Review: Sheraton Resort and Spa, Tokoriki Island, Fiji
The Sheraton Resort and Spa Tokoriki Island was our home for a four night stay in the Mamanuca Islands in Fiji. Our trip out to the Tokoriki Island would have us visit a resort offering duplex villas, in a freshly reconstructed resort that had recently re-opened after cyclone damage. Our stay would allow us the experience of staying on an outer island resort in Fiji with all the advantages and disadvantages that this would offer.
This post is one chapter on our trip to Fiji, New Zealand and French Polynesia. This trip was redeemed through Alaska Mileage Plan and AAdvantage frequent flier programs and enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read More from This Trip
- Trip Introduction: Fiji, New Zealand & French Polynesia via Fiji Airways and Air Tahiti Nui Business Class
- Alaska Airlines First Class: Vancouver – Seattle
- Alaska Airlines Board Room – North Satellite – Seattle – Tacoma, USA
- Alaska Airlines: Seattle – Los Angeles
- The Los Angeles International Lounge, Tom Bradley International Terminal, USA
- Fiji Airways Business Class: Los Angeles – Nadi
- The Sheraton Resort and Spa Tokoriki Island, Fiji
- The Westin Denaru Island Resort and Spa, Fiji
- Fiji Airways Tabua Lounge, Nadi International Airport, Fiji
- Fiji Airways Business Class: Nadi – Auckland
- Air New Zealand – Auckland Domestic Lounge, New Zealand
- Air New Zealand – Auckland Regional Lounge, New Zealand
- Air New Zealand: Auckland – Blenheim
- The Marlborough Vintners Hotel, Blenheim, New Zealand
- Four Sauvingon Blanc Wineries and One Lunch, Blenheim, New Zealand
- Four Pinot Noir Wineries and One Lunch, Blenheim, New Zealand
- A Circle Driving Day: Blenheim – Nelson – Picton – Blenheim, New Zealand
- Air New Zealand Blenheim – Auckland
- Air New Zealand – Auckland International Lounge, New Zealand
- Air New Zealand Economy Sky Couch: Auckland – Papeete
- Le Meridien Tahiti, Papeete, French Polynesia
- Visiting the Papeete Market and Taking the Ferry: Papeete – Moorea, French Polynesia
- The Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea Beach Resort, French Polynesia
- Cycling in Teavaro and Snorkelling in Moorea, French Polynesia
- Air Tahiti: Moorea – Bora Bora
- Le Meridien Bora Bora, French Polynesia
- Air Tahiti: Bora Bora – Papeete
- Air Tahiti Nui Salon Manuhiri Business Lounge, Papeete, French Polynesia
- Air Tahiti Nui Poerava Business Class: Papeete – Los Angeles
- The United Club, Los Angeles Terminal Seven
- American Airlines First Class: Los Angeles – Vancouver
Review: Sheraton Resort and Spa Tokoriki Island, Mamanuca Islands, Fiji
Booking the Sheraton Tokoriki:
Based on research, for a better visit to Fiji, it was recommended to stay in the outer islands (off the main island) when visiting Fiji. Although most of the resorts in Nadi are situated around Denarau, Denarau beaches are man made and the beaches are correspondingly not very spectacular. Our options in the Marriott Bonvoy / Starwood Preferred Guest portfolio that met this parameter was the newly refreshed Sheraton Tokoriki on the Mamanuca Island Group.
A few years earlier in 2014, this Sheraton Tokoriki Resort and Spa was badly damaged in Cyclone Winston, It’s taken the team about 3 years to clean up the resort as it was permanently closed for about 2 1/2 years. It has had a 25 million dollar upgrade and renovation since then.
When it came to booking the hotel, I was monitoring the rates which were around the $250 – $300 USD mark. As the time approached, there was a SPG Hot Escapes pre-paid reservation flash sale that offered a 20% discounted rate of 322 Fiji Dollars ($154 USD). I booked in at this pre-paid rate via the hotel website direct and didn’t see it get any lower after our booking.
Thanks to the Sheraton Tokoriki’s location in the Mamanuca Islands, there was a further return transfer cost of 622 Fiji Dollars ($300 USD for two) by South Sea Catamaran Cruises. During the time of our stay, it was outbound to the resort at 9 AM or 3 PM and returning at 10:15 AM or 4 PM. This otherwise added to the cost of the stay. While this is much cheaper than some transfers in the Maldives that run over $500 USD per person, it is worth noting the transfer fee can add a substantial sum to a stay. It’s also a worthy point to mention that those looking for an easy and convenient 1 or 2 night trek to this resort would probably fare better at one of the mainland Denaru resorts, as it is a bit of a way to get out to Tokoriki Island.
Marriott Bonvoy Redemption Opportunties:
The hotel is now in the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program as a Category 5 hotel. Rooms are available for between a low of 30,000 to a high of 40,000 points per night with a standard rate of 35,000 points per night. The Category 5 hotels are typically available with the annual free night certificates that accompany many Marriott Bonvoy American Express cards.
