Merivale has acquired its second venue in Victoria, purchasing the Lorne Hotel on the Great Ocean Road.

The waterfront hotel in the tourism hotspot was sold as a freehold going concern for $38 million. The sale was brokered exclusively off-market by JLL Hotels & Hospitality’s John Musca and Will Connolly. The hotel was sold to Merivale by the Upham family, who have operated the sprawling pub for almost 20 years.

“The Upham family couldn’t think of better custodians of the Lorne Hotel than the Merivale Group. We leave knowing that the residents of Lorne and tourists that visit our beautiful town will have an amazing experience when visiting the venue. We wish them all the best,” stated Paul Upham.

Lorne Hotel is centrally located on the Great Ocean Road, and features a large restaurant, bistro and bar, 120-pax function room, accommodation and an extensive beer garden with ocean views. The sale included 10 EGMs and four adjacent holiday apartments.

“The Lorne Hotel is an iconic venue in a truly spectacular location. It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know John and Paul Upham, who have been the proud custodians of the venue for the last eleven years; we feel honoured to continue their legacy and help usher the pub into the next phase of its incredible 145-year history,” stated Merivale CEO Justin Hemmes.

The 145-year-old hotel  recently embraced a reinvention into a food destination venue with the addition of ‘MoVida Lorne’ along with ‘Coda Lorne’, two of Melbourne’s most celebrated and frequented restaurants, both operating exclusively within the venue. The pub is also the ultimate destination for the famed annual Pier To Pub swim, which attracts thousands of people to the town in January of each year.

“There’s literally only a handful of very special oceanfront hotels like Lorne around the country and to again have the pleasure of guiding the transition of a landmark from long-time private owners to committed industry stakeholders like Merivale, is quite special,” stated Musca.

“The Lorne Hotel is truly a once-in-a-generation asset and to attract an operator of Merivale’s talents is testament to the reputation that not only the hotel has built, but also the town of Lorne itself, having rapidly become a tourist location of national significance,” added  Connolly.

The Lorne Hotel is the second acquisition for Merivale outside of New South Wales, after buying Tomasetti House in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD off the Millett Group a few weeks ago. Tomasetti House is expected to settle later in the year.

Merivale continues its acquisitive streak, as late last night it announced the purchase of Norton’s Irish Pub in Sydney’s Inner West.

Merivale will receive the keys to Lorne Hotel later in the year and will operate the hotel as normal throughout the summer.

The beachfront pub has a diversified mix of F&B and accommodation revenues that do well in one of Australia’s most popular tourist locations.

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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