The hotel will reflect the site’s past.

PLANS have been revealed for a five star hotel and conference centre at Bendigo’s historic Fortuna Villa.

Owner Paul Banks said the proposed Fortuna Villa Hotel will be a 24/7 à la carte five star hotel and conference centre, accommodation for more than 100 people, along with a ballroom seating up to 350 people, several conference rooms, a dining room, business centre, wine bar, alfresco area and lobby bar.

“We have a plethora of wasted space, a lot military additions and cover ups of what was once a classical Victorian era architecture and the amazing thing is we just need to expose it,” Mr Banks said, adding the villa was busy as a function centre, but was presently unable to open its doors full time.

“By doing this project it takes us to another level, and it will allow the visitors more opportunity, which is great for Fortuna, but even better for Bendigo as a city” Mr Banks said.

“The most amazing element to our design is we don’t touch any existing structures apart from exposing what was once in existence during George Lansell’s era.

“It is known as an adaptive reuse, which is very important element of the planning process”.

Mr Banks said he believed the Bendigo region needed this point of difference.

“It just makes economic sense. I have crunched the numbers, and designed the project to keep it simple and not turn it into bureaucratic nightmare. The design complements Fortuna, its gold heritage, military involvement and most importantly, George Lansell.”

The entrance to the proposed hotel and conference centre will be past the iconic villa, and anyone who stays and visits would be greeted with the grand Victorian and Italian renaissance presence of Fortuna Villa.

The reception will be entered through the current crushing room entrance large enough to drive a vehicle through.

Plans also show the lift well for the hotel will resemble a poppet head along with military elements of the surveyor corps brand and a history wall identifying their time at Fortuna.

Other featured elements are several yet to be exposed arches that are clearly visible from yesteryear and windows that once looked over the roman baths.

“This is a new use through adaptation and is the only way to preserve its heritage significance; hence this is merely a fitout and repair job. Our credentials thus far have proven our passion.

“I just hope it’s smooth sailing, otherwise the plans could end up on the scrap heap. I will lodge it with Heritage Victoria and council in the coming weeks. Then everyone can watch this space as they will either embrace it, or witness its demise,” Mr Banks said.