With investment plans to the tune of $1 billion, premium hospitality brand, Crystalbrook Collection, is rapidly expanding its portfolio of assets under management, with an initial focus on Australia.

Crystalbrook Collection is owned by Dubai-headquartered conglomerate, the Ghassan Aboud Group, which is also engaged in automotive, real estate, retail, media, logistics and pastoral businesses. Established in early 2016, Crystalbrook Collection expands the Ghassan Aboud Group’s interest in the hotel industry, property and tourism sectors. Now, Australia’s buoyant economy and strong tourism sector make it an excellent destination to begin operations for the hospitality arm of the business.

Commenting on the rationale behind starting with Australia, Ghassan Aboud – promoter and Chairman of the group – said “Australia has a very strong economy and other strong markets around it, such as Japan, China, Malaysia and Indonesia. It’s also a stable market for the hospitality sector. Initially we studied Europe but, in the end, we opted for Australia.”

Crystalbrook Collection’s hospitality portfolio includes an impressive collection of assets: Crystalbrook Hotel Riley in Cairns (opened November 2018); Little Albion in Sydney (operational); Crystalbrook Lodge; Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina; and MV Bahama, a luxury 90-foot motor vessel berthed in Port Douglas, Queensland. Two more properties in Cairns – Bailey and Flynn – are scheduled to open in 2019.

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. Crystalbrook has revealed the designs of its trophy asset at Port Douglas, which include a multi-use hotel, marina, F&B and entertainment complex. The marina is already operational, alongside associated retail components.

As part of the expansion plans, the company recently acquired the City Administration Centre in Newcastle.  Crystalbrook plans to convert the building into a 5-star hotel named “Kingsley”. Crystalbrook Collection CEO Mark Davie said “The structure as you look at it now is not going to vastly. It’s a beautiful structure, and we love it. As far as we’re concerned, we can only improve upon it.”

Having made a significant impact in the landscape of Australia’s hospitality industry, Crystalbrook is in growth mode, with ambitions to expand even further globally in the coming years.

Source: Forbes Middle East

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 first six-star hotel in the Far North is earmarked for Port Douglas.

Crystalbrook Collection is poised to unveil plans to build luxurious six and five-star hotels at the Port Douglas marina in a private meeting with Douglas Shire Council.

Crystalbrook chief executive Mark Davie said the company’s billionaire owner, Ghassan Aboud, was reviewing three architectural concepts in preparation for a formal offer to council in January.

All three proposals involve building a 30-room six-star hotel and a 100-room five-star hotel along the Dicksons Inlet waterfront.

Mr Davie said Mayor Julia Leu and council CEO Mark Stoermer would be privy to the initial concept of the $200 million investment in the coming weeks, with a view to promptly moving to the development application process.

“From my discussions, there is sense of strong support from council and a motivation to process the application as quickly as possible,” he said.

“Right now there is an opportunity for everybody to get behind this project, which will be an absolute game-changer for Port Douglas.

“It’s on our desk to move ahead. It’s budgeted for and construction is set to begin in 2020.”

Crucially, none of the plans will affect the retail trade and tourism sector already established at the marina – a major sticking point in the original DA which stalled in April.

Mr Davie said that, if given the green light, they would demolish the Dicksons Inlet facing elbow in the first half of 2019.

“At this stage there are no hold-ups. We are at the point where we will make a decision on what we are willing to build and invest in,” he said.

“We are talking about a $200 million project at least, so obviously this is a very important financial decision for our company.”

Crystalbrook has just opened the first of three hotel developments in Cairns worth in excess of $350 million.

Its Port Douglas development would target high-end travellers who are bypassing Australia for Asia, Mr Davie said. “If Port Douglas really wants to be a tourist destination in the future, then it needs to invest heavily in the hotel infrastructure in that town,” he said.

“We are mindful there has been minimal investment in Port Douglas since the days of the Sheraton.

“We are finding visitors to Port Douglas are seeking alternative locations, so I think we need to fight hard to offer them a product to attract them to our region.”

Mayor Julia Leu said she was encouraged to hear Crystalbrook was keen to work with the council through the process.

“Douglas Shire Council continues to work closely with the applicants and looks forward to maintaining a strong relationship when a new development application is lodged,” she said in a statement.

Source: https://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/crystalbrook-owner-ghassan-aboud-unveils-next-wave-of-projects-for-port-douglas/

PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN

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/