Hainan buys Novotel Twin Waters resort

Hainan Airlines was set to acquire the Novotel Twin Waters resort on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast

Hainan Airlines is acquiring the Novotel Twin Waters resort on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, in the Chinese carrier’s first foray into the Australian tourism industry.

The four-star, 361-room Novotel, which is operated by Accor Australia, is being sold by unlisted retail fund Abacus Hospitality Fund, which is managed by the listed Abacus Property Group.

Abucus recently sold other assets including the Rydges Tradewinds Cairns and Rydges Esplanade Cairns. Novotel Twin Waters resort was the fund’s last remaining asset after unit holders voted for a managed sell-down of assets two years ago, with the net proceeds to reduce debt.

Receiver sale: $80m Whitsundays resort to sell for $15m

Rydges Tradewinds Cairns hotel was sold for $34 million to the newly-formed and European-funded GA Group Australia, with the new owner planning a multimillion-dollar high-end upgrade.

Meanwhile, Malaysian-backed tourism property investor and developer Mulpha Australia paid $40 million for the Rydges Esplanade hotel in Cairns.

CoreLogic RP Data records show that Abacus Hospitality Fund acquired the Novotel Twin Waters Resort from LendLease for almost $60 million a decade ago.

Late last month Twin Waters Resort manager Warwick Kahl confirmed there had been an increase in Chinese guests using the resort as a base to explore the greater Sunshine Coast. However he qualified that statement by saying that the number was not significant but was coming off a zero base.

Hainan Airlines is acquiring the Novotel Twin Waters resort on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

Hainan Airlines is acquiring the Novotel Twin Waters resort on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

The resort notably hosted Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in an overwater lagoon suite on their Sunshine Coast visit for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2002.

The resort includes rooms and one and two-bedroom suites, as well as 16 overwater lagoon suites.

Abacus won Sunshine Coast Council approval last year to build 124 multiple-dwelling units at the north east edge of the property.  An earlier form of the development project had been rejected by the Queensland Planning and Environment Court.

The resort’s sale comes shortly after Hainan Airlines’ parent conglomerate HNA Group acquired Carlson’s majority 51% stake in the Stockholm-listed Rezidor Hotel Group, which manages more than 1400 hotels across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Hainan Airlines is China’s fourth largest publicly listed airline by fleet size.

In Australia, its parent HNA Group has a 13% share in the Virgin Australia Group, meanwhile Hainan Airlines operates a seasonal offering between Sydney and Xian and recently added twice-weekly flights between Changsha and Sydney.

Hainan Airlines vice president of marketing Hou Wei says: “Hainan Airlines has identified Australia as a strategic choice in advancing our growth and development as a global aviation player, and Sydney is Australia’s largest city, economic and tourism hub.”