Ghassan Aboud pays Deague c$75m for Brisbane’s Fantauzzo hotel; flags rebrand

The hotel, beneath and beside the distinctive Story Bridge, opened last March.

Ghassan Aboud has purchased his first Brisbane guesthouse – the new Fantauzzo Art Series Hotel, beneath and beside the Story Bridge – in a c$75 million deal with Deague Group.

The acquisition comes a year after the billionaire and philanthropist paid retailer Gerry Harvey $41.7m for the Byron on Byron resort covering 18 hectares just out of Byron Bay.

The five-star, 166-suite guesthouse will be renamed next year.

Following handover of the latest asset by mid-next year, the Brussels-based Syrian’s Cyrstalbrook Collections will own three inns at each of Queensland and New South Wales.

Deague is a Melbourne-headquartered, multi-generation, diversified developer and investor.

It was represented by CBRE Hotels’ Wayne Bunz.

Fantauzzo Brisbane Art Series Hotel at 5 Boundary Street

The 166-suite waterfront Fantauzzo overlooks Howard Smith Wharves.

Part occupied by Italian restaurant Polpetta and Fiume bar, it is designed with a fitness centre, meeting spaces and rooftop pool.

Up to 300 works by photo-realist painter Vincent Fantauzzo are on display (story continues below).

At 5 Boundary Street, the hotel is recording strong weekend occupancy since opening last March, according to Mr Bunz.

The sale is the first worth more than $20m within the sector to take place in full light of the COVID-19 backdrop “signalling that investors anticipate a recovery in the hotel sector”, he added.

Smaller guesthouses to recently trade include Byron Bay’s Bower, for $18m, and East Melbourne unrenovated Magnolia Court ($9m).

Crystalbrook’s Australian hospitality portfolio includes assets in Cairns, Newcastle, Port Douglas and Sydney.

The Brisbane property will next year be rebranded to an as-yet-unknown name.

Deague’s Art Series Hotels (ACCOR) will manage it until then.

“We are pleased to have sold this truly five-star property to a group which that celebrate the architecture and vibrant precinct of Howard Smith Wharves,” the vendor’s chief executive officer Will Deague said.

“The hotel journey was always a property development play for our group, hence our decision to sell”.

The guesthouse overlooks Howard Smith Wharves.
An outdoor dining space beneath Story Bridge.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of