INTERNATIONAL HOTEL BRAND MOVES INTO BRISBANE
Written on the 14 October 2016 by James Perkins
SWISS-BELHOTEL International will open its first hotel Australian hotel on Vulture Street, Brisbane and the hotel chain's owner Gavin Faull wants it to be the first of many in the country.
The brand has 135 hotels spread across five continents, with around 90 of those based in Indonesia.
Faull, who hails from New Zealand, has flown into Brisbane and is helping prepare the new hotel for its opening on 15 October.
It has leased the brand new building at 218 Vulture Street from developer Horan Investments, with whom Faull has had a 40-year relationship. Swiss-Bel has an investment in the building through the $3 million it has spent on the fit out.
When asked if there was a particular reason he chose Brisbane, he says, "It was just an opportunity."
Faull is clearly good at taking opportunities, as he has built Swiss-Bel International from the ground up when he bought the company from its late Swiss founder Peter Gautschi, in 1999, it had just three properties.
While the company has a branded apartment complex in Sydney, the Brisbane property is its first hotel. Faull says he would like to add more to the Australian portfolio.
"I would love to have a hotel in Melboure and Perth, and I would love a big hotel in Sydney we have looked at two boutique developments there but these take time.
"We're even interested in the Gold Coast and I have made a number of trips to Perth. Perth is a fluctuating market, so we have to be careful. First we would like to cover the east coast capitals of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane."
The company typically takes management rights of buildings it only owns one hotel outright, and that is in Queenstown, New Zealand.
Faull says it takes around five years to bring plans for a new hotel to fruition, but the Brisbane site was fast-tracked in just 3 years.
He credits modern communications technology for aiding the company's growth, as he says, '50 years ago, we would not have been able to do what we are doing now."
Swiss-Belhotel International was founded by the late Swiss hotelier and philanthropist Gautschi in 1987. Gautschi and Faull were good friends and Faull, who started his career in finance but moved into hospitality in 1983, came on board with the business in 1990. He bought Swiss-Belhotel in 1999 and Gautschi retired in 2001. He died in a car crash in Myanmar aged 86 in 2013.