The most hotly contested hotel management prize in the country, involving properties spanning north Queensland, the Gold Coast and Sydney, has drawn significant international interest from the world’s major hoteliers.
Malaysian conglomerate Mulpha has shortlisted at least three major international hotel groups to operate its four high-profile Australian hotels and resorts, including the 160-suite Hayman Island, which recently lost its Dubai-based managers Kerzner Group who were operating it as a One&Only, and is undergoing a major renovation in the wake of Cyclone Debbie.
The management rights to the entire accommodation portfolio are up for grabs following the lack of interest in a potential Hayman Island sale flagged by Mulpha earlier this year.
Sources said the billionaire Oatley family who own Hamilton Island — which has an airport used by Hayman guests — had inspected the island, which together with the neighbouring Daydream Island is undergoing $170 million worth of renovations following the cyclone earlier this year.
“Like many other prospective observers, the Oatley family have inspected Hayman Island. However, at this stage they have decided their focus remains on Hamilton Island,” a Hamilton Island spokesman said last night.
At least three major hotel chains have been shortlisted for Mulpha’s portfolio, which includes the 509-room InterContinental Hotel in Sydney, the Rydges Hotel Cairns and the InterContinental Hotel Sanctuary Cove Resort on the Gold Coast.
Mulpha wants the same branded hotel or resort operator running both Hayman Island and the InterContinental Hotel in Sydney in a bid to cut staff costs and offer guests packages for a stay in the Sydney CBD and Hayman Island. During the peak season Hayman Island requires about 400 staff.
Marriott, French group Accor and the incumbent operator IHG have been shortlisted to run the portfolio. All management agreements come up for renewal at different times next year.
If successful, Marriott is likely to introduce its St Regis brand to Australia at the Sydney hotel, set in a 19th century building in Macquarie Street, and Hayman Island.
It is not known what brands Marriott is promoting to operate Cairns and Sanctuary Cove.
Accor is understood to be looking at using its Fairmont brand for the Sydney hotel.
Another player could be QT, which could look at the Inter-Continental at Sanctuary Cove.
Originally Published: www.theaustralian.com.au