Byron Bay's Sunseeker hits the market as Australians rekindle their love for motels

The Sunseeker opened in January this year after a six-month renovation. Photo: Supplied
The Sunseeker opened in January this year after a six-month renovation. Photo: Supplied

A reimagined Byron Bay motel has hit the market, the latest in a string of trendy motel flips, with the asset type enjoying a resurgence with travellers and investors alike.

The Sunseeker, a 1980s brick-built motel at 100 Bangalow Road, is on the market with CBRE Hotels at the direction of owner-operators Jess and Dave Frid, with a price guide understood to be between $15 million and $20 million.

CoreLogic records indicate the property last changed hands for $6 million in late 2019.

The Sunseeker includes a mineral pool with poolside tiki bar. Photo: Supplied

The Sunseeker includes a mineral pool with poolside tiki bar. Photo: Supplied

The property, which reopened in January following a six-month refurbishment, was the only Australian hotel to be listed in Condé Nast Traveller's 'Hot List 2021 - Best New Hotels' worldwide.

The listing comprises 21 guest rooms and self-contained bungalows positioned on a 6,337 square metre freehold landholding, with potential for further development on the parcel.

Facilities include a mineral heated pool with a poolside tiki-bar and cabana area, fire pit, children's playground and coffee cart.

There's also a three-bedroom residence and an onsite caretaker's studio.

Rates for a standard room in October are currently advertised at $420 a night. Photo: Supplied

Rates for a standard room in October are currently advertised at $420 a night. Photo: Supplied

Offered with vacant possession, interest is expected to come from both local and overseas operators according to listing agents

"Byron Bay is firmly on the world stage as a celebrity hotel hot spot and this will drive interest in The Sunseeker from high-net-worth investors, both from Australia and globally," Mr Bunz said.

It's expected that the easing of travel restrictions in NSW in coming weeks will also help drive interest in the property.

"Byron Bay continues to be the most highly sought-after hotel investment market in Australia and with NSW lockdown restriction set to ease next week, and a potential easing of the international border to follow, this asset is perfectly poised to capitalise on an incredible wave of forthcoming demand," Ms Manvell said.

The humble motel is experiencing somewhat of a resurgence during the pandemic, likely a combination of Australian travellers' increased appetite for domestic travel and a smattering of high-profile restoration projects.

'Cult following'

The Sunseeker, which has been featured in Broadsheet and Vogue, is just the latest in a line of reimagined motel listings to hit the market, with investors seeking to tap into the trend.

In September a Sydney-based hotel group paid $4 million for the 10-room, Loea Boutique Hotel, a Florida-inspired motel conversion in Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast.

The Loea Boutique Hotel sold for $4 million in September. Photo: Supplied

The Loea Boutique Hotel sold for $4 million in September. Photo: Supplied

The property had been transformed into an Instagram-friendly offering by expat couple Andrew and Lucy Pink, who purchased the property for $1 million in 2019.

In 2020 the Bower Hotel in Byron Bay, a former motel converted in a New York-style, sold for $20 million.

Both sales were brokered by CBRE.

Mr Bunz said that independent motels had become increasingly sought after as travellers seek accommodation

"They become a bit of a cult following, properties like this ... I think people looking for that more individualised offering,"

While the pandemic had heightened demand for regional travel, the flight to bespoke or boutique offerings had been underway for years, he added.

"Certainly before the pandemic there was flight to unbranded, bespoke boutique hotels and there is a trend there if you follow the Crystalbrook Hotels, The Little National and destinations like the Baillie Lodges, Cradle Mountain Lodge and Halcyon House.

"I think the pandemic has heightened people's enthusiasm to travel regionally, but I think the bespoke hotel trend well under well before COVID-19," he said.

The Sunseeker is being offered by expressions of interest, closing November 11.

This story Byron Bay's Sunseeker hits the market as Australians rekindle their love for motels first appeared on Newcastle Herald.