SUNBIZ

Air BnB, Kava And Coffee At Writers Lodge

Writers Lodge is an adventure for Mr and Mrs Fisher and aptly named for the profession Mrs Fisher came from – communications.
11 Jan 2020 14:14
Air BnB, Kava And Coffee At Writers Lodge
Work preparing Writers Lodge at Selbourne Street, Suva. Photo: Frederica Elbourne INSET: Weta Coffee (Fiji) is owned and operated by locals Darran and Mue Bentley Fisher

When Writers Lodge opens, it will feature just the essentials – AirBnB suites, a sit-down coffee cafe and a kava bar.

Fully loaded with back up utilities such as a generator, a water tank and gas supply.

The latest addition to Suva’s service industry will embrace technology where access to the suites will be controlled by telephones, co-owner Darran Fisher said.

His wife Mue Bentley Fisher has carefully chosen mismatch furniture and trimmings from Indonesia to complement the décor.

Weta Coffee (Fiji) is owned and operated by locals Darran and Mue Bentley Fisher.  Photo: Weta Coffee

Weta Coffee (Fiji) is owned and operated by locals Darran and Mue Bentley Fisher. Photo: Weta Coffee

“It’s been a long time coming, but you know we were patient,” Mrs Fisher said.

The couple own and operate Weta Coffee (Fiji) through their company Thirty Three Pte Ltd, also the exclusive distributor of Weta Coffee in Fiji.

 

The couple have prior experience in the AirBnB business, making the Writers Lodge an extension of what they already know.

Barista Irene Hiagi serves a drink at Weta Coffee. Photo: Frederica Elbourne

Barista Irene Hiagi serves a drink at Weta Coffee. Photo: Frederica Elbourne

“Still, it’s all new for us, this new project,” Mrs Fisher said.

AirBnB will operate under a hotel licence.

“People need to be honest,” he said.

Writers Lodge is an adventure for Mr and Mrs Fisher and aptly named for the profession Mrs Fisher came from – communications.

Across the street from Writers Lodge is the Playhouse, giving the name of the couple’s new venture a poetic and romantic touch for such brilliant creativity.

Mr Fisher, a landscaper by profession, said there were three forms of payment with AirBnB – direct deposit with the banks which took a week to clear, Western Union money transfer and a loyalty AirBnB card.

The couple initially planned to set up a coffee shop and liquor store at the Selbourne Street site, but decided against the latter for profitability’s sake.

The building has since had a facelift to brighten what was once a dark, old and faded corner facade.

Mr Fisher said the refurbishment of the building along with its new extension and interior outlay – paid for by the property owner and the tenants tallied an estimated $1 million.

“I’m still riding out the excitement instead of getting all stressed out,” Mrs Fisher said.

Weta Coffee, since its initiation last year, has helped the couple gain better understanding of business machinations.

“It’s been a bit of a blessing as we’ve been able to settle in this business and really understand our customers and just learn about being in the coffee business while waiting for that other development,” Mrs Fisher said.

The AirBnB has four suites. Each suite sleeps four people.

“We’re happy to provide an alternative to market, a niche market within the central location.”

Reconstruction at the site has been ongoing for over a year, Mr Fisher said.

“It’s Fiji, things take longer than anticipated.”

Writers Lodge owners Mue Fisher Bentley with her husband Darran show New Zealand High Commissioner Jonathan Curr a digital copy of his comment in the Fiji Sun’s Social Media Watch page. Photo: Frederica Elbourne

Writers Lodge owners Mue Fisher Bentley with her husband Darran show New Zealand High Commissioner Jonathan Curr a digital copy of his comment in the Fiji Sun’s Social Media Watch page. Photo: Frederica Elbourne

About Writers Lodge

Writers Lodge, located at Selbourne Street will be the flagship for Weta Coffee, featuring a commercial kitchen, she said.

“We just figured the two businesses sort of complemented each other since you’re going to need a place to stay somewhere in central Suva and there’s a need for somewhere to eat and grab your coffee – which is downstairs,” Mrs Fisher said.

“We kind of did things backwards – it would have been ideal to have a bigger place first and provide service to a smaller place,” she said of the exciting venture unfolding as a result of Weta Coffee.

“It will have a bigger sit-down space because obviously this (Weta Coffee outlet at Mobil On The Go service station) this is grab and go, so everything’s takeaway here.”

Work preparing Writers Lodge at Selbourne Street, Suva. Photo: Frederica Elbourne

Work preparing Writers Lodge at Selbourne Street, Suva. Photo: Frederica Elbourne

Feedback: frederica.elbourne@fijisun.com.fj

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