Crystalbrook Collection Hotels and Resorts has today unveiled the first much-awaited image of their proposed development at Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina, Port Douglas.

The release of the image coincided with the owner of Crystalbrook Collection, Ghassan Aboud, travelling to the idyllic coastal town to hold meetings with Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu today.

The image provides a preview of a luxury 100-room five-star hotel and a 30-room ultra-lux hotel. Also included in the development is a destination Eléme Day Spa, a signature panoramic bar and café, 15 apartments and five waterfront villas.

The location of the development is to the right of the existing marina, enabling marina and retail operations to continue throughout construction.

While visiting Port Douglas, Mr Aboud said that he was very happy with how plans for the development were progressing: “Our CEO Mark Davie and his team have been working on these plans for some time now. I had a very positive meeting with the Council today and we are confident we will be able to deliver a great outcome for the community, the Council, visitors and for Crystalbrook Collection.”

Following today’s meeting, Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu said: “It was fantastic to have such a productive and positive meeting with Ghassan Aboud and his team. They have a really exciting vision for the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina that has the potential to revitalise Port Douglas and stimulate the local economy. We are particularly happy with their decision to support marina businesses during construction and create a vibrant area for the public.  The initial concept designs have my full support and we can’t wait for the formal development application to be lodged.”

Crystalbrook Collection said they intended to lodge the Development Application (DA) in the coming two – three months.  The commencement of construction would depend on when approvals are received.

The five-star, Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort has welcomed its highly anticipated Eléme Day Spa, a first for Crystalbrook Collection. The spa brand will be incorporated into future openings for the burgeoning hospitality group.

Eléme’s fresh approach includes treatments such as Goddess of Infusion, a super-charged volcanic clay warming customised thermal facial mask to deeply cleanse, nourish, hydrate and tone. Male treatments are also high priority, such as The Great Herculean, a body scrub, massage and facial therapy for the superhero within.

Embracing both nature and science from Australia and beyond, Eléme utilises well respected skincare brands; Australia’s nature-based Sodashi and USA’s science-based Cosmedix in treatments offering a varied approach to wellbeing. The spa also has a range of signature Eléme branded oils from the uplifting ‘Va va voom’ to the more calming ‘Tranquil-eze’.

Eléme Day Spa is the creation of Crystalbrook Collection and internationally renowned Naomi Gregory, owner of Spa Sessions Consulting. Eléme Day Spa at Riley boasts five luxurious treatment rooms, welcoming both day and hotel guests. Interiors have a timeless feel with crisp white walls, a textured feature wall in each room inspired by the natural environment and subtle mood lighting that creates an instantly relaxed ambience. The furnishings are natural and clean, consisting of wicker and wood materials, warm tones and gentle bursts of teal reflective of the brand philosophy.

For those with more time, Eléme has a range of longer voyages that have been thoughtfully curated to deliver the ultimate in inner bliss and outer glow. The Ultimate Safari is a five-hour journey, beginning with a ritual foot bath and followed by a full body exfoliation and wrap to deeply cleanse, detox and re-mineralise the body. The skin is then hydrated while guests receive a hair and scalp treatment, before moving into the relaxation room for a light lunch. This epic voyage is topped off with a massage and facial pushing guests into an ultimate state of relaxation.

As well as individualised facials, massages, body treatments and signature voyages, Eléme offers specific men’s, couples and group treatments as well as manicures, pedicures, waxing and tinting. Eléme’s second day spa will open late this year at Flynn, a Crystalbrook Collection Hotel. Further spa announcements are expected in the near future. To find out more about Eléme Day Spa or to view the full treatment menu, please visit Read more at


Crystalbrook Collection Hotels and Resorts has won the tender to acquire Newcastle’s iconic ‘Roundhouse’ Council Administrative Centre and intends to convert the building into a luxury five-star hotel, ready to open in late 2020.

The hotel is to be called Kingsley, a Crystalbrook Collection Hotel. The name follows a Crystalbrook Collection naming convention where each of their hotels is given a gender-neutral name and its own unique personality. The name Kingsley is a nod to Newcastle’s heritage and the city’s earlier name Kingstown dating back to 1804.

