Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest’s investment vehicle Tattarang is doubling down on tourism in the billionaire’s home state, announcing the acquisition of Margaret River’s iconic Cape Lodge Hotel today as part of an expansion of the firm’s Australian lifestyle portfolio.
The acquisition means Cape Lodge will remain in Western Australian hands, and comes on the back of Tattarang announcing it will redevelop Cottesloe beach’s Indiana and build a 36-room short-stay apartment development in Exmouth.
Set on 40 acres of expansive lawns, gardens and vineyards, Cape Lodge is a significant landholding in the heart of one WA’s famous wine regions, centrally located to the town sites of Margaret River, Dunsborough and Yallingup in Western Australia.
Originally opened in 1993 as a six-room luxury bed & breakfast, the Lodge underwent an extensive renovation and refurbishment in 2003 to evolve into one of the finest accommodation offerings in the Margaret River region.
It is now an acclaimed hotel, having 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.
The property features 22 secluded rooms and a five-bedroom luxury private residence as well as a range of dining, leisure and conference facilities, and the Cape Lodge Restaurant which overlooks the main lake with overwater alfresco decking.
The acquisition by Tattarang includes an 8-acre private vineyard that was planted in 1998 and produces premium Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz exclusively for the Hotel.
Tattarang chief investment officer John Hartman said Cape Lodge has been an essential component in establishing Margaret River’s international reputation for unique, luxury experiences for national and international visitors.
“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,” Hartman said.
Hartman said the group’s property division Fiveight had acquired the hotel, with its lifestyle division Z1Z to deliver all hotel and associated operations. The property has been owned by Peter and Joelle Larsen for the last 14 years.
Dr Larsen said he was excited to see the future evolution of the marquee property under Tattarang’s ownership.
“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,” Dr Larsen said.
“On behalf of our entire Cape Lodge family, we are extremely grateful to our many loyal guests who return year-on-year to enjoy the peace, tranquillity, exceptional service and world class cuisine offered by this truly unique place.”
For Tattarang, the acquisition represents yet another move into to the WA tourism and accommodation sector.
Earlier this week the firm announced it would redevelop Cottesloe Beach’s Indiana, including retaining the western facade.
As part of the redevelopment, a new multi-level terraced design will create new restaurants, cafés and family-friendly kiosks, a promenade and covered public plaza, plus a multi-million-dollar upgrade for the Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club.
Tattarang director Nicola Forrest - Andrew Forrest’s wife - said the next chapter for Indiana must be one that respected the history of the site while delivering a sustainable future, allowing for much-needed improvements to be delivered.
“We share the community’s passion to retain Indiana’s iconic western façade and to preserve the building’s legacy for future generations,” Nicola Forrest said.
“As the committed custodians of this important site, we believe Indiana can, and should, play a more meaningful role in the lives of locals and visitors alike, and our ambitions are clear: we want to deliver the best beachside precinct in Australia; one for all Western Australians to enjoy.”
In addition, Tattarang’s Fiveight recently announced it would build a 36-room short-stay serviced apartment development in Exmouth - a small resort town on WA’s north west cape.
Designed to ease pressure on the town’s accommodation shortage, the proposed development will include a mix of studio, 2-bedroom and 4-bedroom apartments, together with communal guest facilities and has been architecturally designed by WA-based firm Whitehaus.
Fiveight head John Meredith said the company was committed to investing in the Exmouth community for the long-term.
Exmouth has emerged as one of the world’s must-see destinations with tourists wanting to experience and soak in the beauty and remoteness of this amazing corner of Western Australia,” Meredith said.
“Yet Exmouth’s popularity as a tourist destination has left the town desperately short of accommodation options, which is costing the community and local businesses precious income due to the fact visitors are being turned away.
“We’re hoping to help ease that shortage with this new exciting project.”
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