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  Air Pacific, Fiji’s International Airline, Upgrades Denarau
Island Resort Project from Novotel Brand to Sofitel

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Bangkok, 4 August 2004 — Fiji’s newest and most deluxe hotel and spa resort is set to open on Denarau Island in mid-2005. 

Construction of Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa is currently well advanced on a prime waterfront location on Denarau Island.

The project, which was originally to be a Novotel Resort, has been upgraded to include additional Presidential and Executive Suites, larger standard room sizes, a luxurious resort spa centre, a new restaurant and bar, and Denarau Island’s most extensive meetings and banquets venue.

The Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa is owned by Richmond Ltd a joint venture between Air Pacific, Fiji’s international airline and Colonial Fiji Life, part of the Australian Commonwealth Bank Group, one of the largest investment companies in Fiji. The resort will cost F$74 million to develop.  The Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa will join a network of over 180 Sofitels globally.

Gerald Barrack, Chairman of Richmond Limited, said the decision to upgrade the hotel to Accor’s premier Sofitel brand reflected the growth in demand for upmarket accommodation from Fiji’s principal source markets.

“We have recently undertaken one of the largest investment and modernisation programmes in the history of Air Pacific, and we now have the capacity to significantly increase visitor numbers to the destination,” said Mr Barrack.  “To complement this, we have required additional quality accommodation in the market, and Sofitel – which is also expanding rapidly – is the perfect brand to meet this objective.”

The announcement comes at a time when Fiji’s tourism sector is experiencing a period of sustained growth, particularly from the Australian, New Zealand and North American markets. Additional air capacity to Fiji is expected to further increase inbound tourism and conference business. 

The Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa is being built on Denarau Island, a fully integrated tourist destination, conveniently located just 20 minutes from Fiji’s international airport at Nadi. The island is also a popular pre- and post-destination for travellers to the outer islands and within Viti Levu, Fiji’s main island.

The hotel is being designed with distinctive Fijian features spread over 26 acres of landscaped gardens. It will comprise 296 rooms and suites, three restaurants and three bars, including a pool side restaurant & bar, the largest conference facilities in Fiji, a lagoon–style freeform pool, a full-service resort day spa operated by one of Asia Pacific’s leading spa operators, Kids Club, retail outlets and a wedding chapel. 

Guests will be able to fully utilise the adjacent world-class Denarau Golf & Racquet Club, which incorporates an 18-hole championship golf course and ten tennis courts.
Air Pacific – which is 51% owned by the Government of Fiji and 46% owned by Qantas – is anticipating considerable growth in the market to Fiji, prompting the need for additional international-standard resort accommodation. An increase of more than 10% is anticipated for visitor numbers in 2004, with the bulk of the growth coming from the Australian, New Zealand and North American markets. The market from Asia is also developing strongly.

Commenting on the announcement of the Sofitel, Accor Asia Pacific Managing Director, Michael Issenberg, said that the upgrading of the project to a Sofitel was a result of substantial design changes enabling the hotel to provide a far higher level of facilities than originally planned. 

“The new facilities will complement the resort’s premier northern beachfront site on Denarau Island,” he said. “Sofitel branding will bring a distinctive personality and atmosphere to the resort and will introduce a new level of sophistication befitting a destination of this quality.”

Accor is the worldwide leader in hotels, tourism and corporate services, employing 158,000 people in 140 countries, with two major international activities:

   

 
Contact:

Tom Racette
Manager PR and Communications – Asia, 
Tel: (662) 659 4535
Tom.Racette@accor.com
 

Also See: Air Pacific Developing 300 Room Resort on Denerau Island, Fiji / Jan 2000
Air Pacific & Colonial Funding F$73.5 million Novotel Resort on Denarau Island in Fiji / February 2004


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