Lakes Bar and Bistro

Paul Kelly Design was contacted by the hotel owners in July 2007 to take the Lakes Hotel from its current position in the market place into a position of future growth and popularity.

The brief from the client was to create a family destination dining and beverage experience for the wealth of residents living near the hotel. The brief was also targeted on making the rear outdoor courtyard area a focal point of the development, especially in regard to the existing fig tree.

The hotel had not received any form of renovation in the past 15 – 20 years and still had a large amount of original interior fittout, ‘which was like walking back in time’, with highly decorative coloured glazed tiles, very dark tinted glazing and deep and dark timber paneling. The outdoor area that now exists was an old toilet block with a very uninviting bench under a densely covered fig tree, allowing no sunlight, and making the space feel damp and cold.

The concept we came up with for the space was based around a international resort feel in a warm sunny and relaxed atmosphere, possibly a mix between high end Asian and classic European.

The space is split up into 4 main spaces, the front recessed balcony, the bar area, the bistro and lounge and the outdoor beer garden (which is then split into 3 areas, lounge, raised dining and outdoor banquette).

The street presence of the hotel was also required to be boosted, the original façade was a brick facing over tiles in a deep red brick, this made the hotel look extremely dark and un-inviting. We found original photos of the hotel from the 50’s where the hotel was fully tiled to the street, and we replicated this as close as we could to the original. The hotel looks fantastic from the outside and looks like a grand old hotel.

The new addition to the façade is the Bistro area which has a different entry to the hotel to the remainder of the hotel. For this area we used recycled timber posts as a structure with decorative steel infill’s and planting behind.

The main area of the hotel is the indoor bistro bar area, which all areas look onto. This area has a glass ceiling to the centre of the space, working as a direct link to the outdoor areas (2) adjacent. We have 2 x existing eucalyptus trees in this space that pierce the roof and become part of the interior environment. A stone clad fire stone is the feature of the space, with a large stack of firewood to the side it creates a warm enticing atmosphere perfect for a good steak and a bottle of wine.

The centre of the main bistro space features a decorative Balinese thatched and timber feature ceiling that has three cane and wicker pendants hanging from the centre truss, with decorative up lighting to the trims.

The bar area has a giant overhead wine and glassware display as the bar services two sides of the hotel, no central back bar could be accommodated.


The kitchen area has been fully renovated to act as the core of the hotel, the entire kitchen is clad in a black chalk board with free hand writing and daily specials it adds a casual feel to the dining. The pickup area of the kitchen has an oversized glass wine display to entice customers to enjoy a wider selection of alcohol than just beer and house wine.

The outdoor areas of the hotel open directly to the indoor, with black framed bi-fold doors and the internal glazed sky light extending. The outdoor areas are tiered down on two wide dining platform stairs to the main outdoor zone.

The main outdoor zone is a mixture of contemporary white curved masonary with classic timber backed banquettes, and feature pendants. The outdoor area has a wide variety of cushions and comfortable lounges creating a mixture of uses for a wide variety of occasions. The area is bounded by a 5 metre high acoustic sound wall (as a request from council) which we have clad in a mixture of timber slats and perforated iron sheeting to disguise, and placed a large quantity of advanced planting to the foreground. The whole outdoor area has sound system, a large array of heating and a giant fig tree.

The project also focused on the gaming room of the hotel, and the creation of an outdoor smoking / gaming area for 14 machines.

The outdoor gaming room is also enclosed by acoustic screening and surrounded by climbing Chinese jasmine.


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