June 22, 2013

Sydney hoteliers list luxury Fijian island resorts with combined $22.7 million price tag

By Larry Schlesinger
Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Sydney-based hoteliers Peter and Jan McGrath have listed their two Fiji tourist resorts Sonaisali and Tadrai with expectations of between $17 and $22.7 million ($30-$40m Fijian dollars) for both.

The McGraths have owned Sonaisali for 20 years and developed Tadrai 18 months ago.
Sonaisali is a 50.5 hectare private island acquired by the McGraths in the early 1990s after it was sold as a mortgagee in possession by ANZ Bank.

It had been owned by a Melbourne-based syndicate of investors called Naisali Investments Pty Ltd, with the major shareholders being famed shark expert Ian Taylor, who advised Steven Spielberg on the making of 'Jaws' and his wife Valerie.

At the time it was leased to the syndicate on a 99-year lease, which started in 1989, from Fiji’s Native Land Trust Board with rent starting from $10,000 a year for the first five years, switching to 3% of gross receipts from July 1994.

Sonaisali is on Naisali Island, 300 metres off Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu and 20 minutes’ drive from Nadi International Airport.

It features 123 rooms and bures (Fijian for wood-and-straw huts) with ocean views as well as a poolside restaurant, conferencing and retail facilities. It also has its own dive business, a small marina and a passenger ferry providing 24/7 access to the mainland.

“Having developed and operated the resort for two decades, the owners have decided the time is right to sell the property and pass it on to a new owner who can take advantage of the unprecedented trading conditions at play in Fiji,” said CBRE Hotels regional hotels director Robb Cross, who is marketing both resorts alongside Dean Humphries, national director of hotels at Colliers International.

Tadrai Island, completed in 2011, is a five-star resort on a 27.6 hectare parcel of coastal land with three beaches, and planning permission granted for a second resort of up to 331 rooms on the site - the last remaining parcel of land in the Mamanucas that is available for future development.

It is 15 minutes by air from Nadi International Airport or 30 minutes by water taxi from Denarau Marina.

It is an all-inclusive, adults-only retreat with just five luxury beachfront villas, a restaurant, infinity pool and health spa. Each 100 square metre villa has its own private plunge pool.

Room rates are $3,000 per night.

The two resorts are being marketed for sale by CBRE Hotels, Colliers International Hotels, and The Professionals West Realty (Fiji) through an international expressions of interest campaign closing on August 1 2013.

The Resorts are for sale in-one-line or individually.

“Both properties are available with vacant possession, giving buyers the opportunity to partner with regional or international operators under an established brand,” says Humphries.

Both resorts are located on large tracts of long term leasehold land (the most common form of land tenure in Fiji) and come with significant facilities, infrastructure and expansion/development opportunities.

Interest is expected to come from investors and hotel and resort developers.

There listing comes as visitor arrivals in Fiji have trended upwards since 2010.

“Despite a challenging global economic backdrop in recent years, visitor numbers to Fiji increased by 25% from 2009 to 2011, and are expected to reach 750,000 in 2013,” says Humphries quoting Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) figures.

Particularly strong growth has come from Australia, which remains Fiji’s key source of tourists, accounting for half of all visitors, he says.

“With this growth in visitor numbers, hotels and resorts are enjoying excellent trading conditions. Fiji has been the star performer in the wider Asia Pacific region over the past three years, recording exceptional growth in occupancy and room rates.”

"Hotels in Fiji have recorded an exponential increase in RevPAR (revenue per available room) since 2009," says Humphries.

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