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$50 million refurbishment for iconic property

Felix Chaudhary
Thursday, March 01, 2018

SHANGRI-LA'S Fijian Resort and Spa general manager Francis Lee has a dream.

He plans to place the iconic Yanuca Island property back where it should be — at the top of Fiji's tourism industry.

The resort has just completed a $50 million refurbishment which has seen a complete overhaul of 180 rooms in the Lagoon wing and pool area, upgrades at the popular Beach Bar and Grill and total transformation of the Black Marlin Bar into the Golden Cowrie Lounge and Golden Cowrie Coastal Italian Restaurant.

"When the resort started in 1967, it was the top, it was a pioneer and set the benchmark for every resort that followed," he said.

"And through the years Fiji has developed and international brands like the InterContinental and Marriott came in and through Government initiatives and the assistance of national airline it has grown.

"I don't look at these new properties as competition between us and them.

"Why should we compete against each other when we can work together and compete with other Pacific destinations instead?"

Mr Lee said the investment by Shangri-La was part of a process to bring the Yanuca Island back to its glory days and also to set new benchmarks in the industry.

"We need to move with the times. We need to adapt and evolve and we need to provide good experience, good accommodation and good food — all these come into play.

"If we don't do anything then we will be left behind hence the renovations and improvement for the betterment of the resort.

"We have lost what we once had 15 or 20 years ago because other properties have come in and filled the gap. But having said that, people know it's a good name and a good brand.

"Shangri-La's Fijian Resort is a 50-year-old brand and she's like a beautiful old lady. We just need to dress her up a little bit and put on some lipstick and she'll come out dazzling."

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