17 Jun 2021
Words Mackenzie Scott The Australian
Justin Hemmes spree continues as Merivale buys The Whale Inn at Narooma
Pub baron Justin Hemmes has continued his recent acquisition spree, with Merivale snapping up a second location on the NSW south coast.
The purchase of The Whale Inn at Narooma, a boutique hotel and restaurant, for an undisclosed amount was confirmed on Wednesday.
It is another addition to Merivale’s growing portfolio, with the pub landlord having spent more than $200m in the past six months alone on its empire of more than 80 eateries, hotels and restaurants.
Mr Hemmes has a personal attachment to the region, which has long been a holiday spot for his family. The connection spurred the purchase of a nearby tiki bar, The Quarterdeck, in March.
“Narooma has become my second home and the backdrop to so many of my happiest memories with my family,” he said.
“I think it is one of the most beautiful spots in the world.”
Offering views of the inlet and beaches, The Whale Inn includes a restaurant, bar and 17 individually appointed rooms and suites. It was purchased from Matthew Deveson and Jen Houghton-Deveson, who owned and operated the property for 15 years. While the accommodation will remain open following the handover of the keys this week, a refurbishment is scheduled for the eatery.
The sale was handled by ResortBrokers’ NSW South Coast specialists Russell Rogers and Sarah Hutchins.
“This is really positive news for the south coast accommodation sector, with a company of the size of Merivale showing faith in what is an outstanding motel in a fantastic region,” Mr Rogers said.
The recent buy-up includes an expansion into the NSW North Coast market following the purchase of the Cheeky Monkey’s Bar at Byron Bay for about $13.5m. Further south of the Victorian town of Lorne, the oceanfront Lorne Hotel was bought for $38m.
Sydney inner-city locations have also been in sight recently, including four sites in the suburbs of Leichhardt, Marrickville, Enmore and Rozelle.