so much to do in Geelong, and so central accommodation is critical. We found R Hotel Geelong when we were looking for Geelong accommodation that was close to the beach. R Hotel is only a few minutes from the Eastern Beach edge and Cunningham Pier, and all the cafes and restaurants populate the area. This put us in close proximity to the markets, and in a great position to catch the ferry and watch the helicopter with our little one.
The Geelong Gallery is a fantastic day out, and you can have lunch before or after you visit the Geelong Botanic Gardens which sits behind the gallery. We were fortunate enough to see Rone when we were there, which was really special as he is a Geelong-born artist championing his heritage and showcasing his unique talents in this stunning gallery space.
If you are taking advantage of the free parking at R Hotel Geelong, you can jump in the car and head to Little Creatures Brewery which is only 5 minutes away. Here you will find meals, drinks, live entertainment, family activities and lots of spaces to enjoy! There are also some fabulous restaurants if you are looking for a special dining experience in Geelong. Special mention to Felix Restaurant and Meet Me At Mary’s.
Picture of Cunningham Pier and the map of the Eastern Beach area, and R Hotel Geelong’s proximity
Why we love R Hotel Geelong
There is a lot to love about this stunning property, and we had many pleasant surprises when we came to book our escape to this premium Geelong accommodation. Free Wifi and free parking are extended to every guest when you book direct, which is pretty amazing – especially if you are driving from Melbourne to Geelong. You don’t have to deal with the drama of finding a secure park throughout your stay, and getting to the car park when you are in the hotel is very straightforward also.
The pet friendly accommodation is also a nice touch, especially as there are often only motels and Geelong accommodation that is not central that are catering to these bookings. You can essentially stay with your dog in the heart of the city, right near the water’s edge to take them for a walk and a view. As for the price of the R Hotel Geelong accommodation, we found that it is very competitive. Considering how central it is, the added amenities for the hotel rooms and the space in the one and two-bedroom serviced apartments. You will not be disappointed.
Knowing we were staying in an icon was also a great feeling, and the restoration of the heritage building is stunning work. When we would walk back to the hotel after dinner out each night, it was a lovely sight to glimpse from a distance. We cannot wait to go back soon!
Think you will check out this premium Geelong accommodation? Leave us a comment, and check out our other Melbourne travel spots!