BY JAMES WILKINSON
The dispute between Hyatt of Australia and billionaire Clive Palmer’s Coeur de Lion Investments (CDLI) over the Hyatt Regency Coolum Golf Resort and Spa has finally come to a conclusion, with the property unbranded and management handed over.
In a joint statement released yesterday (Mar 29) following proceedings in Brisbane’s Supreme Court, Hyatt and CDLI said differences “have now been resolved” and Palmer’s company had agreed to “pay an undisclosed amount to Hyatt in respect of the ending of the management agreement and commercial arrangements between the parties”.
The property is now known as The Coolum Golf Resort under the direction of Palmer’s CDLI, with Bill Schoch in place as General Manager.
“It has been agreed that CDLI will, from 29 March 2012, manage the Resort without the involvement of Hyatt,” the companies said. “The Resort is committed to ensuring that employees, guests and other stakeholders are provided with support and guidance during this transition.”
During the court proceedings, which lasted over a month, Palmer placed property into the hands of administrators KordaMentha, but today (Mar 30), it was being reported in national newspapers that the resort could come out of administration as soon as today after a vote from creditors.
Speaking exclusively to HM, Hyatt’s Area Director of Sales and Marketing – Pacific, Kate Atkinson, said the company was happy the dispute had been settled.
“Hyatt is relieved that we have come to an amicable resolution giving certainty to guests and staff who have been our priority during this period,” she said. “We are happy it’s been resolved and we wish them (CDLI) all the best.”
Hyatt had been running the property for 24 years and in the statement, both Hyatt and Palmer agreed “that the important role the resort plays in Queensland tourism was more important than their differences”.
Palmer, who is expected to undertake a significant upgrade of the property, said: “The Hyatt chain has a long and illustrious record of satisfying owners of many resorts worldwide.
“The excellent standard of service to the guests at Coolum stands as a fine example of what the Hyatt group can deliver.
“I wish to thank Hyatt for all they have done for the Resort and the community and wish them well in the future,” he said.
Atkinson said Hyatt was now firmly focused on its existing Australian properties – including the newly renovated Park Hyatt Sydney – and would continue to seek development opportunities across the region where appropriate for the company’s stable of brands.