A DECADE after proposing a resort development in Margaret River and one year on from losing a bid to develop a new Rottnest Island resort in Longreach Bay, Karma Royal Group has finally locked in business in Western Australia, taking control of the Rottnest Lodge.
The Rottnest Lodge will be run under a new four-star brand for the company, Chakra, which is a sister to five-star Karma Resorts brand.
The group plans a significant overhaul for the lodge, the lease of which has been held by Bankwest since the 1990s. This will involve upgrades and redesigns for the entire resort, restaurant renovations and bars, as well as a revamp of the menus.
Karma Royal Group chairman John Spence has targeted the WA market for years, having initiated plans to build a resort under the Karma brand back in 2001 and bidding for the Longreach resort development last year (only to be beaten by Marylyn Paspaley’s Pinctada Hotels and Resort, which recently terminated its plan for the development).
“I have long held a love for Western Australia and a desire to share its unique beauty with the many international clients of the Karma Royal Group. Australia is my second home and I am passionate about expanding our property portfolio in this market,” Mr Spence said.
“We see the enormous potential of not only Rottnest Lodge, but also Rottnest Island as a growing destination for international travellers.
“With the worldwide network of the Karma Royal Group we feel we can bring our exciting lifestyle experience to the island, which will serve to attract the discerning leisure traveller. We also recognise the potential for attracting strong MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and events) business, particularly within the neighboring mining sector.”
Rottnest Lodge currently has 80 rooms with six styles of accommodation, with capacity for 239 people. There are two conference room facilities with capacity for 80 and 25 people.
Mr Spence said he was looking forward to developing the lodge with the group’s unique stamp on lifestyle experiences and service, working closely with the heritage council and Rottnest Island Authority.
WA Business News understands Mr Spence will consider making a bid for the 120-room hotel at the Longreach site, which includes a restaurant, bar and lounge, function room and gymnasium when the Rottnest Island Authority reopens the tendering process.
Pinctada withdrew its bid for the project in late November; and while the company didn’t make a public statement regarding its reasons, high construction costs are believed to have been a factor.
RIA chairman Laurie O’Meara said the board was disappointed the proposal put forward by Pinctada would not go ahead.
“However, the parties had to follow the tendering parameters set at the beginning of the process,” he said.