18 Dec 2019
Words Lisa Allen The Australian
Chinese-backed Silkari Hotels buy into Port Douglas
After walking away from two major hotel deals in Sydney and regional NSW, Chinese-backed Silkari Hotels has weighed into the sleepy north Queensland tourism bolthole of Port Douglas.
Silkari, a division of property developer Visionary, has bought the management rights to the former Oaks Lagoons resort from Thailand’s Minor Hotels in a major deal for Port Douglas.
The 175-room resort, about an hour’s drive north of Cairns, will be renamed Silkari Lagoons Port Douglas.
Visionary’s director of hotels, Markus Sigmann, admits that Port Douglas’s tourism industry has been quiet but said buying the management rights was a good investment and predicted an upturn in North Queensland tourism over six months or so.
Tourism Research Australia said tourist arrivals at Port Douglas had slowed down after double-digit growth. In 2018-19 there was a 7 per cent increase in domestic tourism and a 4 per cent jump in international holidaymakers.
Despite this, Mr Sigmann believes the Port Douglas investment was a great addition to the portfolio and fitted with the strategy of concentrating on management rights businesses in CBD areas on the east coast and quality tourism areas.
Queensland’s Whitsundays and Sunshine Coast are among Visionary’s preferred tourism areas for investment, along with Port Douglas.
In recent years, Visionary has walked away from at least two major developments in the Sydney CBD and on the NSW south coast near Wollongong because of government and regulatory “red tape”.
It sold its $130m corner block at 110-118 Bathurst Street and 203 Castlereagh Street, Sydney, which was slated to be a residential complex, along with halting development of its $1.5bn Avondale resort and spa with a Greg Norman-designed golf course about 20km southwest of Wollongong.
That project was to include three hotel resorts with villas and 189 residential houses, a helipad, golf clubhouse and conference centre.
Meanwhile, the Port Douglas property is Silkari’s third accommodation asset, along with the 212-apartment Silkari Suites in Sydney’s Chatswood and Silkwood by Silkari, a 219-apartment and 37-townhouse complex in Pagewood in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
The Port Douglas deal was completed by Glenn Millar and Chenoa Daniel of ResortBrokers for an undisclosed sum.
Positioned near Four Mile Beach the hotel is set amid six lagoon-style pools and is designed for couples and families.
“This is one of the most impressive large resort properties in far North Queensland and we knew there would be strong interest from experienced operators especially as it was in the Oaks Hotels and Resorts portfolio,” Mr Millar said.
The Lagoons deal follows on from last month’s sale of management rights to another high end Port Douglas property, the Peninsula Boutique Hotel.