Jean Michel Cousteau

Fiji Islands Resorts


Owner Mike Freed was recommended to Karen Taylor as the person to turnaround the Jean Michel Cousteau Resort, “sister” property at the time to Post Ranch Inn on Big Sur California.

The resort had already failed once, due to poor financial outcomes and was failing to deliver the standards expected of the very discerning Post Ranch Inn guests.


Karen Taylor set about improvements to the landscape to provide great privacy between bures, and reviewing operational delivery to improve the guest experiences. Re-designing Kids Club to improve the offer to the guests both physically and from a guest service perspective was a key to the  quick turn around at Jean Michel Cousteau and pivotal to the long term success it has since enjoyed.


The review of all guest service and touch points was undertaken concurrently to the re-design of the public areas and a full soft refurbishment of all villas including the design and project  management of Villa 25 winner of the luxury villa category in the World Travel Awards.


For the first time, Luxury and Family were listed as an award category in the Luxury Travel Magazine with Jean Michel Cousteau rated the first ever best Luxury Family Resort voted by the readership. Jean Michel Cousteau became the first property to claim luxury with family by delivering unique  facilities and operations supporting this overlooked niche market.


Subsequently the resort has been recipient of many international awards for excellence for diving, spa, ecological, family, luxury, boutique, food and service. Offering a unique sense of place, and unparalleled services supported by a  great concept there has never been a massive investment to deliver these goals but rather small projects delivered over time largely funded from available cash flow.

  • Creating innovative niche design concepts for family and luxury
  • Villa 25. Completed the award winning design and bespoke interiors with local made furniture and on site project management of the construction
  • Concept design completed for the future villa residences.
  • Procurement of furniture, fixtures and equipment for upgrade programs to the public areas and to all the existing villas
  • Revision of all public areas including the Kids Club, the Serenity Pool, Spa and main pool.
  • Boutique design and sourcing of all products. Best boutique in Fiji.
  • Landscaping for the new wetlands and the resorts 24 acres of grounds.
  • Conceptualised operational service standards that delivered a unique guest experience.
  • Optimised the location as a dive and ecological resort.
  • Helped drive Savusavu as a destination with organisation of cultural and other events.
  • Refined the menu using home grown farm to table ingredirents, prepared by an all local team to a world class standard
  • Remote dining locations and events management including the Savusavu Music Festival and the annual Christmas Hampers and Choral Festival
  • Hired and trained the first local staff marine biologists, nanny’s and yoga instructors.
  • Established new operating systems and standards to support the unique niche concepts
  • Board member for Savusavu Tourism driving tourism to the region.
  • Budgets and financial reporting. Improved financial outcomes.
  • Increased ADR, increased annual occupancy with targeted strategies in low season, increased guest average spend, and guest satisfaction
  • Operational management for the year ending 2015.
  • Staff recruitment, systems and training.
  • Team building and leadership for consistent service delivery