Spicers Retreats Founder Jude Turner and Salter Brothers Managing Director, Paul Salter

Global fund manager Salter Brothers has acquired luxury accommodation business Spicers Retreats for an undisclosed sum, reported to be in the region of AU$130 million.

The deal encompasses the Spicers brand and Private Collection by Spicers business, the freehold assets of six of the 10 properties in the Spicers Retreats portfolio across New South Wales and Queensland, as well as management rights for the remaining four.

It’s the second major hotels industry acquisition by the Australian-owned fund manager within 18 months following the purchase of Mirvac and NRMA’s Travelodge portfolio of 11 properties for a record AU$620 million in July 2021.

 “This is an exciting acquisition and a great fit for our strategy to acquire unrepeatable assets in amazing locations, targeting the luxury retreat market, which continues to grow globally,” said Salter Brothers Managing Director, Paul Salter.

“We know Australians love to take short breaks at home and regional areas are leading the charge, with domestic occupancy rates well above pre-pandemic levels.”

Founded by Jude Turner, who is married to Flight Centre co-founder Graham Turner, Spicers Retreats offers urban retreats and luxury escapes within a two-hour drive of Sydney or Brisbane.

“Spicers Retreats has been a labour of love for me, and everyone involved, for over 20 years,” said Founder, Jude Turner.

“I’m pleased to see it going into the hands of someone equally passionate about Australian experiential stays.”

Salter said the company will continue to uphold Turner’s brand vision of personalised ‘relaxed luxury’ experiences, and passion for the environment, continuing her mission for Spicers to become Australia’s most sustainable organisation.

Following completion of the acquisition, which is expected in the first quarter of 2023, Salter Brothers will have freehold ownership of Spicers Clovelly Estate, Spicers Tamarind Retreat and Spicers Peak Lodge in Queensland, Spicers Guesthouse and Spicers Vineyards Estate in the Hunter Valley and Spicers Sangoma Retreat in the Blue Mountains – a total of 127 rooms.

The company will also manage the two urban retreat assets, Spicers Potts Point and Spicers Balfour Hotel; Spicers Hidden Vale and Spicers Scenic Rim Trail in Queensland; and the recently renovated Spicers Tower Lodge, which is owned by the Hope family.

McVay Real Estate, who brokered the deal, described it as a ‘record’ transaction.

“The value which was in excess of AU$1 million per room is a record for a major transaction of this nature and is testament to the incredible portfolio that Jude Turner and the team have built from the ground up,” said McVay Real Estate Co-Founder, Dan McVay.

McVay Real Estate Managing Partner Sam McVay said there is still a strong appetite for quality accommodation assets.

“We continue to see deep demand from Australian and offshore investors looking quality hospitality properties and for good reason,” he said.

“With international travel now properly back, the asset level fundamentals are in many instances stronger than pre-COVID levels.”

Since forming its hotel platform in December 2015, Salter Brothers has rapidly established itself as a leading hotel owner in Australia with a portfolio of 4497 rooms across 19 hotels. Salter Brothers group assets under management are now valued at over $2.6 billion.