Thursday, September 13, 2012

Packer or Branson for Byron Bay?

It's the talk of Byron Bay : the star's hide-away Rae's on Wategos has been put on the market by owner Vincent Rae and the word is that entrepreneur Richard Branson is interested in adding the boutique hotel to his chain of luxury inns that include a small palace in Morocco , two islands and the magnificent Roof Gardens atop a department store in London which features 1.5 acres of English countryside complete with flamingos.

Vincent Rae
James Packer
 Rae's is situated on Wategos Beach which is just around the corner from the main part of Byron Bay and features sweeping views of the ocean, lush gardens - part designed by Salvador Dali- 8 penthouses and a clientele to die for : Russell Crowe, Tom Cruise, Kate Winslet, Keith Richards and Elle McPherson all stay there.

Byron locals say a Virgin big-wig was spotted in town last week and Richard Branson is a regular guest. It's the sort of hotel that would fit in perfectly with the Branson stable and the local council has approved plans for an underground car park, new terrace, spa and cocktail bar. But does the Virgin boss have a rival?
Branson's Necker Island

Branson's Kasbah Tamadot in Morroco
Rae's is also one of billionaire James Packer's favourite holiday spots in Australia and a local in the know has told us that a Packer associate has made discreet enquiries about the sale. And the price?. Only very interested parties are being told but earlier this year a duplex opposite the beach and near Rae's went for $9M. A fraction of what Rae's would be worth.