$1.4b Jewel finally set to shine with The Langham opening in June

$1.4b Jewel finally set to shine with The Langham opening in June

The $1.4 billion Jewel development, completed two years ago and still with only a handful of apartment sales under its belt, is finally set to come to life with the announcement that Langham Hospitality Group will open its long-awaited five-star hotel at the property in June.

The Langham Gold Coast will be the third hotel in Australia for the Hong Kong-based hotels group which takes its name from the legendary Langham in London.

It will also be the second five-star hotel opened on the Gold Coast since The Star Entertainment Group’s (ASX: SGR) The Darling welcomed its first guests at Broadbeach in 2018.

The 339-room Langham hotel, set to open on 23 June, will occupy the central tower of Jewel Residences, the largest of the three-tower complex located on the beachfront at the southern end of Surfers Paradise. The hotel offering will comprise 169 hotel rooms and 170 serviced apartments within the tower.

The opening has been hotly anticipated since the announcement in mid-2020 that The Langham would be managing the hotel component of Jewel. The hotel was originally expected to open by Christmas last year as fitout work progressed through the year.

With bookings for the hotel opening on 16 May, The Langham Gold Coast has revealed the hotel offering will introduce a host of new restaurants and amenities to appeal to tourists and locals, including the lobby lounge’s Palm Court, modelled on The Langham London’s famous afternoon tea venue, and an all-day dining offering named Akoya.

Later this year, The Langham will introduce T’ang Court - sister venue to the group’s Michelin-starred restaurants in Hong Kong and Shanghai - as well as an open-air terrace bar, Coral Moon, and the casual dining outlet 26 & Sunny. The Langham will also introduce a holistic wellness centre that embraces traditional Chinese medicine.

The planned opening has been described as a milestone for The Langham, its first beachfront property ‘in one of the world’s most desirable travel destinations’.

“Since first opening in London in 1865, The Langham has built an unmatched, global reputation for timeless elegance and a true five-star experience,” says John O’Shea, general manager of The Langham Gold Coast.

“The Langham Gold Coast will bring together Langham’s global expertise in luxury hospitality and gastronomic dining with an iconic Gold Coast oceanfront location to provide a unique, one-of-a-kind hotel, dining and events experience. The team have been working hard behind closed doors to add the final sparkling touches to the hotel and now, we can’t wait to welcome our very first guests into what will be a new era of luxury for the Gold Coast and beyond.”

Destination Gold Coast CEO Patricia O’Callaghan welcomed the announcement which she says introduces a ‘globally recognised brand’ to the Glitter Strip.

“As the first development with direct beachfront access to be built on the Gold Coast for 30 years, The Langham will bring a new level of luxury accommodation to our city,” says O’Callaghan.

The opening of The Langham caps off more than a decade of hurdles and controversy for Jewel, a project that has changed hands multiple times since it was first mooted in 2011 by Chinese company Ridong Group for the prime 1.1ha beachfront site. Jewel was touted by the industry as the kickstart the Gold Coast economy needed at a time when it was still suffering the extended fallout from the Global Financial Crisis.

Although the project was called in by the Queensland Government in 2012, fast-tracking the development, the site lay dormant for years until Ridong sold a majority interest in the project in 2015 to Beijing-based Dalian Wanda, owned by Wang Jianlin, who at the time was Asia's richest person. Ridong would later offloaded its remaining 45 per cent stake to Sydney-based Yuhu Group, another company backed by Chinese interests.

However, a crackdown on foreign capital outflows from China thwarted progress of the development and Dalian Wanda was forced to sell full control to Yuhu Group in 2018.

Originally pitched as a drawcard targeting the then lucrative inbound Chinese tourist market to the Gold Coast, led by direct flights to the Gold Coast from Wuhan that were introduced by Dalian Wanda, Jewel took a different tack under Yuhu’s ownership. The company poured more than $100 million into redesigning the Jewel project’s interiors, including apartment layouts.

However, since the project was completed in 2019, just 18 of Jewel’s 520 planned apartments have ever settled – despite the Gold Coast experiencing its biggest property boom over the past two years, driven by a shortage of apartments.

When Jewel was relaunched to the market in 2018, two-bedroom apartments were priced from $2.575 million and three bedrooms from $3.982 million, which at the time was considered well above the prevailing market.

Despite the planned opening of The Langham, there are still no signs of a new marketing push by Yuhu to sell the remaining apartments in Jewel.

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