This will be the first five-star hotel for the city of Newcastle. Crystalbrook Collection CEO Mark Davie said he was thrilled with the result of the tender: “There’s really nothing like this building, it has a strong identity and connection to the city of Newcastle. I see a lot of potential.

“We think the location, with the City Hall, the Civic Theatre, the Art Gallery and the War Memorial Cultural Centre right on the doorstep, makes it a perfect location for a five-star hotel.”

Mr Davie said he had been watching Newcastle’s growth in recent years and felt strongly that Crystalbrook Collection should become a contributor to the future growth of the city.

Initial studies indicated the ‘Roundhouse’ could accommodate at least 100 five-star hotel rooms. Initial renders developed by Newcastle’s Barney Collins of EJE Architecture also show the introduction of a rooftop restaurant and recreational area complete with a swimming pool.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes hailed the landmark deal as a turning point in Newcastle’s history.

“Great cities around the world provide truly great accommodation. And the mark of a great hotel is one done to a five-star standard. Crystalbrook’s decision to invest in Newcastle, when they could have invested anywhere in Australia, says so much about our city and how we are viewed by those living interstate and overseas.

“I applaud Crystalbrook’s vision in re-imagining the CAC’s brutalist architecture. Reviewing their plans and renders, their vision for the building is an ideal adaptive reuse. In the space of less than two years, Newcastle will have a building that is both iconic and luxurious.”

To date, Crystalbrook Collection has committed to investments in excess of $800 million in Australia including six luxury five and six-star hotels currently operating or under development.

In the last quarter Crystalbrook Collection has opened Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort in Cairns, the first five-star hotel to open in Cairns in over 20 years and acquired Little Albion, a Crystalbrook Collection Boutique Hotel in Surry Hills, Sydney.

Renders developed and created by Barney Collins of EJE Architecture, Newcastle.

Little Albion Joins the Expanding Hospitality Group

Crystalbrook Collection Hotels and Resorts has today officially welcomed one of Sydney’s newest boutique hotels, Little Albion, to its fast expanding family of hotels.

Centrally located in the bustling inner-city suburb of Surry Hills, Little Albion has its own distinct personality, fitting in seamlessly with the hospitality group’s existing portfolio.

The 35-room boutique hotel is set within a stunning heritage building, complete with a rooftop garden.

Crystalbrook Collection will retain all the existing staff including General Manager Wendy Morris and her team of dedicated hosts who are all Surry Hills locals.

Speaking on the sale, Ms Morris said: “This is an exciting time for Little Albion. We’re thrilled with the great reputation we have acquired since opening and we are confident that under Crystalbrook Collection we will reach new heights and achieve further great success.”

Crystalbrook Collection CEO Mark Davie said: “We had been looking for a Sydney property for some time, but it had to have the right fit.”

“All of our properties are like siblings, each similar but with their own unique personality and style. So naturally Little Albion’s refreshingly unpretentious personality and beautifully chic style was the perfect addition to our growing collection. Not to mention it is in one of the best locations in Sydney, with some of city’s best food and beverage offerings right on its doorstep.”

“This is just the beginning for Crystalbrook Collection. We have plans for further growth with a number of new properties across key Australian destinations.”

Crystalbrook Collection most recently opened Riley in Cairns on 6 November this year, the first of three five-star hotels the group has in the works for the city. Their portfolio also consists of Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina in Port Douglas, Crystalbrook Lodge, one of the Luxury Lodges of Australia located three hours from Cairns in outback Queensland and 90-foot motor yacht MV Bahama. In addition to tourism enterprises the group also owns three cattle stations, which will provide the hotels with locally sourced sustainable beef.

Bookings for Little Albion can now be made at

Crystalbrook Collection’s domestic and international sales team will now handle all business to business bookings

Enquires can be made by emailing

THE first guests at Cairns’ newest hotel are probably, at this very minute, lounging by the 1000 sqm of pool overlooking the Esplanade.  Or perhaps, they’re having a drink in one of three eateries off Abbott St which specialise in beef raised in the region.  Then again, they may be ordering a snack via the iPad control centre in their room, waiting for pink tinges of sunset over the Coral Sea to indicate it was time for dinner.

