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Proves Stronger Than Winston

Tanoa Rakiraki Hotel is definitely stronger than Winston. The hotel was badly hit by Tropical Cyclone Winston last year . It took 18 months to rebuild the room structures and
30 Sep 2017 10:00
Proves Stronger Than Winston
Tanoa Hotel, Rakiraki after the facelift, repairing the damage caused to the hotel by Tropical Cyclone Winston which hit last year.

Tanoa Rakiraki Hotel is definitely stronger than Winston.

The hotel was badly hit by Tropical Cyclone Winston last year .

It took 18 months to rebuild the room structures and get the business up and running.

It is understood a big investment was made to the rebuilding of the hotel, and is one of the hidden paradise in Fiji.

In an in-depth interview with hotel manager Rameshwari Mani, she talked about the transformation of the Rakiraki property after TC Winston and how the hotel’s parent company supported them throughout.

Ms Mani and her husband, Avinesh Mani, who is the hotel operations manager, are looking after the property and were witnesses to the brunt force of TC Winston when it hit on February 20, 2016.

“I started at Tanoa Skylodge Hotel in Nadi in the finance department and Avinesh was in the purchasing department.

“We later got married and also got a promotion in 2012, moved to Tanoa Rakiraki because the general manager here retired.

“When we moved here we had about 24 rooms to operate from while the other 22 rooms were for Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC) because they had a campus here in 2012.”

In 2014, she said APTC moved from Rakiraki and merged with University of the South Pacific.

“We did the renovations of the block that they were in, then we started selling for guests in 2014.

“We had about 20 to 25 staff members here including us.”

Now, the hotel has 12 executive rooms, 12 superior rooms which are now fully operational and 10 standard rooms.

She said the new rooms offer both leisure and for corporate travellers, a fantastic accommodation option when travelling.

The hotel features its bowling green, pool side dining, and traditional restaurant offering breakfast, lunch and dinner.

She said there were a lot of changes done in terms of hotel rooms and a lot of operations and upgrading at the restaurant which were necessary at that time.

She noted that new staff members were recruited and business grew after that.

“We were on 60 per cent occupancy until 2016, when Tropical Cyclone Winston hit us all our 36 rooms were damaged.

“We had to close operation on the 21st of February till 30th of June because we didn’t have any accommodation rooms to sell.

During TC Winston they had some in-house guests, luckily no one was injured.

“We looked after them with a few of our staff who were on shift it was a dramatic and terrible night that we experienced here at the property’s main building even half the kitchen portion was gone.

“The rooms were not safe to go too, we managed to get the guests from the room to the living room.

We had a lot of experience during Winston as a team but the good thing the company didn’t release any of the staff we maintained them and they were still paid.

“We cleaned up the property and were doing our reports from our head office in Lautoka

“We live within the property after the cyclone we didn’t have any power supply until 20 of April.

“I think about two months but then we were given temporary power supply from the Group even after the cyclone we didn’t have any food stuff.

“A chopper was sent by the Group bringing us food and water supplies because the roads were closed.

She said since the hotel was insured the insurance company did a site inspection of the property.

“We cleaned up the property slowly and then the company then decided to convert the dormitory to 10 standard rooms so that we can start with our operations partially.

Then 1st of July last year they opened 10 standard rooms.

“Then later this year in March we started with the renovation of the 24 rooms which was given the first priority that is the executive and superior blocks.

“After the 24 rooms were done simultaneously together so we can operate those blocks together.

“In five months’ time they managed to do the renovations than from August this year we opened 24 rooms

“Now we are waiting for the 12 rooms to be completed so that we have 46 guestrooms altogether.

Business is really good so far 60 to 75 per cent occupancy rate after the renovation.

“Our target market is mostly corporate and Government, so its peak time for us because they have business this side.”

 

About Tanoa Hotel Group

The hotel belongs to the Tanoa Hotel Group which is a family-owned and operated business established more than 40 years ago.

They have 10 hotels in the South Pacific: Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and New Zealand.

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj




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