La Grande Apartments

When Tony and Grace Burns walked in as resident managers at La Grande Apartments on the Gold Coast 12 months ago, they also walked into a major refurbishment of the building.

Luckily it occurred at the same time as the impact of the global financial crisis was being felt by Gold Coast tourism so the business was not impacted severely. The $950,000 upgrade took five months to complete and has given the Mediterranean inspired apartment complex a stunning makeover.

The upgrade included the entire façade on all four towers being painted, as well as replacement of fascias, guttering, roof top fascias and downpipes. The roof was repainted as well. As all the rooms facing west and the hinterland receive the full force of the afternoon sun, all the original timber shutters on the balconies were replaced with aluminium ones from Cosmopolitan Shutters.

The decorative shutters were part of the original design so replacing them with aluminium has kept the decorative finish but made them more user-friendly.


Higgins Coatings repainted the exterior in two-toned neutral beige colours, which brought to life the crisp white balconies off every apartment.

Developed in 1994, it was the first major refurbishment for the buildings. “It was all organised by the body corporate before we arrived,” said Tony. “We knew it was going to happen and were quite excited and after all the headaches and the down turn, the end result is certainly pleasing.

“The body corporate wanted to give it a whole new look, something contemporary but still in keeping with its original heritage and theme. Everything was pretty much decided before we arrived but we did get a bit of look before they started and we are very happy with end result though the names of the paint Self Destruct and Grand Piano sounded a bit odd at first but they look stunning.

“We are very excited with the end result and thank all our guests for their patience during our much needed overhaul. The owner-occupiers gave the project a majority vote and the reaction from them has been fantastic.”

The project manager Mike Walton, from DJ Builders & Son, contracted by the body corporate, made all the difference to the smooth running of the refurbishment liaising with all the subcontractors, the body corporate and the complex managers.

“Having Mike as project manager was a certainly a huge positive,” said Tony. “He could see things that we didn’t and followed through on them. All the contractors were fantastic.

“The painters from Higgins were highly motivated, very professional and consistently provided a top standard of service.”


But Tony and Grace had their work cut out getting guests and workers in and out of apartments. “It was horrendously disruptive with the building fully scaffolded making it very difficult for holiday letting,” said Tony.

“It affected business initially but then business on the coast slowed down with May, June and July here probably the worst we have seen, so it was an opportune time to do it.”

They were upfront about what was happening, posting information on their website about the work and advising guests when they booked. While the work did deter some guests, those that stayed were very happy and enjoyed their stay.

“Our main challenge was making sure that the guests had a reasonably comfortable stay with little or no inconvenience,” Tony said. “We didn’t have one person leave.

“We also wanted to make sure that the permanent residents and owners that call La Grande home, were also inconvenienced as little as possible. Returning guests have told us how fantastic the buildings look with the new modern colour scheme.”

The refurbishment was done in stages allowing Tony and Grace to keep renting apartments.

“One building was completed at a time, though at certain times there was scaffolding around two buildings as the work progressed,” he said.

Having one building done at a time alleviated most of the problems.

“La Grande has a very good kerb appeal and we constantly have people coming in saying they have walked past for many years now and always wanted to stay here,” he said. “Now the apartments have more appeal people are coming to have a look.

“One of our key focuses is to get out there and let everybody know the work has been done and how good it is.”

Tony and Grace have a background in managing hotels and resorts in Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, and Seattle for Warwick International Hotels.


“It was an opportunity to travel the world and while Brisbane was always home we always had an ambition to come down and work on Gold Coast,” he said.

Located within walking distance of the Jupiters Casino, Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre and Kurrawa beach just across the road is a major attraction.

Tony and Grace are finding La Grande is also proving attractive to business people coming to the Gold Coast with their families for the expanding city’s convention trade.

“They like to arrive a couple of days before their convention and enjoy the sights with their families, then stay to relax and unwind for a couple of days after,” he said.

The totally non-smoking La Grande is an oasis of indulgence and relaxation with 36 stylish and spacious apartments, fitted out with all the latest conveniences. All of the two or three bedroom apartments and sub penthouses are tastefully furnished, with private balconies and vast windows allowing guests to capture the views from every angle.

The apartments are fully self-contained with everything necessary for self-catering holidays while the decor, fittings and fixtures are in keeping with the four star AAA rating.

Additional features include fully self contained, en suite bathroom to main bedroom, generous dining and living areas, modern decor and quality furnishings throughout, ceiling fans in most rooms, laundry with washing machine and dryer, security undercover parking, air conditioning, stereo, television, video, free cable, secure access with intercom system, full gourmet kitchen including dishwasher and microwave, private furnished balconies, iron and iron board.

Facilities include an in-ground salt water swimming pool – heated in winter – picturesque landscaped gardens, barbecue and outdoor entertainment area, equipped gymnasium, indoor spa, sauna, complimentary Foxtel cable service, intercom controlled secure access and secure underground parking.

All apartments are serviced weekly but guests staying more than seven nights and negotiate other times. All linen is provided, along with an initial supply of mini sachets of bath and kitchen amenities.

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