All the Comforts of Home
Punthill Apartment Hotels
From a single location in Melbourne, 25 years ago, Punthill Apartment Hotels, a successful family run operation, will soon open its fourteenth property. In the early days, Punthill refurbished and converted blocks of flats into serviced apartments but has re-invented this model. Today, the Punthill Group provides guests travelling for business or leisure with custom-designed apartment hotels – all the trappings of a hotel but much more space than the average hotel room and usually at a lower cost.
“We are in the hotel industry, and we do the same thing as the hotels do,” says Arno Caras, who created Punthill Apartment Hotels with his wife Robin back in 1987. “If you’re staying for more than a couple of nights, our type of product is far more comfortable – you are getting an apartment, rather than having to sit on the edge of a hotel bed for weeks.”
As Managing Director, Mr Caras is proud of the friendly, professional and high quality service Punthill has offered its many guests over the years. One of Australia’s larger domestic hotel operators, the company’s portfolio of 14 hotels includes prime locations across Melbourne, Sydney and, in just a few weeks, Brisbane. Like larger chain hotels, Punthill offers luxurious and inviting lobbies, gymnasiums, spa pools or larger pools and often, spacious conference facilities.
For business travellers, there are connections for wired and wireless Internet services, business centres and specialised Punthill staff to make conferences professional and stress free. Depending on the location, Punthill provides guests with spacious studio, one, two, or three bedroom apartments, complete with fully furnished living rooms and kitchens. Staff levels at Punthill properties may be a little lower than at traditional hotels – you will not find three bellboys at the concierge desk – however, savings are passed on to guests in the form of lower costs and larger rooms. For guests who wish to order food in, Punthill has arrangements with restaurants nearby and cafés located on site for food and beverage purchases.
Whether staying for one night, two nights, two weeks or longer, all guests enjoying any of Punthill’s 14 locations are assured of rooms that are spacious, fully equipped and beautifully appointed. A priority for the Punthill Group when planning a new property is stylish and eclectic décor and state of the art soft furnishings. Each property has a style of its own but the emphasis is on contemporary chic with a touch of eccentricity. In Melbourne, Punthill properties can be found in the city and inner suburbs including Flinders Lane, Little Bourke, Manhattan, South Yarra, Stanton, Burwood, Dandenong, Essendon, Knox, Oakleigh, and Williamstown. The company’s Sydney property is located on the North Shore, while the new Brisbane location will feature 72 studio-style apartments on Astor Terrace, Spring Hill.
All guests are assured of quality, self-contained apartments located in strategic locations in and around the major cities. The Punthill properties are close to public transport, with easy access to sporting facilities, theatres, shops, cafés, bars, restaurants, tourist attractions and entertainment.
Punthill offers privacy, comfort, and convenience. The Punthill staff of approximately 150 across all properties are carefully trained to ensure the comfort of guests. Punthill properties are ideal for couples, families or business travellers, with helpful and friendly staff on hand to help arrange airport transfers, check-in and check-out, and conferencing. For small to medium-sized companies, there is the Punthill Corporate Travel Program, which allows members to access discounted rates.
In the years since Punthill Apartment Hotels’ inception, conferencing has grown to become a significant part of the company’s business. “In the original model, which was a block of flats, there was no conferencing at all,” says Arno Caras. “With our new buildings, we make sure that we include conference and function rooms, and this has become an important area of our business.” Punthill has a large sales team with two staffers dedicated solely to conference sales (reachable at (03) 9916 8883 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org). Downloadable floor plans are available from the Punthill website, and detail locations, layout options, room names, square metre space, and other key conference facility information at the company’s properties.
Punthill’s Conference Venues are perfectly suited for meetings, conferences, workshops and a variety of other functions. Contemporary in style, the Conference Venues are adaptable to clients’ needs, and Punthill staff are available to ensure all requirements are met. Punthill Conference Venues are equipped with Wi-Fi Internet, audio visual equipment, indoor and often outdoor breakout areas, gourmet menus, complimentary on-site car parking, and warm, helpful and efficient staff.
At Punthill’s head office in South Yarra, Melbourne, the Group offers 24-hour reservations for both Australian and international callers and is listed on numerous third party websites where guests can make reservations online. The lowest rates are always on offer through the Punthill website at http://www.punthill.com.au. The site is an easy and convenient way to reserve a room by region, property, check-in date, check-out date, number of adults, and number of children.
Close to 40 per cent of Punthill guests book their stay directly online, while the remaining 60 per cent will check availability online, and then choose to work directly with reservation staff. The company deals with corporate travellers, sports teams, tourists and those in town for specific events such as the Grand Prix or the Australian Open Tennis Championships. “All of our business is pre-booked,” comments Mr Caras, who says there is very little walk-in traffic these days.
Depending on the location, the size of the particular Punthill property varies. Some suburban locations have 50 to 55 apartments, while city locations, such as those in Brisbane, tend to be larger, with up to 77 apartments. Punthill regularly works with developers to create custom designed buildings from the ground up, with areas such as foyer and conference rooms designed to fit exact requirements. In Dandenong and South Yarra, for example, Punthill scoped out specific sites, and worked with developers to create the perfect design.
Within weeks, Punthill Apartment Hotels will open the doors of its latest addition, a completely renovated building in Brisbane. Receiving a major upgrade which began back in March, this property will feature 72 fully equipped studio-style apartments with all-new kitchens and bathrooms, two conference rooms, swimming pool, outdoor gym, and space on the ground floor for two food operators. The Brisbane property was previously a hotel many years ago, and was later converted to furnished apartments before it was purchased by Punthill. “So now we’re converting it back to the hotel it was originally,” comments Arno Caras, who says the company will begin taking reservations for the Brisbane property in September.
“It’s a more personalised kind of stay at Punthill,” says Arno Caras. “We offer four and a half stars, but at a rate that is more competitive than similar hotel rooms would be. If you’re staying for a couple of weeks, you are far better off in our product than anywhere else – actually, we feel you’re better off if you’re staying for one night too!”
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