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Fiji’s Pioneering Likuliku Lagoon Resort Celebrates Its Tenth Anniversary

April 12, 2017 Resort News No Comments Email Email

On 15th April 2017, Likuliku Lagoon Resort will celebrate its tenth anniversary – an important milestone for this 100 percent Fijian-owned, internationally acclaimed resort.

The journey to opening Likuliku began in 2002 when Tony Whitton – local Fijian entrepreneur and Managing Director of Ahura Resorts (Likuliku’s parent company), recognised the potential of this heavenly and ideal location. Back then, when conceptualising Likuliku, Tony recalls, “My vision for Likuliku was to introduce overwater bungalows/bures, something that didn’t exist in Fiji and that past developers had said could never be built in Fiji.   I also wanted to provide a unique resort, modeled on a traditional Fijian village similar to where I grew up as a child. I felt it was important we emulated a traditional design concept and utilized the skills of local Fijian villagers and construction materials to showcase things like the beauty of the Soga thatch, bush bamboo, native hard woods and pandanus weave.”

During the planning and construction of Likuliku, Tony Whitton and his team paid particular attention to ensuring the sustainability and longevity of the resort’s pristine environment. As Tony remembers, “It was critical we secured the participation of our Traditional Resource Owners in the initial concept design, construction and ultimately in the business as we planned to use their qoliqoli – marine resource, passed from generation to generation. The natural Lagoon teems with marine life and coral, and we are grateful they allowed us to share this with the world.  We feel a tremendous responsibility to ensure this valuable resource is always protected and preserved and work in partnership with our traditional owners through their marine park “Tabu” (protection), to ensure the natural surroundings remain viable and vibrant in years to come.”

On 15th April 2007, Tony fulfilled his vision, and Likuliku Lagoon Resort opened as an adults-only retreat, offering a unique haven of relaxed refinement with Fiji’s first and only overwater accommodation. Within months of opening and over the ensuing years, the resort would be honoured with significant travel awards and accolades including, Best Overseas Resort in Luxury Travel Magazine’s Gold List five years in a row,  5 times winner of the HM (Hotel Management) Award for Best Fijian Property, and  5 times winner of the  the Fiji Tourism Luxury Accommodation Award.  Likuliku is also the only Fijian resort honoured in The World’s Top 20 Greatest Escapes by the USA’s  Islands magazine, and last year, was named in the venerated *Conde Nast 2016 Reader’s Choice Awards as No.9 in the “Top Resorts in Australia and the South Pacific”.

Likuliku has been the subject of hundreds of travel stories over the years, bringing focus and attention to not just the resort, but to Fiji as a whole through the unique proposition of the country’s only over-water bures.   These various travel articles have resulted in over FJD$18M of media coverage value and an incalculable number of happy social media mentions as guests share their memories and experiences at the resort.

In the past ten years, Likuliku has welcomed nearly 48,000 guests from 108 countries.   The majority of guests visit from the USA and Australia with many also travelling from the UK, Europe, Asia and New Zealand. Nearly 4,000 guests are repeat visitors with some honouring Likuliku with their 16th stay.

The successful pre opening, the positioning and operational success of Likuliku Lagoon today can be attributed to an extraordinary team of people headed by Steve Anstey who is Ahura Resorts’ Group General Manager and who came out to the resort pre construction 12 years ago as pre-opening GM.  Steve says, “It has been an interesting and challenging 12 years.  Opening, establishing and running island resorts is a relentless and gruelling business and  openings especially have their own unique set of challenges, frustrations and problems to deal with.  However, once you are open you are running an operation 24/7,  365 days a year. Consistency of product is paramount to success. You cannot sit back on your laurels for one moment when establishing a product of any value.  New guests arrive daily with high expectations and we have to work hard to meet these expectations and exceed them where we can.

“We set out in 2007 to create a product the likes of which hadn’t been seen in Fiji before. Not only did we achieve this through the construction of an amazing physical asset, but we set new standards and levels in resort service, cuisine and product integrity and have maintained it and sustained it for the last decade.    Likuliku has come of age after a gruelling 10 years plagued with political and global economic instability and unprecedented weather disruptions, and we are extremely proud of her.

“Critical to Likuliku’s success are the fantastic staff who are the heart and soul of the resort.   35% of our existing staff have been with us since opening.     We thank them all for their dedication and contagious enthusiasm as they set about ensuring guests enjoy and indulge in our tranquil oasis while enjoying world-class food and a quintessential and unique Fijian holiday experience.

Steve continues, “Also critical to our success are the hundreds of travel partners and stakeholders with whom we work all around the globe – most of whom took Likuliku to their markets from the outset and continue to do so to this day.  We also acknowledge and thank the thousands of guests who have visited our shores and equally, to the thousands of return guests”.

Likuliku is wilderness, holiday experience set in a beautiful, pristine and sensitive environment.    Steve explains, “As a Resort company operating in such an environment, we wholly support the concept of sustainable tourism and believe that any development in such areas carries not only a legal but also a moral responsibility to ensure that the environment is not degraded through irresponsible activities and practices.  We are deeply involved and committed to long term dry forest reforestation projects on our leases and on Malolo Levu and have since 2010, been operating and growing our critically endangered Fiji Crested Iguana captivity and breeding program”.

“Sustainable tourism is also about the people and the culture. It is about providing opportunities for improving and helping island communities and individuals through the development of businesses that provide jobs, training and on going development without compromising or taking advantage of the culture or the people involved. Royalties are paid to the Landowners as well as a monthly rental calculated on a percentage of all sales. Ahura also provides an education fund for the landowners and we proudly contribute annually to the provision and improvement of new buildings and services in the local village and school”.

Likuliku is situated in the Mamanuca group of islands in Fiji’s west, 16 miles/25km from Nadi International Airport. Guests can arrive at Likuliku by helicopter or seaplane (10 minutes), 40 minutes by speedboat transfer or one or two hours by 3-times daily fast catamaran.

Prices start from FJD$995 (AUD$650/USD$480/€455/£388*) per person per night inclusive of all meals, free WiFi, special amenities and non-motorised activities.    Choose from 3, 5 or 7 night packages with complimentary value-add inclusions ranging from cocktails, massages, champagne and free transfers on helicopters, seaplanes or private water taxis.

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