Adjacent to Sherbrooke Forest, within the Dandenong Ranges, you’ll find the iconic heritage house, Burnham Beeches. Designed in 1933 by prolific architect Harry Norris, this art deco mansion was home to Alfred Nicholas and his family. It’s also had many lives, functioning as a children’s hospital in World War Two, a medical and veterinary research centre, a hotel, a restaurant, and the site of Rone’s exhibition, Empire.
Sitting vacant for the last 39 years, it has had approximately nine different owners since 1982. Each one owned the property for less than five years, due to the enormous cost of restoring the mansion, and the limitations of the existing permit. But, the Trenerry Consortium, which is made up of the Victor Smorgon Group, Kanat Group and Trenerry Property, now have a $100 million masterplan to redevelop Burnham Beeches. After restoring the mansion to its former glory, it will become Australia’s first Six Senses resort.
“As a family, we are so excited at the prospect of our beloved family home finally being restored,” said Sophie Paterson, great granddaughter of Alfred Nicholas. “Sitting neglected for far too long, this beautiful heritage home in its unique Dandenong setting needs to be shared and we could not be more pleased with the involvement of Six Senses as operators and new custodians of the Burnham Beeches.”
Burnham Beeches redevelopment
The Trenerry Consortium are coming to this estate fresh off their recently completed project, The Continental Sorrento. Their masterplan for Burnham Beeches consists of three experiential zones – The Mansion and Spa, a Village Square and the Hilltop Retreat. Each one will invite guests to explore the site, and capture the spirit of the Dandenong Ranges.
Mansion and Spa
The three-storey mansion will be restored, as well as the surrounding gardens, which are filled with maples, rhododendrons and beech trees. This area will become Australia’s first Six Senses resort, which includes plans for the Nicholas Hall and Library, as well as a restaurant, wellness retreat, pool house and guestrooms. Established in 1995, Six Senses currently manages 20 hotels and resorts in 17 countries, and is known for its sustainable practices.
The Village Square
A Village Square will become the heart of the site. Surrounding the central gathering space, you’ll find a café, steakhouse, brewery, providore, dining hall and event spaces. This charming section will provide end of trip facilities, so that bike riders, hikers and walkers can enjoy a nice day out, exploring both Burnham Beeches and the Dandenong Ranges.
Six Senses will manage a premium, non-permanent glamping experience. Tucked within the surrounding topography of the site, at a distance from property boundaries, this environmentally-friendly accommodation will provide a non-intrusive experience, allowing more guests to stay at this historic site. If the glamping project idea is approved, this will bring the hotel’s current accommodation capacity from 43 keys to 82.
Subject to permit approval, the restoration and completion of all works is expected to finish in mid-2025.
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