Six Senses Soft Launch This April

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The newest luxury resort in the Mamanuca Islands off Nadi is near­ing completion.

Located on Malolo Island, Six Senses Fiji will have its soft launch in April at Vuna­baka.

Six Senses will have its own private Six Senses speedboats offering 24/7 access to the resort.

This was confirmed by the Marketing Communications Executive, Rose Ka­vanagh.

Six Senses is an international group of boutique resorts and hotels located in unique natural environments.

This new resort development comprises a 120- acre (48.5 hectares) boutique hotel together with stunning residential holiday homes positioned on the hilltop, by the ma­rina, ocean and beachfront.

Ms Kavanagh said: “We have a soft launch date of April 2018.

“Upon opening, we will be including 11 residences in our rental programme, which consists two ocean view residenc­es, one marina view residence, and eight beachfront residences.

“Six Senses Fiji Resort offers the choice of 24 resort villas – 12 beachfront and 12 hideaway – all with their own private pool and deck.

“Beachfront and hideaway villas sleep up to three people and hideaway suites sleep up to four people.

“Hideaway villa and hideaway suite can be rented together to create a two bedroom villa that can sleep up to 7 people.

“On top of this, we will be offering resi­dences to rent which will consist of two to five bedroom properties all with their own private pool, deck, and barbecue.”

Six Senses involvement in the Vunabaka project has brought about a lot of improve­ments on the resort villas, including the addition of a private pool and many small touches to improve the guest journey.

“Sustainability is one of the foundations of our brand here at Six Senses and there­fore we have introduced additional initia­tives in order to ensure that all elements of the resort are sustainable.

“These include native plants for landscaping, sourcing local prod­ucts and produce wherever pos­sible, worm based sceptic systems and the first Tesla battery micro­grid in Fiji which will generate 100 per cent solar power energy for the resort.”

Six Senses Fiji will host three eateries, a gourmet deli, boutique, ice-creamery and a water bottling plant where all drinking water is treated to the highest international standards, purified, mineralized and bottled in Six Senses glass bot­tles.

“Our Wellness Village includes a Six Senses Spa, an alchemy bar, sauna, steam room, hot and cold plunge pools and a yoga pavilion.

“The resort also boasts a herb gar­den, a resort farm and a sanctuary for the endangered Fijian crested iguana.

“The Kokosi Kids Club will pro­vide wellness and cultural activi­ties for kids, whilst excursions and experiences for adults will be out­lined in our weekly Bula-tin activ­ity schedule.

“Right on the water’s edge we of­fer a multitude of watersports in­cluding snorkeling, stand up paddle boarding, sailing, kayaking, jet-ski safaris, scuba diving and a surf academy led by Tropic Surf.”

BY MARAIA VULA, SUVA

 

Life is still a beach in Fiji: Vunabaka and Six Senses’ new villas

Buying a holiday house in Fiji can be a fraught exercise for Australian holiday-makers, particularly now the Pacific nation has ­imposed restrictions on land sales to foreigners.

But a consortium of American and New Zealand executives, acting under the name Vunabaka, has teamed up with the opulent Six Senses Hotels and ­Resorts group to develop a hotel and residential villas for sale on the west coast of Malolo Island, in the ­Mamanuca group, about 23km from Nadi ­airport.

The Six Senses Residences range in price from $650,000 to $2.5 million, including the site and marina berths. The prices do not include VAT and land transfer fees, and the buyers are purchasing 99-year leaseholds.

Three, four and five-bedroom configurations are available (all with large pools) and buyers can choose from 60 residences located near the marina or the hill overlooking the ocean. Beach residences are also available, as are ocean homes near the lagoon.

The Six Senses 26-villa resort hotel is due to open next year and villa buyers will have full access to the hotel’s restaurants including ­private breakfast ­options, as well as the services of the spa.

 

Designed by New Zealand award-winning architect Richard Priest, the villas feature fully equipped kitchens, expansive private sundecks, and barbecues sporting fire pits.

