A part of the Bale and Twohill families since the 70s, the iconic Beach Hotel will change hands into the family-owned, Eastern Hotels Group early next year.
No strangers to taking on iconic Hunter hotels, the purchase of the Beach Hotel, Merewether is the third acquisition for the Lazarus family and their Eastern Hotels Group, after taking ownership of both Shoal Bay Country Club and the Exchange Hotel, Hamilton in the past three years.
With the venue officially changing hands in March 2020, the family will use experience gained at waterfront property Shoal Bay Country Club, to put their own spin on the iconic beach-side venue.
"The commitment will initially be to ensure a seamless transition for all 65 existing staff, as well as all the elements which put the hotel on the map including superior beachside dining, the support of Newcastle’s vibrant live music scene, and the three stunning function spaces," Eastern Hotels Group owner Andrew Lazarus said.
"There is so much potential and so much history we are looking to evolve and develop."
Group Director Peter Lazarus will oversee day-to-day operations of the hotel and said there were a number of key similarities between the venues, including a diverse patronage.
"Like Shoal Bay, it's a huge benefit for a business to be able to cater to a diverse crowd. We don't want to limit our clientele to a specific market, but to serve the needs of the whole community.
"The Beach Hotel is a venue that is such an integral part of the whole community and we really want to reinforce that as we continue its legacy."
"The Beach Hotel is a venue that is such an integral part of the whole community and we really want to reinforce that as we continue its legacy..." - Peter Lazarus
Looking ahead, Peter said the short-term goal was to gain an in-depth understanding of the business and how the hotel could best serve its local market.
"The most important thing for us, is to really understand the hotel, its patronage, and its current offerings, before we make any changes," he said.
"Once we do that, in the medium term there will be a major reinvestment into the business which is exciting, but first things first, and that means thoroughly understanding the business.”
"The most important thing for us, is to really understand the hotel, its patronage, and its current offerings, before we make any changes..." - Peter Lazarus
The hotel was originally put onto the market in October this year by Deane Moore, of Moore & Moore Real Estate, in conjunction with Mike Wheatley of Frank Knight.
As expected, the property drew a high-level of interest with a sale that was hotly contested by some of the industry's major players.
"I’m very selective when it comes to hotels," Andrew said.
"But I couldn't think of a better hotel to purchase in Newcastle than the Beach Hotel, so when the opportunity came up we really seized on it.
"We believe at present Newcastle offers the best market opportunities both from a growth perspective and also in terms of price point. Sydney is over-priced at the moment and we are happy to focus our resources on Newcastle and the Port Stephens region.
We are delighted with how our businesses here are tracking and we are certainly looking to replicate the success we've had at Shoal Bay here in Newcastle."