by Sarah J.F. Braley | January 01, 2017
There's a lot going on Down Under, with the country's major cities flaunting exciting new hotels and attractions. In the luxury pipeline, Marriott International plans to open two new Ritz-Carltons, in Melbourne and Perth, in 2020.

The city welcomed a new convention center in December, the ICC Sydney in Darling Harbour. The US$1.3 billion project features 378,000 square feet of exhibition space, 86,400 square feet of meeting space, a theater that can seat different configurations of up to 8,000, and a 54,000-square-foot open-air event deck.

Also in Darling Harbour, the 892-room Hyatt Regency Sydney has opened following a US$250 million conversion. The new property is the largest upscale, full-service hotel in Australia and has more than 37,100 square feet of pillarless meeting space. Offerings include a 272-seat restaurant and two ballrooms capable of seating more than 1,000 people in total.

Designs are complete for the US$225 million transformation of the city's Lands and Education buildings, known as the "Sandstones," into a hotel with more than 250 rooms, retail space, dining areas, gardens and rooftop lounges. Construction should begin in late 2017.

The 305-room W Brisbane is set to debut on Dec. 22, 2017, at the western end of the central business district overlooking the Brisbane River. The property will offer a full-service restaurant, the Pool Bar and a W Lounge, plus more than 10,000 square feet of meeting space, a spa, a workout facility and an indoor pool.

The 188-room QT Melbourne in the city's central business district has opened with two private dining spaces. The boutique hotel features the Cake Shop and the signature restaurant Pascale Bar & Grill, as well as the alley bar Hot Sauce and the Rooftop at QT.  

The 220-room Westin Coolum Resort & Spa will open in 2021 on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. The resort will have access to Yaroomba Beach and will feature four dining options, a Heavenly Spa by Westin, an infinity-edge pool and a WestinWorkout studio. Plans call for about 9,200 square feet of meeting space.