The resort will be developed across 48.5 hectares and feature a magnificent sandy bay book-ended by rocky headlands, a ­rising lush hilltop, and three ­private ­marinas.

Eleven residences have been completed and another eight are scheduled to follow over the next six months.

More than 30 residential lots will also be available for purchase down the track.

The structure of the residences’ lot ownership, the 99-year leaseholds, has been set up to ­preserve the ownership of the land by local tribes (the Mataqali), and will generate sustainable revenue streams by way of a share in the leases on the land and an ownership share in the ­resort management company, Vuna­baka said.

Owners can rent their villas out through the Six Senses rental program.

Fiji-based Vunabaka managing director Marcus Langford-Lee is handling sales inquiries.

Written by Lisa Allen - Senior Writer, Sydney

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Vunabaka Project Wins Award For Solar System

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Vunabaka Resort project is located on the Mamanuca Group island of Malolo and is home to the largest off grid Solar PV for the whole of the South Pacific.

This state of the art reticulated solar PV mini grid is currently home to 20 Tesla industrial Powerpack batteries making it equal in size to the recently completed Vector Energy’s battery storage in Glen Innes, Auckland.

Designed and installed by PowerSmart, the Vunabaka project recently won Best Solar PV Off Grid Implementation at the Solar Electricity Association of New Zealand (SEANZ) Awards.

The award cements them as one of the leading solar integration companies in New Zealand.

“Receiving this award is great recognition for a leading solar solution for Vunabaka that the team at PowerSmart are exceptionally proud of,” said Director of PowerSmart, Dean Parchomchuk.

Vunabaka Resort is a brand new development and when finished the resort will consist of over 70 residential homes and a 6 star resort known as ‘Six Senses Fiji.’

Unlike many resorts that use diesel generators for their power needs, Vunabaka commissioned New Zealand’s leading solar power integrators PowerSmart to design and install a state of the art reticulated off grid solar and battery mini grid.

PowerSmart was able to match technology development with the construction program and the result, is a world leading best in class sustainable electricity system.

The Vunabaka project is a little different to the previous off grid projects done by PowerSmart because it uses the very latest commercial lithium ion battery technology from Tesla – The Powerpack.

Compared to the older style lead acid batteries the Powerpacks can be fully discharged and come with a 10 year warranty.

The system is also easily scalable which will allow for the addition of more batteries in the future.

The system went live in October and by the time it is finished in July 2017 will have 4 Megawatt hours of Tesla Powerpack Lithium Ion battery storage and 1 Megawatt of solar PV, making this the largest off grid system for the South Pacific.

Currently built and connected are staff quarters, commercial kitchen, boat shed, fresh water supply and several multimillion dollar residences.

Mr Dean said: “Due to recent price drops in both solar PV panels and lithium ion batteries it is now cheaper to install a solar PV solution when compared to using diesel generators.”

PowerSmart also won a second award for the Best Solar PV Grid Connected Implementation for New Zealand’s largest solar PV installation (411kW) on Yealands Estate Winery in Blenheim.

This install accounts for around 30% of all the wineries power needs and is enough solar to power 70 New Zealand homes.

BY FARZANA NISHA , SUVA

The Vunabaka Development

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Mike Lucas came to Fiji in 2010 with the idea that he would find a nice lot in a good location and build a holiday home for his family.

He found exactly what he wanted only to find out it was not for sale because the developer had decided to sell the whole development, rather than proceed.

So Mike, having fallen in love with the property had another idea. He contacted two friends in New Zealand and asked them if they wanted to get involved with him in taking the development over.

Andrew Griffiths and Anthony Marcotti saw the opportunity and counted themselves in.

They were later joined by Christian Burtscher and subsequently invited one member of the previous development team to join the consortium.

This made up the five people who were to become the new investment group for what is now the Vunabaka development.

Model and plan

They had a very simple business model. They wanted to build for people they would like to go on holiday with, they wanted to be proud of what they were doing and they didn’t want to lose their shirt along the way.

