Raw Island Luxury with the General Manager of VOMO
Raw Island Luxury with the General Manager of VOMO, Mark Leslie
VOMO, the amended word for the island originally named Vono, meaning turtle in Fijian (they discovered another island had the exact same name so they changed it to the updated version of VOMO) sitting within a cluster of islands known as the Yasawas, presents itself as Fiji’s premier family resort.
Mark Leslie, the General Manager of VOMO, brings an elevated approach to the island with his vast island experience creating a new look for VOMO. By paying homage to the culture and the natural surroundings along with applying his passion for architecture and interiors, he has elevated the island to world class resort standard.
After the extensive refurbishment on VOMO, we talk to Mark about his original vision for change, the actual process and the successful results.
First impressions of VOMO upon your arrival on the island?
The interiors were dated and very dark. With the islan already having established a very high following, it was a natural fruition to extend an upgrade.
I had joined the property with a view to upgrade the island ensuring VOMO was best in its class in the region.
Were there any standout elements in the original interiors which you decided to keep?
We worked within the envelope so externally the footprint was untouched but the rooms were gutted and completely refurbished. When designing the interiors we wanted to ensure the product had a timeless luxury feel. We also wanted to ensure the resort had at least a ten year shelf life, a standard proposition for most luxury hotels.
How difficult is it to project manage such a large building project on a remote island?
We had 80 containers on the sea at one time and the logistics of loading and unloading these was extremely challenging. We had 40 expats from NZ working on the rooms along with a Fijian team to ensure works were delivered to schedule.
Weather was always the biggest threat being cyclone season. We were fortunate enough to not be affected too badly only experiencing the tail end of cyclone TC Pam causing a one week delay.
What experiences are you hoping for a guest to enjoy in terms of the new interiors?
A sense of peace and tranquility in a fresh environment that includes elements of raw luxury.