Business

Tourism Industry – New owners, new look for Sandalwood Lodge

$1.5 million Plans to make it a three star property with upgraded facilities JYOTI PRATIBHA NADI After running Sandalwood Lodge for more than 30 years, the Birch family has sold
05 Aug 2014 08:12

$1.5 million Plans to make it a three star property with upgraded facilities

Staff members of Sandalwood Lodge in Nadi. Photo: Sheik Dean

JYOTI PRATIBHA
NADI
After running Sandalwood Lodge for more than 30 years, the Birch family has sold it to Dulcinea Limited, owned by Suresh Patel, director of Automart Limited.
There are plans to rebrand the Lodge at Ragg street in Martintar, Nadi into a three or 3.5 star hotel, a process which will see close to $1.5 million further invested in it.
General manager of the Lodge, Faizal Ali, said Dulcinea Limited acquired the property after having diversified into the hospitality industry as well.
Mr Ali said their investment of millions in acquiring and upgrading the property was a sign of their confidence in Fiji and the Fijian economy.
Mr Ali said: “This is a growing industry and the trend we have seen is that there is a huge demand not only for 5-star properties but also for three and 3.5 star properties.
“This is at the moment a two-star property. We will be investing in upgrading this place.”
Mr Ali said all staff would be retained and more would be hired in coming days.
“Right now, this is just a basic Lodge. We will be having a bar, bistro and restaurant,” he said.
“There is no internet facility here but we are looking at having Wi-Fi in all rooms.
“We need to upgrade the rooms as well, change the furniture, make it more comfortable amongst many other things.”
Investment in any country is a sign of investor confidence, however, having locals investing millions in a country also sends out a message to foreign investors on the stability of the economy and of potential growth.
Mr Ali said the Bainimarama-Government has had some very good and investor-friendly policies, which has seen more investment in tourism sector.
“The tourism industry’s growth since the Bainimarama-Government has been in place has been phenomenal,” he said.
“We are motivated by that. Government is very supportive of new investments and ventures and we have been a reduction in bureaucracy.
“That has made it easier for us to go ahead and make acquisitions. That is something very helpful for us and it is a very friendly environment right now.”
Mr Ali said: “The entire upgrade should be completed in five months.
“We will have a new name for the property and we are in the process of taking in suggestions for it.
“Tenders will also be called for upgrade works as well.”
Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj




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