BENDIGO'S first five star hotel will be founded on its gold-mining past.
Fortuna Villa's crushing room - built to extract gold from quartz - will house about 38 rooms in a hotel that adapts the interior of the heritage mansion.
Developer Paul Banks plans to turn historic home Fortuna Villa and its ancillary buildings into the city's first five star hotel.
Mr Banks hopes to have the hotel running within two years. He's expecting the build to take 12 months, and the "bureaucracy" to take the same again.
Read more: Ex-army buildings fall at Fortuna
Mining magnate George Lansell, Australia's "King of Quartz" developed the mansion, which sits in Golden Square.
A millionare Mr Lansell had interests in nearly every mine in Bendigo.
The villa was one of Victoria's grandest houses by the time he died.
The Commonwealth acquired the site during World War II, making it the headquarter's of Australia's mapping unit.
Most of the hotel's accommodation will be in Fortuna's crushing room, one of the oldest buildings on site.
Mr Banks is refitting the interior of Fortuna Villa and this adjacent room to turn it into a five star hotel.
Read more: After 160 years Fortuna is finally complete
The large crushing room will be divided, with a room for every window. Mr Banks described the style of the plans for this section as "modern".
He said rooms in the villa itself would form a more boutique offering.
Mr Banks said he bought the villa because there was nothing else like it in the Southern Hemisphere. It's "Italian renaissance", meets Georgian, meets Victorian, meets Edwardian, he said.
And it's rock solid, not a crack in the place.
Mr Banks expects to restore the buildings to their early grandeur, but with a contemporary interior design.
"It's modern. Because you don't take heritage on. When you get inside a room it's going to be all modern. But when you walk around the grounds it's going to be, 'Oh my God, someone built this'," Mr Banks said.
"It'll have all the modern pros and cons, but it'll be in a building that was built in the 1800s."
Read more: Inside Fortuna Villa | PHOTOS
Mr Banks said he plans to lease the hotel to a management group once the venue is fully running.
He expects business conferences to be the main market for the high-end venue.
The site's natural amphitheatre, sitting beside the lake, will also be a venue for concerts, Mr Banks said. He's just got to plug a leak before he refills the lake, and all he's waiting for is clay.
The hotel is one of three projects taking place on the site. Mr Banks is also building an over 55s subdivision.
Separately owned project Fortuna Villa Estate will see 79 houses and townhouses built.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.