Thailand-based Minor Hotel Group is boosting its presence in Australia with a new hotel development for Darwin, adding to its chain of Oaks hotels and resorts, and the AVANI development in Perth.

The Darwin property, the details of which are to be released this week, comes after the launch of the $110 million 250-room hotel and residences under the AVANI brand in April in central Perth.

Minor Hotel Group chief executive Dillip Rajakarier says the expansion marks a further strategic investment in the Australian market.

“We’ve always looked at Perth and Darwin because they are gateways, especially for us from Thailand and mainly for the Asian customer or guests,” Mr Rajakarier told.

He said the Darwin project was driven by government, leisure and tourism travel, with the hotel group taking a long-term view against the backdrop of a slowing Australian economy.

The Darwin property will add to the group’s Australian portfolio after the takeover of the Oaks Group and its portfolio of 50 hotels and resorts.

The WA project, close to the Perth Arena, is within the $5.0 billion City Link development. Construction is set to begin late in 2016, with a completion date expected in the fourth quarter of 2017.

The Perth developments outlook has been dimmed for now by the downturn in the resources boom.

“The problem we have is Perth is not as good as it was two years ago. Of course, every single business goes through a cyclical (period) and we really hope that the demand will come back,” Mr Rajakarier said.

Australia’s tepid economy has also had its impact on the group’s Oaks Grand Gladstone Hotel in Queensland.

“Today we are receiving the highest rate in Gladstone, but it’s not $300, it’s close to $200 and the occupancy is not 95 per cent, it’s about 75 per cent.

“Are we making a profit? Yes. But is it as good as we thought it would be? No. But would it come back? Yes,” he said.


By Ron Corben