Justin Hemmes expands his $1.6billion empire as he snaps up a new boutique hotel and restaurant on the New South Wales south coast in a secret deal

  • Justin Hemmes, 48, has bought a family-run hotel and restaurant in Narooma
  • The Whale Inn marks Merivale’s second property purchase in the coastal town 
  • The billionaire has spent about $200million on properties over the last 6 months 
  • Hemmes owns The Ivy, Coogee Pavilion and Norton’s Irish Pub in Sydney

Pictured: Justin Hemmes

Pub baron Justin Hemmes has expanded his $1.6billion empire by splurging on another boutique hotel and restaurant on the picturesque south coast of New South Wales.

The Sydney-based Merivale boss confirmed on Wednesday that The Whale Inn, which boasts breathtaking views of the beaches and inlets around Narooma, has been added to the hospitality giant’s expansive property portfolio.

Pricing details have not been released, but the four-star hotel was bought for about $2.8million in 2010 before Matthew Deveson and his wife Jen Houghton-Deveson ran it for 15 years.

The 48-year-old billionaire said: ‘Matt was a true gentleman – a man of great kindness and dignity who truly loved Narooma and the wonderful people who call it home.

‘It is an honour for us to continue Matt and Jen’s legacy.’ 

Hemmes also owns a home in Narooma and said it is ‘one of the most beautiful spots in the world.’ 

Justine Hemmes bought The Whale Inn (pictured) in Narooma on the NSW south coast

Justine Hemmes bought The Whale Inn (pictured) in Narooma on the NSW south coast

The Whale Inn is a four-star hotel which features 17 guestrooms with ocean views (pictured)

The Whale Inn is a four-star hotel which features 17 guestrooms with ocean views (pictured)

Pictured: Justin Hemmes and his girlfriend Madeline Holtznagel at the Million Dollar Beard Ball at the Ivy ballroom on May 13 this year. Hemmes owns The Ivy in Sydney

Pictured: Justin Hemmes and his girlfriend Madeline Holtznagel at the Million Dollar Beard Ball at the Ivy ballroom on May 13 this year. Hemmes owns The Ivy in Sydney

The inn marks his second purchase in the coastal town after snagging the Quarterdeck Hotel for $1million in March. 

The hospitality mogul has spent $200million on another five venues over the past six months, which includes more than 80 bars, pubs and restaurants. 

New buys include backpacker hotspot Cheeky Monkey’s in celebrity-soaked Byron Bay, on the NSW north coast, for $13.5million. 

Hemmes is said to be planning a $20million redevelopment of the site to create a new ‘mega venue’ similar in layout and style to his popular Coogee Pavilion establishment in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.  

The Whale Inn boasts breathtaking views of the beaches and inlets around Narooma (pictured)

The Whale Inn boasts breathtaking views of the beaches and inlets around Narooma (pictured)

The bar at The Whale Inn (pictured) will be renovated and reopened in July, but accommodation will remain open throughout June

The bar at The Whale Inn (pictured) will be renovated and reopened in July, but accommodation will remain open throughout June

Norton’s Irish Pub in the inner Sydney suburb of Leichhardt was also purchased for $24million in May. 

Hours later, Hemmes bought the iconic Lorne Hotel, on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, for $38million.

Merivale now owns two venues in Victoria after Tomasetti House, on Flinders Lane in Melbourne’s CBD, was snapped up for $43million.

Cheeky Monkey's (pictured) closed its doors on March 23 last year amid the global pandemic and has not been open since

Cheeky Monkey’s (pictured) closed its doors on March 23 last year amid the global pandemic and has not been open since

The oceanfront Lorne Hotel (pictured) is 145 years old and is one of the best known regional pubs in the state of Victoria

The oceanfront Lorne Hotel (pictured) is 145 years old and is one of the best known regional pubs in the state of Victoria

Hemmes purchased Norton's Irish Pub (pictured) and will take over the venue in June

 Hemmes purchased Norton’s Irish Pub (pictured) and will take over the venue in June

The Rich-Lister’s family fortune is worth about $1.06billion.

His property portfolio includes the Beresford Hotel in Surry Hills, which he bought in 2010, the Queen Victoria Hotel in Enmore in 2015 and Bondi’s Royal Hotel, which he bought in 2017.

Hemmes also recently bought his ex-partner Kate Fowler a $7.5million mansion Dover Heights, which is one of Sydney’s most exclusive suburbs.

The historic building was acquired from the Sydney-based Millett family who bought Tomasetti House (pictured) for $16.2million in 2014

The historic building was acquired from the Sydney-based Millett family who bought Tomasetti House (pictured) for $16.2million in 2014

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