Always a sucker for a historic hotel, as soon as I heard Fiji’s 1914-built Grand Pacific Hotel had been given a multimillion dollar refurbishment to celebrate its centenary, I knew I had to go there. Five years on from that Suva stay and as we grapple with what tourism will be post-Covid-19, I wanted to highlight this glorious property once again.
Click here to read my 2016 NZ Herald article that explains how a hotel so regal it could play host not just to folks like Somerset Maugham and James Michener, but actual royalty in the form of Queen Elizabeth herself, had somehow fallen so far from grace as to be derelict. And then come back from that dereliction to re-emerge in recent years to be in a similar league as Singapore’s Raffles, Kuala Lumpur’s Majestic, Penang’s Eastern & Oriental and Colombo’s Mount Lavinia.
Yes indeed, if decades-old colonial hotels in steaming tropical surrounds are your thing – and they’re shamelessly very much mine – then put Suva’s Grand Pacific Hotel on your list. Sure, the beach resorts of Fiji will always be a bigger drawcard than the capital Suva, but the Grand Pacific is too special with too compelling a back story to ever be overlooked.
As we know, travel is not something we can do right now, but just as getting New Zealand’s domestic tourism up and running again as soon as possible is vital, so too is helping our Pacific neighbours who depend upon tourism even more than we do. When the time is right, Fiji will need our tourist dollars.