• Concept perspective for the Likuri Lei resort, Fiji.

Likuri Island, Fiji, 1970–72 (unbuilt)

This unbuilt scheme proposed a 216-room hotel for uninhabited Likuri Island off Fiji’s Coral Coast, 29 miles (47 km) south of Nadi Airport. Designed to offer tourists a Polynesian atmosphere with air-conditioned comfort, the resort was to be built on land to be leased from the Fiji government. From the 1970 proposal document, it seems that Snelling himself was to invest through his company Aliv Pty Ltd.

The new resort was to be sited on the north (leeward) side of the island, facing Likuri Harbour, which allowed deep water anchorage for cruise ships, and toward the west coast of the mainland. It was to be built in two stages: first, a two-storey amenities building, a reception pavilion, and two pairs of accommodation blocks, and later another 108 suites in two more pairs of buildings. A causeway from the mainland was also proposed.

Entry to the resort would be via a small reception building (including offices and shops), connected to the amenities building by a 21-metre-long covered bridge spanning a large landscaped pond. Lushly vegetated, this would include a small island and was to be stocked with koi carp. The amenities building was to be a high-gabled, two-storey structure dramatically interrupted along its north (beachfront) façade by a sequence of four A-line dormers. This complex roof of cedar shingles would rise 12 metres above the upstairs dining room and bar, with the windows providing wide views across the beach and ocean.

On the beach level, another bar was to be shaded by the first-floor balcony, where drinks would be dispensed from an old Polynesian war canoe. Other facilities would have included a boathouse (at the west end of the amenities building) with a slipway to the water and a swimming pool garden (east end). Accommodation was to be eight identical three-storey blocks, also roofed with cedar shakes and including masonry balconies decorated with native-inspired motifs. Each was to contain twenty-seven suites, including three deluxe units.

The blocks would be assembled in pairs to form boomerang plans, with all rooms oriented north to water views. Every suite was to have an enclosed “lanai” overlooking the beach. (A lanai is a veranda or patio, preferably with a panoramic outlook over gardens and water, named after the Hawaiian island of Lanai.)

In 1972, a trade newsheet showed a perspective illustration of the Likuri Lei scheme, with a caption naming it the International Market Place. The text stated that the Market Place was to be built on a site midway between the Nadi town and airport at a cost of $1 million, and there were plans for a future hotel alongside. Snelling was pictured with a roll of drawings. It seems that the Market Place was intended to be the resort's retail centre, including restaurants—perhaps inspired by the successful International Market Place at Waikiki Beach, Honolulu.

In his proposal, Snelling referred to the architecture of the resort (especially the amenities building) as 'Polynesian' inspired. However, steep roofs with projecting gables are not seen in the native buildings of Polynesian islands. They appear more often in Melanesia and Indonesia. It may be possible that Snelling sometimes used the word 'Polynesian' as a shorthand general explanation for his tropical architectural inspirations.

Sources

—Anon. Early 1970s. ‘Hotel tourist construction booming in Fiji: busy, busy architects’. (Clipping in Sydney: SLNSW MLMSS 8801.)

Massey-Ferguson Power Profit. 1972, June, n.p. (Clipping in Sydney: SLNSW MLMSS 8801/01.)

—Snelling, Douglas. 1970. Proposal for a resort hotel development on Likuri Island. Sydney: Snelling Estate.