Rich Listers bank on $130m Phillip Island hotel to boost tourist spend

On a revenue per available room basis, boutique hotels performed over 50 per cent better, while occupancy rates were 21 per cent higher than luxury international hotels.

Regional tourism has stayed strong as Australians have opted to cut back on other costs such as upgrading their homes, hotels industry consultant Dean Dransfield said.

“What tends to happen is people divert major expenditure into minor expenditure. It helps the regional travel markets as people decide to not spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a house renovation, but will spend $5000 on a trip,” Mr Dransfield said.

“It’s the easiest thing for them to do, and it makes them feel good straightaway.”

Another factor in regional tourism’s resilience was the trend of people “travelling in their own backyard” that started during the pandemic has continued, JLL’s Gus Moors said.

There is plenty of hospitality experience behind the proposed Cowes project. Mr Morris’ CLG operates a portfolio of upmarket pubs including the Portsea Hotel in Sorrento and the Albert Park Hotel in Melbourne. Mr Tabet owns the Village Belle Hotel in St Kilda, Portsea Hotel freehold and the Royce Hotel on St Kilda Road.

The Tarascios’ Salta Properties has undertaken a number of hotel developments including the Tribe Perth hotel, while developer Moda is best known for its luxury apartment projects in inner Melbourne.

Rendered images of a view of the hotel from Cowes Pier. 

Under the approved development application, the consortium can build a new seven-storey mixed-use hotel with 163 rooms, a pool deck overlooking the ocean, rooftop basketball and tennis courts, and a three-storey 49-room hostel.

An upmarket restaurant, pub, large-scale event space, a state-of-the-art wellness centre and 197 basement car parking bays under the hotel have been included in the plans.

The Rich Listers are part of an emerging trend of ultra-wealthy investors putting their money into major hospitality ventures in regional Victoria.

On the Mornington Peninsula, a consortium comprising the Victor Smorgon Group, the Kanat family and developer Trenerry Property invested $100 million in turning the 147-year-old Continental Hotel in Sorrento into a five-star InterContinental hotel and wellness centre.

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