InterContinental Double Bay will change hands again IMAGE - IGH Hotels
Intercontinental Double Bay will change hands again. Image: IHG Hotels
  • The InterContinental is an asset that accumulates millions each year.
  • Sale is set for February by joint venture owners Fridcorp and Piety Group.
  • The property is Australia’s best mixed-use opportunity in 2023.

A landmark hotel beloved for its Eastern suburbs Sydney location, by guests including Sir Elton John and the late Princess Diana and David Bowie, is looking for new owners again. Sydney’s iconic InterContinental Double Bay hotel will be brought to market in February by joint venture owners Fridcorp and Piety Group.

Melbourne and Sydney apartment developer Fridcorp purchased the hotel in 2021 for $180 million, from Shanghai United, who had acquired it for $140 million in 2017.

The Fridcorp and Piety Group joint venture has moved to offload its respective stakes in the luxury property to allow each party to pursue separate projects, in a move expected to generate significant domestic and international buyer interest. Sources have told The Property Tribune the price guide for the hotel is above $240 million.

A legacy of glamour

Built in 1991 and originally launched as The Ritz-Carlton, it was subsequently rebranded as the Sir Stamford Double Bay in 2001. After its closure in 2009, the hotel was extensively refurbished and reopened in November 2014 as the InterContinental Sydney Double Bay. The Bates Smart-designed 140-room property at 33 Cross Street has been managed by IHG Hotels and Resorts for the past eight years, but is being offered with the potential for vacant possession.

Fridcorp, currently valued at $150 million, and Piety Group acquired the hotel with the view to returning it to its once-famed prestige and decadence. Upgrades over the past year, including transforming the bar and restaurant with esteemed restaurateur Maurice Terzini, of Bondi’s Icebergs Dining Room & Bar fame at the helm, have seen the hotel reclaim its former glory.

The Bar was named the ‘Best Hotel Bar in Australia’ at the annual Hotel Management Awards, and featured in Sydney’s Top 20 Bars. These accolades will help position the hotel to continue to perform for a new owner, while ensuring its elegant legacy.

Now ranking among Sydney’s highest hotels, in terms of Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR), with The Bar and restaurant channelling world-class glamour, the joint venture believes it is a commercially astute decision to sell at this time.

Changing hands and changing use?

CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm, and international investment managers Colliers have been exclusively appointed to manage the Expressions of Interest campaign.

They have announced that this sale of the prominent Sydney hotel comes with significant future development potential, subject to council approval.

Colliers National Director for Residential, Guillaume Volz, said “In the medium term, and subject to council consent, the property provides the opportunity to be redeveloped into a premium mixed-use project comprising a hotel, residential apartments and retail. We anticipate very strong interest from a wide range of local and international developers and hotel owners,”

Mr Volz said the InterContinental Sydney Double Bay benefitted from its major site area of 3,674 square metres, in the heart of Double Bay’s sought-after retail and residential precinct.

Even the pandemic did not stem the popularity of the hotel, with domestic visitors enjoying this sprawling oasis in the picturesque bay tucked between famously priceless Point Piper and Darling Point. The hotel offers sweeping views across the water to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and is footsteps from Double Bay’s village streets, trod by the fabulous and fashionable, with upscale cafes, boutiques, beauty salons, restaurants and cocktail bars. Harbourside Redleaf Beach offers a leafy alternative to the nearby surf of Bondi.

CBRE Chairman, Residential Projects, Justin Brown, said, “Double Bay is Sydney’s premier luxury “village” locale. It is perpetually undersupplied for luxury residential stock. This opportunity is not only Double Bay’s but arguably Australia’s best mixed-use opportunity coming in 2023.”

Tourism is back

CBRE Hotels Managing Director, Michael Simpson, said interest in the campaign would be underpinned by the continued rebound in international tourism and the rising global popularity of hotel-branded residences.

“Sydney is emerging as a favoured Asia Pacific destination for luxury hotels with branded residences, offering apartments for sale within a hotel-led development,” Mr Simpson said.

“Prominent examples include the Crown Residences at One Barangaroo, 1 Hotel in Melbourne and Mondrian Gold Coast Hotel and Private Residences in Burleigh Heads, with residents afforded access to the same five-star services and amenity as hotel guests.”

With a flood of tourism predicted to reach pre-pandemic levels, locals had best book their Intercontinental rooms now, to avoid missing out.

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