Resort owner reveals surprising virus upside
Dr Schwartz takes possession of the resort today after buying the property for $43 million from administrators to William O'Dwyer's Ralan Group, which collapsed last year owing $500 million.
He told the Bulletin this morning that an average of 80 per cent of his customers to his 15 properties in four states and territories, including the Hilton in Surfers Paradise, come from within Australia.
He expected that figure to be nudged higher by the impact of the coronavirus.
"I think Surfers Paradise will not be that effected because it is regional and the playground of Australia," Dr Schwartz said.
"If anything it will benefit because people thinking of going overseas will say: where will we go that is safe?
"You can't take your kids to Fiji or Bali. This is not only the next best thing but at least now people will realise what great venues we have in our own country."
He said apart from a few conferences postponed at his hotel in the Blue Mountains in NSW he was noticing little impact.
Today, Dr Schwartz visited Paradise Resort with his three children - announcing an investment of more $12 million in the first two years.
The "first phase" of the refurbishment involves upgrading 240 of its 360 rooms to a four and four-and-a-half star standard to broaden the resort's appeal.
"The second phase is I want to add a lot more facilities. We have plans to add a cinema, put in a full-size kids' gaming room with bowling alleys, I want to get a carousel with a train that goes around.
"I also want to develop an adults area because there's nothing better than happy kids and happy adults.
"We are going to have an adults area with its own swimming pool and hopefully a distillery in it."
Dr Schwartz said he remains optimistic about the Gold Coast accommodation market.
"Both Paradise Resort and my previous purchase - the Hilton Surfers Paradise - have established very strong reputations, and with further investment in both hotels I am very optimistic about the future."
To mark the new ownership for the resort Dr Schwartz is hosting a charity event tomorrow.
More than 20 charities, including Paradise Kids, Brave Hearts and ACT for Kids, have been invited to use the rooms at the resort to raise funds.
It is expected more than $180,000 will be raised.
The collapse of Ralan, which developed Ruby tower, resulted in $277 million in missing deposit funds from apartment buyers.
It was found the money gone into covering losses on previous projects and for funding interest payments for previous buyers as new buyers tipped in.