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HONOLULU, Hawaii (August 19, 1998 - Outrigger Hotels & Resorts News Release)---Hawaii-based Outrigger Hotels & Resorts has concluded an agreement with Grand Pacific Hotel Ltd. to manage the historic Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva, Fiji. Originally opened in 1914, the hotel, which has been closed since 1992, will undergo a major redevelopment of its facilities to return it to its former status as one of the "Grand Dame" hotels of the South Pacific. The renovation and construction are slated to begin in August 1998, with the hotel projected to open in late 1999.

Grand Pacific Hotel Ltd. is a joint venture between Nauru companies Pacific Star Company Ltd. and Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust; and U.S. investors from Pacific Hotel Partners.

Don L. Gevirtz, former U.S. Ambassador to Fiji, Nauru and other Pacific Islands, served as the catalyst to bring Nauru and the U.S. investment group together to develop the joint venture. Gevirtz also facilitated the introduction of Outrigger Hotels to the joint venture partners as the technical advisor and operator of the hotel.

Fiji Minister of Tourism and Transport, David Pickering, has consistently been very supportive of the venture to restore the hotel. "The hotel is designated as an historic building by the National Trust of Fiji. The restoration reflects that designation. The hotel becomes an important heritage for both Fiji and the islands in the Pacific region."

"This is an exciting project for the people of Fiji," said Perry Sorenson, Chief Operating Officer for Outrigger Hotels & Resorts. "We're thrilled to be part of such an historic undertaking and look forward to continuing the tradition of excellence in service and hospitality for which the Grand Pacific was known."

According to Vinci Clodumar, chairman of the Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust, which purchased the property in 1988, the original Grand Pacific Hotel was built by the Union Steam Ship Company as a staging point for its shipping services in the North and South Pacific. "When the Grand Pacific opened 84 years ago, it became the social and business center on the island," Clodumar said. "Over the years, it developed a reputation throughout the Pacific and Far East for its grand style and personal service, similar to the other grande luxe hotels of the time, such as Raffles in Singapore and The Peninsula in Hong Kong. Our goal in redeveloping the Grand Pacific Hotel is to preserve and expand this Pacific landmark, not just for the heritage of Fiji, but for the entire South Pacific."

Stuart Huggett of Architects Pacific in Suva, Fiji, has been named lead architect for the project, and Richard Whalley of Chhada Siembieda in Sydney, Australia is overseeing the interior design, said Thor Larsen of Grand Pacific Hotel Ltd. The project manager for the redevelopment of the hotel is Brian Jacob of Jacob Consulting Ltd., in Auckland, New Zealand.

According to Larsen, the design team has been charged with the task of recapturing the essence of the Grand Pacific Hotel. In addition to studying the hotel's original pavilion, which still stands today, they are being aided by historical documents, including an article that appeared in the Fiji Times after the opening of the hotel on April 25, 1914, that describes in detail the decor and amenities that the Grand Pacific Hotel offered its guests when it first opened.

"The building has been designed in a free and modern manner after the renaissance style," the article notes. "All the rooms are well protected from the sun by 15 foot wide verandahs and balconies which surround the whole building, and electric fans are provided throughout."

In addition to sweeping verandahs and balconies, some of the architectural and design elements that will be incorporated into the new Grand Pacific Hotel include timber window shutters, wooden fans, canvas awnings and stone and timber planked floors. "Wicker and rattan furnishings also will be used, as well as striped and woven fabrics in tones befitting Fiji's tropical climate and environment," Larsen said.

"While the decor and atmosphere of the new Grand Pacific Hotel will be reminiscent of the past, the hotel's facilities and amenities will be purely modern," Larsen emphasized.

The hotel is located on a bay front site on Victoria Parade, in the heart of Suva, across from Prince Albert Park. When it opens, the new Grand Pacific Hotel will include 136 guest rooms, two presidential suites, a dining room, coffee shop, lobby bar, pool, fitness center, business center and a variety of shops.

The hotel will also boast extensive banquet and conference facilities, and include state-of-the-art audio/visual communications equipment, Larsen said. "There is a critical need in Suva for a hotel that can accommodate business travelers and conference attendees in the manner to which they are accustomed. The Grand Pacific will be that hotel. Once it opens, we expect it will become the focal point for conferences and conventions within the South Pacific."

"Since we first purchased the hotel in 1988, it has been the desire of the Nauru government to rebuild and expand the Grand Pacific," Nauru's Clodumar said. "It has taken time to assemble the right group who are as committed as we are to redeveloping this landmark hotel, and we are extremely satisfied to see the project move forward after so many years."

Clodumar added that in addition to management, Outrigger Hotels & Resorts is providing technical support during the renovation process. "Outrigger brings over 50 years of experience in the development, construction and operation of hotels in the Pacific. Their knowledge of building and operating hotels in an island environment, and their understanding and sensitivity of Pacific cultures will prove invaluable to us as we bring the Grand Pacific Hotel back to life."

The Grand Pacific is Outrigger's second announced hotel project in Fiji. Last year, the company announced that it would manage a new resort slated for development on the site of the current Reef Resort hotel on Fiji's Coral Coast. "When complete, the Outrigger Reef Fiji Resort and Grand Pacific Hotel will complement each other," Outrigger's Vice President of Business Development, Bill Henderson said. "Fiji has been a longtime holiday destination for Australians and New Zealanders; and within the past few years, it has also become increasingly popular with travelers from Europe, the United States and Japan. However, we expect that interest in the South Pacific will increase even more during the next few years, due in large part to three major world sporting events in the region: the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, the 2000 Americas Cup in Auckland, and the 2001 Friendship Games in Brisbane."

Fiji enjoys frequent and convenient international air service from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Asia and other South Pacific islands. Some of the carriers landing at Nadi International Airport include Fiji's international airline, Air Pacific, Korean Airlines, Japan Airlines, Air New Zealand, Air Caledonie International, Air Nauru, Solomon Airlines, Canada 3000 and Qantas.

Outrigger Hotels & Resorts, a division of Outrigger Enterprises, operates more than 9,000 rooms in 28 hotels and resort condominiums in Hawaii, making it the largest hotel chain in the islands. The company also has properties open or under development in Australia, Palau, the Marshall Islands, Guam, French Polynesia and Fiji. Last year marked the company's 50th anniversary of doing business in Hawaii. Outrigger's affiliate, Outrigger Lodging Services, manages nearly two dozen hotels and resorts throughout the U.S. mainland.

Internet users can access information on Outrigger via the World Wide Web at http://www.outrigger.com

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