Q&A with resort manager Antonio Aja

Part of the appeal here at Wakaya is the charismatic and generous staff who ensures your vacation at our resort is truly unforgettable. One of these remarkable people is Antonio…

Antonio Aja is the General Manager of the iconic Wakaya Club and Spa. Antonio has been working in the hospitality industry for 20 years and has brought his worldly expertise to Wakaya island. Antonio, a native to Mexico, attended university in Mexico City before moving to London for his masters in management. After graduating, he moved to New York to work in publishing but ultimately found his way into the catering industry. Antonio went on to start his own catering company and several successful restaurants in Mexico City. In 2016, Antonio and his family moved to Wakaya Island to find their piece of paradise.

We wanted to find out what drew Antonio to Wakaya, learn more about his experiences on the island and understand why the newly renovated resort is so special, so we asked him a few questions.

Tell us about the first time that you saw the resort. How did it make you feel and when did you know that this was something you wanted to be a part of?

From the moment I spotted the island from the airplane, I felt that it was a place my family and I could call home. Then once I landed and experienced the warmth and kindness of the Fijian people, I was certain of it.

–Antonio

Throughout the years what have you brought to the resort? What efforts have you made to ensure guests have a one-of-a-kind utopian experience?

A: If there is something that we know how to do well in Wakaya, it is caring for our guests and making sure their experience on the island greatly surpasses their expectations. Most of our clientele have had the opportunity to visit the best luxury hotels and restaurants in the world so it is important for us to keep the bar set high for customer satisfaction. Fortunately, we have found that the island’s size, beauty, and culture, allow us to create unique and long-lasting experiences for all of our guests.

What are some of the new renovations?

A: We completely redesigned the landscape surrounding the resort which compliments what we consider one of the greatest changes; opening up all of the bures and homes with floor to ceiling glass windows and doors. In addition we have outfitted the entire resort with the highest quality furnishings, and incorporated natural materials, even using some of the wood from fallen trees around the Island. Our objective was to integrates modern luxury and really highlight the Islands beautiful natural surroundings.

To compliment the bures, we also redesigned the pools of Vale O (one of our private villas) and the resort itself. We wanted all of our common spaces to match our overall design goals. We hope our guests will feel we met and surpassed our goals!

What are you most excited for new guests and returning guests to experience?

A: The landscape and our beaches! As well as our renovated rooms, and to experience our cuisine; Chef Marielle Hajj has created an exquisite menu combining the local products with worldly techniques! Overall, we have created more dining and leisure locations throughout the island for our guests to have many unforgettable experiences!

Is the resort offering any new amenities or services?

A: Yes, we increased the number of water activities! We offer paddle boarding, Hobie Cats, kayaks, pedal boats, and of course scuba diving and snorkeling gear. We also upgraded the recreation room with a large flat screen television and added new games and books. One of the things we are also excited about is our Spa’s collaboration with Pure Fiji (Fiji’s leading brand in luxury body care as well as skin and hair products).

Do you think that you were able to recapture the original magic of the resort?

A: Wakaya is certainly still a magical place! The beauty, elegance and privacy are the foundation upon which the resort was build and why it was regarded as one of the most unique and exceptional places in the world to visit. We believe we have embraced and maintained, and hopefully brought out more of, these qualities. Ultimately our guests will be the judges!

What does the future hold for the Wakaya Club & Spa? What are you most looking forward to in 2019?

A: Our entire team is excited and ready to assist our guests in what we hope will be an experience of a lifetime. We are excited to see returning guests visit and rediscover Wakaya Club & Spa all over again, and for our new guests to fall in love with this island many call paradise!