13/02/2007 - 22:00

Karma expands

13/02/2007 - 22:00

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Considered among the most expensive strata resorts in the South West, Karma Resort Margaret River is planning to increase the number of luxury villas on its 19-hectare estate.

Karma expands

Considered among the most expensive strata resorts in the South West, Karma Resort Margaret River is planning to increase the number of luxury villas on its 19-hectare estate.

Spearheaded by former UK music promoter and tourism identity John Spence, Karma Group, the developer behind the proposed resort, had received approval to build 12 villas, each with a price tag starting from $3.25 million.

But WA Business News understands the plan has now been amended and an undisclosed number of additional villas of varying sizes are currently being finalised by architects Grounds Kent.

It’s expected a new development application will be submitted to the Shire of Margaret River within weeks, featuring a larger range of short-stay villas perched on the doorstep of a 9ha vineyard and marron-filled lake.

Unique to the resort is its fly-in-fly-out capacity, as the property backs onto an airstrip, allowing guests to connect from Perth International Airport to Karma’s doorstep.

Buyers can also request a private light aircraft hangar, with Karma having secured approval to build up to 14 hangars next to the airstrip.

Each three-bedroom villa will have its own deck and swimming pool, hot tub, wine cellar, stone fireplace, hardwood timber and marble floors, custom-built brick pizza oven and barbeque.

Options for outdoor recreation include an equestrian centre, polo field and tennis courts. 

Mr Spence said the group was thrilled last year to sell three villas in a single week to a Perth buyer and two overseas buyers from its existing resort owner base prior to their formal release.

Off-the-plan sales were formerly released at the end of June 2006.

 “They were priced at the top end and suddenly they walked out the door. We didn’t expect to sell them in one week. We’ll be very surprised if they don’t appreciate beyond their pre-release construction price,” Mr Spence said.

Buyers can opt to keep the villas for private use only or lease them back to Karma, where they are put into a rental pool and managed as an investment.

Under management, owners can occupy the villa for up to three months of the year and use other Karma resorts throughout South-East Asia free of charge for up to 28 days a year.

Mr Spence formed Karma Developments in 2002 as an offshoot of his Royal Resorts Group, which since 1993 has developed 11 resorts across India, Indonesia and Thailand.

Margaret River is the fifth resort in Karma’s portfolio, joining three resorts in Bali, Indonesia, and one on Koh Samui in Thailand.

The company is currently involved in new resort projects in India and the Seychelles and is planning to add a further four resorts to the portfolio within the next two years in Fiji, Turkey, Greece and Dubai.

Mr Spence said the group hoped to open an average of two resorts a year and would be looking at other resort development opportunities in Western Australia, particularly in Broome and the wider north-west region.

“The short-stay market on the west coast is relatively quiet, but the interest in Margaret River from investors in Europe and Asia is huge. There are still tremendous opportunities in the north-west,” Mr Spence said.

Mr Spence was appointed commissioner to the Tourism WA board in August 2006.

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