Fiji’s Raiwasa: Luxury Travel With Soul

From C-Suite Executive to seafaring nomad, Patrick Janin knows a thing or two about transformational travel. Now he's making it available to others at Raiwasa, a luxury boutique villa in Fiji

Born into an entrepreneurial family, you could say that hard work is in Patrick’s blood. “Work-life balance wasn’t in my vocabulary for most of my life,” he says. “As a CEO I worked 16-18 hour days. I would never have said I was a workaholic, but even now I wake up at 3 or 4 am in the morning, even though I don’t have to.” His life’s focus was working hard and making money, and by every standard, he was incredibly successful. Two medical companies were created and sold to Johnson & Johnson before Patrick experienced a very painful wake-up call.

“After I sold my business, my business partner died of lung cancer. We were living in the French Riviera, in Nice, back when everyone was smoking everywhere. Unavoidable second-hand smoke took his life, and it shook me to my core. I realized that there is much more to life than work and success and money. I sat down, with my wife, bawling, and said, ‘I’m not going out that way.’ We made our decision that night.”

Their decision was to embark on an extraordinary journey around the world. With his Swedish wife, Erika (Patrick is French and American), and their two children ages 8 and 10, they decided to go on a year-long tour around the world. Erika planned everything, even the homeschooling of the children, and they visited 30 countries in a quest to redefine the word ‘successful’. The impact it had on Patrick was deep and life-altering.

The contrast in lifestyle was extreme. As Patrick describes, “Think about being in a situation where there’s no emails, no jobs, no bills, no stress, just love. Nothing else. I didn’t get any emails, just occasionally we’d Skype with our family. It had a profound impact on how I viewed the future. It changed the fiber of who I am. Simply put, I think it made me a better person, husband, father, and friend.”

When they returned from the trip Patrick wondered, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to bottle and share this experience?’.  The journey had filled them with a new desire to share those places that had felt “forgotten by time”, among “people who haven’t been touched by modern civilization”.  So in 2010, they moved to Taveuni, Fiji, where they began working on a new dream: channeling that successful work ethic into the creation of a truly meaningful island getaway.

The property they chose was a run-down home on the coast. “It was messy,” says Patrick. “The previous owners had left everything and it was dirty… a real nightmare.” Patrick and Erika made their plans and got a team together to develop their Fijian paradise. For six months they worked on the house, putting in multiple decks, a pool, and a 3-acre garden.  The original plan was to spend six months in Fiji, and six months in the United States at their home in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. However, after a major tropical storm made repairs necessary, the Janins decided to use the opportunity to take their Fiji property to “the highest level”, and make it available to discerning travelers as a rental.The renovations of 2016 drew international attention almost immediately. Raiwasa, as the luxurious Fijian getaway is called, had been in operation by private invitation for just a year when it was nominated for the 2017 World Boutique Hotel Awards. The property still features a single private home for up to six guests, but everything is run like a very personalized boutique hotel, with 12 attentive full-time staff and a commercial kitchen with a five-star chef. The amenities and activities are world-class in service, while still remaining true to the island’s native character and traditions.

The home features 180-degree unobstructed views of the ocean. Bi-fold doors allow guests to open the home to gentle island crosswinds. The covered deck that goes all the way around the house encourages outdoor enjoyment even during the occasional tropical shower. The whole home is designed to eliminate as much as possible the boundary between indoor and outdoor living, with a private alfresco shower surrounded by fresh plantings, and gorgeous Fijian floral arrangements throughout.The interior design elements are clean and simple, chosen by Erika (a professional designer) to create a uniquely Fijian feel. Authentic details, such as traditional Fijian weapons, intricately painted barkcloth (called Tapa), and a large turtle shell, can be found throughout the house. Materials and furniture, imported from Bali and New Zealand, offer their Polynesian presence.

“There are no words to describe Raiwasa,” Patrick declares. “It must be experienced. It is the future of luxury transformational travel. The food is special. The grounds are full of discovery. The cultural interactions are fascinating.  There is an endless array of amenities for all levels of activity on the island.” From the first moment of contact to the last wave goodbye, a stay at Raiwasa is designed to enrich and transform a guest’s life.

The travelers who get the most from the experience are often burned-out C-suite executives, as Patrick once was himself. They are “sophisticated and worldly travelers,” he says. “They’ve been everywhere and seen everything. But Raiwasa is a new frontier. It’s something they’ve never experienced.” Other guest profiles range all over, from industry leaders to YouTube celebrities to honeymooning couples. And they all come away feeling and saying the same thing: Raiwasa offers more than just a luxury travel experience. Raiwasa offers luxury travel with a soul.

For Patrick and Erika, Raiwasa has been a labor of self-expression, genuine love and creative genius, and the guests that visit feel its nurturing spirit as every individual is catered to and every wish fulfilled. Whether a work-life balance needs a complete overhaul, or just a little grounding, staying here is an unforgettable opportunity to refocus and acknowledge life’s most meaningful pursuits.

Find out more about Raiwasa