Radisson Blu staff in Fiji show Yes I Can! spirit after cyclone hits

Last month, the Radisson Blu Resort Fiji Denarau Island had a holiday arrival from an unwelcome guest: tropical cyclone Evan, the biggest storm to hit Fiji in 20 years. With winds topping 168 miles per hour, the Dec. 17 storm left behind wrecked buildings, power outages and flash floods. Thousands of people had to evacuate when the Category 4 cyclone hit.

“Gutters were blown down, feature sails in the pool were damaged, trees were blown over, the beams on our feature decks had to be secured, and the sea wall now needs urgent repair,” said general manager Gerard Knight when asked about the damage to the hotel.

All staff and hotel guests are safe, but for several days communications in many places of the island were limited, and power was out in various locations. Hotel guests, however, had power and Wi-Fi Internet access throughout the storm, so they were able to stay in touch with family and friends through social media.

“It was one angry cyclone,” Radisson Blu guest Brendan O’Farrell told Hotel Management online. “The power was unbelievable – especially the way it buckled and smashed the hotel’s iconic steel sails in the pool. Watching that process of destruction really made you realize the power of Mother Nature.”

The storm’s destruction couldn’t dampen the hotel team’s Yes I Can! spirit, though. Despite the damage, the Kids Club and adults’ pool (pictured above on the right) were operational in less than 24 hours.

“All guests were very impressed with how the team handled the situation, especially when we delivered hot dinner to every room in the middle of the storm,” said Gerard.

“Staff put the guests first, and there was open communication at all times,” added Brendan, who expressed his highest appreciation for communication, leadership and customer focus throughout the whole ordeal. “Talking to some of them, they had not been home in three days. They never once looked agitated. Their level of calmness was remarkable – they knew what they had to do.”

The morning after the storm cleared, more than 100 guests volunteered to help hotel staff with clean up. “I believe this was payback to the hotel for the manner in which it looked after us,” Brendan commented.  

January 8, 2013
Photo caption:
December’s tropical cyclone Evan, the biggest in Fiji in two decades, caused some damage at the Radisson Blu Resort Fiji Denarau Island, but no injuries. Guests, who appreciated the staff’s Yes I Can! spirit, pitched in to help hotel staff with the major clean-up efforts.

The clean-up efforts started the morning after the cyclone hit. Photo courtesy of Radisson Resort Fiji Denarau Island, BBC.com, hotelmanagement.com.au.