Built in 1884, during the hey-day of East Gippsland’s busy ports, as two grand residences overlooking the Mitchell River in Riverine Street, The Riversleigh hotel is steeped in history and plans are underway to celebrate the hotels 135th anniversary in 2019.

The buildings retain many original features, including a cast iron balcony, delicate etched glass, two rams’ heads thought to be a representation of the young Queen Victoria, and magnificent ruby glass windows, which originally lit the top of a central staircase.

Victorian Era Architecture
Victorian Era Architecture

The hotel underwent a major refurbishment in 2013, after it was bought by current owners Rachel and Adrian Bromage, and Rachel’s father, Michael Banson, adding contemporary indulgences while retaining its historical charm.

Under the careful direction of Rachel Bromage, The Riversleigh now offers understated luxury and a fresh, feminine touch with a keen eye on detail such as comfortable beds and pillows, high quality bed linen and towels, and condiments in each of the rooms. “When we bought the hotel there were 20 rooms, but we have now completed another two rooms giving us 22 rooms in total, including one fully self-contained apartment,” Ms Bromage said.

Rachel Bromage Owner/Managing Director
Rachel Bromage Owner/Managing Director

“No two rooms are the same; some have original fireplaces, most have the original glass dating back to 1884 and stunning, 14-foot ceilings.”  Contemporary additions include complimentary wi-fi and a Tesla electric car charging station.

Country Luxe; The Riversleigh Hotel, Bairnsdale, East Gippsland, (Lounge), July 2018 Pix 9

The family, who moved to Bairnsdale from Melbourne in 1985, has extensive experience in the East Gippsland tourism industry, running businesses including the Bairnsdale Tourist Caravan Park, The Moorings, 5 Knots, McMillan’s and Director Boat Charters, in Metung, and Bellevue on the Lakes in Lakes Entrance.

“We have a lot of corporate guests and weekend visitors driving along the Melbourne to Sydney route, but some of our guests have been coming for more than 20 years and one guest has been staying regularly since The Riversleigh first opened as a hotel in the 1980s,” Ms Bromage said.

Country Luxe; The Riversleigh Hotel, Bairnsdale, East Gippsland, (Duluxe King), July 2018 Pix 3-1

Under their management, The Riversleigh also has become a popular destination for weddings and events, with a well-equipped function and conference space. A professional wedding planner recently joined the team to help guests plan their perfect destination wedding.

Open for lunch, Monday to Friday, visitors and locals alike are invited to enjoy meals created from locally sourced produce and select from an extensive range of local wines. Just next door, in a stable dating back to the late 1800s, The Loft restaurant serves up meals showcasing the best of the best from East Gippsland producers, with a charge-back facility for hotel guests. 

Country Luxe; The Riversleigh Hotel, Bairnsdale, East Gippsland, (Breakfast Room), July 2018 Pix 5

Guests of The Riversleigh are encouraged to visit the regions popular attractions including; a cruise on the Gippsland Lakes, spotting koalas on Raymond Island, a visit to St Mary’s Cathedral, a trip out to the Buchan Caves and a bike ride on the Great East Rail Trail, for further information see

The Riversleigh offers seasonal accommodation packages with room rates ranging $155 to $265 per night. All rates include a daily continental breakfast. It is open Monday to Friday 7am to 7pm and weekends and public holidays 8am to 6pm, see

**Information and Images Courtesy of The Riversleigh/Supplied by G D Publicity/Greta Donaldson

 Country Luxe; The Riversleigh Hotel, Bairnsdale, East Gippsland, (Dining Room), July 2018 Pix 10

Connie Lambeth

The Australia Times News

Editor GOURMET – Food/Wine/Events

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Country Luxe; The Riversleigh Hotel, Bairnsdale, East Gippsland, (Australia) July 2018 Pix 1Country Luxe; The Riversleigh Hotel, Bairnsdale, East Gippsland, (Owner + Managing Director, Rachel Bromage), July 2018 Pix 8-1