Visitors to Rottnest Lodge will get a revamped restaurant run by one of Perth's top restaurateurs and lavishly upgraded rooms by the end of the year, new owner John Spence has pledged.
Speaking in Perth yesterday ahead of the official launch tonight of his 4.5-star Chakra resorts brand - under which the lodge has been rebadged - Mr Spence said the venue had operated at almost 100 per cent occupancy since he was handed the keys in December.
"We've changed management around a bit and increased service levels but otherwise it's still the same so far," he said.
"Occupancy is higher, our revenue is higher and . . . our profitability this year is higher than what it was before we took over."
The UK-born entrepreneur's Karma Royal Group will tonight unveil plans to complete a three-stage redevelopment of the lodge, starting with a $200,000, five-month renovation of the restaurant and cocktail bar. He would not reveal who he had recruited to manage the venue before an official announcement next week.
A $150,000-plus upgrade of the lodge's accommodation would be completed "by the end of the year".
Mr Spence was last night to meet Rottnest Island Authority representatives to discuss his offer to annex the Quad, a section of the lodge that once housed an Aboriginal jail. If approved by the RIA, in the final stage of his redevelopment he would hand the Quad back to community interests in exchange for the right to build a group of luxury units elsewhere on the grounds.
The new development would also include a restaurant and amphitheatre for concerts and events.
Mr Spence said he had yet to determine the pricing structure for the venue post-redevelopment but was "extremely conscious" of the price-sensitivity of island accommodation. The lodge is one of three resorts already operating under the Chakra banner worldwide.