High on Bluff Point in Yeppoon, Queensland, sits Villa Mar Colina flaunting the spectacular beach and island views across Keppel Bay.
This unique accommodation is surrounded by abundant tropical gardens with an impressive illusion pool and provides 15 beautifully appointed Mediterranean-style villa accommodation in the Capricorn Coast’s finest beachside location.
Glenys and Gavan Hurley are the resort managers of Villa Mar Colina, they were previously the owner/managers of a motel on the Gold Coast. They are experienced managers; over time they have also managed the Big 4 Park in Melbourne, Geelong Motor Inn and a stint at the Cumberland River caravan park on the great ocean road near Lorne.
Glenys told us: “Prior to resort management, Gavan worked in the paint industry and I worked at the Commonwealth Bank. Eventually we opened our own paint business that we both worked in for 10 years.”
The couple stayed at Villa Mar Colina in 2005 and 2006 while on holiday on the Capricorn Coast. “We really fell in love with Yeppoon and we loved this complex with its roomy units and spectacular views. Little did we know that one day we would be back, living and working here,” Glenys told us.
“One night, Gavan was searching the internet for management rights for sale and discovered that Villa Mar Colina was being advertised. Immediately, we flew out to have a look and decided that we would go ahead and purchase the management rights, subject to going through the process of obtaining our licences,” she added.
So in December 2007, they took over the management rights at Villa Mar Colina and with Glenys handling the office and Gavan looking after the garden, pool, room maintenance the business thrived. “As resort managers, I would say that our biggest achievement, has been managing the resort for almost nine years, working seven days a week and doing a large proportion of the work ourselves,” revealed Glenys.
“However we do manage to have breaks, this is because we are fortunate to have a very reliable relief manager to take over for us. It is also only very occasionally that guests arrive after dark, so we are normally free after 6pm.”
In the first two years of their management, all of the apartments were completely refurbished. “Thanks to our supportive owners the completion of the high quality refurbishment was delivered smoothly and we used all local businesses to achieve the best results for the project,” said Gavan.
The stunning apartments wow guests and are an easy walk to the beach and Yeppoon’s CBD. All apartments are furnished to a high standard and the striking penthouse apartment also has a private entrance and two-car accommodation, it features an outdoor barbeque area, huge living area patio and rooftop outdoor entertaining area with the most inspiring views of the Capricorn Coast.
According to Gavan, when they initially took over the complex, the computer system was very limited so they had a busy time updating the systems. But their biggest learning curve was learning to deal with the mix of owners and the different body corporate committee members and managers. “We have been very fortunate that we have great owners, a very supportive committee and we have formed some great friendships,” he noted.
In 2012, Glenys and Gavan took on the huge job of repainting the building, with the complex over multiple levels, scaffolding, cherry pickers and high ladder work was required. Gavan explained: “The job was completed successfully in only four weeks even though it was done in February, luckily we did not lose any days due to inclement weather.”
Like all successful managers, they are working hard to keep up with the latest industry developments and a prevailing challenge for them is attempting to “re-educate guests to book direct, instead of through OTAs”.
They have made sure that their website is up-to-date and has an easy-to-use booking button. But, Glenys admitted: “We are still finding that the majority of our bookings come from the internet through Booking.com, Expedia, etc.”
Even with the occasional challenges, Glenys declared: “We enjoy living in one of the most beautiful locations on the Queensland coast and our apartment allows us to enjoy these views to the max. After eight years we can still honestly say that we never tire of the ever changing view; whether watching the yachts in the bay, seeing a pod of dolphins or the odd whale swim by.
“We always get a great kick out of people, when they leave and say what a great place we have and that they will be back, we feel very proud. At Villa Mar Colina, a large portion of our guests are return visitors and we feel that this speaks volumes about our wonderful resort.”
But after almost nine years in the business, Glenys and Gavan feel that it is time to move on. They say they will step away and “let somebody else take over and enjoy the experience of living here”.
Glenys concluded: “After nine wonderful years we are ready to do some more travelling around this great country of ours, to stop and enjoy our grandchildren and spend some precious time with our three married daughters and eight grandchildren that all live in Victoria.”