Charles Holland and Adrian Hua signed the papers purchasing The Dudley Boutique Hotel in Hepburn Springs in October last year.
It had been closed for 16 months between the transition of ownership but was reopened on November 1.
Since then, business has been booming, with their first month as owners being the busiest they have experienced thus far.
Mr Holland originally hails from Melbourne and has a history working in tourism. He lived abroad as an expat for 18 years.
He has travelled extensively and says this is the reason he has such high expectations of accommodations, especially when he knows that he is able to provide the very best from his own.
“Due to my history in tourism, I always knew I wanted to run a resort. Then one day we just decided to start looking for a place to buy,” Mr Charles said.
“I’d had enough of working in corporate and wanted to run my own business.”
Mr Hua is originally from Singapore and is a self-confessed “city boy”.
“We looked at hotels all over Victoria but one of my only prerequisites was that we would not buy too far from the city because I need my city luxuries,” he said.
“Daylesford was a bit of a compromise as it is in regional Victoria but it’s also not too far from the city.”
Both men agree that they made the right decision in buying the property in Hepburn Springs:
“It is a small but warm community. We have only been living here for three months but it already feels like home. We already feel like a part of the community,” Mr Hua said.
The building in which The Dudley Boutique Hotel stands was built in 1908. It has always been used for accommodation, and was, at one point, a refuge for women.
The L-shaped building sits on half an acre but used to be even larger, as the building next door was once a part of the premises.
It has only recently become deluxe accommodation, after the previous owners completely renovated the property.
There are four private bedrooms with en-suits in the main house, as well as a library, a dining room, lounge area and gym available to the guests.
The owners live in the downstairs area of the main house with their dog, Oscar.
There is also a three bedroom cottage in the expansive garden.
It is a standalone building with its own lounge, dining room, kitchen, desk and sitting area.
The beautiful cottage gardens feature an array of flowers, green lawns, fruit trees and garden paths.
“The Dudley Boutique Hotel specialises in personalised service,” Mr Holland said.
When you first arrive, you will be greeted at the door by Mr Holland and Mr Hua and will be escorted into the library for a drink.
The hotel serves a selection of local beers and wine.
The lounge area features a large fire place which adds ambiance to the room during the winter months. In the summer, it is still a charming place to kick back on the decadent lounge chairs and play the vintage wooden board games, including scrabble, monopoly and cluedo.
“You would be surprised how popular those board games are! People love them,” Mr Hua said.
There is no limit to extravagance or luxury when staying at the hotel. Even the bedrooms are personalised to guests’ desires.
Before a guest arrives, they are invited to choose a pillow from a selection of six different types of pillows available. Guests are also greeted with a personalised compendium with their names on the bedside tables.
Mr Holland cooks a feast for the guests’ breakfasts. Breakfast begins with a buffet of continental choices such as fruits, yoghurts, juices, smoothies, freshly baked goods and cereals. But the real culinary experience begins with the a la carte hot breakfast options, expertly prepared by Mr Holland and Mr Hua.
They also cater to vegetarian and vegan options. The breakfast options are unlimited, as long as they have the ingredients in their kitchen.
“We try to use as much local produce as possible. We source our sourdough and preserves from Crisp Produce,” Mr Holland said.
The hotel does not serve lunch or dinner but this does not mean it skimps on service. The men provide drop off and pick up services for their guests:
“There are so many fantastic restaurants in Daylesford and Hepburn Springs so we want to help our guests experience the best the area has to offer,” Mr Holland said.
“By providing the driving service, our guests don’t have to worry about transport and can enjoy a drink or two with their meals. As long as we have the resources, we want to provide for our guests,” Mr Hua said.
The hotel has recently won two awards.
The first award is from website Booking.com for excellent customer service in the 2017 Guest Review Awards.
The Dudley was awarded for having some of the highest number of positive guest reviews on the travel website.
All 10,235 Australian properties with an overall average review of 8.9 received the award.
The hotel was also awarded a 2018 Travellers’ Choice Award from Trip Advisor in the category of Top 25 Small Hotels in Australia. The hotel came in at number 20.
In the future, Mr Holland and Mr Hua plan to expand their hotel to cater for dog owners.
“Many people want to take their pets with them when they travel. We love dogs and have the space to expand our horizons so we would love to put three or four kennels on site,” Mr Holland said.
Both men agree that online booking sites are very helpful in terms of receiving feedback and determining what potential guests want in a hotel.