JABIRU, AUSTRALIA—The owners of the Crocodile Hotel and Cooinda Lodge in Kakadu National Park here have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Accor to manage their hotels beginning April 1, replacing current managers, IHG.
The 110-room Crocodile Hotel is located some 2½ hours drive southeast of Darwin, and offers the only deluxe accommodation in Kakadu. Known for the crocodile shape of the its design, the hotel is built around a large, landscaped swimming pool and features extensive leisure and business facilities, including conference space for up to 250 delegates.
Cooinda Lodge is located next to the Yellow Water Billabong and is part of a hotel/tourism operation that includes the 48-room Lodge as well as a large camping site, Yellow Water Cruises, Yellow Water Fishing, Gagudju Adventure Tours, a general store, fuel station and the Warradjan Cultural Centre.
The hotels were the first major tourism properties developed in Australia by an Indigenous organization (the Gagudju people). The Crocodile Hotel opened in 1988, shortly after the Crocodile Dundee films put the international tourism spotlight on the Kakadu region and its natural attractions.
The two hotels will join Australia’s largest hotel network, Accor, which also has the most extensive presence in the Northern Territory, including hotels in Darwin, Katherine and at Ayers Rock (Uluru).
Chairman of Kakadu Tourism Pty Ltd, Rex Wild, thanked IHG for its management of the hotels, which began in 1989, when a forerunner of IHG in Australia—Southern Pacific Hotels—was appointed by the Gagudju board to manage the two properties.
“We look forward to welcoming Accor to our Kakadu properties,” stated Wild. “What particularly attracted us to Accor is its championing of Indigenous employment, which is a fundamental objective of the operation of the two properties. We already have extensive involvement of Indigenous Australians in our tourism operations, but we believe we can increase the development of long term sustainable careers as a result of our association with Accor."
Current general managers of the two properties, Daniel Lukritz (Crocodile Hotel) and Vanessa Thomson (Cooinda Lodge), will stay with the hotels following the change of management.