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Yallingup’s Cape Lodge targets corporate sector

YALLINGUP’S Cape Lodge is in the midst of a $3 million building and renovation development that will bolster its ability to cater to the mid-week corporate market while also opening up an events market for the 10-year-old property.

Eight accommodation suites, an 80-seat restaurant and a 12,000-bottle wine cellar are currently being built on Cape Lodge’s 16-hectare property.

The main six-suite lodge will undergo a revamp in the coming months to convert the site into two premium suites and two boardrooms.

According to Cape Lodge general manager Drew Bern-hardt, the changes will allow Cape Lodge to cater to increasing demands for greater occupancy as well as attack the corporate market.

“Our market is predominantly couples and the romantic escapes type of retreat,” Mr Bernhardt said.

“Currently it’s too small to cater to the guests here. We are at capacity at the moment.

“It is the top-end corporate market that we want to attract to boost the mid-week occupancy.

“There will be two small private meeting rooms to target the corporate or executive retreat. That market is growing down here and we have had lots of requests for a corporate retreat.”

When the work is completed Cape Lodge will have 22 rooms on offer.

The eight new suites overlook the lodge’s lake and feature balconies and spas with a view. 

The other main development taking place is the construction of a new restaurant, wine cellar and guest lounge.

Currently the lodge’s restaurant is unable to cater to a full house staying on the premises, however a purpose-built facility overlooking the lake will provide ample space and also allow the lodge to enter the events market.

“There will be a divider wall so we can split the restaurant in two or have one main room,” Mr Bernhardt said. 

“We will be hosting wine dinners and master classes. We will be looking to get local producers such as cheese producers, olive oil producers and so on to come and present here. We will look at doing two and three-day food and wine activities.”

The restaurant will also boast a 12,000-bottle wine cellar that will feature some rare drops, according to Mr Bernhardt.

“[There will be] premium wine labels from other regions but it will mainly have wines from here,” he said.

“The owner, who is Malaysian, has been collecting wine for years so we will have an impressive collection here.”

The restaurant will seat 80 people comfortably with a decking area overlooking the lake.  The new developments are due for completion in November.

Cape Lodge’s accommodation work coincides with an $8 million redevelopment of Caves House that gets under way in October and is expected to be completed in June next year.

According to Mr Bernhardt the Caves House redevelopment helps the region attract the premium tourist market.

“It is good to get some international operators in Margaret River who can promote the region,” he said.

“It’s a group marketing exercise. Instead of one or two people marketing the properties; we have some big players that can do that. Mirvac Fini’s Bunker Bay is helping to do that also.”

Mr Bernhardt, who took on the role as general manger six months ago, said Cape Lodge had been relatively unscathed by a general downturn in the tourism market.

“Interstate tourism has increased and Margaret River is always a desirable place to go.  It [SARS and the Iraq war] affected our Singapore market but the international market has increased 15 per cent in the last 12 months despite what is happening in the world,” he said.

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