SUNBIZ

Island Resort Gets $16 Million Development

Plantation Island Resort, one of Fiji’s prestine tourist destinations is in­vesting $16 million into developments at its world renowned resort. Bradley Robinson, chief executive officer of Raffe Hotels and Resorts,
13 Oct 2018 11:00
Island Resort Gets $16 Million Development
An aerial view of Plantation Island Resort

Plantation Island Resort, one of Fiji’s prestine tourist destinations is in­vesting $16 million into developments at its world renowned resort.

Bradley Robinson, chief executive officer of Raffe Hotels and Resorts, which includes Plantation Island Resort, Fiji Gateway Ho­tel and Lomani Island Resort Fiji, said the developments would be spread over a two year period.

Plantation Island Resort, which was opened by owner Reg Raffe in 1969 is synon­ymous with tourism in Fiji and is one resort that enjoys high occupancy all year round because of its popularity.

The resort would also be celebrating its Golden Jubilee next year and the new devel­opments would be and additional reason to celebrate.

The Fiji Sun spoke to Mr Robinson regard­ing the new developments:

Can you tell us a bit about the project?

The current project at Planation Island Re­sort has a timeline of two years and a total budget of $16 million.

This current project comprises a new Ar­rivals precinct plus the addition of 40 new Hotel style rooms.

The new precinct features a large Arrivals Bure where guests would be welcomed and checked into the Resort as soon as they step off the Malolo Cat.

The structures and architectural typology are light, rustic and traditionally Fijian.

The architectural concepts are based around the massing, materiality and plan­ning of a Fijian village.

It will include a new beachfront Restau­rant and Bar to replace the old Ananda’s Restaurant that we closed down early 2017.

We are also adding a new beachfront pool, which will make a total of four swimming pools available throughout the resort.

In addition to the Arrivals precinct, we have started construction of 40 new rooms.

These rooms will offer couples and small families an accommoda­tion option of a modern hotel style room, creating a point of difference to the stand-alone bures that make up most of the other accommoda­tion around the resort.

 

These new rooms will see Planta­tion return close to our original number of guest rooms, following the removal of an old block of 40 Hotel rooms that we demolished in 2015.

We have also removed 10 of our Studio Garden Bures to make space for the new Hotel rooms.

Where are the developments taking place?

The current development is locat­ed along our north facing beach at the eastern end of the resort.

At the start of the project, we carried out an extensive beach im­provement programme in this area to repair areas of erosion and also remove years of built-up silt over the sand flats.

This programme has created an all-tide swimming lagoon directly in front of the Arrivals precinct and 40 new rooms.

The development area has further benefitted from the widening of the beach enabling the new rooms to be positioned in such a way that all have an ocean view, and with nearly half of them directly front­ing the beach.

Are the workers hotel staff or has a contractor been hired?

We are utilising a combination of resort staff and contract labour.

Our resort staff is working on certain site improvements such as landscaping, beach management and coral planting, whilst the build­ing contractor is taking care of the construction work using their own team.

To date the project has created ap­proximately 130 new jobs.

Why were these developments un­dertaken?

The new arrivals precinct at Plan­tation Island Resort is primarily to enhance the guest arrival experi­ence.

At present guests arrive at the main jetty in the middle of the re­sort, and then need to be guided through one of our key activities areas to get to reception for check-in.

From next year, our guests will be able to enjoy a seamless arrival experience that will not only show­case the resort much better but will also feature stunning views across the Mamanuca waters; reminding them they have arrived in Fiji!

The new hotel rooms and guest facilities including restaurant, bar and pool are replacing similar buildings that we have closed and/or demolished over the past three years, as they had reached the end of their economic life.

How old is Plantation Island resort?

Plantation is one of Fiji’s earliest and most iconic resort properties.

Initially developed in the very ear­ly 1970’s, the resort was gradually expanded throughout the 1980’s and into the early 1990’s.

The Resort is set to celebrate its 50 year anniversary next year and we are looking forward to showcasing these new facilities as part of those celebrations.

What is the average occupancy every year?

Plantation continues to be a huge­ly popular family resort, with oc­cupancies well above 80 per cent for many months of the year

Are there any future developments coming up?

Over the past three years we have carried out a robust master plan­ning exercise to map out how we will be redeveloping Plantation over the coming years.

This current project represents Phase 1 of a three phase program me that will see all of all our cen­tral facilities replaced over coming years.

The Raffe family is very motivat­ed owners who are committed to ensuring that the legacy of their father’s pioneering and innovative contributions to Fijian tourism are continued.

It is indeed very exciting times for Plantation lsland Resort as we ap­proach our 50th birthday and pre­pare to take the resort proudly into the future.

More about the project

A comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment was carried out as part of our government approv­als process.

This assessment ensured the suc­cess of the beach improvement programme and has also guided many of our decisions and choices throughout planning stages of the development.

In addition to ensuring we are not impacting upon the marine envi­ronment, we have also paid close at­tention to unduly impacting upon the development site itself.

We have not cut down any of the existing coconut trees – as few as possible have been moved and they have all been replanted.

The project also has quite a com­prehensive landscaping compo­nent, which will see us planting a range of native species in and around the development area.

Along with the beach improve­ment programme, we have also raised the natural ground level in the development area to protect against any possible future rise in sea levels.

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj



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