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.
Chief Executive Officer, Mark Davie, Crystalbrook Collection
The Crystalbrook Collection’s Riley, which officially opened its doors on 6 November 2018, represents the first new five-star hotel for Cairns in over 20 years. Riley is the first of three-star properties which the Crystalbrook Collection will bring to the city over the next 14 months, providing a significant boost for the thriving tourist region.
Dubai-based Ghassan Aboud Group’s AUD $370 million investment across the three Cairns Crystalbrook Collection hotels will inject over 800 rooms into the region over the next two years, generating 2,000 jobs during construction and a further 500 jobs once operational.
Ghassan Aboud made his first Australian purchase in 2016 – a 35,000-hectare cattle station at Chillagoe, 215 kilometres west of Cairns which is now home to Crystalbrook Lodge, one of the Luxury Lodges of Australia. The purchase was made shortly after a holiday in tropical North Queensland where Aboud found himself captivated by the region.
Aboud subsequently conducted his due diligence, undertaking substantial research before selecting Australia as an investment destination. He recognised the absence of five-star international hotels in the region, particularly in light of the area’s anticipated tourism growth. For the year ending December 2017, Cairns was the best performing hotel market in Australia for the fourth year in a row.
Cairns really feels like my second home. The people here are so kind and friendly… I am also very pleased with the pace at which work is progressing. I couldn’t be happier.
Crystalbrook Collection’s Chairman and Founder, Ghassan Aboud
Centrally located at the northern end of the Cairns waterfront, the new Riley hotel features 311 stylish rooms and suites, a lagoon pool, private beach, Eléme Day Spa, 24-hour fitness centre, numerous event and banquet spaces, as well as three high-end dining experiences. These include the Asian-inspired Paper Crane, a healthy living focused all-day venue called Greenfields, as well as a bar, Rocco. Rocco holds the distinction of being Cairns’ highest rooftop bar, providing 270-degree views of Cairns and the Coral Sea.
Central to Crystalbrook Collection’s philosophy, and that of its hotels and resort, is the concept of responsible luxury, whereby immersive environmental initiatives are introduced to enhance each guest’s stay. Responsible luxury for Riley has many faces, including a paper-free check-in and -out, no plastic drinking bottles or straws on premise, recycled wooden guest room cards and 90 per cent less in-room paper than the average five-star hotel.
Taking the locally sourced concept even further, Riley serves beef directly from Crystalbrook Collection’s own station, located three hours inland from Cairns. Additionally, over 80 per cent of the fresh fruit and produce served on site are sourced from within a three-hour drive of Cairns. The group also pledged that all hotel room profits in the first week from bookings made on the Crystalbrook Collection’s website will be donated to Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef.
We couldn’t be happier to partner with such an innovative hospitality brand. The vision that Crystalbrook Collection has shown in planning these incredible hotels in Cairns shows great confidence in what is undoubtedly one of Australia’s most treasured and growing tourism regions. All three properties will certainly shake up the Australian hotel industry in a really positive way.
Kim McKay, Founder and Director of Klick Communications
Consisting of a portfolio of distinctive hotels, each of the Crystalbrook Collection’s hotels and resorts carries an authentic expression of its location. The group currently operates a luxury superyacht, MV Bahama and Crystalbrook Lodge. The company also recently acquired Little Albion Guest House in Surry Hills, a 35-room heritage-listed building, shortly after its opening. The property is expected to be rebranded under the Crystalbrook umbrella before the year’s end.
Bailey is due to open in mid-2019 while Flynn is expected to open in late 2019. Construction on a Superyacht Marina and luxury hotel development in Port Douglas are expected to be completed by 2021.