By Triana O'Keefe, editor Australian Hotelier

In the seven years since Computershare founder Chris Morris purchased the hospitality assets of Empire Beer Group, his hospitality business Colonial Leisure Group (CLG) has gained a reputation for thoughtful renovation, inspired and varied food offerings, award-winning beverage lists and a passion for craft beer, in both Victoria and Western Australia. Since 2011 CLG has also had a growing investment in Far North Queensland that began with the purchase of Orpheus Island.

Those first assets, purchased in 2008, were the Colonial Brewing Co., in Margaret River, WA and East Perth’s Royal on the Waterfront. CLG now has 20 pubs, hotels and resorts across three states in Australia and three accommodation properties in Portland, United Kingdom.

The diversity of CLG’s venues is notable – in Victoria, there are venues that cater to the student crowd, offering cheap pizza, DJ’s and bands into the small hours, on popular Melbourne strips like Chapel St (Lucky Coq), Brunswick St (Bimbo Deluxe) and Sydney Road (Penny Black).

Local joints in more upmarket areas include Kew’s Skinny Dog Hotel, Brighton’s Half Moon, and the Albert Park Hotel. Sophisticated drinking and dining spots like The Botanical and Lamaro’s also serve strolling south-siders.

North of the river, the Robert Burns Hotel in Collingwood (pictured) is perhaps one of the most unique – a cosy pub with a Scottish name that serves authentic Spanish cuisine. Then there’s Mornington Peninsula’s waterfront destination the Portsea Hotel, which also boasts accommodation and does a good trade in summer weddings.

In Perth, in addition to the Royal and the Brewery, there’s Print Hall – a multi-level drinking and dining precinct located within the heritage-listed Newspaper House, opened in 2012. The most recent renovation for the company is the serious spruce-up of art deco gem, The Raffles Hotel on the riverfront in Applecross.

Being part of a group of so many unique businesses brings the opportunity to collaborate and mix things up to keep the offering fresh – whether hosting pop-up restaurants like the ‘Lamaro’s on the Deck’ summer spot at Portsea Hotel, throwing a cross-city festival like The Best of Both Sides (which takes place at sister venues Lucky Coq and Bimbo Deluxe each Easter), or simply creating a forum for venue managers to bounce ideas off one another. And there are few CLG venues in Melbourne that haven’t had the Robbie chefs over with their paella pans for a special event.

CLG also owns Pennsylvania Castle and Cove Holiday Park, both situated on the Isle of Portland, UK – a popular summer holiday destination for Brits and overseas tourists alike. In Far North Queensland, Orpheus Island has been joined by the Daintree Eco-Lodge, the Daintree Village Hotel, and yet-to-be-developed Mt Mulligan resort, as well as Jupiter’s Townsville (soon to be the Ville), luxury charter boat The Flying Fish, and the Group’s helicopter business, Nautilus Aviation.

Grouped together, Orpheus, Daintree and Mt Mulligan showcase the extraordinary variety in Queensland’s natural features and will offer tourists the trifecta of reef, rainforest and outback experiences.

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The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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