Crystalbrook Collection’s Riley Hotel. Picture: Marc McCormack

Either way, the opening of Crystalbrook Collection‘s first five-star resort, Riley, was a chance to get a glimpse of the sustainable luxury the 311-room hotel brings to the city.  The group’s hotel director Geoff York said by next week Riley would be half full and it will be completed booked out come New Year’s Eve.

“We’ve been progressively building,” he said. “We’ve just got our first group booking from Japan and we’ve got six local conferences booked in for the next year. “As word gets out we’ve had more and more people calling. We estimate by June and July next year we will be full in time for the high season.”

Crystalbrook Collection’s first new Cairns hotel opened on November 6, 2018.  Mr York said 60 per cent of guests were expected to be Australians. “The overwhelming sentiment from our key bookers so far is thank goodness Cairns has a new hotel,” he said. “They’ve been hanging out for 22 years for a new hotel in Cairns.”

Riley is the first of three five-star properties Crystalbrook Collection will bring to the city over the next 14 months and the newest five-star hotel in Cairns for over 20 years, providing a significant boost for the thriving tourist region.

Crystalbrook Collection’s Riley Hotel. Picture: Marc McCormack

Crystalbrook Collection chief executive Mark Davie said the business had “a lot of confidence in Tropical North Queensland”. “It’s fantastic to finally welcome our first guests and to see everybody enjoying the resort,” he said. “I’m thrilled to see a lot of local faces as well; we will always be grateful for the unrelenting support the Cairns community has given us.” Tourism Tropical North Queensland chief executive Pip Close said Riley’s opening was “very exciting for Tropical North Queensland as it will be a long-awaited drawcard for visitors looking for a new accommodation experience.” Riley opened its doors today at 10am today with 170 staff on-site to welcome their first guests.

Staff near the sundecks at Crystalbrook Collection’s Riley Hotel. Picture: Marc McCormack

• 311 rooms and suites with in-room iPad control centres, hundreds of complimentary recent release movies and box sets, Staycast by Google Chromecast for all your favourite streaming services, 24-hour in-room dining
• 1000sq m swimming lagoon which is five pools in one: a lap pool, kids pool, family pool, deep pool and spa
• Be greeted by roving staff who will check you in via an iPad — no need to queue at reception

Crystalbrook Collection Riley hotel linen bathrobe

• The penthouse will set guests back a minimum of $2000 per night
• LED screens show weather, information and events in the lifts
• Solar panels on the roof help generate some electricity
• Key cards to access rooms are circular and made of 100 per cent recycled wood embedded with a microchip. Scan the keycard to enter
• Recycled cardboard coat hangers and refillable pump packs (instead of individual soap, shampoo containers) help reduce waste and plastic usage

Riley hotel keycard. Made with 100 per cent recycled wood with an embedded microchip. Picture: Marc McCormack

• Three themed restaurants and bars, all overlooking the Coral Sea including Paper Crane, a modern Asian fusion restaurant and bar seating 320 people (Rocco, Cairns’ first rooftop bar; Mediterranean inspired and standing 12 floors above and Greenfields, a restaurant with a focus on all things raw and simple will both open on December 20)
• Luxury Eléme Day Spa (opening 20 December 2018)
• 24-hour fitness centre (opening 20 December 2018)
• Conference and events space for up to 400 across the east and west wings
• Interactive communal self-booking tour centre
• Linen bathrobes


Crystalbrook Collections is opening the Riley hotel in Cairns, which makes it the first new 5 star job to open in FNQ in over 20 years.

Riley is the playful sibling who is all about living in the moment and embracing the now. The resort will be situated at the northern end of Cairns iconic waterfront Esplanade, with 311 stylish rooms and suites, three restaurants and bars including Cairns’ highest rooftop bar, Rocco, an expansive lagoon pool and private beach, the stunning Eléme Day Spa, functions and events spaces for up to 400 people and a 24-hour fitness centre.

