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Iris started in 1995 with a vision: to develop a substantial portfolio of assets in the hospitality industry.

By 2006 we had acquired 13 hotels through our simple, guiding strategy of creating profitable growth. We identified potential and transformed venues with profitable gaming revenues into complete destinations – places that offer an exceptional total customer experience.

Initially focussing on Sydney’s fast growing south west corridor, our best-practice operating model allowed for rapid expansion into larger and ever more prestigious locations.

Over the last decade we have evolved beyond hospitality into realising the full potential of our group. We’ve optimised our locations, with high quality, integrated residential and mixed-use developments, in sought-after locations such as Kings Cross and Clovelly, and right across the Sydney region.

Most recently we have taken another leap forward, with the acquisition of East End in Newcastle. Here, our team is excited by the possibilities of undertaking the rejuvenation of the entire city centre.


We believe in evolution. Moving forward through constant refinement and expansion of our business model, always creating places people love – whether it’s a hotel, a destination, an apartment or a complete city precinct.


We continue to develop our proprietary systems, to recognise and acquire assets with the potential for development and growth.


We continue to identify locations that have the potential for us to create a landmark venue in the community; and we will never lose sight of how our developments can enrich their environment.


We continue to partner with leading architects, agents, consultants and builders to realise value and maximise quality and profits.


We maintain our respectful attitude to our industry partners.


At each stage of the development process, we will consistently deliver quality results, on time and on budget.


Our small, passionate core team has over eighty years combined experience.

Our comprehensive understanding of the property market and meticulous attention to detail have helped us grow Iris – from a small private enterprise into a highly regarded, rapidly expanding industry player. We’re quietly proud of what we have achieved to date, but the team’s main focus is our future and each new challenge we set ourselves.

Sam Arnaout.

Chief Executive Officer.

As the Chief Executive Officer of IRIS Capital, Sam Arnaout is responsible for determining strategic direction and overseeing the group’s diverse operations. Sam possesses an intimate understanding of the hotel industry obtained from over 20 years in hospitality business management. Sam also has significant experience in retail and residential property development.

His in-depth knowledge regarding feasibility, planning and approval processes, contract negotiation and project management of properties ensure IRIS Capital is well placed to deliver on
its future property pipeline.

Rod Hawkins.

General Counsel.

Rod brings significant experience to Iris Capital, having previously worked in private practice for over 15 years, including most recently as Special Counsel at a leading Sydney law firm.

Rod understands the pressure points, strategy and objectives of Iris Capital’s diverse business interests and prides himself on providing clear and commercial advice that enables Iris Capital to make informed strategic choices within an acceptable legal risk profile.

Melissa Sheehan.

Financial Controller.

Melissa Sheehan has over 15 years experience providing accounts services to the public and has been with IRIS Capital for over 8 years. Melissa is responsible for the finance and accounting functions of the operating businesses.

Melissa supervises a team of accountants to provide timely management reporting to assist ongoing management decisions. Melissa is a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA), a Registered BAS agent, a Registered Tax Agent and a Registered Self-Managed Super Fund Auditor.

Craig Hibbard.

General Manager.

Craig has over 20 years’ experience across the hotel and property industries in Australia’s prime Sydney CBD and metro markets. His hospitality career spans 15 years’ having worked with industry leading hospitality businesses strong in hotels, restaurants, gaming, functions, events and entertainment. In addition to his extensive hospitality experience Craig worked as a real estate agent in the Sydney CBD property market acting for some of Australia’s most prominent institutional and private property owners. His broad expertise and experience in both hospitality and property is rare and valuable.

Paul Devine.

Chief Operating Officer.

With over 20 years hands on international operational experience within a diverse range of hospitality businesses, inclusive of hotels, Michelin star dining establishments, cruise lines and entertainment venues, Paul Devine first joined IRIS Hotel Group in 2010.

Paul holds the responsibility for the daily operations of the hospitality sector of the IRIS portfolio as a whole. From acquisition and supplier negotiation, upgrades and redevelopment of the hotels; to managing 450+ hospitality staff and ensuring venue management teams achieve their targets to better the business & create community hubs.
Paul holds a management degree from Dublin university, a hotel management degree from Dublin Institute of Technology and diplomas in business & mathematics.

John Paul Higgins.

Group Marketing Manager.

John Paul Higgins is the Group Marketing Manager for Iris Capital responsible for all marketing and sales strategies including branding, advertising and e-commence; group compliance, strategic development and operational performance.

As a seasoned professional with over twenty years of hospitality experience, John Paul is known for driving brand growth, maximising operational excellence and delivering upon strategic outcomes. Since joining Iris Capital in 2015, John Paul has implemented a number of measures to increase the company’s revenue and expand the brands recognition.

In previous roles, John Paul acquired extensive leadership and management experience running large and complex venues, both domestically and internationally. John Paul has a passion for high-end customer service and impactful marketing that attracts global audiences. John Paul holds a Bachelor of Business Studies with Marketing from Letterkenny Institute of Technology.

Warwick Bowyer.

Development Manager.

Warwick has significant experience across a range of residential, commercial and master planned, mixed use, urban regeneration developments.
Warwick understands the importance of working both innovatively and collaboratively to add value and achieve superior development outcomes for all stakeholders.

Warren Duarte.

Development Manager.

Warren Duarte joined IRIS Capital in 2015 with over 30 years commercial experience having previously worked for international accounting firms, ASX listed and private property development companies. Warren is responsible for the planning of IRIS Capital’s significant Sydney property portfolio and co-ordinates a diverse range of consultants to deliver strategic outcomes, which contribute to asset growth and add value for the company.

In addition to bringing to fruition the over 1,500 apartments in the development pipeline, Warren is also involved with the upgrades that IRIS Capital undertakes on it’s Hotels to keep its product offering fresh and ahead of the competition. Warren holds an Economics Degree from Macquarie University, and is continually keeping up to date with industry changes and trends.

Jamie Boswell.

Development Manager.

Jamie is a qualified registered surveyor with a Bachelor of Surveying from the University of Newcastle. Jamie’s experience spans the property development industry as development manager in a range of roles from planning, design, approvals, construction and sales. Jamie is responsible for the approvals and delivery of projects in the Hunter region.

Brad Arnaout.

Development Cadet.

At just 22, Brad is the next generation of Iris Capital management. Following completion of his schooling years at St Andrews, Brad started at Iris in the hospitality arm of the business before moving across to become part of the development team in 2016 and is actively involved in all of Iris’ development projects from inception through to delivery.

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