4 nights recharging and relaxing

100   Recommended

Room 106 , Oceanfront Retreat
April 17, 2017 by
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Room 106

Oceanfront Retreat

Liked:
Location
Service
Food
Amenities
Room

Stats
Room
Oceanfront Retreat

Pre-arrival

This particular stay was part of a longer Oceania trip which included traveling to New Zealand after relaxing in Fiji. I reached out to the property about a month prior to set up transportation, activities. There seemed to be some issues with communications and I felt a little uneasy about my arrival when left from DC. I had requested a helicopter transfer to/from the resort using the quoted "special price" from the resort's website which was said to expire July 31st I believe. 

Turns out, the helicopter service required 2 passangers minimum for a flight to go, this was never mentioend to me in my dozens of communications with the hotel and was sprung upon me as I was sitting in the lounge at LAX. I reached out to Island Hoppers directly and they were able to accomidate me for the previously quoted price, though there was an upcharge for my large luggage was 26kg, their quoted luggage allowence is 15kg. 

The helicopter company eventually met me outside security (after a 20 minute wait) and drove me to their lounge. The lounge was stocked with Fiji water and Coke. There was also Wi-fi which was usable enough for checking email and web browsing. 

The flight to the Sheraton left right on time and took about 12 minutes. Waiting for me upon landing was a golf cart to take me to reception.

Helicopter arrival into Sheraton Tokoriki Resort - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zUzKBNHZxg

Check In

I was greated by a few of the staff singing, a welcome drink, and a very eager to please team. The 'lobby' is mostly open with semi-partitioned areas for check-in, a restuarant, a bar, and a few shops. I had used SNA's to upgrade to the best room type (Oceanfront retreat).

It was only about 8am but my check-in was processed quickly and within a few minutes I had my keys. The agent also gave me a quick tour of the property including the various restaurants, pool, and other facilities. My room was a quick walk from the check-in area.

Room

As mentioned, I was upgraded with SNA's to a Oceanfront retreat, room 106. The room layout and amenities are exactly as mentioned on the resort website. The plunge pool was a bit small, but the AC worked incredibly well, bed was of typical Sheraton brand standard and the bathroom was large and for the island had decent water pressure.

I was told there is an assortment of movies available on-demand for free in the room but didn't check it out myself. The room also had a nice sliding screen so that one could sleep with the door open without worrying a bugs. Given that the temps were in the high 70's a night I didn't take advantage but I can see how this would be great on cooler evenings. 

My only major complaint about the room is that my particular room had quite a bit of vegetation in front of it, obstructing the ocean view (others further down did not have this). So I'd suggest asking for a room about 108 if you want an unobstructed view. 

http://imgur.com/a/YguMS

http://imgur.com/a/kac8E

 

 

Service

If I had to describe the service at the property it's warm, hospitable, and genuine. However, there's a lack of polish and sense of urgency (this is expected given the location and property). It's a Sheraton branded hotel, so you get that level of detail the service. This all being said, most of the staff members knew me by name after day 1 (though for the life of me I couldn't remember theirs). I'd like to call out the hotel  general manager Peter who was the most engaged and helping manager I've ever encountered. We first met after lunchtime on my first day. He apolgized that he had not met me prior and thanked me for a being a Platinum. He was caring, warm, and personally did everything he could to make my stay great. I can't say enough good things about him. 

One specific thing I'd mention is that I had originally scheduled to stay 5 nights. However the transportation from the Island wasn't going to work for my 9am departure from NAN on my last day. I asked if I could depart a day early do to those circumstances and he was more than willing to be flexible. Kudos to Peter!

Activities and Spa

Being that this the start of a relaxing 5 days, I had pre-arragned a long spa morning. The spa is located towards the back of the property and consists of a few disconnected buildings including the gym. The spa reception quickly checked me in and escorted me to my treatment room. I had pre-booked the package that includes a body scrub, 60 minute massage, facial, and hand & foot scrub. This was scheduled to take about 3:45. 

If you're expecting super luxury, this is not it. The treatment room was nice enough, but 3:45 on the treatment table was way too long as it's not well padded, wide, or long enough. I was also puzzled by the fact that they left the in-room shower running the entire time. Seems like a waste of water on an island that probably has a high cost of obtaining water. 

The treatment overall was fine, though I think I'd skip the facial of all things. 

The pool area is decently appointed but as with most resorts, people are there early in the morning claiming seats. There is a nice row of seats that looks right out to the ocean which are great but you have to get them early. The pool itself is definitely too small. I'm not sure of what the occupancy rate was, but I'd guess 70-75% and the pool was pretty much full all days. They could definitely use another pool, possibly adults only as there is an adults only part of the resort. 

The pool has service from 2 different restaurants/bars and the servers are very friendly, though everything is a bit island time-ish. Drinks are resonably priced for being somewhat remote at $10 USD for a Gin and Tonic or $6 USD for a local beer. 

Dining

The resort has a few dining options. Platinums are given the full buffet breakfast in the lobby. The buffet is slightly better than what you'd find at a domestic US Sheraton, but not to the level of other resorts that I've visited. Lunch is served in the 2 pool restuarants. I had several different dishes, all of which were just decent. Some friends I met had several different fish dishes and said they were pretty good.

I ate dinner at the various restaurants and would say the food was marginally better.

One thing to note is that there is another island on the resort. It's about a 15 minute walk to get to their restaurant which was significantly better food. Be sure you make a reservation if you choose to dine there. 

Overall if you can bring some snacks, etc. with you to munch on during the day I think that's a wise move. I also brought some alcohol to compliment purchasing drinks and the resort had no issue with this of course. 

This definitely one area where the Sheraton could improve their offerings. I know the supply chain to getting decent ingredients to the island is difficult, but I think this is a reason I'd avoid the resort for a longer stay (more than 4 nights). 

Overall

I'm torn on this place truly. While I've had a good time, the lack of decent dining (save for the other on-island resort) and overall effectivness of the staff are a bit frustrating. I know the staff means well but it's just not backed up most of the time. The hotel GM is the one shining light and if he can navigate his staff to the right place then I think this will be a notch above where it is today. If you're looking for a basic remote resort for a few days getaway, this is a good choice. But I'd never spend more than 3-4 nights here. 

A little update

Just wanted to add a few more thoughts on some things I accidently ommitted. These are mostly little things, but nevertheless observations I'd like to share.

Wifi signal was strong (signal not speed), and when it worked it was good enough to browse the web (speed), upload instagram pics, and even stream pandora. Problem is the captive portal was hit or miss. Sometime it would re-auth my devices fine, other times I had to call front desk.

Another oddity is that the music they have playing around the resort is an odd collection of about 150 classic rock/pop songs on continuous loop and not very resorty. Don't get me wrong I didn't mind it, but hearing Eric Clapton's "Layla" or The Beatles "Twist and Shout" 3-4 times a day gets a little old (can only imagine that the staff has tuned it out at this point). They also played said music in the spa, so while getting a massage I was hearing "Sunday, Bloody Sunday". Again, just a little contrary to a resort feeling. A MUSAK DVD investment could go a long way. 

I learned today that the resort is building a performance theater in an open space behind the lobby. This is meant for the villagers to do performances each night and possibly a dinner show. Today they do it in the lobby which is crowded during dinner service to say the least. Looks pretty cool though.

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