Syrian Billionaire Buys The Fantauzzo Hotel

The recent purchase of The Fantauzzo Hotel by Syrian billionaire investor Ghassan Aboud has taken Brisbane’s hotel market out of the doldrums and injected a healthy dose of confidence in the resilience of the local hospitality industry.

It has been announced that Mr Aboud bought The Fantauzzo Hotel from the Art Series Hotels (ACCOR) for a reported $70 to $75 million. The handover will take place in early 2021 and the site’s new name will be unveiled in the coming months.

The transaction is only the second major hotel acquisition in Australia since the pandemic after Gold Coast’s Guok family purchased Byron Bay’s The Bower Hotel in August. It will also mark Crystalbrook Collection’s entry in Brisbane. 

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Upon the completion of the handover, The Fantauzzo Hotel will join Mr Aboud’s hotel chain portfolio – Byron in northern New South Wales, Little Albion in Sydney, Kingsley in Newcastle, Superyacht Marina in Port Douglas, and Bailey, Flynn and Riley in Cairns.

According to Crystalbrook Collection chief executive Geoff York, a well-located hotel that attracts specific consumers and has fantastic facilities will always win in the market over other hotels. Thus, they expressed interest in The Fantauzzo Hotel in August.

Overlooking Howard Smith Wharves and located below the city’s iconic Story Bridge, ACCOR opened The Fantauzzo Hotel with 166 rooms in mid-2019. 

Named for portrait artist Vincent Fantauzzo, ACCOR purchased the hotel from the Manta Group in 2018 and revitalised the property with its rooftop pool next to the Fiume bar, the renowned Italian Polpetta kitchen and bar, its business and meeting facilities, and its fitness centre. Some 300 artworks and digital displays of Mr Fantauzzo are also placed all over the interior.

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In June, the hotel received the Gold Award at the Brisbane Design Awards 2020! Hibernating from the COVID-19 for several months, the hotel restarted business by 31 July and it has been gaining strong weekend bookings.