Intrepid expands into hotels with launch of Drifter

Intrepid Travel has moved into the accommodation market through a joint venture with Drifter Hospitality Group.

The venture is raising a fund of AUS$75 million (£41 million) to acquire and reposition hotels across Australia and New Zealand.

The group’s first hotels will open in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch in 2022, and positioned as ‘Drifter – an Intrepid Hotel’.

The ‘hybrid hotels’ will feature communal areas and flexible room options, including private suites and shared rooms.

“The concept is popular with millennials, who increasingly seek experiential accommodation,” said Intrepid.

There will be eight hotels across Australia and New Zealand in the next three years, growing to 15 properties by 2025.

The group plans to take the concept globally.

Intrepid Travel is a 50/50 joint venture partner with Drifter and the cornerstone investor in the fund.

James Thornton, Intrepid Travel chief executive, said: “We’ve long recognised the potential to bring our knowledge of sustainable experience-rich travel and the international tourism market – particularly solo and millennial travellers – to the hotel sector.

“With Drifter, we’ll create truly unique hotels that travellers will love and the opportunity to grow across the region is profound.”

Intrepid Travel has created a hotels division led by former APAC managing director Sarah Clark.

She said: “We’ll offer high-quality, unique accommodation and sustainable experiences in the heart of buzzing urban CBDs and neighbourhoods. With travel reopening, people looking to reconnect, and the opportunity presented with city real estate, it’s the perfect moment to embark on this expansion phase.”

The properties will be carbon neutral and sustainable practices will be implemented across design, services, amenities, utilities and wider operational practices.

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