Olivia Newton-John lists Byron Bay lifestyle retreat
Olivia Newton-John is selling her wellness retreat in Byron Bay, saying the time has come to “pass the baton” to new owners.
The Gaia Retreat & Spa is expected to attract international interest after being put on the market by Newton-John and co-owners Gregg Cave, Ruth Kalnin and Warwick Evans.
The British-born Australian singer, actor and entrepreneur described the decision to sell Gaia as bittersweet.
“For over 16 years and winning more than 55 global awards, Gaia Retreat & Spa was a dream that became a wonderful reality,” Newton-John said in a statement on behalf of the owners.
“Over these blessed years, co-owners Gregg Cave, Ruth Kalnin, Warwick Evans and myself have helped make Gaia ‘heaven on earth’ by creating a healing and loving place that has become so important to us and our guests from all over the world.
“Having won so many humbling and outstanding awards, we have decided it is time to ‘pass the baton’ to new custodians so they can continue our positive message that Gaia is ‘your timeout to reconnect, breathe and surrender’.
“It’s bittersweet, but as a team, we always agreed that we would ‘go out on top’ and we couldn’t be more proud of the Gaia we have built with our incredible family team.”
Colliers’ Karen Wales and Gus Moors said they expected an influx of interest from a range of buyers, from global and international hotel investors to private investors with an interest in sustainable, barefoot luxury tourism and global wellness.
“The current owners wish to entrust their custodianship to likeminded visionaries who are inspired to continue their ‘G.R.O.W.’ ethos – Gratitude, Respect, Organic, Wellness,” Mr Moors said.
He said the retreat’s Byron Bay location and global reputation in the wellness market meant it was ideally poised to capitalise on these growth trends and offered an incoming owner substantial future upside.
“Highly-profitable luxury retreats are rarely traded, given the strong combination of excellent cashflow and enviable lifestyle offering,” Mr Moors said.
“The opportunity to secure such a large, tourist-zoned site in the pristine hinterland of Australia’s highest growth tourism region overlooking the coastline of Byron Bay will never be replicated.”
Founded in 2005, Gaia has 22 rooms, suites and villas, a day spa, restaurant, swimming pool, fitness centre, tennis court and walking tracks set on more than eight hectares. It offers individually-tailored programs for relaxation, yoga, detox, weight loss, fitness and general wellbeing.
“The simplicity of Gaia Retreat & Spa as a pioneer of barefoot luxury means an incoming owner has limited medium-term capital expenditure requirements through its understated, yet high quality, interior design,” Ms Wales said.
Ms Wales said the sale includes two adjoining residential titles across more than four hectares, while the retreat itself offered scope for additional development.
She said Gaia had a loyal customer base with high repeat visitation.
“Unlike many other Australian luxury retreats, Gaia is easily accessible from the domestic and international airports of Ballina and Gold Coast, thereby ensuring year-round demand,” Ms Wales said.
Byron Bay has become a celebrity hotspot, led by actor couple Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky.
Mr Moors said the arrival of Hollywood in Byron Bay and global buzz that had created have fuelled domestic and international interest in the region’s property market.
He said Byron Bay had also grown in prominence as a health and wellness destination, adding the coronavirus pandemic was expected to exacerbate the trend as people became more health conscious and interested in healthy lifestyles.
“The Byron Shire has historically attracted more than two million visitors annually and is a tourism focal point for people seeking an alternative beachside lifestyle holiday with the area renowned for its long sandy beaches, as well as art, yoga and meditation,” Mr Moors said.
Newton-John, who was made a dame in the UK New Year Honours list in 2020 for services to charity, cancer research and entertainment, described Gaia as “a special magical place”.