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It’s not quite the Amalfi coast, but say ciao to The Colley Hotel

Historic, iconic and soon to be fantastic, Glenelg’s Jetty Bar is undergoing a name change and a transformation to deliver new dining experiences and sun-drenched, million-dollar views.

Mar 15, 2024, updated Mar 18, 2024

When the major redevelopment is complete at the newly renamed The Colley Hotel, patrons are likely to ask, why did no one do this sooner?

In the hands of seasoned hoteliers Steven King and David Elmes since August 2021, the old Jetty Bar is taking advantage of its location next to Moseley Square.

The upstairs has been completely gutted, opening up a number of small rooms to accommodate a full kitchen, around 400 square metres of entertainment/dining/bar space and private event spaces.

A new balcony runs the full width of the hotel, looking down Colley Terrace and along Jetty Road. The sea views between the palms of Moseley Square are a million dollars and more.

Director and publican Gavin Bailey said the balcony can comfortably fit up to 90 people, with a further 300 inside.

“No matter where you’re standing inside or out on the balcony, you’ve got a view,” he said.

“It’s a really fantastic space and we expect to get handover from the builder toward the end of April.”

The Colley Hotel, L-R directors Karen Bailey, David Elmes and Gavin Bailey

The upstairs area has been named Molly’s after a previous owner, who lived on the premises and “basically managed the whole hotel herself”.

The owners have brought in executive chef Thornton Farmer (ex-Accor Group) to oversee both kitchens.

“Thornton has won a couple of awards and it’s been really pleasing to have him on board,” Bailey said.

“He’s very calm in the kitchen, which creates a great environment for all the other chefs as well.”

Molly’s will focus on authentic Italian share plates reflective of the coastal location, an offering Bailey said was “something different” in the pub scene. While at street level the offering will be classic pub fare of burgers and schnitzels.

There are also plans to expand the entertainment offering, with venue manager Sam Comley (ex-The Espy and Garden State in Melbourne) coming on board.

Regarding other Jetty Road competitors, Bailey believes the luxury hotel being built opposite will ultimately help to drive traffic to The Colley Hotel.

“Although its rooftop bar presents competition for us, it improves the area and will attract more people to Glenelg, which is what we want,” he said.

The work upstairs at The Colley Hotel follows the renovation of the back section of the ground floor, with an art deco inspired overhaul of the function room and an upgrade to the gaming lounge.

Architect’s impression – Molly’s is set to open at the end of April

Once Molly’s is opened, the plan is to wait another 12 to 18 months before renovating the two bars and bistro on the ground floor.

“We have some other ideas for [these spaces], which we’re just pausing as we want to see how the Italian offering goes upstairs,” Bailey said.

“If that works well, it might influence us to do something a little bit different again, but I don’t want to reveal that yet.”

Meanwhile, with new signage unveiled on The Colley Hotel this week, Bailey is eager for the launch of Molly’s.

“Glenelg is a destination location in Adelaide – you jump off the tram and you’re on the beautiful, white sands of Glenelg Beach,” Bailey said.

“But it has needed an upgrade for some time and the old Jetty Bar’s very much part of that – if you drive down Colley Terrace, the first thing you see is a really old looking hotel.

“Well, that’s going to look completely different by the end of April.”

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