Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Forrest snaps up Australia’s best boutique hotel

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Cape Lodge
Photo: contributed

Mining billionaire Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest and his wife Nicola have expanded their lifestyle portfolio, with the Margaret River’s Cape Lodge Hotel the latest acquisition for their investment firm Tattarang.

The purchase follows last month’s $42 million buy of Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef, and the $30 million acquisition of the Gaia luxury wellness retreat outside of Byron Bay from a group of founders and owners that includes Australian film and music star Olivia Newton-John.

Each of the acquisitions will be held in Tattarang’s property division Fiveight, with its lifestyle division Z1Z to deliver hotel and associated operations.

Set on 40 acres of lawns, gardens and vineyards, Cape Lodge is perched within the acclaimed wine regions and centrally located to the town sites of Margaret River, Dunsborough and Yallingup.

It originally opened in 1993 as a six-room luxury bed and breakfast, and underwent an extensive renovation and refurbishment in 2003. Now, it features 22 secluded rooms and a five-bedroom luxury private residence as well as dining, leisure and conference facilities, and the Cape Lodge Restaurant which overlooks the main lake with overwater alfresco decking.

The acquisition includes an eight-acre private vineyard planted in 1998 and which produces Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz exclusively for the Hotel.

Cape Lodge has been voted the “best boutique hotel in Australia” by Luxury Travel Magazine and has been previously listed in the prestigious Condé Nast Traveller’s Gold List.

“We see significant opportunity to further develop the core guest experience at Cape Lodge, including the potential integration of premium wellness services and a refocusing of the vineyard resources, which can further underwrite a global quality lifestyle precinct in the heart of Margaret River,” Tattarang chief investment officer, John Hartman said.

Cape Lodge Hotel has been owned by Peter and Joelle Larsen for the last 14 years.

“While selling this iconic property is bittersweet for us, we are very pleased to know the Lodge could not have more suitable and capable custodians than the Forrest family who will be able to take the guest experience to even higher levels of performance across all aspects of its operations,” Larsen said.

Simone Furlong, co-CEO of Margaret River’s Leeuwin Estate, welcomed Tattarang’s purchase of Cape Lodge.

“It is fantastic to see Andrew and Nicola Forrest invest in our region as Western Australia prepares to welcome back visitors from across the country and around the world. With outstanding wineries, spectacular beaches and an incredible environment to explore, Margaret River overdelivers as a world-class destination for tourists and the Forrests’ investment in Cape Lodge further underscores what a globally-unique offering our region represents.”

Z1Z’s portfolio features hospitality, food and beverage, fashion and sport holdings, including Australian brand R.M.Williams, Cooee restaurant and the newly-opened Indigo Oscar.

Meanwhile, Tattarang’s agricultural division Harvest Road has reportedly bought the New Norcia Farm in Western Australia’s wheatbelt for $40 million, according to The Australian, marking the first time in 175 years the livestock and cropping holding has changed hands.

New Norca Farm is located 132 kilometres north Perth on the banks of the Moore River, and includes 7,975 hectares of farmland. It has about 3,600 hectares of arable land in a high rainfall and quality soil location that favours cropping.

The sale does not include the New Norca monastic townsite that was established by Benedictine monks in 1847.

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