Powerhouse Hotel Tamworth by Rydges's dramatic $12 million refurbishment

Its annual Country Music Festival may be largely silenced in early 2021 thanks to caution over the pandemic, but there's one bit of news Tamworth locals and visitors can sing about.

The regional city's landmark 30-year-old Powerhouse Hotel by Rydges, built on the site of a former power station, has finally completed a dramatic $12 million refurbishment, transforming it from a superior four-star motel to a contemporary five-star hotel (though, happily, house-guests can still drive their vehicles right to their room door).

Owned by local businessman Greg Maguire, the 81-room hotel is one of several inland NSW country establishments to have engaged leading city-based interior designers for major makeovers.

Paul Kelly Design, based in Sydney's inner-city Surry Hills, undertook a complete revamp of the Powerhouse, beginning with the reception, restaurant and bar and finishing with the rooms, which include 20 spacious apartments.

For Maguire, a major objective was to eschew the "stereotypical regional motel image, often considered a little characterless", an aim that has been richly achieved at the Powerhouse.

"I wanted to elevate the destination motel experience," he says. "We have so many corporate guests, as well as couples and families from Sydney, Brisbane and other locations – the aim was to create a contemporary experience that visitors and diners could experience in any metro city around the world." See rydges.com

The writer stayed as a guest of the hotel.