Middle-of-nowhere resort finally finds buyer

The Berkeley River Lodge  is for sale four years after it opened.
The Berkeley River Lodge is for sale four years after it opened.

A five-star hotel that is unquestionably one of Australia’s most remote has been sold after more than a year on the market.

Accommodation and tourism service provider Saltwater Properties bought the leasehold on the Berkeley River Lodge in Western Australia’s Kimberley region, which is so far-flung it doesn’t even have an address.

The leasehold price is understood to be less than $10 million for the next 20 years with a 20-year option for the property, which features 20 villa units with views over the Timor Sea and Berkeley River, as well as a restaurant, bar, pool and conference facilities.

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The resort comes with its own airstrip, which is somewhat of a necessity, given the property is 432km west of Darwin and accessed only by air or boat through Darwin or Kununurra, despite being on the mainland.

Its guests have included a Middle Eastern prince and his wife, who stopped by on their way home from a tour of Australia’s east coast.

The hotel's restaurant overlooks the Timor Sea

The hotel’s restaurant overlooks the Timor Sea.

When realcommercial.com.au spoke to owner and operator Martin Peirson-Jones in November last year, he said he hoped a larger operator could take the resort, which opened five years ago, to the next level.

Peirson-Jones was also looking to dedicate more time to his boutique beer operation, Matso’s Broome Brewery.

Selling agent, Savills’ senior hotel executive Nic Simarro, says the hotel attracted 36 enquiries from both Australian and offshore investors, but Saltwater was selected as the best candidate to take the property forward.

The lodge's villas have river or ocean views.

The lodge’s villas have river or ocean views.

Saltwater owns or operates around 30 hotels and resorts across Australia, including a pair of Broome properties – the Kimberley Sands Resort & Spa and the Pearl of Cable Beach.

“This is a timely and astute purchase from one of Australia’s best credentialed operators and one with a great deal of experience in these climes,” Samarro says.

“This is really an extraordinary property, from the flight in over some of Australia’s most iconic outback landscapes to the beautiful expanse of the Timor Sea, the Berkeley River, panoramic views, and the high level of individual accommodation and service which includes a five-star restaurant.”