27/11/2007 - 22:00

SW tourism gets $450m makeover

27/11/2007 - 22:00

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South West hotel operators looking to cash in on the booming tourism industry are committing millions of dollars to expansions and major refurbishments, amid strong competition at the top end of the market.

SW tourism gets $450m makeover

South West hotel operators looking to cash in on the booming tourism industry are committing millions of dollars to expansions and major refurbishments, amid strong competition at the top end of the market.

There are more than $450 million worth of new and expansion projects either planned or under construction in the South West, the majority between Bunbury and Margaret River, according to Tourism WA’s latest accommodation development register.

The most recent to come online is the major expansion of Seashells Resort Yallingup on the iconic Caves House site.

Acquired by the Seashells Hospitality Group in late 2004, the original Caves House has been restored and its eight one- and two-bedroom suites have been upgraded to include modern facilities.

The first stage of the Seashells Resort Yallingup site expansion is due to open next month, offering three new accommodation blocks adjacent to the main house, with 36 new one- and two-bedroom apartments.

The addition of tennis courts and a pool is being planned for early 2008.

Recently re-opened after being closed for most of the year while renovations were undertaken is the new five-star adult retreat Windmills Break, formerly known as the Laughing Clown Lodge, in Yallingup.

New owner Jeff Larsen took over the property almost a year ago and immediately set out to do a major overhaul of the hotel.

Each of the 14 rooms has been refurbished with new fittings and luxury furniture, with the addition of a private courtyard for each room.

A new stone fireplace has been installed, along with upgraded bar facilities, new decking, large outdoor dining areas and upgrades to the entrance, massage centre and gym.

The hotel has been open for the past two weeks, with the official launch early in the new year.

Jeff Larsen’s brother, education entrepreneur Peter Larsen, recently bought Margaret River luxury boutique hotel Cape Lodge for $13 million. It is understood that plans are under way for the upgrade of a number of rooms, and the addition of a pool.

Luxury resort Moondance Lodge has also flagged expansion plans, looking to add an extra eight villas.

A little further north in Bunbury, the Sanctuary Golf Resort is looking to add a further 45 condos with a combination of one- and two-bedroom units, and expand its function areas, restaurant and reception area.

The project represents significant growth on the existing 37 luxury apartment style units.

Early forecasts put the cost of the expansion at about $10 million.

The accommodation component is expected to be completed within 18 months to two years.

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