The West

Caves House back on the market
South West tourism landmarket is back on the market.

South West tourism landmark Caves House will go back on the market next month after a sales pitch in 2010 failed to secure a buyer for the historic hotel.

The popular Yallingup hotel was previously owned by companies controlled by Tourism Council of WA president Paul King that went into receivership in 2010, first with McGrathNicol and later with corporate recovery firm KordaMentha, which has also been managing the hotel since December 2011.

"The hotel has been trading profitably in circumstances that are not very favourable to the hospitality sector in general, particularly for the South West region where there is strong competition from, for example, cheap Bali airfares and the strong Australian dollar making it favourable for overseas travel," KordaMentha receiver Cliff Rocke said.

"While there's always room for improvement, we're happy with the way it's trading."

Mr Rocke said that by managing the hotel for the full year it was able to provide a complete picture of its trading performance.

"We are aware of the hotel's significance to local people and to people from around WA and since we have been running it we have had good relations with all stakeholders in the area so those boxes have also been ticked."

Jones Lang LaSalle will oversee the sale, using an expressions of interest campaign that will run until March 14.

Overlooking the Indian Ocean and nearby surf breaks and just minutes from WA's renowned winery region, the sale of the 108-year-old Art Deco hotel is expected to generate strong interest.

John Mucsa, national director of Jones Lang LaSalle's hotels and hospitality group said even on a national scale, Caves House was an iconic hospitality asset.

Caves House sits on a 3.7ha freehold site with heritage-listed gardens and includes 12 renovated guest rooms and suites, a 180-seat meeting room, guest lounge, restaurant, a manager's residence and the Long Bar and beer garden.

Aaron Desange, senior vice- president, Jones Lang LaSalle's hotels and hospitality group said about 2ha of the hotel's grounds offered the potential for short-stay accommodation facilities which would complement the hotel.

"The property lends itself well to future expansion and there is an excellent opportunity for an incoming purchaser to capitalise on this," Mr Desange said.

"The diversity of income streams will appeal to a wide range of investors, including boutique accommodation owners, publicans, developers and potentially new entrants to the hospitality sector."

"We anticipate receiving interest from many West Australians as well as a number of groups based on the eastern seaboard," he said.

Mr King, the managing director of Seashells Hospitality Group, restored Caves House and developed the neighbouring 36-apartment Seashells Resort Yallingup, which is not part of the receivership. Seashells Hospitality Group also has tourism accommodation properties in Mandurah, Scarborough and Broome.

The West Australian

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