On 15 April 2017, Likuliku Lagoon Resort will celebrate its 10th anniversary – an important milestone for the 100 per cent 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, recognised the potential of this ideal location.
Back then, when conceptualising Likuliku, Tony recalls, “My vision for Likuliku was to introduce overwater bungalows or 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, modelled 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 utilised 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 15 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.
In the past 10 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 4000 guests are repeat visitors, with some honouring Likuliku with their 16th stay.
The successful pre-opening and 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 GM and who came out to the resort pre-construction 12 years ago as pre-opening GM.
Steve says, “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.”
Likuliku is a luxurious holiday experience set in a beautiful and pristine natural 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 programme”.
“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 ongoing 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, 25 kilometres 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 three-times daily fast catamaran.