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The Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa Fiji 4.0

Denarau Island, Fiji

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Impressive ocean-view pool complex, plus a separate lap pool for adults
  • All rooms have balconies or terraces, some with ocean views
  • Westin brand bedding, toiletries, bathrobes, and slippers
  • Several restaurants to choose from, here and around the island
  • Chic wine bar with more than 750 bottles
  • Large open-air spa with 12 treatment rooms
  • Walking distance to neighboring resorts and a golf club
  • Tennis courts, water sports, and daily activities
  • Free Wi-Fi for one device, and free parking

Cons

  • Most of the beach has a rocky barrier to protect from erosion
  • Odd layout for some rooms as they look onto other balconies
  • Food and drink are expensive (typical for Denarau)
  • The kids' club has a fee and is located at the Sheraton
  • Beach towels need to be signed for and returned daily
  • Pool loungers can get snagged early
  • Fee for Wi-Fi after the first device
  • Couples may find the atmosphere too family-friendly
  • Service, in general, can fall short 

Bottom Line

This four-pearl, 246-room beachfront resort was the first resort on Denarau -- a man-made island that's a 20-minute drive from Nadi airport via causeway. There are two Starwood sister resorts next door, and guests have access to a huge interconnected waterfront area with several pools and dining outlets, an 18-hole golf course, 10 tennis courts, and the largest spa in Fiji -- but there's not much of a beach. Traditionally styled rooms are equipped with the brand's plush bedding and bathrobes, while the newer adult-only wing is more modern (though lacks water views). Service is inconsistent -- sometimes lethargic -- and high prices for mediocre food and Wi-Fi (it's only free for one device) detract from the value. Those hoping to save on food by cooking might prefer the kitchen-equipped rooms at the Radisson Blu. This is one of the lower-priced options on Denarau and best suited for a short stopover.

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Scene

A sprawling family-friendly resort with a great ocean-view pool complex but not much of a beach

Because it was the very first resort on Denarau, Westin became the natural center of the island's man-made, albeit nicely manicured, stretch of imported white sand. This is partly why it feels more authentic than its neighbors, starting with the grandiose thatched entrance. At night, torches flicker a lovely glow on ponds and lush gardens.The reception feels airy and elegant with dark woods and more soft lighting. During check-in, guests are given a calendar of activities for that week and are told they can use their keycard at any food and beverage outlet here and at sister resorts for direct room charges (the resort is cashless). Sister resorts include Sheraton Fiji and the pricier Sheraton Denarau Villas.

This hotel is quite long. There are three buildings (called "villages") on either side of the lobby that contain the majority of the rooms; these are accessed by either a covered walkway or beachside walkway. In front of the lobby are the main pool area, two main restaurants, and the beachside lounge. This is the hub of the resort and constantly bustling with guests of all ages. The nearest kids club is at Sheraton, which may explain why there seem to be more kids running rampant here. Two more villages are in the rear of the resort by the spa, where the adult-only lap pool is located. Guests can also walk over to the pool complex at the Sheraton Fiji next door for more variety. Because the beach is small and has a rocky barrier, guests tend to stick to the pools, and lounge chairs can get snagged early. For a longer stretch of beach, consider the Hilton Fiji. 

Each night at sunset, staff members dressed as traditional Fijian warriors beat drums to signify the start of the torch lighting ceremony. The Meke Lounge, otherwise known as the main bar, offers live entertainment and sometimes an interactive "Bula Hour." Couples looking for romance can order a bottle of wine on lounge chairs facing the sunset, and there's also a cool beach bar at the Sheraton worth checking out. Many choose the Westin for its convenient location near the airport, though most agree the "real" Fiji can be found on the outer islands. This is best suited for a stopover for a few nights, though some find the atmosphere appealing enough to stay here for the entire trip. 

Location

Those who like to walk will love this pedestrian-friendly island with restaurants, golf, and tennis.

The Westin is a 20-minute drive from Nadi (pronounced Nandi) International Airport. It is located on the small man-made island of Denarau, which is connected by causeway to the western side of the island of Viti Levu, the largest of 330 islands in Fiji. Since the biggest airport in the country is based here (as opposed to the capital of Suva), Nadi is the transit point for nearly all destinations in Fiji, and for many Denarau serves as a stopover after arrival to Fiji or before departure. Others choose to stay their entire vacation on Denarau for its attractive Western-style resorts that provide safety, comfort, and convenience.

The Denarau Golf & Racquet Club is another draw on the island, as is Port Denarau Marina, which offers a supermarket, restaurants, bars, and cafes. This is also where ferries from companies such as South Seas Cruises depart to outer islands. There is a Bula Bus (for a fee) that makes regular rounds around the island. There are also frequent trips to Nadi town on the yellow Westbus for an even cheaper rate.

