Fiji beach resort has top tourist ratings

5:00 AM Saturday December 6, 2014 Colin Taylor

View of beach foreshore at Wananavu Beach Resort, Fiji.

A four star tourism complex on the northern tip of Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu is up for sale offering a new owner the opportunity to build on an already successful resort operation.

The Wananavu Beach Resort, set on 6.9 ha of picturesque waterfront land off Volivoli Rd near Rakiraki township,  comprises 34 villas, a restaurant, bar, spa and marina with an associated dive operation. Expressions of interest are being sought in Wananavu’s land, buildings and business through Chester Rendell, a tourism and waterfront specialist in Bayleys Auckland office and Susan Pritchard of Bayleys Fiji.

“This is an immaculately presented, highly regarded resort which will offer a new owner a profitable business with room for considerable expansion,” says Rendell.  “The resort has received a Trip Advisor 2014 Certificate of Excellence, a prestigious award that recognises businesses that consistently earn top Trip Advisor ratings from travellers. 
“Because its location is relatively untouched by mainstream tourism, many of those travellers have commented on the real Fiji experience that Wananavu provides.  It also ranked seventh in Trip Advisor’s list of Fiji’s top 10 hotels ahead of high profile resort destinations such as the InterContinental Golf Resort & Spa in Natadola Bay and the Radisson Blu Resort which was the only Denarau Island hotel to make the list.”

Rendell says Wananavu Beach Resort’s bures, and villas are all well appointed and have a distinctively Fijian feel. “They are sprinkled among beautiful  tropical gardens with easy access to the core facilities which encompass a restaurant with an outdoor dining deck featuring panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and lush tropical gardens; the Sunset Bar and pool area.”

Four one-bedroom and one two-bedroom Garden View Bures are tastefully decorated in Pacific style, with timber floors and attractive artwork and are nestled among flame, rubber and mango trees, flowering hibiscus and coconut palms. Fourteen air conditioned, one-bedroom Ocean View Bures are situated just above and below the restaurant and pool complexwith private decks to capture the unobstructed outlooks to nearby Nananu-i Islands and sometimes as far as Vanua Levu, Fiji’s other main island.

Closer to the water’s edge are eight one-bedroom and two two-bedroom beachfront bures and villas plus four private luxury honeymoon bures complete with plunge pools, separate decks, indoor and outdoor showers and iPad docking stations. The resort has built up a strong wedding business with up to 80 guests able to book the entire resort.

A four-bedroom Villa Vanua displaying intricate traditional wood and twine work overlooks the entire resort and has stunning ocean views. “It is ideal for large groups, sleeping up to 10 guests with a full kitchen and its own 10 metre pool, or it would provide an excellent accommodation if the next owner wanted to live on site,” says Rendell.

The Wai Spa is operated by professional spa staff offering an array of services, including a special bridal service. The resort runs its own dive operation with trained dive masters and two custom-built dive boats and is currently the only resort in the area offering nitrox diving. The surrounding Bligh Waters are a renowned diving area with Jacques Cousteau rating the soft coral the best in the world.

Daily snorkelling trips are offered to the inner and outer reefs, a range of fishing excursions are also provided and the Island Discovery takes guests on a guided tour of the three nearby Nananu i Islands. There are also a variety of inland tours available to guests.

Rendell says the current Australian based owner has substantially improved the quality of the

resort as well as increasing the amount of guest accommodation since acquiring it approximately 10 years ago.

“They have established a well set up, top notch operation run under full management, led by an on-site general manager. The owners now wish to move on to other things and they will leave behind a sound business but with plenty of upside potential for the next owner. There is sufficient land for significant further expansion of the guest accommodation, plus the possibility of adding over water bungalows in the marina area. An increased marketing focus should also pay dividends in occupancy and improve all profit centres within the resort.”

The property’s 69,9156 sq m of land is held under two 99 year Crown leases, with the main lease over most of the property being from July 1994 for tourism purposes, with the rent charged being 3.5 per cent of the resort’s gross turnover

Wananavu Beach Resort is about two and half hours’ hour drive and 40 minutes by seaplane or helicopter ride from Nadi International Airport.

Pritchard says the area it is located in is known as the Sunshine Coast because of its dry, sunny climate which makes it an ideal location for a resort. “It is also located around halfway between Suva and Nadi on Viti Levu’s main northern coastal highway which makes it a good stopping point between Fiji’s two largest cities.”

She says the tourism market has recovered strongly in Fiji in recent years with a total of 665,000 visitor arrivals recorded in 2013, up over 20 per cent from 2009. “This has meant that the returns for well positioned, popular Fijian resort locations have improved and are likely to continue to do so as visitor numbers climb higher.”

The Pacific Asia Travel Agency Association is forecasting visitor arrivals will increase to close to 800,000 by 2018. Pritchard says with a newly elected Fiji government now in place and the formal opening of parliament in October, a new period of political stability is expected which bodes well for both tourism and investment markets.