THE Yarra Valley, one of Australia’s most popular wine regions, is set to get a new luxury hotel. Entrepreneur Martyn Barnes has signed a management agreement to badge his new Yarra Valley property as voco, the IHG group’s new upscale brand. The voco Yarra Valley bills itself as “the first globally-branded, upscale hotel in the Yarra Valley, creating a destination for guests who are looking to eat, sleep and everything in between”. The 170-room new-build hotel will feature an on-site gin distillery, lavender farm, mirrored maze, an amphitheatre cut from natural ground and a providore that serves and sells local Yarra Valley produce. It will also feature large conference and meeting facilities, gym, bars that draw on the best of their surroundings, an on-site family restaurant and entertainment for children. The building will be a quirky design that will stand out, rising to six storeys at one end and tapering to one storey at the opposite end, and will also include 20 cabins for an intimate Yarra Valley experience. The hotel will be situated at the gateway to the Yarra Valley on the Maroondah Highway, less than an hour from Melbourne’s CBD. IHG currently has 48 hotels operating under four brands in Australasia, including InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express, with another 22 in the pipeline, including properties under the Indigo and voco brands.