Riley makes up the portfolio of the Crystalbrook Collection, which includes the Littlie Albion in Sydney’s Surry Hills to the family and have their eyes set on other key Australian destinations. Check out the photos of the new hotel in Cairns below…

Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef partnership

Crystalbrook Collection has earmarked a launch date date of 6 November 2018 for its first five-star hotel, Riley, A Crystalbrook Collection Resort. Located at the northern end of Cairns iconic waterfront Esplanade, the resort features 311 rooms and suites, three restaurants and bars, an expansive lagoon pool and private beach, the Eléme Day Spa and more. While most new hoteliers might start off with a single project, Crystalbrook is diving in head-first with three dwellings in the Queensland city (in addition to the five-room Crystalbrook Lodge in the Queensland Outback, a member of the Luxury Lodges of Australia portfolio). Riley will have two other “personality-led” siblings – Bailey and Flynn – also opening over the next 14 months. Riley will be the first new five-star hotel for Cairns in over 20 years, conveying the company’s confidence in the thriving tourist region.

Chief Executive Officer, Mark Davie, Crystalbrook Collection told LATTE this week that recent Queensland Government data regarding domestic travel to the Sunshine State speaks for itself, having recorded a 5% growth in visitors in the last year. “We are excited to launch Riley … into this region and to offer new accommodation options that are driven by responsible luxury to Cairns,” he said. “The response has been overwhelmingly positive from consumers and trade. Among the general wave of excitement for all three openings, it has been great to see such a positive response to our opening initiative for Riley in partnership Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef.”

Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef is a social movement designed to change customer understanding of how everyday actions have an impact on the Great Barrier Reef and overall environment. Crystalbrook Colletion is a Founding member of the organisation. The initiative will see $100 from every room booked directly in the first week of operation donated to the charity. “Locally and nationally this has resonated and it is great to start forging a path for Crystalbrook Collection’s pledge to responsible luxury,” Davie said. The Collection’s chief told LATTE that the response from overseas travel partners, regarding Crystalbrook’s fresh presence in Cairns, has been “fantastic”. “It’s over 20 years since Cairns has had a new five-star hotel so the new properties have been warmly welcomed internationally by wholesalers, tour operators and sellers wanting to offer their clients something new and different.” He said key international markets will include the UK, US, Western Europe, Japan and China. “We have a diversified approach to targeting international markets and we will be ready for all out international guests, ensuring we able to accommodate any special requirements.”

Get to know Riley
Riley’s Restaurants and Bars
Rocco, Cairns’ highest rooftop bar: 42 metres above sea level and featuring 270-degree uninterrupted views of Cairns and the Coral Sea. Serving up a contemporary take on Mediterranean fare, along with an inspired drinks menu and a stellar Champagne list second to none.

Paper Crane: Emulating the sights and tastes of Asia, Paper Crane offers a culinary experience like no other. Taking advantage of Tropical North Queensland’s fresh produce, the modern Asian-inspired menu instantly transports you to the bustling streets of Asia.

Greenfields: With a focus on all things raw and simple, Greenfields embodies all aspects of healthy eating … well, mainly. Think cold-pressed juices by day with a splash of vodka in the evening.

Central to Crystalbrook Collection’s philosophy, and that of its hotels and resorts, is the concept of #responsibleluxury whereby immersive environmental initiatives are introduced to enhance each guest’s stay, without compromising on creature comforts. Responsible luxury for Riley has many faces, including a paper-free check-in and -out, no plastic drinking bottles or straws on premise – even the plastic guest room key cards have been replaced by 100% recycled wooden cards – and overall 90% less in-room paper than the average five-star hotel. Technology has helped to achieve this, with iPads replacing paper in-room and at check-in. Taking the locally sourced concept one step further, Riley serves beef directly from Crystalbrook Collection’s own station, located three hours inland from Cairns. This ensures Crystalbrook can be certain of the highest levels of animal welfare. In addition, over 80% of the fresh fruit and produce served at Riley is sourced from within a three-hour drive of Cairns.


