Pull­man gains Pop­u­lar­ity

Fiji Sun - - Sunbiz - Re­port by Charles Cham­bers

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.

Fi­nal Com­ments

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.

Photo: Charles Cham­bers

One of four swim­ming pools at Pull­man Nadi Bay Re­sort.

Photo: Charles Cham­bers

Pull­man Nadi Bay Re­sort gen­eral man­ager Warwick Kahl.

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