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Case Study Hotels: Gaia Retreat & Spa, Brooklet NSW

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Background

Colliers’ Karen Wales and Gus Moors were appointed to market Gaia Retreat & Spa in Byron Bay on behalf of co-owners Gregg Cave, Ruth Kalnin, Warwick Evans and Olivia Newton-John.

Gaia Retreat & Spa is an intimate globally recognised boutique lifestyle retreat in Byron Bay’s hinterland, offering 22 elegantly appointed rooms, expansive day spa and restaurant set on over 8ha of land. The sale also included two adjoining residential titles across more than 4ha with expansive district views.

Process

Colliers ran a staged International Expressions of Interest campaign including a pre-registration phase which recognised the iconic nature of the property. The response was overwhelmingly positive which highlighted the strong investor appetite for Australian regional properties and those with prominence as a global pioneer in wellness. Interest was widespread from a diverse range of buyers, from global and international hotel investors to private investors. Colliers worked with potential purchasers to help them better understand the wellness retreat business model and to educate them on the financial performance for luxury retreats in Australia.

Challenges

The unique aspects of Gaia Retreat & Spa made it difficult to benchmark. The retreat has a long track record of delivering healthy bottom line returns through very high retention of staff and repeat visitation by guests, including an impressive array of national and international celebrities who regularly patronise the retreat.

The arrival of Hollywood in Byron Bay and the global buzz this has created has fundamentally changed the region forever. However, it was important to the vendors to entrust their custodianship to likeminded visionaries who were inspired to continue their ‘G.R.O.W.’ ethos – Gratitude, Respect, Organic, Wellness.

Outcome

One of the Australia’s largest private investment groups, Tattarang, was the ultimate purchaser of Gaia Retreat and Spa. They saw the opportunity to acquire an iconic Australian brand with a coveted global reputation for excellence in wellness and luxury. The Group’s property division Fiveight had acquired the retreat, with its lifestyle division Z1Z to deliver all hotel and associated operations.

Testimonial
“From the moment we first met both Karen and Gus at our haven, Gaia Retreat & Spa, there was a strong connection and respect for each other. It was a difficult decision for all directors of Gaia Group to release the property on the market, but we knew it was the right time to find the perfect custodian. We wanted to find that someone who would shine their light and breathe fresh new energy on this beautiful piece of paradise. It soon became apparent from their keen enthusiasm and solid interest they understood how our stand-alone property operated and how it so confidently gained an impeccable reputation in the Wellness hospitality market. Throughout the entire process both Karen and Gus provided expert guidance and strong support. They both handled a well-executed and finely targeted sales campaign and without doubt quickly gained an even deeper understanding of the unique qualities of our magnificent lifestyle retreat, this in turn enabled them to achieve a fantastic result for us all. We are thrilled Tattarang are the New custodians, and we would have no hesitation in recommending Colliers, especially Karen & Gus”

Gregg Cave, Ruth Kalnin, Olivia Newton-John and Warwick Evans
Directors of Gaia Group, now aptly known as the G.R.O.W



Related Experts

Karen Wales

National Director, Asia Pacific | Hotels Transaction Services

Sydney

Karen has over twenty years of experience in the hotel industry and holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the Australian Graduate School of Management. She brings with her a specialised knowledge of the Asia Pacific hotel investment market and an ability to drive fresh capital into Australia’s hotel markets. She has developed an exceptional network over the past two years across Asia and the Middle East and within government, in her capacity as Senior Investment Specialist Tourism Infrastructure at Austrade and her knowledge of new entrants into the growing Australian tourism sector is second to none.      

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Gus Moors

Head of Hotels | Australia

Sydney

Having joined Colliers in early 2014, I have subsequently sold over $180 million of hotel assets across Victoria and NSW, including the largest hotel transaction in Victoria since 2008, being Bell City Preston for $143 million.

Prior to joining Colliers, I was Director of Asset Management for Tourism Asset Holdings Limited (TAHL), Australia's largest hotel owner and responsible for selling down this portfolio totalling over $1.5 billion.

Before TAHL, I was with Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels for 7 years, as Head of Asset Management and Chief Operating Officer for the Hotels group across Asia Pacific.

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