Opulus hotels CEO Dominic Lambrinos reveals his version of ‘luxury’

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Hotel CEO Dominic Lambrinos has a chuckle when he and business partner Jamie Durie head to the airport.

The chief executive officer of Opulus Hotels and the famous Aussie gardener often travel interstate together in their bid to build luxurious and sustainable resorts across Australia.

“Every 10 days or so we are on a plane,” Mr Lambrinos said.

“From where I am now in Zetland I leave my home and I am on the other side of security at the domestic airport in 25 minutes. Jamie lives in Avalon and it takes him hours. I have a laugh and call him when I leave and then send him a picture when I get there.”

It is this convenience and the “luxury of time” that has inspired the Mr Lambrinos to make the move from Darling Point to Green Square.

Mr Lambrinos, 61, and his wife Nikki have bought a three-bedroom apartment on level 18 of The Frederick, a residential tower with 151 apartments by Mirvac which is set for completion later this year.

“It’s an easier and more enjoyable way to live, I am close to everything I need,” Mr Lambrinos said.

The former CEO of Chifley Securities, Australia’s leading non-bank private lender, said the purchase was all about convenience and sustainability, as well as nostalgia overlooking the area where he grew up.

While they wait to move in, the Lambrinos’ are living in an apartment complex in Zetland which once housed the Westinghouse factory where Mr Lambrinos’s parents worked when he was young. 

Mr Lambrinos said he had enjoyed watching the Zetland/Green Square areas grow over the years, going from a high crime area to having more of a trendy feel.

He recalled going to the barber as a child in a “little shed” – now the site of the Ferrari Maserati showroom.

“I see the area in a totally different light and therefore I connect with it,” he said.

“You could spend a lot more money in the eastern suburbs but for me, this is the best in the area where we are most comfortable.”

He said he viewed apartment living as both the ideal standard and most convenient way of living.

“The Frederick is just that, without a doubt. It represents a fresh shift away from homes,” he said.

“Apartments with restaurants and a little corner store downstairs … it has a concierge feel, a hotel-like ambience.”

The couple were also inspired by Mirvac’s approach to sustainability and wellness with features such as air and water filtration systems.

“I really value wellness as it compliments sustainability,” Mr Lambrinos said.

“We are incorporating these elements into our hotels … and Mirvac is really leading the way with this, it’s why I took an interest in The Frederick.

“I have lived and breathed property for a long time and this is where I chose to live in Sydney, this is my ideal.”

Mr Lambrinos, who bought his first hotel at the age of 34, started working with Mr Durie – the designer for Opulus Hotels – three years ago.

“We are very keen to open up sustainable luxury hotels in Australia which don’t exist,” he said.

“You have luxury and sustainable, like eco lodges, but you don’t have both. Jamie has been a green ambassador for many businesses and guided the through the sustainability labyrinth. He’s a great partner to have in that regard.”

Mr Lambrinos and Mr Durie are currently working on resort developments including the highly publicised Stonefields in Victoria and Table Cape in Tasmania.

He said while Stonefields had hit hurdles with angry neighbours, Table Cape was progressing well.

“They are big resorts and tend to bring lot of money into the economy,” he said.

“Some people aren’t keen to share their areas with anybody and then you have the small businesses such as the gin distillery and massage services who love it.”

Other developers are also noticing the push towards people buying apartments due to “convenience” and time saving.

Sammut Group is developing VUE in Cronulla which includes two eight-storey buildings with a mix of 112 apartments.

“We are noticing that people are after the convenience of being able to walk to transport, restaurants and beaches,” Sammut Group’s chief operating officer Julian Sammut said.

“It’s almost the opposite trend to the pandemic where people left the busier areas.

“However they are also after conveniences that comes with open plan living and not competing on areas such as space and amenities.”

Mr Sammut said VUE included amenities from a commercial grade gym to hot and cold plunge pool and wellness facilities.