This past week has seen several announcements of hotel developments either planned or underway in Australia and New Zealand, demonstrating the Down Under appeal for hospitality projects.
Airport Hotels in New Zealand
In New Zealand, the former Qantas headquarters at Auckland International Airport will be converted and revamped into a 144-room hotel, with the addition of a new floor to the existing building. When it opens, the hotel will complement the nearby Ibis Budget Auckland Airport Hotel and the Novotel Auckland Airport. A fourth hotel, possibly in the luxury segment, may also be on the horizon.
While no management agreement has been announced yet, a brand should be selected in the next few months. Christchurch-based Dalman Architects will design the hotel, which may start construction later this year.
The airport has an understandable appeal for developers: In the year-to-date leading up to June 30 this year, the total number of passengers using Auckland Airport increased 5.7 percent to 20.5 million with international passengers reaching 11.2 million (up 4.1 percent on FY17) and domestic passengers growing 7.7 percent to 9.3 million.
Dorsett Hotel International Plans Australian Debut
Hong Kong-based Far East Consortium, controlled by businessman Tan Sri David Chiu, has started a A$400-million project at The Star Gold Coast resort development on Broadbeach Island in Australia. The 53-story hotel and apartment tower will be developed through Destination Gold Coast Consortium, a joint venture between FEC, The Star Entertainment Group and Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook Enterprises.
The project will bring the Dorsett hotel brand into Australia, and it is slated to open in early 2022. The 316-room Dorsett Hotel will take the tower’s lower levels, while 423 apartments, known as Star Residences, will occupy the upper levels.
“We are one of Asia’s fastest growing hotel groups and our strategy is to target China’s fast-growing affluent middle-class market, offering memorable experience at great value and the highest levels of hospitality,” said Dorsett Hotel International vice-chairman Datin Jasmine Abdullah Heng, noting the Gold Coast’s appeal for tourism and development.
The hotel and apartment project is the second development for the JV partners in southeast Queensland, following its historic endorsement by the Queensland government to transform Queen’s Wharf Brisbane with a $3-billion integrated resort and residential development. The JV company is also involved in a megaproject in Sydney and has acquired the Sheraton Grand Mirage beachfront resort on the Gold Coast.
DHI owns and operates the majority of its 54 hotels in Asia, and the introduction of the Dorsett brand to Australia will help boost the company’s global cachet.
“Together with our partners we have, in progress or planning, projects that will see our investment across Brisbane and the Gold Coast exceed $4.5 billion,” said Star Entertainment Group chairman John O’Neill.
Gold Coast Shines
Rydges has received approval from the Australian government to develop a new $50-million hotel in the Gold Coast Airport precinct. The 192-guestroom property will have views over both Kirra Beach and across the runway, and will include both a rooftop bar and a viewing deck.
Queensland Airports Limited CEO Chris Mills said that construction is expected to begin before the end of the year, and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said that the development would deliver a “healthy boost” to the Gold Coast economy. “The [hotel] will significantly increase the number of people doing business in and around the airport precinct while attracting more investment into the region's economy,” McCormark told Business News Australia.
Luxury in Victoria
In Victoria, Australia, developers are planning a $100-million luxury hot springs spa hotel and retreat on the southern shores of Lake Wellington that will be powered by renewable energy and will highlight traditional Aboriginal culture.
NunDuk, as the project is called—Gunnai-Kurnai for “the bark of a tree”—will be located on a sheep farm of the developer, James Troedel, through he and his son Harry’s development company, Seacombe West. NunDuk will consist of 36 guestrooms in the main hotel, 45 guestrooms in villa units as well as restaurants, spas, treatment rooms, galleries, lounges and a deck.
The property will be run by international operators, and three leading tourists companies—Six Senses, Goco Spa and Banyan Tree Spa—have already expressed interest in the project.