A luxury hotel at the National Arboretum is a step closer as public consultation has opened for an amendment to the National Capital Plan.
The amendment would allow for commercial accommodation with a maximum of 40 guest rooms.
It is planned to be built on a site on the south-western side of Dairy Farmers Hill, the main lookout at the arboretum.
Anything built on the site must take advantage of the views to the Brindabella Ranges in the west and north-west and to central Canberra in the east.
"Built form should consist of a series of buildings within a generous landscape and forest setting," the amendment papers said.
"The material palette for new buildings must explicitly adopt similar materials to those used for existing buildings at the arboretum."
There are currently 94 forests in the arboretum, with another six yet to be planted.
Chinese golden larch trees were set to be planted in the chosen site of the hotel, at this stage it is unclear if any of the trees would be planted.
National Capital Authority chief executive Sally Barnes said the hotel would complement the Margaret Whitlam Pavilion - a popular wedding venue.
"We're interested in finding the right balance between people enjoying these places and providing a unique experience but we're also protecting those unique landscapes," she said.
"For it to go ahead with planning certainty we all agreed that we needed to look at what could be done and change the National Capital Plan to at least give the ACT government the option for commercial accommodation."
The National Arboretum was opened in 2013 in an area burnt out by the 2003 bushfires.
A 2006 master plan had proposed accommodation for the site.
In 2018, there was an amendment to the master plan that reaffirmed the hotel but in order for accommodation to be on the site a National Capital Plan amendment is needed.
Ms Barnes said the National Capital Authority waited until it was approached by the arboretum to put forward the amendment.
"We were only approached by the arboretum six months ago and they were still forming their ideas," she said.
"They wanted to do some feasibility work about what might be possible and what might be commercially viable."
The proposed hotel has been spearheaded by ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr whose office requested the amendment to the plan and manages the arboretum.
Mr Barr's directorate currently has a market sounding opened to gauge commercial interest in the design of the site.
An eco-lodge has been proposed that would be suited to "luxury wellness and nature devotees". It would also include a range of facilities such as a main building with food and beverages, reception, meeting rooms and accommodation.
The market sounding would not guarantee an open tender. It is set to close on February 20.
The ACT government announced its desire for a hotel at the arboretum in May 2016, as part of a public survey on future development for the site.
A public meeting will be held at the National Capital Exhibition on February 13 from 5:30pm.
- Public consultations close on Monday March 16.