The Hyatt Regency Coolum: Combining Health and Business

The following is an interview of Greg Tong conducted in the February 1988 issue of Hawaii Architect when the highly anticipated Hyatt Regency Coolum was still under construction. The Australian resort was the first of its kind, featuring medical facilities, five-star hotel and condominiums, and business management training facilities, all at a single site.

Several years ago our firm was approached by a group of Australians headed by Dr. John Tickell and management consultant Ray Dalglish, who were planning to develop a Queensland, Australia resort in which a health wellness center would play a major role. They had visited an impressive list of resort cum health wellness centers in the United States and wished to advance the state of the art as they had come to know it.

They came up with a concept which is now described as an executive health management resort.

They came up with a concept which is now described as an executive health management resort. Probably the first of its kind anywhere, it will combine–on a single site–medical facilities, resort hotel and condominiums, and business management training facilities. All of the above are to be supported by integrated programs.

Scheduled to open in late 1988, the Hyatt Regency Coolum is the brainchild of Melbourne medico and health management consultant Tickell, who, more than a decade ago, pioneered Australia’s first corporate health management and stress evaluation clinics. Since then more than 400 Australian and U.S. companies have used his stress management services, and he has become something of a hit in boardrooms and on the international speaking circuit. Of Hyatt Regency Coolum he said, ” … (It) is the perfect destination for recreation, rejuvenation, relaxation and believe it or not, doing business.”

“The magnificent oasis has the elements of five-star luxury, top class sporting and exercise facilities and the integral but magnetic attraction of health management and rejuvenation facilities, medically based, but open minded.

“The implementation has not been easy, as it is the only place where an international hotelier, big business, the National Medical Association, and a university business management service have been brought together.”

…set on a 350-acre site featuring lush rainforest, coastal marsh and beach dunes.

The site is in Queensland on Australia’s East Coast- their Sunshine Coast- in the foothills of Mount Coolum. A village setting with one- and two-story buildings of Queensland-inspired architectural character set the theme for the resort, which is set on a 350-acre site featuring lush rainforest, coastal marsh and beach dunes. Major components of the resort comprise:

A reception building in which the guest is introduced to the complex and has his /her transportation mode converted from automobile to foot power, pedal power or electric cart;
100 suites clustered in groups of 40 units around a pavilion designed for serving breakfast and cocktails;
150 two-bedroom condominium suites also clustered in groups around a pavilion;
A village center featuring several food and beverage outlets and shops;
A corporate management center with facilities for lectures, seminars, briefings, retreats;
A commissary that functions as the back of the house and gives each food and beverage outlet autonomy; a unique feature of the commissary is that it will utilize containers for movement of supplies and waste, very much as the airline industry does;
Recreation facilities for golf, tennis, swimming, jogging, aerobics, squash, bicycling, hiking, fishing and surfing; and
For a later phase, 20 executive residences.
Hyatt Regency Coolum

Although others have done similar things, we believe this is truly the first of its kind and that, as a first, it will be a prototype, a forerunner of other projects of this kind.

We envision other developers–worldwide–coming to this project to study its design and operation, to carefully monitor its success.

As part of our 70th Anniversary celebration, we’ll be revisiting past articles and interviews of our founders and past employees of WATG.