Calile’s big plans for Noosa revealed – but first they’ll need to pass the koala test

The people behind Brisbane’s luxury Calile Hotel in James St have unveiled ambitious plans to expand its brand to Noosa – only to find the proposal has struck its first hurdle.

Oct 11, 2022, updated Oct 12, 2022
An initial render of the planned new Calile resort at Noosa Heads. (Supplied image)

An initial render of the planned new Calile resort at Noosa Heads. (Supplied image)

In a move aimed at establishing a presence in what is arguably Queensland’s premier high-end tourist destination, Calile Malouf Investments wants to build a 178-room resort on land next to the Noosa River, complete with extra suites and villas, restaurants and multiple swimming pools.

Group director Michael Malouf says the new development will give Noosa what it has been lacking in the form of a new luxury integrated resort to help ease an acute hotel accommodation shortage.

Noosa’s 158 tourist accommodation facilities are dominated by serviced apartments rather than full service hotels, a problem the Malouf group aims to solve with the new Calile resort.

But there is one problem: the preferred site for the resort – right amidst the exclusive Settlers Cove precinct – is the subject of a critical report that went before Noosa Shire Council on Tuesday arguing that an application for an extension to a 14-year-old development approval be refused.

The report to the council’s Planning and Environment Committee says that while the current local planning scheme has still earmarked the site for a resort development, circumstances have changed since it was initially approved in 2008.

Among the council officers’ concerns is that the planned resort would be built in “core koala habitat” which triggers a raft of state government requirements the council and developers would have to meet.

“Whilst the intent of the site for use as a resort has not altered under the Noosa Plan 2020, State legislative requirements and mapping regarding Koala and Bushfire have altered and no review has been undertaken as to whether the proposal meets the State requirements,” the report states.

“The surrounding area has also experienced significant change since approval of the development and due to the extended time frame a significant portion of the current community may not be aware of the development or have had the opportunity to comment on the proposal.”

A council spokesman said councillors opted to defer any decision on the application until the next general committee meeting on 24 October to allow further discussion.

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The current owners of the 2.4 hectare site, at 3 to 7 Serenity Close, Noosa Heads, applied for an extension to the development approval to allow Calile Malouf Investments time to prepare and lodge its own application.

The Calile has built one of the most envied brands in Australia’s luxury accommodation market, with the James St hotel recognised in a recent Conde Naste Traveller reader survey as the number two hotel in Australia and New Zealand.

Calile Malouf Investments plan to commission architects Richards & Spence – responsible for the James St hotel – to design the Noosa resort, which will comprise 178 rooms, 12 suites, 15 villas and a number of dining options.

Group director Michael Malouf said: “The point of difference for the new resort will be the luxury of space. Embedded in a bushland setting, the large site allows for generously proportioned facilities, including multiple swimming, pools, tennis court, comprehensive wellness facilities, cinema and function spaces”.


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