As­tra reaches for the stars

Mt Hotham Falls Creek - - FRONT PAGE -

IT’S a race against time, and snow, as one of Falls Creek’s sem­i­nal de­vel­op­ments rushes to­wards an open­ing week­end un­veil­ing of its multi-mil­lion dol­lar re­fur­bish­ment.

When As­tra Lodge was first built in the early 90s it was THE lodge.

Ar­chi­tec­turally it set the bar – sweep­ing stair­cases and the use of rock and tim­ber blend­ing into the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment at least five years ahead of what was to come here and at Hotham.

The aim was five-star and the tourism bod­ies fell over them­selves to hand out the awards – Best Res­tau­rant, Best Ac­com­mo­da­tion, Best Alpine Ac­com­mo­da­tion, Best, Best, Best. You get the idea.

But a quar­ter of a cen­tury is a long time in the tourism in­dus­try and par­tic­u­larly ex­posed to the el­e­ments above 1500m.

So when a fam­ily from Syd­ney with a love af­fair for the re­sort and mem­o­ries of As­tra’s glory days bought into the prop­erty be­fore the 2014 win­ter it was only a mat­ter of time be­fore the Sitz­mark Street landmark was go­ing to be re­stored to a moun­tain leader.

The off-sea­son has been Stage II in the de­vel­op­ment – hump sum­mer re­ally.

In­side the con­struc­tion zone all the rooms have been brought into the 21st cen­tury while they’ve added a li­brary/ read­ing room, cel­lar, salon, and mas­sage and spa treat­ment rooms.

Its res­tau­rant will be un­der the guid­ance of ex­ec­u­tive chef Emma Han­d­ley – who has been at the helm of the highly re­garded Villa Gusto in the Buck­land Val­ley in re­cent times.

As­tra Lodge gen­eral man­ager Tom Simp­son said early snow­falls was an im­post on the project’s crit­i­cal path but re­mains fo­cused on the goal.

“This sum­mer has been the sec­ond of three stages and by far the big­gest of those stages,” he said.

“When the Tra­verse Alpine Group pur­chased As­tra they had a clear vi­sion.

“The fam­ily loves ski­ing, loves Falls Creek and knows the part As­tra played in the re­de­vel­op­ment of the vil­lage – their goal was to set new stan­dards in the same way As­tra set those bench­marks when it was first built.

“The lodge needed some love and I think peo­ple will be im­pressed.

“We’ll be more than a ski lodge with a day spa, hair­dressers, bar­bers and a full­time stylist.

“The res­tau­rant un­der Emma Han­d­ley will be Ital­ian fine din­ing, in peak sea­son we’ll have an apres bar op­er­at­ing on Satur­day nights.

“We have an over­snow ve­hi­cle that will pick up peo­ple from the car park and de­liver them di­rectly to the front door – no stops along the way.

“This was all about de­vel­op­ing the premier ski lodge in the Aus­tralian Alps and I be­lieve we are well on the way to do­ing just that.”

Stage III of the As­tra Lodge de­vel­op­ment will see ex­ten­sions added to the build­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.