"Absolutely everything you could ever want": Brighton Savoy Hotel ready for new beginnings
Nearly two years after it closed its doors for the last time during COVID, the Brighton Savoy hotel has been put on the market with interest likely to come in at over $30 million.

"Absolutely everything you could ever want": Brighton Savoy Hotel ready for new beginnings

One of Melbourne’s most cherished landmarks is up for sale – the 63-year-old Brighton Savoy hotel overlooking Brighton Beach and its famous bathing boxes.

The 3400-square-metre property right on the esplanade has become part of Australia’s history for the guests, functions and events it has hosted over the decades, including the 1960 Logies ceremony, which shone a light on TV icon Graham Kennedy.

But now, nearly two years after it closed its doors during COVID, it’s been put on the market with interest likely to come in at over $30 million.

“It has the beach, the views, a uniquely large land size, access to shops and the train station,” said Stephen Kelly, director investment sales at agency Knight Frank. “It has absolutely everything you could ever want.

“As a 60-room hotel it could now lend itself to improvement to the existing building and continue as a hotel and function centre by an operator, or it could be bought to realise its huge development potential and perhaps be redone as luxury residential. It could also be aged care or medical, considering the demographic of the area.”

The hotel has been held by the same family for 55 years and the sale follows the death in August 2020 of its Holocaust survivor owner Des Lee at the age of 87. His son Michael and daughter Jennifer are overseeing the campaign and have declined to comment.

Kelly said the sale is likely to attract a wide range of local, interstate and offshore buyers, with its location on the beachfront esplanade in one of Melbourne’s most popular blue-chip suburbs the biggest drawcard.

The 63-year-old hotel overlooks Brighton Beach and its famous bathing boxes.

In addition, the Bayside City Council has plans in place for a $13 million upgrade of the precinct nearby to include a spectacular new life-saving pavilion, and improvements to the shared trail and beach access pathways.

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“That’s probably just 200 metres from the Savoy site and it will improve the whole area,” said Kelly. “The Savoy also has a two-level basement car park that fits 80 cars and that’s something that would be prohibitive to create now.

“But the hotel is simply a Melbourne institution and it’s famous not only for the hotel and its guests for the weddings that were on every weekend, and all the conferences on during the week. Many company chief executives live in Brighton, so it was always very convenient for staff to come in from all over the country.”

On a corner allotment, with three frontages to The Esplanade, Wellington Street and Victoria Street, the Brighton Savoy also has excellent views over Port Phillip Bay and back towards Melbourne CBD, as well as over the beach.

The cherished landmark could continue to be a function centre and hotel or redeveloped into something new.

Functions held at the hotel include the second Logie Awards in 1960, while guests have included the former prime minister Bob Hawke.

During the pandemic, occupancy at the hotel fell from 90 per cent to zero in just a few weeks. Michael Lee told the Australian Financial Review newspaper at the time, “It was death by a thousand cuts.”

Before the four-star hotel, the building operated from 1909 as a private mansion, then as a boarding house for a local school.