The Whitesbeach residence was built in approximately 1990, by Dato Hussain Yusuf, as a holiday house for his family. Affectionately dubbed “The Sheik” by Torquay locals, Dr. Yusuf was a Malaysian dignitary who at one time was head of their department of Veterinary Services. A successful businessman, Dr. Yusuf purchased the land surrounding Whitesbeach with a vision to develop it and build a world class golf resort (now the Sands). Unfortunately he died in 2000, prior to seeing his dream come to fruition. Dr. Yusuf was survived by wife, famous Malaysian actress Datuk Maria Menado, and three children – Hazizul, Haliza and Hazreek.
A New Lease On Life
After The Sheik died unexpectedly, the property sat idle for a number of years before being purchased in 2006 and converted to a boutique hotel by Neal, Julian and Heidi Sweeney and Carmelita Keppel. Between 2007 and 2012 Whitesbeach provided guests from all over the world an accommodation experience, operating as the only 4.5 star boutique hotel in the greater Torquay area.
A Bright Future
Whitesbeach changed hands again in Oct 2012 and was purchased by the Handley family. Originally from Gippsland, Brian and Maria Handley and their four children had been frequent visitors to Torquay for more than 30 years; owning a holiday house in Rudd Avenue. Brian and Maria’s eldest son, Stephen, and his wife Claudia, had often talked about operating a small B&B and, while not exactly small, the opportunity to convert Whitesbeach into a unique accommodation experience was too good to pass up.
Since taking over the property we’ve been working hard to restore it to its former glory as well as add a new level of friendliness and fun. We’d love for you to come and stay and share this journey with us.
Well Stephen & Claudia did take Whitesbeach to a “new level of friendliness & fun”, but as the saying goes, “all good things come to an end” and so it came to pass with Stephen, who made the difficult call to concentrate fully on his fledging new software development business. My wife, Maria & I, in turn, also had to make a call between selling Whitesbeach, or embarking on a new venture in our nominal retirement years.
Well we took the plunge in July 2017 and became resident at Whitesbeach, and slowly phased into the role of hosting guests as Stephen phased out. This has given us a new interest and energy and we’re thoroughly enjoying the combination of lifestyle change plus experience of welcoming lovely people to this lovely property. Thus far this “leap-of-faith” is working out well.