09/06/2020 - 15:06

Marriott to operate $100m Margaret River spa and resort

09/06/2020 - 15:06

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Saracen Properties and Security Capital Australia have announced the development of a $100 million, five-star spa and resort in Margaret River, a boon for the South West region's tourism industry as it pursues a post-pandemic revival.

Marriott to operate $100m Margaret River spa and resort
The 120-room Westin-branded spa and resort will be built on the southern headland of Gnarabup Beach.

Saracen Properties and Security Capital Australia have announced the development of a $100 million, five-star spa and resort in Margaret River, a boon for the South West region's tourism industry as it pursues a post-pandemic revival.

The spa and resort, to be developed 10 kilometres from Margaret River’s town centre on the southern headland of Gnarabup Beach, will feature 120 rooms and and be the region's first five-star hotel.

CBRE and King & Wood Mallesons acted as joint advisers to the development, selecting luxury hotel chain Marriott International as the operator.

Marriott has said it would operate the resort under the Westin brand, complementing its existing Hay Street property The Westin Perth, with 368 rooms.

More than 300 jobs are expected to be created during the project’s construction, with 100 ongoing jobs to be created upon the development’s completion in 2023.

CHRISTOU Design Group will manage construction.

Saracen Properties has been reached for further details.

CBRE head of capital markets Aaron Desange said 15 regional and international operators had made bids for the development, and that the resort, once constructed, would help boost the region’s presence internationally.

“Importantly, this announcement will increase the region’s luxury tourism appeal, which will help contribute to injecting much-needed revenue back into our state after particularly challenging economic times,” he said.

King & Wood Mallesons partner Carl Black echoed those comments, praising Marriott International for looking past existing difficulties in the market in developing a new resort in the region.

“We believe it will result in a fabulous addition to the hospitality landscape in WA, which was made possible by all parties involved having the capacity to see past the present and into a promising future for high quality hotel product,” he said.

Saracen Properties development director Jason Potalivo said the opportunity to help develop a resort alongside Marriott International was too good to pass up.

“Despite the tourism industry currently going through the toughest of times right now, we know it will come roaring back and the appeal of visiting unique natural regions like Margaret River and the South West will be greater than it ever was,” he said.

Marriott International senior director for hotel development Richard Crawford said the resort, once developed, would set a benchmark in hospitality for the region.

“The region is recognised the world over for its stunning beaches, idyllic climate, tourist trails, plus fine food and wine,” he said.

“These appeals attract more than 3 million visitors per annum to WA's South West region.”

“The Westin brand is renowned as a leader in hospitality and wellness, with more than 230 leading hotels and resorts across the globe.

“We are very confident that this trusted name will elevate the profile and appeal of Margaret River for holiday makers, corporate getaways and special events.”

Marriot International’s area vice-president Sean Hunt said expanding the Westin brand was a strategically sound decision for the business.

“Visitor numbers are at a record high and are on track to increase by 5.1 per cent in the next 10 years, as people seek out the beautiful beaches, world-renowned wineries and beautiful scenery that the South West is famed for,” he said.

News of Marriott International’s expansion into the South West comes as several notable hotel developments near completion across WA, including the $142 million, 229-room DoubleTree by Hilton Perth Waterfront, set to open in November.

Elsewhere, the Parmelia Hilton Perth is undergoing $45 million in renovations, with 25 rooms to be added to the property by September.

Dradgin Pte Ltd, meanwhile, is continuing to seek a suitable operator for its $95 million Subiaco property, after Park Regis stepped away from the project in January.

Several notable hotels were added to the market throughout 2019, including the five-star Ritz-Carlton Perth, with 204 rooms, and the boutique, Art Series-hotel The Adnate, with 250 rooms.

Despite new stock being added to the market, many hotels across the state have taken a huge financial hit during the COVID-19 pandemic as they have dealt with the economic fallout caused by strict border restrictions.

Most of WA’s regional borders have now been opened after temporarily being shut through April and May, with the likes of Rottnest Island and the Kimberley region once again open for visitors.

Interstate and international borders however remain closed.

The state government has sought to increase intrastate tourism to regional WA in recent weeks, as typified by Tourism WA’s ‘Wander Out Yonder’ campaign, which has been funded as part of the state government’s $14 million tourism recovery program.

Speaking in Margaret River this morning, Premier Mark McGowan said news of Marriott International’s expansion into the South West was a positive sign for the state’s tourism industry.

“The project will create construction jobs during the build, it will also support ongoing jobs once the resort is in operation,” he said.

“Having a first five-star resort in Margaret River will attract more visitors to the sSouth West and will boost the local economy.

“While COVID-19 has had serious impacts on tourism right around the world and here in WA, this project demonstrates long-term confidence in Margaret River and WA as world-class destinations.”

Tourism Minister Paul Papalia agreed, saying though times were tough for the state’s tourism operators, today’s announcement indicated that the long-term future for tourism in the state was bright.

“Marriott is one of the world's most prestigious hotel brands and the new luxury resort will add yet another attraction to the already world-class Margaret River region,” he said.

“The McGowan government has presided over record high tourism numbers in recent years, and we look forward to continuing to support and develop the industry to ensure it bounces back stronger than ever in coming years.”

While largely welcoming today’s news, shadow tourism minister Libby Mettam criticised the state government for not providing funding to infrastructure in the region, such as Busselton Jetty’s underwater observatory and the Busselton-Margaret River Regional Airport.

Ms Mettam said it made sense to invest further in domestic tourism, given international borders would remain closed for the foreseeable future.

“The South West is crying out for more support from the McGowan government,” she said.

“Since coming to office, the tourism minister and the McGowan government have continually undermined the Busselton-Margaret River Airport project, including the removal of the project from Tourism WA’s tourism plan and withholding funding for the terminal.

“Now is the time for the state government to show genuine commitment with marketing investment.

“Negotiations with the City of Busselton are under way to repurpose the terminal funds, but the McGowan government must commit to upgrading the airport terminal after three years of flights - as they promised.”

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