Australia’s most family-friendly resort, Paradise Resort Gold Coast, is celebrating its 40th anniversary in November!
Originally named Ocean Blue, the Resort opened in 1981. Back then, the Glitter Strip as we know it today looked very different – while there were very few high rises, the opening of Grundy’s and Dreamworld in the same year cemented the Gold Coast as the ultimate destination for family fun.
During this time it has hosted everyone from Dave Hughes to Shane Warne for their family holidays, plus plenty of NRL and AFL players. Many guests have returned years later with grandchildren in tow, eager to show their offspring the same fun family holiday they had enjoyed in their youth.
The original resort had 409 rooms, an on-site bakery, hairdressing salon and nightclub (yep, you read that right!). Back then it offered accommodation for everyone, and was even the major prize given to contestants on the popular 1980s TV series Perfect Match, hosted by Cameron Daddo.
The last 40 years at Paradise Resort
Almost two decades after it first opened, Ocean Blue was acquired by the hotel management chain Accor as part of a 10-year management agreement. The deal saw the resort rebrand as the ‘Mercure Resort’ and officially transition toward family accommodation – with this came the installation of the first Gecko Kids Club in Australia.
When this 10-year deal came to an end in the mid-2000s, the owners decided to operate the resort independently and, after a rebrand, Paradise Resort Gold Coast was born.
Things changed again in 2010, when Paradise Resort was bought by a Melbourne family, the Zagames, who invested $6 million over five years into the refurbishment of the water park, outdoor pool area, guest rooms and facilities. This included the installation of Australia’s first hotel-based ice-skating rink (known today as Planet Chill).
In 2015, the resort changed hands once again – though this time, it was earmarked for demolition as part of the sale to the Ralan Group. The Group aspired to build four towers on the site, set to be called The Ruby Collection, but by July 2019 these plans had fallen through, and the Resort was up for sale once again.
Australia’s largest private hotel owner, Dr Jerry Schwartz
That’s when current owner, Dr Jerry Schwartz, stepped onto the scene. As Australia’s largest private hotel owner, Dr Schwartz had the vision and the means to give Paradise Resort a new life.
The resort relaunched in 2020 with a large charity event, a fresh vision and a $12 million plan to ensure Paradise Resort retained the title of Australia’s favourite family resort.
COVID-19 forced the resort to close its doors for the first time in its history in March, but not even a pandemic could stop Dr Schwartz from pursuing his dream.
Instead, they commenced a $3 million makeover, with chefs on paintbrushes, housekeepers working in the gardens and kids’ club attendants cleaning out the water park.
New facilities include a children’s carousel, dodgem cars and bungee trampolines, with an adults-only pool and lounge bar set to open soon.