Sheraton Grand Mirage to sell as tycoons win race for tourist icon

The swim-up pool bar at Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort on the Gold Coast.

A powerful consortium of billionaire hotel heavyweights Arthur Laundy and the Karedis family have entered exclusive due diligence to buy the Sheraton Grand Mirage on the Gold Coast paying over $190m.

The two families — long time co-investors in other hotel properties such as the Sofitel Noosa — are expected to pursue plans to revamp the entire property, which could include introducing luxury residences to the hotel which is the Gold Coast’s only five star absolute beachfront resort.

They have edged out interest from US chain Outrigger which had planned a big return to Australia with the property purchase, although it has been active overseas of late.

The Laundy and Karedis families are well-known hotel investors and have the capacity to turn around the undeveloped property on the Gold Coast Spit, beside the Gold Coast Seaway, and to bring it back to its former glory as one of the key drawcards of Australian tourism.

They are hoping to capitalise on both the resurgence in Gold Coast property developments, demand from domestic tourists and on the return of international tourists to Australia which is driving up room rates.

The resort is being sold by an international joint venture led by gaming company Star Entertainment which put the hotel on the block in March with hopes of reaping more than $200m.

Deal - Watsons Bay

Arthur Laundy. Picture: Jane Dempster

Sofitel general manager Mark Wilkinson with Sofitel owner Greg Karedis.

The 1980s hotel, developed by late entrepreneur Christopher Skase, needs an overhaul by its incoming owner, which could include installing a new hotel management chain.

Developers have said that the entire property requires a substantial and costly renovation in order to bring it up to modern standards, with further expenditure needed to bring in residential apartments.

The sale is being handled by McVay Real Estate, JLL and Colliers.

The Gold Coast has attracted both hotel and residential investment as tourism returns, and players including Vitale Property Group and funds manager Salter Brothers chased the property last year as Star’s problems emerged.

Other developers are backing new projects in the area.

Melbourne property developer Ross Pelligra is developing a $480m Ritz Carlton hotel and superyacht marina at Mariner’s Cove at Main Beach in partnership with developer Dean Giannarelli.

Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort on the Gold Coast needs renovating.

Property developer Gurner also has a deal with Marriott International to develop the St. Regis Gold Coast Resort as one of three towers in the luxury $1.7bn La Pelago resort-style project in the high-end Budds Beach precinct.

Star picked up the Gold Coast icon in 2017 for $140m with the backing of Hong Kong developer Far East Consortium and retailer Chow Tai Fook, in a repeat of its $3bn Brisbane Queen’s Wharf joint venture.

That move gave it an edge in the area against the then James Packer-controlled Crown Resorts, but it has since been deemed surplus to requirements as Star overhauls its operations after being slugged by hefty fines and regulatory action.

Meanwhile, the private-equity backed Outrigger Hospitality Group, which has been scouring Australia’s beaches for a coastal property for years according to its chief executive and president Jeff Wagoner, recently purchased another property in Hawaii.

Earlier this month, it acquired Kā‘anapali Beach Hotel, a beachfront resort on the Island of Maui which has just undergone a US$75m renovation.

The property spans 11-acres with 432 rooms with the transaction expected to close by July 26.

The purchase price is not disclosed. Outrigger also owns property in Southern Thailand and a five-star resort in the Maldives.