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SAMOA’S AGGIE GREY’S BUYS 5 STAR RESORT IN TAHITI Temaru vows to support tourism promotion

By Mata’afa Keni Lesa APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Dec. 28, 2011) - Samoa’s largest hotel group, Aggie Grey’s Hotels, has spread its wings to French Polynesia, Tahiti. The group has secured the purchase of the Five Star Le Meridien Tahiti Resort, for an undisclosed amount.

"Yes, I can confirm that Aggie Grey's has purchased the Le Meridien Resort Tahiti off GDF Suez of Paris, France," says Jose Chanlin, of the Chartered Accounting firm, Fidupac Tahiti. The firm handled the transaction.

"We are now just finalising the registration of Aggie Grey's as a Tahitian Company under French law and we hope to have the approvals very soon." We have been working very closely with the Aggie Grey's Group since July this year on the purchase of the Le Meridien Resort Tahiti and we are pleased and honoured to have facilitated the purchase on behalf of the Grey family.

"We are very proud to have associated ourselves with a famous brand and good family."

Mr Chanlin said Lupesina Frederick Grey has visited Tahiti at least once a month since July to work on the transaction with his company and Frederic Martin, the Vice President of GDF Suez France.

The President of Tahiti, Oscar Temaru, who hosted Mr Grey, has been very supportive of the transaction. "President Oscar Temaru has vowed his support in helping Aggie Grey's promote tourists from New Zealand and Australia as he is not only the President of Tahiti but also the Minister of Tourism and Minister in charge of Air Tahiti Nui," said Mr Chanlin.

Mr Temaru is very proud that a fellow Polynesian has invested in his country and has vowed to help the Grey family in their endeavors to promote "the Resort from the deep South." GDF Suez is one of France's largest Companies.

It specialises in the supply of Electricity to France, Monaco, French Polynesia and New Caledonia. Le Meridien Tahiti, according to its website, features 200 colourful luxury rooms overlooking lush gardens, contemporary yet chic guest rooms with endless views of the crystal clear lagoon.

It also features spacious junior and senior suites with large open terraces, and exclusive Polynesian style overwater bungalows - all with full facilities. Located along a lagoon on the most beautiful and white sandy beach of Tahiti, le Meridien Tahiti has been entirely redesigned in 2010 by award-winning French Interior designer, Didier Lefort.

He brought in a modern look while maintaining the Polynesian flavour of the resort, which has in turn culturally refined and created a sophisticated atmosphere for guests to enjoy. The hotel features a large 2000m² (21000sqft) sandy bottom swimming pools, water activities, and a local Art Center "L'Atelier".

It has two cocktail bars, two restaurants, a spa, tennis courts, and its own private white sand beach with perfect garden heads, conference and meeting rooms. It is 15 minutes from Fa'a International Airport.

According to Mr Chanlin, the Aggie Grey's Group has kept the management contract with Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Owners of the Sheraton Brand, W Luxury Hotels and Resorts, Le Meridien Resorts and Hotels and the St Regis Hotel and Resort Brands).The two will work together in the hope to gain better market share of Tahiti's tourism market.

"I know for a fact Frederick Grey wishes to push the Resort in New Zealand and Australia where Aggie Grey's has a strong presence while Starwood via Le Meridien will continue the day-to-day management of the Resort and maintain its keys markets of the Americas, Europe, South America and Asia."

Mr Chanlin said the purchase of the Le Meridien Resort by Aggie Grey’s is a smart move as the Resort is fully refurbished, has good year round occupancy of tourists from the Americas, France and Europe, South America and Japan and not to mention the Air France Crew which is based at the Le Meridien year around.

The Aggie Grey's Group was founded in the late 1930s as a Hamburger bar by the late Aggie Grey.

Since then, the group has grown with vast investments in Aggie Grey's Hotel, Aggie Grey's Lagoon Beach Resort, Virgin Samoa Airlines, Sinalei Reef Resort, Samoa Scenic Tours and Inbound, Apia Bottling, Samoa Artesian Water Company and now the 200 room Le Meridien Tahiti Resort.

The Group also employs close to 800 locals in Samoa while it will employ 150 Tahitian and French Nationals in the day-to-day management of the Le Meridien Resort Tahiti.

Lupesina was not available for a comment. But Giovanni Rossi, General Manager of Aggie Grey's Beach Resort confirmed the purchase. He told the Sunday Samoan that "all the [Grey] family was in New Zealand for Christmas and New Year."

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