Pullman gains Popularity
Pullman Nadi Bay Resort and Spa Fiji is one of Fiji’s newest five star tourist attractions. Since the soft opening in April, it has continued to gain popularity and entice visitors, both from abroad and locally.
The resort’s general manager, Warwick Khal, is probably one of the most proud hotel executives in the country after seeing hard work come to fruition.
He has been with the resort through its construction stages, seen daily among the pile of construction materials and working with the contractors to make sure Pullman turned out the way it should be.
Today he performs his executive role around the resort, knowing that he is one general manager in the industry who knows every nook and cranny in the whole structure.
Exerpts from an interview.
How much investment has been poured in to produce this beautiful resort?
The owners, Gokals, have invested close to $95 million.
They will continue to invest in this product knowing we have a lot of future developments ahead of us.
How has the resort been since its soft opening?
It has been good since the soft opening just in time for Easter. We had the Asian Development Bank conference come through here.
It has been great for occupancy. It has been good because our staff got to train to handle such events while working at the different stations.
Like any soft opening it allowed us to iron out any issues and defects as well throughout the food and beverage and rooms departments. We also hosted the closing ceremony.
An event for the Fiji Tourism Expo was also held at the resort and this saw about 650 people attend the event which was held on the beach fronting the resort.
We had a big number of wholesalers who were here for this event so it allowed us to showcase the hotel on a really large scale. We are excited about the future with the welcoming of our first large conference in-house with an Australian organisation that arrived on Thursday and leaves today.
The beach in front of the hotel is a real selling tool and Wailoaloa is such a beautiful, flat and natural beach with the best view of the sunset.
How are bookings looking for Pullman?
Forward bookings for the next three months is very strong and we are excited about this.
We have some air crew business staying with us for the next few months.
Our conference business is picking up along with our leisure business.
Our Accor brand assists us in that Pullman is the first brand in Fiji and the Pacific.
The more images we put up on social media and those searching TripAdvisor will probably look for something different in Fiji and Pullman has that difference.
It has been great and has allowed visitors to choose something different.
The feedback for the rooms has been amazing and from the industry as well.
What has been the monthly average bookings since the soft opening?
Average bookings in length of stay has been good.
The local market is good as we have people staying for two nights mostly while the inbound market has been up to five days with some who have gone up to 10 days. These are people who come to Fiji because they love coming here and also we have a lot of our Accor Plus members who want to come and try something new.
They love the Fijian hospitality and some of them recognise staff members who have worked in resorts and hotels which they had previously visited.
We are a new resort and we are positioned where we are at the moment and budgeted for where we are.
We are always a lot softer when you open a hotel and especially in a new precinct like Wailoaloa. The key strength for us has been our conferencing and it is a lot stronger than what we thought it would be and this is out of Suva, New Zealand and Australia.
It shows the confidence international organisations have in Fiji to host big conferences.
Describe your conference facilities.
Our main ballroom sits 525 people theatre style with a stage while for dinners we can sit up to 310 including stage and dance floor.
We have a beautiful facility down the beach where we can also have a stage and that can cater up to 3000 people.
We are looking to the end of the year festivities and parties and this would be the right location. Wailoaloa has always been a great place for New Year celebrations and party and Pullman has just added to that.
How have the locals taken to Pullman?
We have had a lot of local traffic come through, especially on the weekends.
Some have come to see the place, some have come to try out our restaurants and bars while others, especially from Suva have come because they want to try something new.
We invite the local people to come down and see the property.
It is actually done in stages from the construction phase to the soft opening and normal business phase.
This beautiful contemporary building with a lot of Fijian touches throughout.
It reflects on the rooms and the public places to the Fijian lifestyles and your best critics are the staff. We had our first staff meeting and shared information on the resort. I have worked for Accor for nine years and each brand of the Accor network has its own special features.
Pullman is the upscale five star product while Sofitel is the luxury market.
The reason why the owners worked with Accor and chose Pullman brand was because we want our guests to integrate with the locals.
One of four swimming pools at Pullman Nadi Bay Resort.
Pullman Nadi Bay Resort general manager Warwick Kahl.