SHERATON $20M FACELIFT BOOSTS PREMIER'S HARD SELL

SHERATON $20M FACELIFT BOOSTS PREMIER'S HARD SELL

QUEENSLAND Premier Anna Bligh today launched a $20 million refurbishment to the new-look Sheraton Mirage Resort on the Gold Coast.

Considered a major shot in the arm to the ailing tourism industry, the Premier says she will use her investor road show next week to tell southern states that Queensland is ‘back in business’.

“The Gold Coast will certainly be one of the places I will be talking about as bouncing back from very tough times. You couldn’t get a better symbol of it than a $20 million investment from a big foreign company (owner Pearls Australasia) into one of the most iconic tourist destinations in Australia,” says Bligh.

Having exchanged ownership five times, the Christopher Skase-built resort has long been in need of refurbishment, with mining magnate Clive Palmer telling Gold Coast Business News that Mirage’s product was ‘very tired after 30 years’.

Rooms will feature a custom-made bed from Sealy, air-conditioning with infrared detection, high-definition TV with AUSTAR, Sony iPod dock and wireless internet access, among others.

Pearls MD and CEO Peter Madrers says works will not be limited to the resort’s 296 rooms.

“The entry experience will change. Furniture will be replaced, giving a very modern feel in the lobby. The bar will be transformed into a groovy, modern bar that will attract people locally to have a drink. At the Terraces Restaurant, we are increasing seating capacity with new furniture, giving a very Florida-style of dining,” says Madrers.

Gold Coast Tourism CEO Martin Winter says the revamp is proof of the Coast being a modern tourist destination in the 21st Century.

“This visionary investment – and previous works on the Palazzo Versace, Marriott, new Hilton and Oracle developments – will reposition the Gold Coast as a high-end proposition for travellers in addition to a place for family fun,” says Winter.

Premier Bligh says Queensland should work hard to get its ‘mojo’ back.

“I see that (happening) here, at the Mirage, an iconic destination. I welcome this investment, but also see the Marriott hotel undergoing refurbishments as well. These are strong signs that this industry is confident about its future,” says Bligh.

India-headquartered Pearls Australasia acquired Sheraton in early 2010 for a reported $60 million, marking the private landholder’s first foray into Australia.

Pearls has separately announced plans to build the $75 million Edgewater residences and apartments on Lake Orr at Delfin Lend Lease’s Varsity Lakes.

It had also entered a joint venture with David Devine’s Metro Property Development to develop three high-rise residential towers in Brisbane and two land subdivisions on the northern outskirts of Melbourne.

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