Located on Malolo Island, one of Fiji’s some 332 islands, is the paradise resort Likuliku. Deriving its name from the Fijian word meaning calm waters, the resort is a baby at just five years old.
The ‘adults only’ property houses a maximum of 90 guests in 45 bures. Ranging from Beachfront to Overwater bures, Likuliku also has Fiji’s only overwater bungalows.
The resort group’s general manager Steve Anstey spoke to Kate all about island life, sustainable tourism and two very rare Fijian iguanas.
Mr Anstey said a number of guests that visit the resort are repeat visitors, with a few couples having returned up to ten times.
Over half of the guests are from Australia and due to the close proximity of Fiji, a majority are short stay visitors just looking for that quick break.
Likuliku is popular with the US market, accounting for nearly 30 percent of all visitors since the resort first opened. Easy transfers to the island via boat, private speedboat or helicopter connecting with the flights from the USA, make it an appealing option.
Opening five years ago, the resort sees a diverse market of visitors. Mr Anstey , who describes himself as part of the furniture having been on the island for the two years prior to opening, said it is hard when the resort is not affiliated with any hotel chains.
“When you don’t have the luxury of the brand in a chain name, you need to have a property that is exceptional to push and convince people.”
Mr Anstey believes being the only property in Fiji with overwater bungalows and the fine, unique cuisine is what differentiates his resort to any others in the country.
“The food is incredible, and what people comment on most. However I believe our best asset is location, with a fringing coral reef on our doorstep,” Mr Anstey commented.
Describing Fiji as a destination that spoils you, the general manager emphasised that it is the Fijian people that make it.
With a strong emphasis on sustainable tourism, the 100 percent Fijian owned resort is on leased land which means the money goes straight back to the people in the villages.
There are two villages on the island, Solevu and Yarrow. The land owners also sit on the board for Likuliku. While the money stays on the island, it is used to improve the villages and the lives of the locals, without degrading them.
As well as sustaining tourism, Mr Anstey believes anyone on an island has an environmental responsibility. Describing the guests stay at Likuliku as a wilderness experience, he is quick to boast about two rare Fiji banded iguanas that have been found at the resort.
“These iguanas are considered as rare as pandas,” Mr Anstey exclaimed, reiterating the importance of environmental responsibility and how Likuliku Lagoon Resort is actively involved in the island’s sustainability.