At 90 years old, Australian billionaire Harry Triguboff has just opened his latest hotel, growing his Meriton Suites business to a value of $7.2 billion.
The 378-room Melbourne high-rise at 140 King St became the 23rd hotel in the chain when it officially opened its doors this week.
It was the third opening in the last six weeks as part of a $400 million expansion, following an opening in Canberra in August and Liverpool, NSW last week.
The real estate developer has come a long way since he built a block of 18 units on Meriton Street in Gladesville on Sydney’s Lower North Shore more than 50 years ago, which would go on to give the company its famous name.
Mr Triguboff was ranked the fourth richest person in the country, worth $23.6 billion, on The Australian’s Richest 250 list published in March, and Meriton Suites is the largest Australian owned and operated hotel company.
It wasn’t until 2003 that Mr Triguboff launched Meriton Serviced Apartments, which was later re-branded to Meriton Suites in 2017.
The new business came after spotting a gap in the market for luxury, self-contained apartment accommodation.
Mr Triguboff told news.com.au hotel guests needs were always changing and evolving.
“The most relevant change is that more travellers want a real home away from home experience and level of comfort. For that they need apartment-style hotels,” he said.
“People don’t want to have to sit on a bed in a small room and have no access to a kitchen or laundry.
“Our suites are designed the same as our residential apartments, they have extra space with all the comforts you enjoy at home. Whether you stay for one night or a week the extra space and in-suite amenities are always appreciated.”
He said the two and three bedroom suites were popular with families because they no longer needed to book adjoining rooms.
Mr Triguboff, who holds the title of founder and managing director of the Meriton Group, was born and raised in China, and came to Australia for the first time at about 15 years old.
He went to Scots College in Sydney for high school before heading off to England for University.
It was there he got a degree in textile engineering from Leeds University and then started his working life in Israel and South Africa.
Mr Triguboff returned to Australia in 1960, became an Australian citizen in 1961 and established Meriton in 1963 at 30 years old.
Before building his very first block of apartments in Tempe in Sydney’s Inner West, he owned a taxi fleet and a milk run.
About five years later, Mr Triguboff built his block of 18 units on Meriton Street.
His new hotels in Canberra and Melbourne are the first for the cities.
“We have been building both locations over the past two years, prior to that we were watching the local markets and hotel performance data to ensure we were making the right decision,” Mr Triguboff said.
And further expansion is still on Mr Triguboff’s mind.
“Our pipeline is very exciting and includes a number of new Meriton Suites locations in Sydney, Brisbane and even a second location in Melbourne CBD,” he said.