JAMIE Durie, Australia’s most recognisable green thumb-turned-hotelier, has purchased the Stonefields country estate from well-known landscape architect, Paul Bangay, according to a report in the Australian Financial Review (AFR).
Located halfway between Kyneton and Daylesford in Victoria’s Central Highlands, the 50-acre countryside estate is thought to be worth over $11 million, and encompasses private gardens featuring Bangay’s signature geometric design, a five-bedroom private residence, and a 16-metre hilltop swimming pool.
Upon securing the purchase last week, the recently established Opulus Hotels, brainchild of Durie, financier and hotelier Dominic Lambrinos and investment banker Kim Jacobs, said it would pour a further $70 million into the property to transform it into “Melbourne’s ultimate weekender”.
The group has already contacted council to begin the planning process, which will see the private residence converted into a celebrity-chef helmed restaurant and lobby, with 50 private villas to be constructed among the surrounding hills.
“It’s going to be contemporary Australian architecture surrounded by Australian native landscape,” Durie said, “but we will also take some design cues from some of Paul’s beautiful formality.”
Durie also said he would focus on the resort’s eco-credentials, including air purification systems, a ban on volatile organic compounds paints, solar passive architecture and an onsite fleet of electric vehicles for guests’ sightseeing trips.
The deal will mark the second purchase for Opulus Hotels group, after it secured a 110-hectare site overlooking the Bass Strait in north-western Tasmania late last year.
The luxury eco-resort is expected to open in mid to late 2025.