Justin Hemmes and the Merivale team have acquired their second venue on the NSW South Coast town of Narooma, purchasing the Whale Inn and Restaurant.

A favourite holiday site of the Merivale CEO, Merivale has doubled down on its investment in  Narooma with the acquisition of the Whale Inn off long-time proprietors Matthew Deveson and Jen Houghton-Deveson.  The pair have owned and operated the hotel for the last 15 years.

“Matt was a true gentleman; a man of great kindness and dignity who truly loved Narooma and the wonderful people who call it home. It is an honour for us to continue Matt and Jen’s legacy,” commented Hemmes.

The Whale Inn includes a laidback bar and restaurant offer, as well as 17 well appointed rooms and suites. The elevated property also boasts views of the nearby inlet and beaches.

The transaction was overseen by Russell Rogers and Sarah Hutchins of ResortBrokers, who felt very lucky that the Devesons placed their faith in them to handle the sale. Rogers also suggested that the presence of Hemmes and Merivale in Narooma would increase tourism to the area from both Sydney and Melbourne.

“This is really positive news for the south coast accommodation sector, with a company of the size of Merivale showing faith in what is an outstanding motel in a fantastic region,” stated Rogers.

“Justin Hemmes was a pleasure to do business with. He really knows the industry and his involvement in this beautiful part of the world could be a real game changer for the area.”

Hemmes’ love for the Eurobodalla region of NSW is well-known, and the CEO made waves earlier this year when he purchased The Quarterdeck tiki bar in Narooma, the group’s first venue purchase outside of inner Sydney.

“Narooma has become my second home and the backdrop to so many of my happiest memories with my family. I think it is one of the most beautiful spots in the world.”

The group’s expansion into other markets was quick to take off from there, with recent announcements of the purchase of Tomasetti House in Melbourne’s CBD, as well as the Lorne Hotel in Victoria’s Great Ocean Road region.

Hemmes has previously stated that the closure of borders in the last 18 months has made him appreciate all that Australia has to offer and has influenced Merivale’s move into areas outside of Sydney.

Merivale will receive the keys to The Whale Inn this week. Its accommodation will remain open, while the restaurant will close for a quick refresh, before opening again next month. Refurbishment plans for the property will be announced in due course.

Image: Whale Inn/Facebook.

Vanessa Cavasinni

Vanessa Cavasinni is the managing editor of Australian Hotelier and Club Management, trade publications for the pub and club sectors respectively. Vanessa has been at the helm of Australian Hotelier since...

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