Six Senses Fiji GM Frans WestraadtFrans, you’ve travelled the world throughout your hotel career, from the Maldives to Namibia and Thailand. What was the lure of relocating to Fiji?Fiji was a venture of personal growth for me, a way to stimulate the travel bug that has kept me on the move to beautiful places for many years. I was excited and intrigued to join another young, dynamic group of people in Fiji.Had you travelled to Fiji prior to accepting this role and what were your expectations? And how are you adjusting to life in the Pacific?I had previously visited Fiji and I was thrilled when I returned that the country exceeded my expectations this time around. The friendliness and warmth of the people here just blow me away. Adjusting to life in the Pacific was easy: I am now considered a Fijian, part of the family. Final question, and it’s LATTE’s signature question. What is your favourite coffee outlet and your beverage of choice?In the resort, I love RaRa for a morning coffee (black with a dash of milk and no sugar) – I can sit in peace and reconnect with nature as I watch the stingrays and fish in the marina. It’s a very Zen atmosphere.In all the world, I love nothing more than having a coffee at my farm in Namibia. I stare out over the fields, watch the animals come and go for their morning drinks and I just unwind. It’s my carefree time to daydream in the most beautiful spot. The term ‘luxury’ has a diverse range of meanings and definitions. How do you personally define ‘luxury’?In the industry, I define ‘luxury’ as meeting people’s expectations, and then going over and above that to give them an experience that’s completely out of the ordinary. On a personal level, luxury, to me, means a good quality of life and doing all you can to please those close to you.Six Senses Fiji has now been open for 14+ months. Can you tell us where guests are coming from around the world, and what their average length of stay is?Our main visitors are from Australia with New Zealand and America calling joint second place, depending on the time of the year. Lots of Europeans who have knowledge of the brand also make the long trip to visit us here in Fiji. Our average length of stay is six nights. How big is the Australian market for the property, and does Six Senses Fiji work with the trade (wholesalers, OTAs, etc)?Australia is our top market, bringing in beautiful people throughout the year, many who have been to Fiji before but not stayed at a Six Senses property. It is great to introduce them to a new way of holidaying. Our sales team work hard getting the word out in the market through wholesalers, DMCs, OTAs and direct with individually owned agencies.The resort is located on Malolo Island in the Mamanucas. Do most guests arrive in Fiji and overnight in Denarau, or are you finding they are coming directly across to the resort the day of arrival?One of the beauties of Six Senses Fiji is its proximity to the mainland meaning guests can be lounging by the pool in record time after landing in Nadi. We have a helipad on site and so the 10-minute scenic helicopter ride from Nadi Airport is a popular method of transport. Also, our boats are able to run 24 hours a day meaning guests can come directly to us on the same day of their arrival into the country. Six Senses Fiji opened to guests on 14 April 2018 on Malolo Island in Fiji’s Mamanuca Islands. The resort features 24 one- and two-bedroom pool villas, all with private pools, decks and outdoor showers, with the resort sitting on a private sand beach that stretches 650 metres.Six Senses Fiji also comprises 10 private residences of two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom configurations, offering private pools, barbecues and fully equipped kitchens. Phase Two of the residential element is currently underway, and will see an additional 50 residences added.Recently appointed General Manager of Six Senses Fiji, Frans Westraadt, gives LATTE an update on the up-market property’s current key source markets, potential growth markets, wellness offering, sustainability initiatives and more, and explains his decision to relocate to Fiji. Wellness is a core pillar of the Six Senses experience. Can you tell us about the wellness experiences on offer at Six Senses Fiji?Wellness is an experience in itself at the resort. We have a wonderful Spa team who offer a great range of activities.Niranjan, our in-house yogi gives meditation, yoga, aerial yoga, aqua move classes and more. The spa girls give massages to die for and we have a variety of experts that come in as Visiting Practitioners, offering services such as tarot card reading, facials and traditional Chinese medicine treatments.Our alchemy bar is where guests can mix their own body scrubs and lip balms using fresh ingredients from the garden and guests can also undertake a wellness screening that tells them how ‘well’ they’re doing based on their current lifestyle.Following a screening, guests can take it that one step further and follow a personalised wellness program for the duration of their stay that includes meal plans, treatments and exercise recommendations.The best thing about our wellness offerings is that they are optional … we’re not going to tell if we see a guest with an ice-cream in hand – it’s their holiday!Can you tell us about the sustainability practices at Six Senses Fiji, and how guests can get involved?Sustainability is at the core of what we do here at Six Senses Fiji, as it is in all our properties worldwide. Our main effort here in Fiji is our solar system. The resort is designed to be solar-powered with the largest microgrid in Fiji to use Tesla batteries.We have a chicken coop, Cluckingham Palace, and plenty of herb, fruit and vegetable gardens in the resort so guests can collect fresh eggs each day, which the kids love, or pick fresh herbs for their meals.Our coral nursery is ever growing in our bay and we have plans to incorporate this with a guest experience as we develop our planting methods.Our waste treatment area is always developing and in time we will be using glass crushed on property to create useful items such as pot plants. Guests are encouraged to ditch plastic bags and especially single-use plastic water bottles when they come to the property.We have our own water bottling plant that uses glass Six Senses bottles, meaning there is no need for single-use plastic bottles anywhere on the property.What excites you most about coming to, a) Six Senses Fiji and b) more widely, Fiji?Fiji is a magical place of untouched beauty. For me, it has enormous potential for growth that is just waiting to be discovered. The destination is such a promising destination yet to be fully explored by the European and South African tourism markets. This untapped potential is what really excites me the most.
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