Operating from its UAE headquarters, the Ghassan Aboud Group has been in business for nearly 25 years. Whilst the initial focus was in the automotive industry, in the later years the multi billion conglomerate diversified into other areas like real estate, media, retail, catering, hospitality, pastoral, and logistics. Mahak Mannan caught up with Ghassan Aboud, founder and chairman of the Ghassan Aboud Group about how his hospitality wing went from a business opportunity to developing a hotel management company.

Being an avid traveller, Ghassan Aboud, founder and chairman of the Ghassan Aboud Group says venturing into the hospitality industry was a decision that came out of his love to explore and visit new places. What started as an investment opportunity, has now become one of the leading hospitality management companies in Australia, with its headquarters in Dubai.

“Having decided to invest into the global hospitality industry, in the year 2015, we were exploring investment options, primarily in Europe and the Asia Pacific,” Aboud explains.

“In the process, we identified some exciting opportunities in Australia particularly in Cairns, Queensland State. Since then we have invested almost $600 million in the acquisition and development of prime hospitality assets. As such, GA Group Australia and consequently the Crystalbrook Collection was established in early 2016 to expand Ghassan Aboud Group’s interest into the hotel industry, property, and tourism in the Australian market. Australia’s buoyant economy and strong tourism sector made it an excellent destination choice to commence the hospitality arm of the business.”

To maintain uniqueness in experience within its properties, Ghassan Aboud Group formed its own in-house management company called the Crystalbrook Collection. “I believe that a substantial portfolio of well-located properties could lend a sense of stability and long-term value to our business interests and I figured that that an experienced team within a well branded management company could potentially add immense value to the assets. This led to our venture into the hospitality industry and we have made rapid progress since then,” Aboud explains.


“Initially, we were looking at hotels in the Australian market for potential acquisition,” according to the founder. “In Cairns, I saw immense untapped prospects for hospitality. Our first acquisition was the Tradewinds hotel, followed by the adjacent site and thereafter a series of other assets in the region. Concurrently, we decided to establish our management company Crystalbrook, with the naming inspired by our purchase of the Crystalbrook Station, a 35,000-hectare cattle station in northern Queensland Australia. We believe the pastoral activities at the Crystalbrook Station held an important role in our hospitality story with the products served at our hotels and restaurants coming directly from the station.”

On the station sits Crystalbrook Lodge, a luxury lodge and the group also subsequently acquired three fattening farms to complement station and enhance the output.

“Many of our values developed from this starting point. The importance of sustainability and being locally immersive are two important values we carry across all our hospitality holdings. Our ultimate objective is to create a strong portfolio of well managed hotel and tourism related properties that provide a consistent and strong return,” Aboud says.

Crystalbrook Collection’s hospitality portfolio now consists of three 5-star Crystalbrook Hotels due to open soon, Crystalbrook Lodge, Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina and MV Bahama, a luxury 90ft motor vessel berthed in Port Douglas, Queensland.

“It’s a very exciting time for Crystalbrook Collection with three 5-star hotel openings Riley, Bailey and Flynn between this November and the end of next year,” he continues.

“With Riley opening in November this year, bookings have already commenced, and the response has been very encouraging and positive. We are in the planning stages of the development of our trophy asset at Port Douglas wherein we have envisaged a multi-use retail, hotel, marina, restaurants, and entertainment complex that befits the strategic location of the asset. We have locations that are being considered for development and acquisition in other major Australian cities and I have a skilled team in Australia who are continually on the lookout for new investments that would complement the brand.”

Bailey, A Crystalbrook Collection Hotel


Average Daily Rate (ADR) in Australia is picking up, making it an exciting time to be involved in the hospitality sector there, according to Aboud.

“In Australia, Cairns’ hospitality market continues to be a very positive story with ongoing growth in Average Daily Rate (ADR) and RevPAR. The market is quite buoyant and active with several acquisitions and expansions witnessed in the recent months. Occupancy for the city sits at 85% so we’re entering into a very healthy market,” he says.

“We have some great well-established international brands in the region including Shangri-La, Hilton and Pullman. These hotels have performed very well in this market and I believe the Crystalbrook Collection will offer a compelling new hotel experience to both domestic and international guests. Our senior leadership team has worked in over 30 of the world’s most premium hotel brands and I believe we are well positioned to offer world class service across all our collection.”

