Sol Kerzner rumoured buyer of Hayman Island in Whitsundays

Sol Kerzner, a billionaire South African hotelier, is reportedly buying Hayman Island in the Whitsundays from Malaysian investment firm Mulpha Australia Ltd.

The Australian Financial Review reports executives from Kerzner International are meeting with top federal and state tourism bureaucrats and senior figures from the Queensland government.

No price has been disclosed for the 292 hectare leasehold holding, but its most recent official conservative book value was $A50 million, at the same time as announcing a $50 million refurbishment program to elevate the resort into a new benchmark of luxury.

Neighbouring Hamilton Island sold in 2003 for $185 million to Bob Oatley who has since been developing the island.

Kerzner will reportedly close the existing resort on the island for three months from January next year as he further renovates the property.

The island was first developed by airline magnate Reg Ansett in the 1950s.

Kerzner runs the luxury hotel chain One&Only, the Atlantis resort on the Palm in Dubai and has properties in The Bahamas, Mexico, Mauritius and The Maldives.

Mulpha bought the island resort in 2004 along with the Sydney Intercontinental, the Melbourne Hilton and Brisbane Sheraton for a combined $400 million total. 

The 78-year old Sol Kerzner was knighted in 2010.

Mulpha's Australian property portfolio is worth around $1 billion with assets including Sanctuary Cove which was acquired in 2002 for $208 million.

Alistair Walsh

Alistair Walsh

Deutsche Welle online reporter

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