Port Douglas’ premier eco reef day tour, Sailaway, has unveiled a brand new experience and luxury sailing catamaran to delight and enthrall the seafaring nature lovers.

Sailaway VII is the latest addition to the fleet and will be the only reef tour visiting spectacular Mackay & Undine Coral Cays, on their exclusive moorings from Port Douglas.

Far North Queensland’s Outer Reef Day tour just got refreshingly different, being the most relaxing and sustainable way to experience the reef on this fast and sleek new Eco Adventure vessel.

Tours on Sailaway VII will include snorkelling and sailing experiences, 2 spectacular reef sites with very small groups from Port Douglas and 1st class service.

With a dedicated team of sailing crew and marine biologists, Sailaway VII will follow the spectacular coastline, passing between Snapper Island and the Daintree Rainforest with stunning views of the mountains, before veering off to the Outer Great Barrier Reef.

Sailaway VII adventurers will be treated to a memorable day of sailing and snorkeling the beautiful coral gardens of these stunning cays and surrounding reefs. Glass bottom boat, marine biologist guided snorkel tours and presentations, including time on a pristine Cay.

Known for abundant turtles, giant clams and fish life; visitors can experience a day on the Outer Reef like never before.

Local family Owner/Operator Steve Edmondson, who recently returned from an international marketing trip to Europe, said Sailaway VII marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the business and completes a wonderful choice of reef experiences to suit all interests.

“Sailaway is delighted to be able to offer day trips to Mackay & Undine Cays all year round with the recent investment of this beautiful Australian designed and custom built 25meter sailing catamaran,” he said.

“We’re fully committed to long term promotion and marketing of our Great Barrier Reef destination.”

To book an unforgettable reef adventure, contact your booking agent or Sailaway on info@sailawayportdouglas.com or 07 4099 4200

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2018/november/sailaway-welcomes-new-vessel-to-eco-tour-lineup/

Ahhhhhh, Queensland. The land of polar bears and lots of Xs. Well, four of them, to be exact. It gets a bit warm here in the Tropics, and what better way to quench your thirst than to explore what the good North gave ya?

It’s alright though – we’ve done the hard yards through schooners and beer bottles, mango wines and Australian botanical spirits so you know where the best spots are to quench that thirst.

You’re welcome.

Hemingways Brewery FNQ
Legend has it, the Marlin fishing was pretty spectacular the day two mates moored in and got gee’d up to chat about the one that got away when they noticed a distinct lack of places to kick back and enjoy a good craft beer. Solution? They built their own. Enter, Hemingways Brewery at the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal and the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina, Port Douglas.
Situated smack bang on two marinas in iconic locations, Hemingway’s is a perfect spot to kick back for a holiday brew. And with a brew-menu full of their own creations, there’s plenty in the range to tickle the taste buds of the avid beer connoisseur, the brew-newbie and everyone in between.

Take Me There

Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina, 44 Wharf St, Port Douglas
and
4 Wharf St, Cairns

Mt Uncle Distillery
Calling all spirit lovers, this one is for you. Mt Uncle Distillery, located at the foothills of a banana plantation in Walkamin outside Mareeba, is a mecca for locally distilled and award-winning spirits. Recently picking up a thousand gongs for Best Whiskey, Best Gin and Best Vodka at a number of international spirit competitions, Mt Uncle Distillery is well worth the visit for liquor aficionados wanting to add that fun fact to their brag book.
Their flagship spirit, Botanic Australis Gin, packs a peppery punch. Following an original dry gin recipe and adding secret native botanicals including the bunya nut sets this gin apart from so many others. The Bushfire Smoked and Navy Strength Gins are also guaranteed to put a little hair on yer chest (or at least make you invest in a good bathtub to replicate it yourself). Gin make you sin? There’s also vodka, rum, whiskey and a liqueur called Sexy Cat well worth sampling.

Take Me There

1819 Chewko Rd, Walkamin

McCallister Brewing Company
What do you get when you mix a high school chemistry teacher and a love of beer? Although it sounds a bit ‘Breaking Bad’, this teacher has used his powers for good and brought his love of fresh, unpasteurised, unfiltered, preservative-free brews to Cairns. Did we mention it overlooks sugarcane fields and Daintree mountain ranges? Seriously. You don’t get any more Tropical Queenslander than that (unless we told you he brewed them in his thongs in the back of a ute whilst wrestling a croc)

Oh, and the beer is bonza, mate.

