Friday, 29 January 2021

New Zealand travel icon sold to overseas investors


One of New Zealand's oldest and grandest luxury lodges has been sold to Australian business Baillie Lodges, which is is turn owned by an American investment company KSL Capital Partners

Huka Lodge at Taupo was founded by a high-end fishing camp in 1924 and then turned into a world-class property in 1984 by Huka Retreats founder Alex van Heeren.

It was one of the first luxury lodges globally and has hosted Queen Elizabeth II, Bill Gates and the author and his wife on their honeyoon.

The sale - for a reported $AU47 milllion - followed a long-running business dispute. New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office has reviewed and cleared the path for the acquisition to go ahead.

Baillie Lodges continues to spread its wings. It acquired Clayquot Wilderness Lodge on Vancouver Island last year. 

Both Huka Lodge and Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge are members of the Relais &Chateâux collection.

KSL principal Kirk Adamson said Huka Lodge was an important next step in the evolution of Baillie Lodges.

“We are excited to continue building our portfolio of exceptional boutique luxury lodges both within Australia and New Zealand, and also being selective and thoughtful in pursuing additional opportunities on a more global basis,” Adamson said.

“For our guests, the continued expansion of Baillie Lodges opens up new, exciting itinerary options across Australia, New Zealand, and beyond.”

Guests and staff of Huka Lodge can expect the transfer of ownership “to preserve the unique boutique luxury experience at Huka Lodge”.

All staff will be retained.

The Baillie Lodges portfolio includes Capella Lodge on Lord Howe Island and Silky Oaks Lodge in the Daintree as well as Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island, was destroyed by bushfires in 2020.

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