Marriott International is making plans to bring Sheraton Hotels and Resorts to Hervey Bay, in the form of a 223-room five-star hotel component of the AU$445 million Torquay waterfront development.

The hotel giant has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with developer Sunny Beach Land confirming its intention to operate the proposed Hervey Bay Esplanade Resort.

Sheraton Hervey Bay, which would be the fifth Sheraton location in Australia, would be the largest and most luxurious new hotel between Brisbane and Cairns.

“We have great confidence in the outlook for Hervey Bay and Sunny Beach Land’s project presents the opportunity we have been waiting for to enter the market,” said Marriott International Vice President Hotel Development Australia, New Zealand and Pacific, Richard Crawford.

“For the first time a development vision exists that offers the right opportunity to introduce an international full-service hotel to the city.

Crawford said that while the destination has excellent prospects for growth and long-term success, it lacks high-quality accommodation, making it less appealing to affluent travellers.

“It is missing out on the marketing power of international hotel companies,” he said.

“In Marriott’s case, we focus our distribution on our 200 million Marriott Bonvoy loyalty members, who represent 50 per cent of night occupancy at our hotels.

“Our Sheraton properties in Sydney, Melbourne, the Gold Coast and Port Douglas are among Australia’s most recognised and highest performing hotels. By joining this long-established network of hotels, Sheraton Hervey Bay would gain instant recognition and be sure to attract new demand from intrastate, domestic and international travellers – to the benefit of the city of Hervey Bay and surrounds.”

“The direct economic and social benefits of the proponent’s vision for this project are vast and far-reaching and their plans are as well-resolved and impressive as any we have seen for other similar projects, anywhere in Australia.”

Sunny Beach Land Director, Dan Cuda, said the hotel and broader development would put the Fraser Coast region “firmly on the map as a world-class tourism destination”.

“Our MOU with Marriott International is an exciting coup for Hervey Bay and represents another compelling reason for the Hervey Bay Esplanade Resort to go ahead,” he said.

“An operator with the experience and reputation of Sheraton would ensure the success of the hotel component of our project while attracting new visitation to the region from highly affluent tourists.

“The potential contribution this would make to the Fraser Coast economy, local businesses and employment is simply massive and too good of an opportunity to miss.”

The hotel plans include a resort pool, fitness centre, business lounge, world-class conference and functions space, kids club, signature restaurant, and a rooftop bar overlooking the bay.

International award-winning designer, television host, environmentalist and author, Jamie Durie, has been enlisted to design a world-class Oasis recreational area for the new resort.

“We all know that K’gari is paradise and with the internationally recognised Sheraton brand behind it the world will too,” said Durie.

“A destination hotel with the pedigree of Sheraton gracing the Esplanade in Hervey Bay will be a magnificent drawcard for tourists both across Australia and the world. Hervey Bay will become a landmark destination and a must-see on our international guests ‘visit Australia checklist’.”