Currently though, the iconic resort is home to 100 staff and 350 contractors who are busy rebuilding one of the most significant properties in the Australian luxury landscape.
Overseeing a project that is costing new owners Mulpha in excess of $100 million would be daunting to most, but suits Eletr who gets to wear his civil engineering hat after a 20 year hiatus.
“It is a rebirth of an island I think we are all probably very familiar with over its 50 history,” he says. “To see Hayman Island coming back into the Australian landscape is something I am immensely proud of. The owners have taken a deep breath and thought long about what they want this island to be and how they want it positioned in both the Australian and international luxury landscape.”
The redevelopment is staying true to “the bones of the island” from the Ansett era 30 odd years ago. “We will be taking the best of all that and enhancing it,” he says. “Bringing it back into a uniquely Australian sense of quality and luxury. Not overpromising, but being reliable, consistent and delivering what we say we can do.”
When it reopens in 2019, Hayman Island by InterContinental will unveil new room types increasing its overall inventory from 160 rooms to 166 rooms. These include 16 new entry level Retreat Rooms, new-build Residences, and a three-bedroom Beach House featuring three private pools and direct beach access, which Eletr believes will be booked out possibly years in advance.
The existing meetings and conference spaces will be kept and restored, while new breakout spaces will be added to make the most of the outdoor areas. The pools are all being refurbished, while new food and beverage concepts are being introduced, including a pan-Asian Pool Club. Signature restaurant Pacific will remain with a modern Australian slant to the menu, along with Bar Fifty which will feature cocktails that were served 40 or 50 years ago “if we can find the menus”.
A new boat is also on the cards with an increased seating capacity of 100, while new vessels will also cater to the luxury cruising and sport fishing market.
“It’s a wonderful thing to have Hayman as part of InterContinental Hotel Group’s portfolio in Australia,” he says. “There are only a few island resorts in the portfolio globally but that is growing as the brand emerges into these luxury leisure products.”
And having InterContinental Sanctuary Cove, InterContinental Sydney and Hayman Island by InterContinental (all owned by Mulpha) in the one brand “gives us the tools to talk to a wider audience”.