BY JAMES WILKINSON
Billionaire Australian investor Clive Palmer has committed to ‘re-energise’ his Coolum Golf and Spa resort, following the departure of the property from Hyatt’s network last week (Mar 29).
Coolum Golf and Spa resort
The dispute between Hyatt of Australia and billionaire Clive Palmer’s Coeur de Lion Investments (CDLI) over the Hyatt Regency Coolum Golf Resort and Spa came to a head last Thursday when, following the conclusion of proceedings in Brisbane’s Supreme Court, both parties said differences had “been resolved” and Palmer’s company had agreed to “pay an undisclosed amount to Hyatt in respect of the ending of the management agreement and commercial arrangements”.
According to Coolum Golf and Spa’s General Manager, Bill Schoch, the transition away from Hyatt symbolises “a new era for the iconic property and its 650 staff”.
Schoch said Hyatt’s “acceptance of a management payout would allow the resort to do what it does best – provide an unbeatable experience on the Sunshine Coast’s best beachfront real estate”.
“Mr Palmer has set up a AUD$2 billion kitty to re-energise tourism in Queensland, and Coolum Golf and Spa has a central role to play in the Queensland and Australian tourism sector as we move ahead,” he said.
“Hyatt has played an important role in managing and developing the resort over 25 years, and we now have exciting plans for the property that will push it even further to the forefront of Australian tourism.”
Events such as the Australasian PGA Golf Championship (December) and Taste of Coolum (June) would be at the forefront of property’s activities this year.
“When Professor Palmer bought the resort last August he said he would spend a large amount of money to develop it into a top class resort precinct for individuals, couples, special interest groups, sports lovers and families – everyone,” he said
“This remains his vision, and we look forward to welcoming new and old friends and helping Coolum Golf and Spa do what it does best – provide the best integrated resort experience in this part of the world.”
Speaking exclusively to SpiceNews late last week, Hyatt’s Area Director of Sales and Marketing – Pacific, Kate Atkinson, said the company was happy the dispute had been settled.
“Hyatt is relieved that we have come to an amicable resolution giving certainty to gusts and staff who have been our priority during this period,” she said. “We are happy it’s been resolved and we wish them (CDLI) all the best.”
Hyatt had been running the property for 24 years and in the statement, both Hyatt and Palmer agreed “that the important role the resort plays in Queensland tourism was more important than their differences”.
Palmer, who is expected to undertake a significant upgrade of the property, said: “The Hyatt chain has a long and illustrious record of satisfying owners of many resorts worldwide.
“The excellent standard of service to the guests at Coolum stands as a fine example of what the Hyatt group can deliver.
“I wish to thank Hyatt for all they have done for the Resort and the community and wish them well in the future,” he said.
Atkinson said Hyatt was now firmly focused on its existing Australian properties – including the newly renovated Park Hyatt Sydney – and would continue to seek development opportunities across the region where appropriate for the company’s stable of brands.