Gavin King

TropicNow editor

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Cairns hotel projects ramp up with key appointment and building progress


One of the world’s most accomplished hotel executives will start a new role in Cairns to help lead the launch of three CBD hotels being developed by Crystalbrook Collection, the local arm of the GA Group.

In an exclusive interview with TropicNow, CEO Mark Davie announced the appointment of Andrew Jessop to the role of Group Director – Hotels.

Working across the company's portfolio of three hotels, Mr Jessop will join the local team on June 5 after completing an 11-year stint with Langham Hotels, a global brand with properties on four continents.

Currently based in Hong Kong, Mr Jessop is the Vice-President of Development at Langham where he oversaw some 55 hotels throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Europe.

GLOBAL SEARCH

Mr Davie said the Crystalbrook Collection launched a global search to find a “world class” operator who will help lead the development and roll-out of the company’s three CBD hotels, starting with the former Rydges Tradewinds property.

“This is an incredibly important role for us, so after a global search we made a short-list of five suitable candidates, and I ended up narrowing that down to two people I wanted to interview,” Mr Davie said.

“There aren't actually too many operators around the world who have actually launched a new brand and then operated that hotel, but Andrew had that background.

“He’s also been an Operations Manager at Langham and General Manager of a variety of hotels so he's had to pull up his sleeves and get stuck into it during the early phases of his career.

“When you put all of that together, he was the perfect choice for us.”

DEMOLISH AND REFURBISH

Mr Davie said the search is now on for other high-level executives to join the Cairns-based team, which will number more than a dozen over coming months as the company aims to meet its tight construction and marketing deadlines.

Led by Cairns firm Prime Constructions, work at the Tradewinds site on the Esplanade is progressing at a rapid rate. The top floor is already gutted and the demolition crew is now working its way down through the building.

That will allow the construction crew to begin refurbishing the complex and ‘follow’ the demolition team as it progresses from the top to ground floor.

Mr Davie said the project was on track to open as an entirely new brand around July next year.

"We're thrilled to have someone of Andrew's calibre on board and we look forward to his commencement with the company in a couple of months’ time,” Mr Davie told TropicNow.

"There is a lot of activity happening down on our Esplanade site with the extensive refurbishment in full swing.

“I'm incredibly excited about the team we are building to deliver Crystalbrook Collection in Tropical North Queensland.

“With Andrew’s position we aimed to get the very best in the industry and we will apply that same standard to our management team. Those top four or five positions will be among the best in the world.”


Construction progress at the former Tradewinds site