Take Me There

6 Danbulan St, Smithfield

Scoo Brew Kombucha
We know, we know… all the cool kids are into it these days. Gone are the days of casks behind the bike shed, the wild ones today are drinking a different type of naturally fermented fruit juice to get their kicks. If you prefer your good times to be alcohol-free, then jump aboard the kombucha train (if you’re not there already). Well known to have many health benefits including assistance with immunity and digestion, weight management and a mood-stabilizer, kombucha is packed with probiotics (good for gut health) as well as essential B vitamins and organic acid. Oh, and it has bubbles and tastes really good.

Get some locally produced ScooBrew into you fresh from Rusty’s Markets -their most popular blend is the Lemon and Ginger brew, and depending on what local produce is available, other flavours include Watermelon and Lime, Dragonfruit and the wildly delicious Carrot and Turmeric.

Take Me There

Rusty’s Markets, 57-89 Grafton St

Golden Drop Winery
When in the tropics, eat like a local. If you’ve not experienced the wonders that mango madness season brings, you are missing out, friend! Mango ice cream, dried mango, chocolate dipped frozen mango, and best of all, mango wine. Located just outside Mareeba, Golden Drop Winery turns this magical fruit into a magical drink – still and sparkling white wines with extremely delicate fruity flavours produced from the sweet flesh of the Kensington Red mango. Summer has spoken.

Take Me There

227 Bilwon Rd, Biboohra

 

Source: https://www.crystalbrookcollection.com/blog-quenching-thirst-like-a-queenslander

Top image courtesy of Hemingways Brewery

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.

THE JOURNEY

“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

THE MARKET

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 COLLECTION

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.

Source: http://www.hotelnewsme.com/hotel-news-me/cover-story-expanding-horizons/

A NEW $3 million catamaran will shepherd tourists to the Great Barrier Reef out of Port Douglas.

Jenny and John Edmondson (with seadog Jock) on their new vessel, Wavelength 6. Pic by Shane Nichols

Wavelength Reef Cruises has welcomed a fourth ­catamaran into its fleet at the Crystalbrook Superyacht ­Marina, after the 20m vessel steamed up the coast from Brisbane on the weekend.

Wavelength 6 was ­designed by Sydney-based naval architects Incat-Crowther and built by Brisbane based ­Aluminium Marine.

Equipped with more storage space and greater seating comfort, the vessel can carry 48 passengers and will take them to the company’s 15 mooring sites within the Great Barrier Reef marine park.

Wavelength co-owner Jenny Edmondson said the new catamaran would boost the company’s carrying ­capacity for Reef trips.

“Basically we turn a lot of people away when it’s busy, so it will give us a lot more ­capacity,” she said.

“And obviously the cats run a lot better during poor weather, so there’s a bit more ­comfort for our passengers.”

Wavelength, which was founded in the 1980s, is the second-longest running Reef operator in Port Douglas.

It is also the only outer Reef tour company that is still owned by Port Douglas locals.

Source: https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/national/great-barrier-reef-tour-operators-wave-in-new-3m-addition-to-port-douglas-fleet/news-story/3c3575ee4f0e46ebb5eaa5679077f5bb?csp=f8685127065e76fbb49c2fb60adf26d1 

Port Douglas has always been famous for its clear dark skies brightened by the infinite glow of the stars.

But visitors have never been treated to a guided astronomy tour using military grade lasers while floating on the waters of the Coral Sea.

That is until now.

Pioneering Port Douglas businessman John Morris has teamed up with Blue Dive owner Mark Fraenkel to offer an unprecedented nighttime experience on board one of the most popular vessels in town.

Enter the Sunset and Stargazing Adventure Cruise by Blue Dive on the Choo Choo Explorer.

Using the finest in licensed green star spotting lasers, the second half of the cruise is dominated by the cosmic enchantment in the sky.

“We had a vision and wanted to offer something that’s never been seen before in Port Douglas,” Fraenkel said.

“The southern sky shines brightest in Australia, so for people to experience its magic on a guided stargazing expedition on water is very unique.

“It’s certainly an exciting collaboration between John Morris and Blue Dive Port Douglas.”

The tour, rubber-stamped by the Astronomical Society of Australia, also offers a rare opportunity to see the region’s exciting wildlife under the cover of darkness.

How? Using specifically designed, red-beamed, wildlife spotting torches, of course.

“We wanted to offer a tropical wildlife experience and give visitors a chance to spot a crocodile, or some of the vast array of nocturnal animals, at night,” Fraenkel said.

“A lot of thought has gone into making this one of the best experiences in the region using state-of-the-art equipment.”

