Fiji’s first landowners-owned four-star resort is under renovation following the takeover of new management.
Nakelo Treasure Island Resort and Spa Fiji is being refurbished to the tune of $2.3 million.
The facelift, scheduled to finish by October, is symbolic of the new owners intent to do away with the old look the resort had.
Following the change of ownership in December 2019, the new proprietors – landowners of Viseisei Village in Vuda – say they will also construct staff quarters, which should be ready by October.
The resort, off the coast of Lautoka, is located close to one of Fiji’s oldest island resorts, Beachcomber, which was built by the late DanCostello, a pioneer of the tourism industry.
Resort general manager Jim Saukuru said Nakelo Pte Limited was the parent company and business arm of the tokatoka Nakelo from Viseisei Village in Vuda.
Occupancy Rate Relatively High
He said the popularity of the resort was unwavering as records held 80 per cent occupation up until December 2019 and January 2020.
“Usually when Fiji’s tourism industry usually feel the pinch during the low period, we maintain a 65 per cent occupancy rate.
“Towards the end of January, when the low period kicked in, we had 40 per cent occupancy.
“But our forward bookings indicated a rise from March through to November, of between 70 to 75 per cent occupancy.”
The 43-acre island, known as Elevuka Island, belongs to the people of tokatoka Nakelo.
Ready For Christmas
The island operated as a resort for the past 43 years.
Initially, the people of tokatoka Nakelo owned one-third of shares, but eventually increased their shares to 50 per cent.
In December past year, the landowner bought out the remaining 50 per cent shares held by tourism stalwart and businessman, Bill Whiting.
Mr Saukuru said 42 of the 78 bures on the island were refurbished.
“We spent an additional $100,000 on an overseas consignment for outdoor furniture, poolside umbrellas and sun loungers for the beach bures.”
Renovations will include re-sanding and polishing of the poolside deck and the construction of a new footpath around the resort, he said.
“We are now looking at the extension of the bar and restaurant areas and relocation of the live band stage, which we hope to complete by the end of October – in time for Christmas.”
Mr Saukuru said the new-look resort was in line with its four-star rating.
“We will upgrade our bird and iguana sanctuary and our famous turtle programme.
“We are building on what we have. We had 68 bures in April last year and added another 10 by December 2019.
“We will take this resort to new heights.”