[Marianas Business Journal] Closure Of The Village Hotel In Pohnpei: The End Of An Era
By Bruce Lloyd
HAGÅTÑA, GUAM (Marianas Business Journal, April 8, 2013) – The Village Hotel of Pohnpei, an icon of Micronesian tourism since 1976, has closed due to the decision by its senior owners, Robert “Bob” and Patricia “Patti” Arthur, to head for California and eventual retirement.
The hotel was scheduled to close April 1, but Jamie Arthur, the son of the couple who is active in the business, told the Journal in a telephone interview that remaining guests would keep the hotel open until April 6. Meanwhile, Arthur said, the famous thatched roof hotel and its bungalows were being stripped of portable goods to be sold in what he described as a “fire sale.”
The long Micronesian tenure of the Arthurs’ was not all composed of daiquiris, tropical sunsets and satisfied tourist guests, but better described, as the Arthurs’ did last year (See “The Village: 36 years of eco-tourism in Pohnpei” in the July 16, 2012 issue of the Journal) as featuring some serious “bumps in the road.”
The bumps included being placed under house arrest by a Federated States of Micronesia court in 2009 for non-payment of a loan from the State of Pohnpei to their AHPW corporation, which was formed in 1985 to produce gourmet black pepper and buttons from the abundant trochus shells on local beaches.
The venture dissolved (See “Pepper, buttons and lawsuits – all part of doing business in Pohnpei,” in the Jan. 18, 2009 issue of the Journal) after Pohnpei State entered into both the pepper and trochus businesses. In a long running legal battle, the Arthurs charged that the Pohnpei government effectively destroyed their business, leading to such problems as their inability to repay the business loan.
In a follow-up e-mail to the Journal, Jamie Arthur said of his parents, “Bob and Patti Arthur came to Pohnpei forty years ago to build the kind of hotel they’d like to live in. They found that the large thatched roof and openness of the Village Long House and its individual cottages, the balmy breezes, the reef islands nearby and the lagoon with its barrier reef appealed to their guests as well.”
The younger Arthur, who has become more involved in day-to-day operations of the Village over the years, attributed the closure to a failure to renew the lease for the land on which the hotel stands, writing that “The Village has now been forced out of business.”
Regardless, he said the family will take away positive memories. “Bob, Patti and Jaime feel that for forty years their efforts have been appreciated by those on ‘their’ island, as well as by the guests they were lucky enough to meet. …They all agree that it’s been a helluva run.”
Marianas Business Journal
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