VTIC member, Walhalla’s Star Hotel is celebrating 20 years of operation since being rebuilt and officially opened on 11 March, 1999 by the then Victorian Tourism Minister, Louise Asher MP.
The building, which is a replica of the original Star Hotel that was destroyed by a building fire in 1951, has become one of the iconic hotels of Victoria welcoming visitors from all over the world. Rebuilt to look like a gold-era building on the outside, but with modern guest facilities inside, the Star has gained a reputation over its 20 years of operation of providing a relaxed atmosphere and good old fashioned service. The hotel is owned and operated by Michael Leaney who came up with the idea and then converted the vision into reality.
For over 20 years Michael has been the driving force behind the hotel undertaking nearly all tasks to keep the wheels turning. In 2006 he was joined by his partner Russell Wright to share the load of running the iconic hotel and 3 years ago “Tilly”, the hotel’s Golden Retriever, became the “customer relations manager.”
“20 years a long time for any business to run successfully, but tourism and hospitality must be one of the toughest and most challenging.” said Michael Leaney, Proprietor of Walhalla’s Star Hotel.
“For two decades the Star Hotel has welcomed guests from all over the world. The hotel has been at the leading edge of marketing Walhalla and the region both domestically and internationally. We’ve hosted media and travel agents as well as attended trade exhibitions to get the word out. This is the glamorous side of the business. The fun part. The flip side is the day to day slog of making sure everything is correct for every guest. For example, one of the basics jobs people don’t consider is waste water. Every year I drive the equivalent of Melbourne to Perth with the hotel’s waste water tanker to dispose of the waste at a nearby treatment plant. Back and forth, back and forth. It’s not the most exciting job, but it has to be done or the hotel stops.” he added.
Walhalla’s Star Hotel has won numerous awards over its 20 year history and has developed a loyal following of guests who return on a regular basis. The hotel has also given a start to young locals though apprenticeships and important work experience. A small but loyal band of staff run the hotel with staff longevity being a factor. The hotel’s housekeeper has been with the hotel from the beginning and the chef for 16 years. Consistent high standards are a credit to their work and the stable environment of the hotel.
In recent weeks Walhalla’s Star Hotel has had to face the challenge of bushfire. The Walhalla fire on 3 February came within metres of the building. The hotel was used as an Incident Management Centre during the fire by CFA Strike Teams and FFMV personnel. The building’s large water supply and communications along with facilities to rest crews make the Walhalla’s Star Hotel a strategic choice in a crisis. After the fire threat had passed, the hotel served over 100 meals to fire crews finishing well beyond midnight.
Walhalla’s Star Hotel will celebrate it’s 20th Anniversary on Thursday 14 March with a function for invited guests including locals, suppliers, friends and tourism industry colleagues.
For further information, please contact Michael Leaney, Proprietor, Walhalla’s Star Hotel on 5165 6262