SHERATON FIJI RESORT PLANS $22 MILLION UPGRADE

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Hotel to close from May 1 to November

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, April 30, 2008) - The luxury Sheraton Fiji Resort has relocated some of its senior associates to its sister companies overseas as the resort undergoes a US$22 million (FJ$33 million) refurbishment from tomorrow, it has been confirmed.

Sheraton Fiji Resort Director of Human Resources Uraia Rasake also revealed that five to seven more associates were awaiting visa approval before they could be transferred to other sister properties abroad.

Rasake indicated the remainder of the 320 employees would either have to take their pending annual leave, long service leave for those above 45 years old, while some of them would be relocated to the Sheraton Villas and Westin Resort.

In October last year, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide (Sheraton Fiji Resort’s parent company) announced its refurbishment plan for 2008 as it geared to set new standards in family and conference resort choices in Fiji.

Commencing from May 1, 2008, the refurbishment will encompass all areas of the resort from the lobby, pool, expanded recreational facilities and spacious guest rooms and suites.

The resort will close from May 1 and will reopen on November 1 later this year.

While it has been confirmed that there would be no impact during its closure on the enjoyment of guest staying at other resorts on Denarau Island, Rasake said Sheraton Villas and the Westin Resort would add additional activities and extended restaurant hours to ensure guests continued to be spoilt for choice.

He said the whole of Sheraton Fiji Resort would be closed for refurbishment apart from small operational departments including the Finance department, stores and laundry etcetera.

"We have a task force team and associates in this team will be used to do project work for the business during the refurbishment period," Rasake said.

"We also have the long service leave plan that is being offered to those who are 45 years and above - close to 170 associates are entitled to this, and those with excessive leave have also been asked to take their annual leave. All leave mentioned in the plan are paid leave," he said.

Questions posed on whether more jobs would be created after the completion of renovation work, Rasake responded, "No. With our current staffing, we may not be recruiting when we re-open. However, this will be reviewed towards mid 2008."

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