Merivale has purchased The Whale Inn, a boutique hotel and restaurant in Narooma on the New South Wales South Coast, the place Hemmes describes as his second home.
In the heart of the Eurobodalla region, The Whale Inn takes in views of the inlet and beaches and is home to seventeen individually-appointed rooms and suites, along with the restaurant and bar.
Matthew Deveson and Jen Houghton-Deveson owned and operated the property for 15 years before Matthew Deveson passed away in May this year.
Justin Hemmes, CEO of Merivale, 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.
“Narooma has become my second home and the backdrop to so many of my happiest memories with my family. I think it is one of the most beautiful spots in the world”, he said.
Hemmes purchased The Quarterdeck, a tiki bar set on the shores of Forsters Bay, in Narooma in March this year. It was the first venture for Merivale beyond the Sydney hospitality market with regional expansion for the group extending to Melbourne, Lorne and Byron Bay since then.
Bega District News has reported that Narooma Chamber of Commerce and Tourism president, Dr Jenny Munro, as saying:
“After bushfires, COVID and Matt’s untimely death, I think this is a real blessing,” she said, “I think he (Hemmes) will be doing some wonderful changes and I believe he will be respectful for what the community stands for.
“Merivale will have the resources to do something special. I have seen what they did with Newport Arms Hotel, transforming it from a grotty place to something so beautiful.”
Merivale will receive the keys to The Whale Inn this week. Accommodation will remain open, while the restaurant will close for a quick refresh, before opening again next month. Refurbishment plans for the property will be announced in due course.