After taking in the rainforest-clad Great Diving Range at sunset, the adventure makes its way up the mangrove-lined Dicksons Inlet where keen eyes begin to scan the waterways.

The tour then turns toward the sky where the history of the constellations are passed on by a trained guide, along with tales from Kuku Yalanji folklore.

“Our beautiful star-studded sky is like a time machine, there are just so many incredible stories to be told and that’s what this tour is all about,” Fraenkel adds.

“The moon’s light takes 1.3 seconds to get to us, and the sun, our nearest star, over eight minutes.

“So we point out some very distant stars that potentially have died hundreds and hundreds of years ago.”

The cruise, which runs for almost two hours, includes free nibbles and a paid bar. Trips run on Monday and Thursday at 5.30pm from the Port Douglas marina.

SUNSET & STARGAZING ADVENTURE CRUISE

by Blue Dive on the Choo Choo Explorer

For more information and to book visit www.bluedive.com.au/stargazing, email info@bluedive.com.au or call 0427 983 907.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2018/july/port-douglas-stargazing-tour-captures-imaginations/

A STAPLE of the Port Douglas Carnivale will return to the marina this year.

The Seafood Extravaganza will be held at the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina on Sunday, May 27 and the old favourite is set to team up with Hemingway’s Brewery, who will have a specially crafted beer for the occasion.

The craft beer will match the seafood including oysters, prawns, mussels and fresh fish the Port Douglas craft brewery and restaurant is serving.

Hemingway’s Group Events Director Cathy Alexander said the cold seafood menu will include an oyster station with freshly shucked oysters, fresh prawns from North Queensland, sashimi and smoked mussels.

The Hemingway’s kitchen will also be serving hot seafood dishes such as fish and chips during the event. The new beer will be served alongside Hemingway’s other craft beers plus there will be wine tasting on the marina boardwalk.

The seafood event will also include plenty of entertainment with face painting and presentations by Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures for children.

“We’ve also got a doughnut shack on the marina for the kids,” Alexander said.

“There will be non-stop live entertainment till 5pm, the official end of the Extravaganza. Then we will continue with a Sunday session at Hemingway’s late into the evening.”

Hemingway’s will be opening its upstairs bar during the Extravaganza.

“There are great views of the marina from there, and we know people will love being up there.”

Alexander said the restaurant will also cater for anyone who comes along on the day.

“There’s plenty for non-seafood eaters and vegetarians. You’ll still be able to get a burger and all our other regular menu items.”

The Seafood Extravaganza is on May 27 from 12pm to 5pm at the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina, Port Douglas. Port Douglas Carnivale runs from May 25-27.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2018/april/everyones-favourite-seafood-event-returns-to-marina/ 

DOUGLAS Shire Mayor Julia Leu says she’s ‘extremely confident’ the $200 million marina redevelopment will go ahead despite the developer pulling its application.

The decision by Crystalbrook Collection to rethink plans was an opportunity to ‘revisit and refine’ the development, according to Cr Leu.

She confirmed her Council had a number of concerns with the development application, including the architectural style of the building, which they sought clarification on in January.

Developers have since advised council of their decision to ice the project after holding talks with a host of tourist operators, marina tenants and industry experts, it has been revealed.

The news comes after a number of businesses, including the iconic On The Inlet seafood restaurant, ended their lease agreements at the marina as a result of the anticipated waterfront transformation.

“I am extremely confident and Crystalbrook Collection has shown a huge commitment to Far North Queensland,” Mayor Leu told Newsport today.

“Port Douglas is a thriving, internationally-renowned tourist destination that can benefit from thoroughly planned investment like this.”

Syrian billionaire Ghassan Aboud’s company had lodged plans for a 130-room luxury hotel, 45 villas, nine apartments and a waterfront dining and retail precinct.

Council’s other concerns involved pedestrian access, project staging, and how existing operators at the marina, such as Hemingway’s Brewery, Lure and Barbados, could continue to operate without disruption once construction began.

Despite the project stalling, Cr Leu said she expected Crystalbrook to lodge another development application.

“I have spoken to the applicants and I am encouraged by their firm commitment to the marina precinct,” she said.

“This is a forward-thinking opportunity to revisit and refine a landmark development that has the ability to revitalise Port Douglas.

“Douglas Shire Council has worked closely with the applicants and look forward to maintaining a strong relationship when a new development application is lodged.”

She added the community encouraged ‘rigorous investment’ that ‘compliments the region’s unique tropical character.’

