Adult-only section of the pool is not very big or private
Fee if pool towel not returned by set time
This popular, four-pearl beachfront resort has 297 rooms built along an attractive corner of Denarau Island with sunset views -- just 20 minutes from Nadi airport. Facilities include a huge interconnected waterfront area, three restaurants, and kids' club, plus access to all the amenities at two adjacent sister properties. If that's not enough, there's an extensive spa, 18-hole golf course, and 10 tennis courts. Five contemporary room types come with comfy beds, balconies, and rainfall showers, but those interested in fully equipped kitchens should consider the neighboring Sheraton Denarau Villas.
Despite the Sheraton's upscale vibe, it's a comfortable hotel popular with vacationing families.
Opened in 1987, Sheraton was one of the first properties on Denarau Island, and it went through a major refurbishment in 2008. Still, the exterior's conventional salmon-colored blocky structure is not very impressive -- certainly when compared to the nearby Westin's striking thatched-roof entrance. The lobby is elegant, though, decorated in contemporary furnishings, abstract artwork, and bold light fixtures. The rest of the spacious grounds are pretty, with lots of palm trees and open-air structures.
The crowd feels fun and laid-back, thanks in part to the frequency of destination wedding groups. Though the resort scene is pretty typical during the day, nighttime is when things step up a notch. The action centers around Vai Restaurant & Bar restaurant and its attached beachside bar, which has the liveliest happy hour scene found at this this property or at sister hotels Sheraton Denarau Villas and The Westin. At sunset, traditional Fijian warriors beat the drum to signify the start of the torch lighting ceremony.
Beachfront setting on Denarau Island, within walking distance to restaurants, golf, and tennis
The Sheraton is located 20 minutes from Nadi on the western side of the island of Viti Levu, the largest of 330 islands in Fiji. The biggest airport in the country is based here, making Nadi a transit point for nearly all destinations in Fiji. Some travelers choose to stay their entire vacation on the man-made island of Denarau for interconnected access to a series of recognizable Western-style resorts.
Another convenience of choosing Denarau is having access to the golf and tennis club (and clubhouse), as well as Port Denarau Marina, which offers a supermarket, restaurants, and bars. This is also where ferries from companies like South Seas Cruises depart to outer islands. The marina is about a 35-minute walk away, or there is a Bula Bus (for a fee) that makes regular rounds around the island. There are also frequent buses to Nadi town on the Westbus (yellow bus) for a cheaper rate.
Pleasant rooms have dark-wood furnishings, tile floors, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi.
Nearly 300 rooms are spread among several low-rise buildings at the Sheraton, and rooms were last majorly renovated in 2008. Decor is simple but contemporary, with tile floors, wood furnishings, and pops of color in seating and bed runners. Beige walls with white outlines of hibiscus flowers and fresh flowers on the beds add a dash of island personality. All five room types are equipped with flat-screen TVs, coffee- and tea-making facilities, glassware, mini-fridges, and two free bottles of water (stocked daily). Rooms have a king-size or two twin Sheraton-brand beds, and lounge areas lead to furnished patios or balconies. Spacious bathrooms have a better layout than at the Westin's, featuring double vanity sinks, Sheraton-brand toiletries, bathrobes, slippers, and walk-in showers with rainfall showerheads.
Ocean Breeze Rooms are the lowest-priced category, set farther away from the ocean and facing tropical gardens, while Ocean View Rooms have better views of the water. Ocean Front Rooms have more direct vistas and are positioned closer to the shore. Ocean Studios might be a worthwhile upgrade for romantic couples -- they have beautiful open layouts with two walls of windows overlooking the beach and waterfront, and bathrooms that include a large freestanding bathtub. High rollers can opt for the Presidential Suite that includes a king-size bedroom, kitchenette, dining room (with seating for up to eight people), and executive work desk.
Beach area, large pool, kids' club, and access to facilities at sister properties
Though Denarau Island's man-made beaches aren't nearly as pretty as outer islands, the Sheraton's beachfront is arguably the area's best. Imported white sand offers plenty of space for guests to make use of the loungers or cushioned chairs. Plus, its consistently calm water also makes it safe to swim for all ages. The adjacent lagoon-style pool is divided into sections, including a family and adult-only area (though the latter isn't very big). Note that pool towels must be returned by a set time or guests will be charged a fee. Guests are also able to access all the pools and amenities at the adjacent Sheraton Denarau Villas and The Westin; note that the infinity pool next door has a swim-up bar.
Waters sports can be rented for a fee, including snorkel gear, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, sail craft, jet skis, and other motorized sports. Guests can take advantage of several daily free activities, such as aqua aerobics, lawn bowling at The Westin, crab races, storytelling, and fish feeding.
Denarau Island's 18-hole golf course offers lessons, clinics, and a driving range. Carts are included with green fees, while clubs and shoes can be rented. Guests have access to 10 tennis courts (some that are grass), where private lessons, clinics, and ball machines are available.
The Westin fitness studio is open 24/7 and equipped with men's and women's locker rooms, free weights, and cardio and strength-training machines. Said to be the largest in Fiji, Westin's day spa uses products like Thalgo, as well as traditional Fijian oils and natural marine resources. It has 10 open-air therapy rooms and two suites in traditional Fijian bures.
Lai Lai Kids Club is free for Sheraton guests and puts on a daily program for ages 4 to 12, with activities such as volleyball, Fijian language classes, and face painting. Evening programs are available for a fee.
Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the resort and it seemed reliable during Oyster's visit. Guests can pay a small fee to upgrade their connection speed. There are several gift stores selling apparel, jewelry, snacks, essentials, and souvenirs as well.
All three restaurants serve fruits and vegetables that are grown on property's garden.
Sheraton operates a huge produce garden in the middle of Denarau island -- next to the golf course -- that grows a wide variety of veggies, fruits, and herbs, such as asparagus, broccoli, papaya, and beetroot, to name a few. This produce can be found at the on-site restaurants.
Feast is the contemporary buffet with red mosaic walls overlooking the pool; it's open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The open kitchen is built around the restaurant’s wood-fired pizza oven, and fare contains a mix of Mediterranean, Asian, European, as well as specialty-theme buffet nights. Breakfast is quite impressive with a line of curries, lamb sausage, gluten-free pancakes, and pastries (guests are also offered individual pots of coffee for each table).
Vai Restaurant & Bar is a gourmet seafood restaurant on the waterfront, with both a spacious open deck and private booth seating. Dishes include seared scallops, Sri Lankan King Prawn Curry, and Wagyu beef. The restaurant is under Peter Kuruvita -- a renowned restaurateur and co-owner of the famed Vai Restaurant & Bar in Sydney. The attached bar has live music and a vibrant happy hour scene.
Ports O’ Call is one of the most upscale restaurants in Fiji, serving classic cuisine for dinner in an indoor room that resembles a luxury ocean liner. Main entrees include lobster, crab, Beef Wellington, and Steak Diane, though few guests seem to actually dine here.
After Vai Restaurant & Bar's bar scene wraps up, the bar and lounge called Chime comes alive with dancing, live musicians, and DJ nights.
Those who like their espresso fix will be glad to know that there's a deli called Pantry in the lobby for grab-and-go items like coffee drinks, pastries, sandwiches, and juices.
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