Since we arrived quite late in Fiji, that meant we were unlikely to catch the ferry to Tokoriki Island. Which is why I planned to stay one night in Denarau Island, which is actually joined to the mainland. Denarau Island consists of several large resorts in an enclosed compound with a ferry terminal where the transfers to the Mamanuca Islands group depart from. There are several sightseeing cruises and sea activities from here as well. Taking a cab from the airport to the Sheraton is relatively quick and takes about 40 minutes or so. It would have been faster if not for some road construction along the way.
On arrival the Sheraton Fiji has an open air resort, which is the usual case in most beach resorts. The bellboy had to be called to assist with the luggage as we proceed to check-in. On presenting my passport, the staff came by with cold towels and a glass of fruit punch for each of us. I received a nice welcome and was also upgraded, as the staff went on to explain all the Platinum benefits including breakfast that would be served in Feast Restaurant on the lobby level. She also explained the paid shuttle that would bring us to the ferry terminal where there are some other dining options. Otherwise, guests are generally stuck with food in the resorts.
After checking in, the bellboy helped to bring our luggage to the rooms which is a bit of a walk. We were also assigned a room on the first floor though in this case, it was the second floor. With no elevators we had to walk up the staircase. Which is why it is essential for the bell service staff to help with luggages.
The rooms here are grouped on several buildings connected by a pathway and there is a courtyard in the middle. The further down your room is, the better the ocean view as the furthest rooms have the unblocked ocean view. In this instance these are usually the room Platinum members would be provided with.
Room No: 1459 Category: Ocean Studio Room
Our room was right on the corner of the building and like the Studio name suggests, it features an open floor plan. The whole room is straight away visible on entry.
By the door, there is a divider where the luggage bench is located at. The end of this divider has a wooden chair making it a desk at the same time while providing a sense of separation between the entrance and the rest of the room.
Moving on to the room, there is a closet that is average sized for a room this large and it seems more suited for one or 2-night stays.
Turning left from the closet, guests would find a large spacious bathroom that has a double sink on the countertop. The bathroom also features both a bathtub and a walk-in shower cubicle. With a free-standing bathtub, the whole bathroom decor looks modern and seems to have been recently renovated compared to the rest of the room.
The blue paint behind the bathtub and the shower cubicle also adds character to the bathroom and made it one of the nicest bathrooms I have gotten in a Sheraton. The brightness and the size of the shower made it comfortable to take showers. Simple controls and a rain shower head on the ceiling in addition the handheld shower head was a bonus!
Bathroom amenities provided here are the usual Sheraton brand though they were generous with the range of amenities and it felt more like a property in Asia.
In the bedroom, there is a King sized bed behind the partition between the door and the room. There was power outlets and light switches beside the bed making it convenient for those who charges their mobile phones and use them as an alarm clock.
Across from the bed is the LCD TV on top of the console with a large sofa on the side. While the TV was a bit on the small side, it was actually replaced on the day we left the resort. So guests should expect a nice LG branded LED TV on their visit here.
In addition to the sofa with a small round table and the desk behind the bed, there is an elliptical glass table with 2 chairs beside the closet. This could act as an informal dining table of sorts or another work desk if both occupants in the room need to use their laptops.
Beside this second desk, there is a minibar cabinet and 2 bottles of Fiji water was placed there with compliments for SPG members. It was also convenient to ask for more bottled water to be sent to the room.
With a beachfront location, it was already sunset by the time we checked in but from our balcony, we were still able to catch the ‘blue hour’ when the sun truly sets below the horizon. On this particular evening, it was more like a purple dusk, and made for a memorable scene of my stay here.
For the night, we actually ended up having dinner at the neighbouring Westin Denarau which is probably a good 10 minutes walk from our rooms. We had dinner at the Zing restaurant which serves a variety of Asian cuisines and we had a BBQ platter, a plate of Nasi Goreng (fried rice) and a salt and pepper squid to share amongst 2 of us. While the roast pork is really bad, the fried rice was enjoyable. And it is hard to ruin fried squid as long as it is served crispy.
Breakfast the next morning was served at the Feast, which is a large buffet style restaurant. As we had breakfast quite late at around 9am, it was really busy and noisy and there was plenty of trash around the tables that were not cleared. This gave a bad impression to begin with.
The buffet was definitely extensive in terms of choices as there are the usual continental choices featuring assorted yogurts, bircher muesli, cereals and pastries.
There was 2 omelette stations that catered to both vegetarian and non-vegetarians, so this would make it easier for guests who would just want sunny side up eggs.
Other hot dishes from the buffet includes Indian style roti with eggs in curry, stir-fried vegetables and potatoes. Sweet dishes like pancakes and crepes are also available with whipped cream and simple syrup on the side.
There are vegetables and cut fruits as well for healthier options or a selection of items like tofu and vegetables for soup.
While the quantity of dishes is numerous and should satisfy, the quality of the food was lacking. Maybe I was getting tired of the hotel buffets but the food was disappointing that I did not finish some of the dishes I took.
The unsatisfying breakfast meant we actually had lunch at the resort before leaving for the ferry terminal as we took the afternoon departure at 3pm with a bus from the ferry terminal picking us up around 2:30pm from the resort. We had lunch in the Flying Fish restaurant which is the signature restaurant in the Sheraton. Located beside the pool, the restaurant is open-air and there are seats with the sand below your feet for that feeling of dining on the beach!
For lunch, I had another salt and pepper calamari while my friend had the chicken wrap. Both were well made and delicious. I just love calamaris and I figured where else could I indulge if not in a beach resort?
There are several other dining options in the Sheraton and it includes a cheaper noodle bar beside the Feast restaurant and the high-end Ports O’Call restaurant that is open for dinner only.
Beside the Flying Fish restaurant, there is also a beach bar that provides a relaxing spot to just lounge in the afternoon.
Other facilities in the resort includes a relatively large duty free store and a grocery store. The former sells all kinds of things from luxury watches and jewelry to beach wear, gifts, toys and souvenirs. The latter sells daily necessities like flip flops, sunscreen, local snacks, cup noodles, soft drinks and bottled water for those staying in the resort for a while.
In the hotel lobby, there was also a lounge with board games available for rent and an indoor space where table tennis was setup along with timing for events and performances. These activities are perhaps meant for cloudy weather which it was on the day we checked out.
Since this is a resort, the draw here has got to be the swimming pool and it fits the bill as the pool is landscaped beautifully with plenty of space for swimmers to spread out. There was no one swimming during the cool cloudy day though so the sun loungers around the pool was not even set up by the staff.
In addition to the main pool, there is an adults only pool beside the beach bar that is closer to where our rooms was located at. While it might be termed as an adults only pool, it is not necessarily deep. In fact I think this spot was meant for those vacationers who just want some quiet zone to relax in.
As an island destination, there is also a watersports bure on the other side of the pool where guests could pay to use the jet skis and other watersports equipments available for rent.
While the resort does have a beach, it was not necessarily meant for swimming. It was being refurbished during our stay, and while the beach near our rooms was a bit nicer, the whole stretch saw little guests strolling by. I would strongly advise those looking for great beaches to find accommodation in the offshore islands instead.
For this stay, the cost works out to be around FJ$470 (~$230) inclusive of taxes. In fact, the rates in Tokoriki Island was actually slightly lower during the time of my booking. At that price point, I would actually be looking for more in terms of the resort amenities and facilities. Not only was the room slightly run down but I felt that the resort did not even provide a free shuttle to the ferry terminal. The dismal state of the food and beverage offering was really the one that broke the deal for me and I would not really consider this resort at all for future visits unless prices are lower.