Crystalbrook Collection say they are still fully committed to the project and will work with key partners over the coming months ‘to revisit the enhanced marina experience’.

“We anticipate it will be business as usual for the next 18 months at the marina as feasibility studies are undertaken,” a spokesperson said.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2018/april/marina-redevelopment-still-expected-to-go-ahead-despite-delays/

Delivering a unified Great Barrier Reef destination message is the key focus of four collaborating superyacht marinas at this year’s Australian Superyacht Rendezvous.

Taking a collective marketing approach to target international superyachts, Abell Point Marina, Cairns Marlin Marina, Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina and Hamilton Island Marina are working together to promote one simple message – the Great Barrier Reef is the best cruising grounds in the world.

The world-heritage listed Great Barrier Reef is home to icons such as Whitehaven Beach, Lizard Island and the Low Isles. These four marinas are located on the doorstep of these natural wonders providing first-class superyacht facilities, as well as access to unlimited itinerary potential.

Diving the coral reefs, exploring ancient rainforests, enjoying a luxury island resorts or cruising the 74 Whitsunday islands, these hero experiences are the focus of the Great Barrier Reef marina collaboration.

The Australian Superyacht industry eagerly awaits the 2018 Australian Superyacht Rendezvous hosted by Gold Coast City Marina (GCCM) on 20/ 21 April. After the resounding success of last year’s event, the 2018 Australian Superyacht Rendezvous provides the ultimate platform for industry to further enhance the potential of the superyacht industry in Australia.

GCCM chief executive officer, Trenton Gay explains “we are thrilled to have all four of the major Great Barrier Reef marinas onboard as sponsors. Their support adds enormous strength to our event and the very strong message we are sending to the global Superyacht fleet.”

“The Australian Superyacht Rendezvous is about the superyacht industry banding together to put an international spotlight on our amazing country as the ultimate cruising destination and collaborating to attract a larger superyacht fleet to our pristine waters”.

Coming together as co-sponsors of this prestigious event are four superyacht marinas based on the Great Barrier Reef. With a shared vision to promote the Great Barrier Reef region to domestic and international superyachts, this will be the first time the group has worked this closely together to communicate the itinerary potential of the world-heritage listed cruising grounds.

Luke McCaul, general manager Abell Point Marina confirms the rationale behind the collaboration, “to work alongside other quality superyacht marinas in the region is essential to secure increased visitation to the region.”

“The diversity of the cruising grounds, marina facilities and superyacht support services available to visiting vessels in the Great Barrier region is world-class. If the Superyacht industry are smart in promoting our national assets in a collaborative and consistent nature, we will realise our message will emerge stronger and more competitive in the global market.”

Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina in Port Douglas, Cairns Marlin Marina, Abell Point Marina and Hamilton island in the Whitsundays, are collaborating under industry association banner Superyacht Group Great Barrier Reef (SYGGBR) in a real example of how superyacht industry partners are working together to secure the future growth of the superyacht industry in Australia.

MaryAnne Edwards of Superyacht Australia agrees that ‘’this type of collaboration is exactly what the industry needs and it is exciting to see Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina, Cairns Marlin Marina, Abell Point Marina and Hamilton Island marina join forces at the Australian Superyacht Rendezvous to promote the Great Barrier Reef. With the newly launched Superyacht Guide to the Great Barrier Reef and marketing efforts like this we expect to see an increase in vessels heading their way. This increase in visitation would be a boost for regional Australia”

Chair of Superyacht Group Great Barrier Reef (SYGGBR), Carrie Carter supports the collaborative venture, ‘’as the sole Far North Queensland superyacht cluster, the SYGGBR are extremely pleased to announce the collaboration of our four world-class marinas at the Australian Superyacht Rendezvous. By imparting their collective capability and high-end services to the global superyacht fleet, our marinas will also showcase their complimentary itineraries and destinations, encompassing the magic of the amazing cruising grounds of the GBR from North to South.”

The Australian Superyacht Rendezvous shines an international spotlight on Australia’s first-class superyacht facilities, hero tourism experiences and safe cruising grounds, making Australia the ultimate cruising destination for overseas yachts.

For more information visit – http://australiansuperyachtrendezvous.com.au/

DEVELOPMENT company Crystalbrook Collection has purchased The Reef Marina.

The Port Douglas marina will now be known as the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina and becomes billionaire developer Ghassan Aboud’s fourth major investment in Far North Queensland.

His tourism and hospitality group will now pour at least another $100 million into the precinct to build a 100-room luxury waterfront hotel, 50 premium apartments and enhanced retail and dining areas.