With several key openings in the pipeline, the future looks bright and busy for the group’s hospitality arm, the founder says.

“With Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort, just three months from opening, everybody is busy making sure everything is delivered on time and reflects the premium level of dedication we require at the Crystalbrook Collection. As we speak the landscaping is being made beautiful and with intense development activity ongoing on other sites, we are looking at hectic time ahead for the group.”

Riley, A Crystalbrook Collection Resort Bedroom


Crystalbrook Lodge

I’ll start with our Crystalbrook Lodge, it really is an unrivalled luxury Australian outback oasis, a destination where our guests can explore, indulge, and relax amongst a setting that is unlike any other. Crystalbrook Lodge sits looking over the freshwater Crystalbrook Lake. The Lodge offers an exclusive, fully hosted experience and our guests can expect adventure, escape, and unexpected elegance all set in a rugged red-dirt outback Queensland.

Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina

Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina is Queensland’s northernmost marina and one of Australia’s premier nautical destinations. Located in Port Douglas, Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Visitors come from all over the world to experience the renowned and pristine northern reef, the wonders of the coral sea, the Daintree rainforest, local Indigenous history and culture, and lush tropical Far North Queensland.

MV Bahama

We also have MV Bahama, which is our private charter motor vessel. Based in Port Douglas at the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina, MV Bahama is a 28m motor yacht. It’s a magnificent way to explore the Great Barrier Reef.

Riley, A Crystalbrook Collection Resort

Residing in a prime location on Cairns Esplanade in Queensland Australia, Riley will welcome guests from November 2018. Riley is a luxury 5-star hotel featuring 311 rooms and suites, a lagoon style pool, exquisite restaurant and bar selections including a rooftop bar, Eléme Day Spa, and special zones for children.

Crystalbrook Collection executive leadership team. From left to right David Kotze, Kylie Brajak, Mark Davie, Laura Davie, Katie Malone and Geoff York

Bailey, A Crystalbrook Collection Hotel

Opening mid-2019, Bailey is a twin tower project positioned in the heart of the Cairns, Queensland, Australia. Bailey is a 5-star property with 220 rooms and 110 luxury apartment that will truly capture the essence of tropical Far North Queensland. The development will feature a four-story canopy representing the World Heritage listed Wet Tropics along with a variety of restaurants and bars, both indoor and alfresco, as well as formal and informal meeting spaces.

Flynn, A Crystalbrook Collection Hotel

Flynn is a modern, transformative 311 room hotel opening in the last quarter of 2019. Flynn will offer guests contemporary design, staying attuned to the needs and wants of the connected traveller. Bars, restaurants and lounges will incorporate the authentic city culture while a contemporary wellness and fitness centre set within the tropical gardens will offer holistic health experiences including yoga and meditation.


Cairns is getting its first new five-star hotel in over 20 years with the new Crystalbrook Collection Resort, Riley, opening its doors on 6 November. Located on Cairns’ Esplanade, Riley’s contemporary design and ambience will nod to sustainability and environmentalism, and rooms will feature Apple iPads complete with healthy living apps, Staycast by Google Chromecast for video streaming, access to hundreds of complimentary movies and box sets and Nespresso machines (with recyclable pods).

To celebrate the launch of Riley, Crystalbrook has a collection of special opening offers:

Opening Special Advance Purchase

Pre-pay your Riley stay and receive a complimentary upgrade on bookings made before 19 December 2018 for stays between 6 November and 19 December 2018.

Laze and Graze

Spend the night and enjoy a full buffet breakfast for two at Paper Crane, valet parking and late check-out from $339 per room per night for stays between 20 December 2018 and 30 December 2020.

Pay Two, Stay Three

Stay a little longer. Book any Urban, Resort or Sea room for two nights before 29 April 2019 and the third night is on Riley. Valid for stays between 6 November 2018 and 30 April 2019. Offer is also available for longer stays, i.e. stay four, pay three; stay five, pay four; stay six, pay four and stay seven, pay five.

Conditions apply to the above special offers. Visit for more information.