SYDNEY-BASED hotelier Glenn Piper has swooped in to purchase the Hook Island Lodge in the Whitsundays, revealing plans to transform the property into a $20 million eco-lodge.
The property, which has been closed since 2013, was badly damaged in cyclones twice over the last 11 years, with the previous private owners reportedly sinking plenty of time and money into repairs and plans to turn the property into a major tourism attraction.
Sustainability and culinary appeal will form a major pillar of Piper’s renovation ambition he revealed, with research and development tipped to kick off in Aug to see how the lodge can be positioned to attract both international and domestic travellers.
“I want to create an experience that befits the beauty of the island, and the Whitsundays – respectfully and sustainably,” the Meridian Australia founder said.
“I’m energised at the thought of creating a world-class hospitality experience for this slice of paradise.
“Eco-tourism and sustainability in design are very current trends now and that’s not going to go away, since COVID, domestic tourism is booming and overseas tourists are keen to visit the natural wonders of Australia,” Piper added.
The high-profile property entrepreneur has reportedly linked arms with a small syndicate to make the purchase possible, believed to be in excess of $10m.
Piper is already the owner of the Harbord Hotel at Freshwater Beach in NSW, and Manly’s Historic Q Station boutique hotel.
Tourism Whitsundays CEO Rick Hamilton said he was “delighted” the buyer was an Australian.
“I think it probably helps to have an Australian buyer because they’d feel a greater sense of ownership rather than an overseas investor with perhaps different priorities,” he said.
Hook Island is located close by to Hayman and Whitsunday islands, and boasts national park areas, pristine reefs and beaches.