“With our plans, we believe we can redefine the Australian marina experience and ensure Port Douglas is an essential-visit location for high-end global travellers,” Aboud said.

Mark Davie, CEO of Crystalbrook Collection, said central to the expansion was the creation of a ‘world-class’ hotel in Port Douglas.

“This site demands a hotel of the highest calibre,” he said.

“We have been travelling the world for inspiration. We want to bring to Port Douglas a globally recognized hotel and an incomparable experience for its guests.”

In a boon for Port Douglas, more than 600 jobs will be created over the construction phase, slated for mid 2018, with 240 permanent jobs post completion.

The development is expected to be completed by 2020, and will include 24 more berths to the marina to accommodate superyachts of up to 50 metres.

The Reef Marina’s Andrew Hooper-Nguyen said he was extremely proud of what his team had achieved over the last four years, including obtaining development approval for an $85 million waterfront transformation.

“We have transformed a marina that was literally falling apart into a superyacht hub with world-class entertainment venues,” he told Newsport today.

“It is not without sadness that we pass the marina onto its new owners. However, our strength is in marina investment and operations, and having navigated the challenging path to obtaining approvals for redevelopment of the site, it is now appropriate that we entrust The Reef Marina to experienced developers.”

Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu said she was thrilled to see investment coming to the region in an encouraging sign for Port Douglas.

“It’s many years since we have seen a development of this size and Crystalbrook Collection have demonstrated with their recent significant investments in Far North Queensland that they mean business and are committed to the ongoing growth of the region,” Leu said.

“This investment in the marina will endorse Port Douglas as one of Australia’s most idyllic getaways and bring great economic growth for the wider community.”

Aboud’s group has already invested over $370 million into three separate hotels in Cairns. Like those projects, Prime Group has been appointed to project manage and construct the expansion.

The group also owns and operates Crystalbrook Lodge and the MV Bahama motor yacht berthed at the Port Douglas marina.

Source: http://www.newsport.com.au/2017/september/crystalbrook-collection-buys-port-douglas-marina/

Port Douglas, 22nd March, 2017 – Port Douglas’ The Reef Marina continues to emerge as one of the challengers to the current set of more traditional superyacht destinations as the latest motor yacht Spirit makes the seaside town its home port.

Arriving last Thursday, Spirit can entertain up to 12 guests and boasts five staterooms.

Extra features include a spa, a large spacious sun deck designed for entertaining and state of the art AV equipment from top to bottom. It has a permanent crew of seven based in Port Douglas.

For captain Martin Debanks and his wife Jo, who is Spirit’s full-time cordon-bleu trained chef, it was “no hardship” choosing Port Douglas as its home port.

“We have lived in some of the most incredible places around the world, but the Tropical North has been home since the early 2000s.

“It was always our dream to bring a charter of this callibre to the East Coast of Australia and we were lucky enough to pick up Spirit in Montenegro last year,” he said.

Mr Debanks said they would concentrate on charters from the Whitsundays through to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

The Reef Marina general manager Rob Cruz said there were now six vessels permanently berthed at the marina, in addition to casual visiting superyachts, injecting an estimated $9600 – $12,000 per vessel, per day into the local economy, according to figures from Cummings Economics.

“We knew there was a lot of potential for growth, which is why the building of a superyacht hub at the The Reef Marina has been a key part of our $5 million refurbishment over the last three years.”

Mr Cruz said Port Douglas was a world class destination that had the very best to offer and believed its appeal would only increase once the Marina’s $100 million waterfront redevelopment was completed.

“Within 18 months of opening our superyacht berths, we now have the second highest number of permanent super yachts berthed at any Australian marina,” he said.

He said Port Douglas’ high end retail, five-star accommodation and world-class restaurants and bars, including Hemingways Brewery and Barbados, would also continue to attract this affluent market.

 “Adding to this, is Port Douglas’ proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, the Pacific Islands, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Thailand and Japan, which are all booming superyacht destinations.”

Super Yacht Group Great Barrier Reef manager Joanne Drake said with ongoing security issues in the Mediterranean and overcrowding in the Caribbean, the Asia Pacific region was becoming the third destination for superyacht owners.

“We are a global destination, with the right climate, Asia right on our doorstep and we have the key infrastructure boats of this size require.

“We have three Lloyds ship yards, food providores, an international airport and the the Great Barrier Reef Marine College, which is a world class establishment that works in well with the industry offering a simulator for practical training and courses required for ongoing professional development,” she said.

For more information on Spirit visit http://spiritluxurycharters.com.au/