Aussie pubs reveal incredible Airbnb transformations
Exclusive: Six Australian country pub owners are ready to welcome new guests to their revamped establishments after undergoing a $50,000 Airbnb-backed renovation.
News Corp can reveal the new looks of the refurbished pubs which include the Royal Hotel in Sofala, NSW; The Royal Standard Hotel in Toora, Victoria; The Grand Hotel in Millicent, South Australia; and the Bischoff Hotel in Waratah, Tasmania.
The Woolshed Hotel in Nungarin, Western Australia, and the Imperial Hotel in Ravenswood, Queensland, are still undergoing their renovations before their makeover is officially revealed.
Drab rooms have made way for chic stylings, with publicans working alongside local tradies and suppliers to revitalise their regional digs.
The pubs are all winners of Airbnb's Country Pub Project, and publicans hope their new-look hotels will attract tourists, and in turn, help other local businesses.
The renovations come as Airbnb research found 70 per cent of Australians wanted to take a road trip to see more of Australia, but just 14 per cent had spent a night in a regional pub in the last year.
Airbnb spokesman Brent Thomas told News Corp entire communities chipped in to get the works completed through the month-long renovation process.
"Publicans are the ultimate hosts but like many people in country communities they've been doing it tough lately due to drought and economic hardship," he said.
"Through this, we want to encourage more Aussies to not just visit these great establishments, but spend the night in them - enjoying one of our oldest forms of hospitality and in turn boosting the spirits of these towns by spending precious tourism dollars in areas where it really counts."
Victorian publican Amy Robson, who owns the Royal Standard Hotel in Toora, South Gippsland, told News Corp the grant was a "godsend".
Ms Robson and her husband Steve took over the pub in December 2016 after it went broke. She said it took a lot of work to rebuild community confidence, and the refreshed pub would only assist the process.
The publican said the $50,000 "could not have come at a better time" as the warmer months were a busy period for the small town.
She said the campaign had helped generate boost awareness of Toora - a spot she said was great for "outdoorsy types".
The money was used to renovate three bedrooms at pub that was built in 1889.
"We chose a colour scheme that reflects the landscape of the local area - lots of greys, greens and blues," she said.
"We wanted the grant money from Airbnb to go as far as possible so I have incorporated recycled and up-cycled articles where practical which has given the decor an eclectic and interesting feel that mirrors the historic nature of the building."
First-time publican Andrew Palmer - whose Grand Hotel in Millicent, South Australia is rumoured to be one of the most haunted in the country - said the paint job and new carpets had made a huge difference.
"Now we'll be able to properly utilise the upstairs area which was always meant for accommodation."We're really happy that the charm and historic significance of The Grand Millicent hasn't been lost in the refurbishments - overall, it just feels fresher, cleaner and more welcoming," he said.
Marty and Sandy Tomkinson took over the Royal Hotel in Sofala, north of Bathurst, in 1968.
Mr Tomkinson said with so many country pubs closing down, it was a rarity to find one.
"We hope that this will not only help us but other country pubs too, and create a positive ripple effect for other small businesses in the area," Mr Tomkinson said.
Queensland's Imperial Hotel owner Dianne Schluter said she is still in the middle of renovations. "We're overjoyed at how the work has come together," she said.
"We love our new look rooms and can't wait to welcome a whole new generation of guests that I'm hopeful we can attract thanks to now being listed on Airbnb."
The Woolshed Hotel in Nungarin, Western Australia, has not yet revealed its new look. It will open its new rooms from mid-October.
Guests can browse more than 50 pubs Australia-wide here.