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One-of-a-kind luxury at Ballarat’s new Hotel Vera

Visit Ballarat

17 May 2022

Filed underNews

Ballarat’s newest boutique hotel offering will bring a whole new meaning to luxury accommodation.

Set to open this spring, Hotel Vera will boast modern luxe interior design with historic accents – plus a hatted chef in residence.

With a mantra to treat guests as people and not numbers, each of the hotel’s seven suites will have its own distinct personality and bespoke style that blends the heritage bones of the mid-1880s property with contemporary decor, Australian art and modern facilities.

With king-size beds, ergonomic furnishings, indulgent bathrooms with designer amenities, breakfast inclusions showcasing the region’s finest fare and the city’s first EV charger, the hotel will truly be a one-of-a-kind boutique offering.

In development for four years, the Hotel Vera experience has been specially forged by luxury accommodation masterminds Martin Shew and David Cook-Doulton (whose previous Ballarat projects include Lascelles and Lyon House).

A homage to owner David’s maternal grandmother, the hotel will be an all-embracing journey that inspires a change of pace and an immersion into warmth, graciousness and beauty – qualities David says were embodied by Vera herself.

“There are those rare people who touch our lives in very special ways. They guide us with their love, wisdom and humanity,” said a reflective David.

“When I think of love, I see my grandmother’s face, smiling, reaching for an embrace. I want this hotel to embody this unassuming yet extraordinary woman.”

The Sturt Street hotel will also be the new home of acclaimed Ballarat restaurant Underbar.

Local chef Derek Boath and partner Lucy Taylor will provide an intimate fine-dining experience with a tailored wine pairing to accompany the ever-evolving tasting menu.

The Underbar team will prepare, cook and discuss each course throughout the sitting, creating an exclusive experience for up to eight diners.

In 2018, Underbar was recognised with a Chef Hat from the Australian Good Food Guide and further accolades have followed every year since.

At the 2022 Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Awards, Underbar was nominated for the National Destination Dining Award, ranked in the top 20 Victorian restaurants as well as the top 80 restaurants nationally.

“Derek’s culinary career spans more than 20 years, with experience gained at some of the world’s top restaurants, including three Michelin star New York restaurant Per Se,” David said.

“Derek has a keen focus on high quality ingredients and works with many wonderful local purveyors and natural ingredients foraged from Ballarat and the surrounding areas to inspire his menus.”

With an emphasis on sense-memory, Hotel Vera hopes to provide guests with a forever lingering image, scent, memory or event.

This will be achieved through curated art, design, lighting, products, a compelling petunia scent and luxe decor within each suite, as well as through the look and feel of the restaurant and solitudinal garden space.

Founded on the ethos of sustainability, Hotel Vera has partnered with local social enterprise Fifteen Trees to plant one tree for every person who stays at the hotel.

These trees will all be planted together in the region, leaving guests a literal gift to return to whenever their heart desires.

A total of 250 trees have already been planted to help offset the impact of the hotel build.

Find out more about the Hotel Vera experience at


The City of Ballarat acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land we live and work on, the Wadawurrung and Dja Dja Wurrung People, and recognises their continuing connection to the land and waterways. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging and extend this to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.