To do this, it was important that they managed the risk and to do so they decided that they should not try to maximise profit.

They also wanted to work with good talented people, ones who already had a strong reputation from work they had already done. So they bought the property.

They partnered with Fiji Development Bank, supporting the relationship initially with personal guarantees and later with a strong sales stream that gave the bank comfort.

They appointed a New Zealand architect, Richard Priest, the head of the design team which also included engineering firm Chester Consulting and architectural firm Wat Gun Low.

The team also have a Fiji-based architect and engineer whose task it was to make sure that all the construction in Fiji was true to both the plans and the concept behind the plans.

They undertook a great deal of planning before they started the work and developed a Master Plan that they believed would deliver the sort of project they envisaged.

Now, nearing the end of the project they have followed 90 per cent of the plan, deviating only where they could see that a change would add value to the whole or where it was necessary to increase the efficiency of the functions of the development.

Development period

Throughout the period of the development, there were three key people on site in Fiji to manage the operations.

None of these people had experience in property development but they were very well trained in processes and they applied this experience to the task of moving the work forward.

The company also had the funding to be a consistent timely payer and they gained a reputation for this, making it easy for them to contract the people they wanted to work with.

The project moved forward quickly. The team believes this was partly due to the fact that contractors were certain of their payments on time and could concentrate on getting the work done instead of spending time worrying about finances.

Stage one and two civil works were completed in October 2014 and Vunabaka now have the civil contractor Vuksich & Borich working on Stage three which is targeted to be completed at the end of November this year.

A 30-room five star hotel is scheduled for completion by mid-2016.

Products and popularity

The hotel also has the rights to manage the Vunabaka residences which are between four hundred and eight hundred square metres, all with their own private pools.

This type of product has proved very popular with the luxury traveler in other parts of the world and represents an exciting new development for Fiji tourism.

The construction of the hotel villas and private residences is steel modular frames with wide openings and many bi-fold doors, creating a very island feel and a very open design feeling. The whole design is sensitive to the tropical environment.

There are also 44 villa lots in the plan. These are for sale as a design, build and manage package and form part of the hotel inventory, with owner use for a limited time each year.

These have been very popular with investors and there are only 16 still available for sale. Styles vary, but all are finished to a high standard of quality and provide easy island living.

Services

The company took the decision that they wanted all services to be provided in-house to ensure there were no disruptions in supply.

The electricity is reticulated on a development wide grid and generation is by solar panel technology, with diesel generation as a backup option.

The company partnered with Blue Gas to provide a full gas reticulation and communications is through optical fiber services from Vodafone.

The sewerage system is a state-of-the-art septic tank process that uses worms to break down the solid waste.

This system has proved very efficient and has the advantage that there is no odor from the tanks.

The process is branded Biolytix and is manufactured by a New Zealand company. Water is collected in two reservoirs in the hills behind the main construction area.

One reservoir has a capacity of 15,000 cubic metres and the other holds 6000 cubic metres.

These reservoirs serve as a silt trap, capturing water from the hills and holding the silt, preventing it from running into the marina.

The Stage One marina has an area of 9 acres and water depth at a mean low tide of 3.05m, sufficient to handle large craft.

Partnerships

In keeping with the policy of being self-sufficient, Vunabaka has purchased a lot in the Port Fantasy commercial marina.

There is a wide concrete slipway and facilities for the efficient handling of freight and building supplies.

The company now uses their own barge to transport goods to the development and this can be easily loaded by forklift from the slipway.

There is also a large warehouse building at the marina. In the past, there were issues with the availability of barges at the times the project required them and the new marina facility on the mainland has overcome this problem.

Intact model

The original business model is still intact and the project is advancing rapidly to completion.

Within the tourism industry, it is recognised as a project that has been well-designed and well-run and one that has bought a number of new concepts to Fiji.

It has been done with a view to using and protecting the natural environment and using the natural beauty of the location to the maximum. And the partners have enjoyed the ride.

BY JOHN ROSS