‘Iconic, incomparable’ Byron hotel attracts ‘insane’ buyer interest

Victoria’s at Wategos in Byron Bay has attracted strong buyer interest from local and international buyers. Picture: realcommercial.com.au/for-sale
Victoria’s at Wategos in Byron Bay has attracted strong buyer interest from local and international buyers. Picture: realcommercial.com.au/for-sale

“Victoria’s at Wategos”, a Tuscan-style guesthouse with 11 bedrooms across two double-storey buildings, is on the market for the first time ever.

It’s expected to sell for “tens of millions” through an expression of interest process, which closes May 25.

The property, being sold by well-known local couple Victoria and Raemon McEwen, who run a number of other accommodation venues in the region, is one of only two hotels in the tightly held enclave, nestled in the oceanfront valley of Wategos Beach.

Set on Marine Parade under the famous Cape Byron lighthouse, it has 11 bedrooms, all with ensuites, several indoor lounge areas and two heated lap pools.

It has a total site area of 1214sqm, with a gross floor area of 1673sqm, and dual street frontage to Marine Parade and Pandanus Place of approximately 52m.

Aerial showing Victoria's at Wategos in Byron Bay close to the lighthouse

The Tuscan-style guesthouse is located on Marine Parade under the famous Cape Byron lighthouse. Picture: realcommercial.com.au/for-sale

Marketing material describes it as “the perfect beachside escape surrounded by thriving tropical landscaped gardens and set against one of Australia’s most beautiful, north-facing beaches, making it one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world.”

The property is a five-minute drive to Byron CBD and the main beach, just over 30 minutes from Ballina Airport and 45 minutes to Gold Coast International Airport.

‘Phenomenal’ interest, mainly from investors

Travis Lipshus, of Byron Beach Realty, who is selling “Victoria’s at Wategos” along with CBRE’s Xavier Rahme, said with Byron now known the world over, the interest from potential buyers has been “quite frankly, insane.”

“We have potential buyers qualified up into the tens of millions of dollars, locally and from overseas; America, Europe and other places. It’s been phenomenal. We had 130 inquiries in the first week alone,” he said.

“We didn’t really know what to expect, because you just can’t compare this property to anything else that’s out there. It’s incomparable.” That’s especially true when considering the sellers built the property, so it’s never been sold before.

Pool area inside Victoria's at Wategos in Bryon Bay

The property has two lap pools. Picture: realcommercial.com.au/for-sale

While there’s been a couple of high-wealth individuals interested in the property as a home, Mr Lipshus expects it to be purchased by an investor, looking to run it as a hotel.

“The value in the property is as a hotel, not as a residence, although it would be a great place to call home, that’s for sure,” he said.

‘Stage of life’ prompts sale

Mr Lipshus said the McEwens – “some of the hardest working people in Byron, held in very high regard” – had made the decision to sell because of their life stage.

“They’re at that time of their life where they’re thinking ‘maybe we should make a move on this?’ and they’ve chosen to sell. They still have Victoria’s at Ewingsdale, as part of the group they run,” he said.

The Ewingsdale property is a stately country manor situated on four acres of manicured gardens, six kilometres west of Byron.

Move to sell a hot topic in Byron

Jason Bentley, the president of the Byron Bay Chamber of Commerce, said while the region had been hit hard by lockdowns, a “COVID summer” where many employees were sick or isolating, putting a strain on businesses, and then devastating floods, it was on its way back to normality.

Guest room at Victoria's at Wategos in Byron Bay

Each of the property’s 11 guest bedrooms has an ensuite. Picture: realcommercial.com.au/for-sale

“Our community is really resilient and if anything, over Easter period and then afterward, we got really energised, because many businesses were back to being booked out, like pre-COVID times. We’re in a strong position now,” he said.

He said the sale of “Victoria’s at Wategos” was a hot topic in town, given many locals know the owners.

Byron Shire mayor Michael Lyon said the sale was in keeping with the change the town is experiencing.

“It is a high-profile one, but we’ve seen movement at that end of the property market in the region in recent years, with the Beach Hotel and Hotel Brunswick both changing hands,” he said.