Rooms

Spacious rooms with tasteful Fijian style, plus more modern spa rooms

Most of Westin’s 246 rooms are located in six buildings along the beach. Decor in most combines original elements -- think textured walls, beautiful wood-beamed ceilings, wood furnishings, local textiles, and Fijian craftwork -- with modern amenities, such as Westin's now-famous heavenly beds (two doubles or one king-size), bathrobes, slippers, and Westin brand toiletries. Each room is equipped with a set of glassware, mini-fridge with milk, and coffee/tea facilities. Bathrooms have double vanity sinks and walk-in rainfall showers, though the bland tiling and narrow toilets rooms make them a bit underwhelming. All rooms have balconies or terraces, but some (including many Ocean Breeze Rooms) face each other from neighboring buildings, which could cause privacy issues.

Tropical Garden Rooms are the entry-level category and are located on the ground-floor, with direct access to the surrounding gardens from their private patios. Ocean Breeze Rooms typically do not have a great view so it may be worth the upgrade to Ocean View or Ocean Front Rooms, which are closer to the waterfront. Ocean Front Suites have added amenities such as surround-sound systems, DVD players, separate lounges and dining areas, and guest bathrooms. Royal and Regent Suites, which have kitchenettes, are on the first floor and can host up to eight guests. 

On the other side of the resort, near the spa, is the newer adult-only section housing the Westin Renewal Spa Studios and Suites. These rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, canopy beds, 47-inch TVs with Bluetooth access, and furnished patios overlooking the lap pool with either jetted tubs or private plunge pools, depending on the floor. Bathrooms are huge and oversize glass-enclosed showers have two rain showerheads. Suites have separate lounges and wet bars. 

Features

The pools are the star attraction, though there are also a small, pretty beach and an 18-hole golf course

During the day, most guests tend to stick to the large kid-friendly pool complex, which has both direct sunshine and several individual thatched roofs for shade. The pool sits right next to the beach and has sea views. On the other side of the resort is the narrow, adult-only lap pool, surrounded with cushy daybeds for snoozing and reading. Guests are also allowed to use the pools at the two Sheraton resorts, including an infinity pool next door. Beware of the towel rule, which requires guests to hand beach towels back every morning to avoid a fine. 

The man-made beach extends the full length of the resort, and is lined with contemporary sun loungers and umbrellas. Due to the rock formation acting as an erosion protector, many choose not to swim here even though it’s perfectly safe. The far end of the beach does offer a sandy entry for those who don't want to climb over rocks, and most of the water sports (which cost a fee) depart from there.

Guests can take advantage of several daily activities, such as aqua aerobics, lawn bowling (there is an actual lawn dedicated for this), crab races, story telling, and fish feeding.

The Denarau Island 18-hole golf course offers golf lessons and clinics, as well as a driving range. Carts are included with green fees, and rental clubs and shoes are available. There are 10 tennis courts (some grass), and there are private lessons, clinics, and ball machines available. The Denarau Golf & Racquet Club's clubhouse has a sports bar theme as well as a rum bar and tasting room from Fiji Rum Co. -- great for souvenirs! Back at the Westin, there are stores for snacks, essentials, and souvenirs as well.

The 24-hour Westin fitness studio overlooks the adult-only lap pool. It's equipped with men's and women's locker rooms, four treadmills, two bikes, a crosstrainer, and a step machine. Said to be the largest in Fiji, Westin's day spa uses products such as Thalgo as well as traditional Fijian oils and natural marine resources. It is located near the entrance, and has 10 open-air therapy rooms and two suites in traditional Fijian bures (each bure features a private treatment gazebo and open-air shower). 

Sheraton offers a kids' club for a daily fee. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the resort, though guests must pay to use it on more than one device or to upgrade their connection speed.

Food

No shortage of dining options around the island, and the bakery provides a great alternative to pricey buffet breakfasts

Zing is the main buffet restaurant, and serves breakfast with American or continental options. At night, the restaurant transitions to an a la carte with Southeast Asian dishes, Indian curries, and Fijian favorites. Kitchen @ Westin serves a la carte lunch and dinner next to the pool. Lunch includes gourmet salads and sandwiches, while at night the fare is more New American with steaks, seafood, and vegetarian dishes; the attached wine bar has over 750 bottles. Prices, as is typical for Denarau, can be quite steep.

Westin's spacious Meke Lounge is where most adults end up imbibing. After the sunset torch-lighting ceremony, Meke's stage hosts live music and dancing. Drink service can be slow, and some enjoy their own wine and beer (bought at a local shop) on the sun loungers around the pool instead of paying for Meke's table service and higher prices.  

The lobby bakery is a convenient and popular place offering coffee, espresso, fresh-baked pastries, sandwiches, and fresh juices until late afternoon. 

There's an SPG Kids Pass all-inclusive program for children 12 and younger.

Room service is available but during our visit, the phone rang and rang without an answer.

Guests can also take advantage of dining and drink options at  the two neighboring sister resorts (bills are payable with keycards). In addition, there are a clubhouse restaurant at the golf course and several restaurants at Port Marina, or guests can take the bus into Nadi. It's also possible to dine at other Denarau resorts such as Wyndham and Hilton. 

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Address

P.O. Box 9081, Denarau Island North, Denarau Island, Fiji

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