From an overtaxed and under-loved 1960s hotel to a sophisticated luxury escape, the Oriana Retro Hotel and Resort seems to have hit the mark for visitors to the Orange region.
Described as “creatively and lovingly renovated” with a “Palm Springs vibe”, the Oriana has gained a reputation as “something out of the box” for regional NSW with some of the best food and atmosphere on offer west of the mountains.
The Oriana successfully brings retro glamour back to the mini-break. Visitors can escape by spending languid days cocktail in hand lounging by the pool in a cabana or enjoying lingering long lunches in the garden. Evenings are spent sipping local wines and experiencing outstanding food in the Peacock Room or at the Bela Vista Bar and Cocktail Salon.
Forget the metro and coastal traffic, parking problems, overcrowded shops, cafes and bars. Escape to the country. Escape to the Oriana where you can lose yourself in the most gratifying ways in Orange’s own enclave away from the everyday.
Orange is known for its excellent local produce, cool-climate wines, restaurants, eclectic retail and scenic landscape. The regional city is an easy three and a half hours drive from Sydney or Canberra.
The gastronomic scene in the region has exploded in recent years cementing its status as one of Australia’s most prominent and sophisticated food and wine destinations. Known as ‘Australia’s Food Basket’, the region is a haven of vineyard-dotted hills and orchards.
The Glory Days
Built in 1969, the Oriana was the first of its kind and a glittering gem of the Central West glinting in the sun for more than two decades. With a magnificent fountain in the front, a glamorous terrace for cocktail parties and the essential dance floor, the Oriana was in its glory hosting all the best country events.
The hotel design was based on the modern Californian-style resort with pool and facilities at the heart and Palm Springs a strong architectural influence. Both the place to kick back and kick on in the 70’s and 80’s.
The Oriana Renaissance
After sitting high on its huge central Orange block empty for many years, the Oriana began a transformation in 2015. When new owners Espen Harbritz and his late partner Ted Marr decided to breathe new life into the old girl, they immediately saw the vision of what it could be.
After three decades in Hong Kong, Ted and Espen decided to relocate to their Central West holiday farm, Rosehill, located between Cudal and Canowindra.
With the overall design concept of the renovation inspired by 1950s resorts across America and Europe, Espen and Ted leaned heavily into their love of the glamour of international cruise travel. Many of the well-appointed guest rooms are themed through the artwork they collected during their travels.
The renovation project resulted in a complete luxury escape featuring sophisticated cocktail bars, plush salons, and the glamorous Peacock Room Restaurant. The 4.5 star hotel exudes elegance with antique chandeliers and plush velvet lounges. Featuring unique garden dining and poolside cocktails…the Oriana is more than just a hotel. It is a destination!
The focus for all guests is a particular brand of Oriana Retro Hotel and Resort VIP treatment from the moment they arrive. The refined yet relaxed vibe begins with a welcome drink on arrival and continues through to the treats in the rooms and suites. Guests are invited to slip on their resort wear to head out, hit the pool bar or garden lounge, or simply freshen up for pre-dinner cocktails before retreating to The Peacock Room to be spoilt by the Executive Chef’s internationally curated menu.
Starting out with 7 employees, the hotel and its numerous restaurants and bars now employs up to 60 servicing a cross-section of visitors from couples to large social groups. One of the keys to the Oriana’s success is that it provides everything in one destination. Many come for the full Oriana experience – cocktails in the lounge or by the pool, outstanding food and wine, designer furniture, plush robes, buffet breakfasts, curated local jaunts, lazy lunches in the beautiful garden… so much to enjoy.
Mr Harbitz explained, “When we first purchased the Oriana here in Orange, we had a staff of 7 which included housekeepers and kitchen staff. We now have a team of 55 and growing. It’s important to me that we always deliver fantastic service and wonderful experiences. It’s also important to me that both our guests and our staff are happy. It’s certainly never boring here at the Oriana”.
The Oriana has also become a mainstay for corporates who love that everything they need is under the one roof and often say it’s like having a mini-break whilst in town for work. Locals of all ages have similarly embraced the ambiance of the Oriana renaissance with many enjoying having a place to dress up for a special night out or meeting friends to enjoy the pool and gardens.
Some visiting locals recall dinner dances or wedding receptions in their youth at the Oriana. Others muse over a stay in town during the picnic races or another memorable event in their lives. If the walls and gardens could talk, they would have much to tell and much to thank Espen and Ted for giving the hotel an amazing second chance to make more joyful memories.
What’s on offer at the Oriana…
The Peacock Room & Bela Vista Bar
The Peacock Room and Bela Vista Bar at The Oriana Orange feature a luxurious restaurant and retro chic cocktail bar offering a Classic European dining menu with a modern twist. A sophisticated meeting place, the Oriana exudes elegance with antique chandeliers, plush velvet lounges, and cut crystal glasses. A hot spot for early evening get-togethers and those wanting to explore culinary delights, the experience has been described as “one of the best in Orange”.
The Summer Kitchen & Pool Club
Set in the Oriana Garden, the Summer Kitchen and Pool Club bring a retro resort vibe to a day spent sipping poolside cocktails and lingering long lunches under the white cabanas. Think woodfired tapas and pizza, aperitivo, fresh salads, delicious sides and tempting desserts teamed with outstanding wine, beer and fresh lemonade. Visit in the cooler months and join us for Vesper Martini at our outdoor Martini Bar by an open fire.
Spaces for all Occasions
The Oriana features a variety of beautifully designed spaces and packages that can be tailored to any occasion. The glamorous Peacock Room and Bela Vista Bar lend a luxurious ambiance to any gathering with a variety of curated menus to choose from. The Oriana is also the perfect venue to host a cocktail or garden party, or to plan your next corporate event.
The Oriana caters to various individual and group accommodation bookings ranging from large corporate groups to local events and special occasions. From Standard Single Rooms with an emphasis on quality comfort to exceptional King Poolside Suites, the Oriana features premium 4.5 star appointed accommodation for every requirement. Options include spacious living areas, designer furniture, premium bedding, luxury robes, and a complimentary mini-bar. Some suites are themed through artwork and offer spacious living areas with beautiful designer furniture, you can splurge as a couple or host your friends.
To find out more, visit https://www.orianaorange.com/.