Baillie Lodges seeking more luxury sites

Silky Oaks Lodge in Queensland. Picture: Luxury Lodges of Australia

Cashed up from its recent majority sale to private equity group KSL, luxury hotel operator Baillie Lodges is in an acquisition spree, looking to develop boutique properties in Sydney’s The Rocks, Victoria’s Great Ocean Road and Western Australia’s Kimberley region.

The KSL-controlled Baillie Lodges recently paid more than $15 million to buy the Silky Oaks Lodge in Queensland’s Daintree, sources said, with more announcements expected as the group looked for additional properties to cover all Australian states.

“Ultimately we are on track to be the most significant player in the luxury experiential space in Australia,” Baillie Lodges founder and chairman James Baillie told The Australian yesterday.

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Silky Oaks Lodge, which was sold by former champion tennis player Paul Van Min and wife Barbara after nearly a decade’s ownership, is the first Queensland property for the Baillie Lodges portfolio that has existing ultra-exclusive lodges such as Capella Lodge on Lord Howe Island, Longitude 131 in the shadow of Uluru, and the flagship Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island off the South Australian coast. Another opulent boutique property in Tasmania is under development.

“Basically, the new KSL-backed Baillie Lodges is currently working on a number of acquisitions and additions and some significant enhancements at some of our existing properties,” Baillie says.

The Longitude 131 luxury lodges at Uluru.

He says Victoria’s Great Ocean Road is crying out for a luxury boutique property, but he has never been able to find a site with the “wow” factor.

“It’s up to the Victorian government to facilitate a site if they want to see a world-class lodge,” he said.

“We want to showcase more of Australia with Baillie Lodges experiences; we were missing something in Queensland.”

Baillie says owning the itinerary for his international guests is paramount.

The Silky Oaks Lodge deal was negotiated by JLL Hotels executive Tom Gibson, with Baillie Lodges taking over at Silky Oaks lodge — where it plans to spend $10 million on upgrades — from April.

Baillie Lodges had previously attempted to develop an ultra-high-level lodge in Sydney’s historic The Rocks district.

Negotiations are under way to buy several other properties, sources confirmed last night.

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