Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Melbourne Hotel To Become First CBD Timeshare

MELBOURNE'S CBD is set to get its first timeshare, with Accor Premier Vacation Club's $11 million purchase and refurbishment of the Grand Mercure Melbourne in Flinders Lane.

APVC chief executive Marty Kandel said the boutique hotel was being renovated and its 59 suites would be fitted out with kitchens to cater for vacation club members.

Mr Kandel said timeshare was back in vogue internationally after the tarnishing of its image in the 1980s by undercapitalised operators.

Top-end accommodation companies such as Disney, Marriott, Hyatt, Accor and Hilton now dominated the industry, he said.

APVC, a joint venture between Melbourne developer Becton Corporation and Accor Asia Pacific, is also establishing a Sydney CBD timeshare, a block away from Darling Harbour in the Pinnacle hotel on Pyrmont Bridge Road.

While timeshare has traditionally been associated with beach or alpine locations, Mr Kandel said the international trend for a city-based vacation club had emerged over the past two years and it was now in New York and London.

He said the Melbourne timeshare was aimed at tapping into the growing trend of Victorian residents coming to the city for a two- to three-day shopping excursion.

Mr Kandel described the vacation club as a lifestyle product where owners bought points that provided, in the case of APVC, four-star accommodation for 80 years. Points were allocated on whether holidays were taken at peak times, and the size of the unit. Points did not have to be used on a yearly basis, and could be held over.

Since APVC was launched in November 2002, it had become Australia's fastest-growing timeshare company. In May this year it had more than 8500 members, Mr Kandel said.

It has 10 club resorts in Australia and access to more than 2000 resorts overseas.

The average price for membership is $17,000 and the minimum membership is $10,000.

In 2005 APVC invested $71 million in property acquisitions and this year has committed $40 million to acquisitions, including the $6.9 million purchase this week of 18 five-star Forrest Resort villas in Victoria's Hepburn Shire.

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