Since our last chat with Jean Claude Branch, he’s been busy with another guesthouse on the other side of Sydney Harbour. Naturally, we made a sign for this one too! Today, Jean-Claude tells us about his latest venture:
I’ve run Cremorne Point Manor since 2005 and in that time have learned a great deal about the hotel industry. I always keep an eye on my competitors and always knew about Glenferrie Lodge and their amazing statue which you can’t miss. It’s a three-meter high Phillipino warrior with a deer on his shoulders. Last year the opportunity came to buy the hotel and I managed to convince my bank manager to lend me the money. With seventy rooms, Glenferrie is much larger than Cremorne Point. It also serves a full cooked breakfast so it has a much larger staff. It’s been quite a challenge getting used to operating Glenferrie while still keeping up the standard at Cremorne.
The lot for Glenferrie was purchased in 1908 by Mr John Brannelly. It had been a part of the Clifton estate which was a large estate in Kirribilli. I’ve attached a lot map and a brochure from the auction. Mr Brannelly then erected a house and named it Glenferrie, which we believe is a Scottish word, although no place in Scotland is named this. Extensions occurred in 1923 when it became a guest house and has been one ever since. The building has essentially remained the same since that time.
My first vision was to remove the awful plastic sign and put up a Danthonia sign. I actually started working on the design of the sign with Danthonia as soon as I had contracts exchanged and the sign was up the same month as I bought the Lodge. It’s a unique property in that is has seventy rooms but no en-suites (well a couple). Originally I wanted to put en-suites in the property, however it fits in the market as a nice but economical place to stay in a wonderful part of Sydney. It’s literally three doors down from Kirribilli House and Admiralty House where both Tony Abbott reside and where Prince William and Catherine stayed when they were here in Sydney. I did offer to one of the police escorts that Prince William and Catherine could come for breakfast and Prince George could play in our kids playground. For some reason they did not take up my offer!
Kirribilli is a wonderful part of Sydney. It is literally five minutes to the city by either driving or ferry. However it is full of lovely historic homes, beautiful views of the harbour and has a wonderful cafe and restaurant selection that makes staying and living in Kirribilli extremely popular. We have limited (and popular) parking spots so for under a hundred dollars you can stay next door to (future) Kings, Prime Ministers and have your breakfast cooked for you. That is also one of the key features of Glenferrie. We have a famous cooked breakfast. It’s always included in the price and is what is generally referred to as ‘The Full English’.
As far as I can gather, it was a prior manager who spotted our statue for sale at an auction and decided it would look good in its location. While it is a little strange, it’s extremely memorable, being almost three meters high and it is going to remain there. I have noticed, though, he does tend to attract little additions and I think we will give him decorations for Christmas.
Glenferrie has great bones, it’s got a lovely garden and beautiful views. It is extremely popular. However it was a little tired and needed some freshening up. So, while the changes are not drastic, they are many. I’m re-carpeting the whole place. I’ve already painted the facade and within the next few months the furniture will all be changed. Already the beds have been done which is great as it’s the most important part of the hotel. One aspect that people do love about the hotel is that we are pet-friendly. We are one of the very few hotels in Sydney that is, and unlike the others, we don’t ask huge amounts of money to bring one’s pet along with you. All our pet-friendly rooms either have direct access to the garden or private balconies. This is something we are definitely going to keep as it’s a really unique option for Sydney.