The Arkaba Hotel has completed the first stage of its $10 million renovation, which is the venue’s first major transformation in its 60-year history.

Affectionately known as the Ark, the Arkaba Hotel has been a favoured venue of Adelaide locals since its opening in 1964. Owner of the Hurley Hotel Group, Jenny Hurley, purchased the venue in 1991 alongside her husband Peter Hurley.

Stage One of the renovation has seen the revitalisation of the Top of the Ark, an event space and function room that now features state-of-the-art AV technology and a restored disco ball. This will provide a larger space for live music, which has been operating at a reduced capacity during the renovations. The Arkaba hosts over 300 gigs a year, and the Top of the Ark has seen bands such as Cold Chisel, Mental as Anything, and Midnight Oil perform, as well as comedy shows from the likes of Wil Anderson, Carl Cox, and Abbie Chatfield.

“We are so excited to be revitalising the Ark. It’s time to bring a new life to the hotel while also maintaining its unique architectural integrity and structures that are simply irreplaceable,” Jenny Hurley enthused.

The renovation has also introduced a brand-new lounge, restaurant, and 360 bar. This is accompanied by a new menu and drinks list, including Fruit Tingle Billson’s on tap. These new areas are supported by the 23 new staff members who have been employed. The Arkaba is expected to require another 50 staff members by the completion of the renovation project.

Anna Hurley, the group’s project manager, explained how the Arkaba has managed to reach these employment targets during the labour shortage facing the hospitality industry.

“We have noticed a bit of a change in the labour market in the last few months and we were fortunate to have many applicants applying across the group. The new employees have said that they’re excited to be a part of a company/team that’s evolving by renovating and opening venues. A lot of the success here is due to a great management team who make the venue a fun and welcoming place to work. In addition, we have a full-time training manager which makes this a great starting point for people who haven’t worked in hospitality,” she said.

Hurley Hotel Group anticipates the competition of function rooms in the near future, with two new spaces being added. Stage Two of the renovation is now underway, focusing on Sporty’s Bar + Arena. The bar will receive a new wrap-around screen above the bar and extended booth-style outdoor seating. Sporty’s is expected to reopen in November of this year.

“The team is thrilled to be opening the new lounge and table service restaurant as well as the renovated Top of the Ark. It’s taken a lot of work to get to this point and it’s great to finally be welcoming guests into the newly renovated spaces. The Arkaba is an iconic Adelaide venue and it’s been exciting to hear feedback from all our loyal customers. We’ve been very conscious of ensuring the hotel maintains its warm, inviting atmosphere with a fresh twist,” Anna Hurley concluded.

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