If you value Marriott Bonvoy points at $0.005 a point like I do, you’d be better off redeeming points if your paid rate was more expensive than $175 USD or 365 Fiji Dollars a night.
There are quite a few Marriott Properties in Fiji at the Category 5 level, including the Westin Denaru Island Resort and Spa, the Sheraton Fiji Resort and Spa and the new Fiji Marriott Resort Nomi Bay; all of which are located in Denaru so if you’re looking to avoid a transfer fee, or are looking for a more conveniently located resort, these resorts may fit the strategy a bit better.
In other to further enhance our stay, I used Suite Night Awards to upgrade our room. From booking an basic Ocean Breeze (Guest Room – 1 King) we were upgraded into the highest room category of Beachfront Retreat (Plunge Pool – Larger Guest room, 1 King, Oceanfront, Beach front access). This was a great deal as it’s sometimes unusual to get upgraded into the very highest room categories using upgrade instruments.
Getting to the Sheraton Tokoriki:
After coming off Fiji Airways Business Class Los Angeles – Nadi, we met our driver (booked through the hotel) who took us directly to the Denarau marina. The drive from the airport to the Denaru Marina was approximately 25 minutes. There was a bit of confusion here as the hotel websites suggest arriving to the mainland Sheraton Denarau that handles check ins on behalf of the Sheraton Tokoriki. We ended up just going straight to the marina, figuring we would sort it out when we arrived to the Sheraton Tokoriki.
When we arrived to the Denarau Marina about about 7:30 AM, it was a much more developed facility than I had expected. There was a grocery store, several take away places and even a Hard Rock Fiji restaurant. We took in a breakfast on the shore at the Lulu Bar and Restaurant while we waited for South Seas Cruises to open up business for the day.
We departed on the 9:15 AM scheduled boat to Tokoriki. On check in, they asked for a transfer voucher that we were never provided. I had some printed emails saved from the hotel that seemed to satisfy them. There was supposed to be separate boats headed to different Mamanuca Island groups but we were combined into two and ended up having a 2 stop ferry trip to the Sheraton Tokoriki. There were some nice views and despite wanting to get there and shower after an international flight, it was great to get in some scenery on our way. It wasn’t the best weather on our arrival day and it was mostly cloudy for the better part of the day.
The ferry transfer gave a us a great perspective on the Fiji waterways in the Mamanuca Island Group. Despite being on the water, there wasn’t much in the way of island views from Denaru to the Sheraton Tokoriki Island. Before long, we arrived to the Tokoriki Island and the home of the Sheraton Tokoriki Resort.
On arrival to the Sheraton Tokoriki, we transferred from the catamaran to a shore tender and had a wet landing on the beach. I wasn’t really prepared for that as I was in street shoes from the airplane but I just rolled up my pants and made a great time of it. Our bags were tendered to shore on a separate boat.
We were lei’d on arrival and us, and had the lovely experience of another singing trio on our arrival. We were checked in, along with our other guests (about 7 other groups) were processed. An orange welcome drink was provided.
I had applied Suite Night Awards to this booking and they had cleared at the 5 day mark into a Tokoriki Beachfront Retreat Room- the highest available room category on the island. The Suite Night Award pool at the time of our visit consisted of the Tokoriki Beachfront Retreat Rooms and the Tokoriki Ocean View Retreats rooms in both king and two single bed configurations.
During the check in, I had asked for a 4 PM check out and they asked us to remind them the night before to guarantee. We took the SPG Platinum Breakfast Benefit in lieu of the 500 points or the local amenity. The property does not participate in “Make a Green Choice” The receiving check in host happened to mention that the property was at about 60% occupancy.
The Room: A Beachfront Plunge Pool
Larger Guest room, 1 King, Oceanfront, Beach front access
We identified our bags and were led on foot by a member of the reception team to Room #111. I was still barefoot from the water landing in my dress pants but I didn’t really get any opportunity to change.
The Beachfront Retreat Room is a 450 sq foot duplex that sits almost immediately above the beach. The room was a little compact but was completely brand new after the renovation and had very little wear and tear. The room had fresh flowers sprinkled all over the room for our arrival.
The bathroom was massive and had lots of room for two, almost at the expense of the other living space areas. There was no bathtub – a stand up Westin type rain shower and shower wand only paired with natural light views to the outside.
The sea side of the room had wide open windows and a sliding door that led to am medium sized out door deck. There was a small plunge pool on the deck, in addition to a private outdoor lounger.
I grabbed this photo for other travellers as I found the room categories at the room quite confusing on the website. It shows the difference between the categories of room and how far apart you would be.
In summary, there aren’t many properties that allow the use of a Suite Night Award into the highest available room category. I thought this was a great use of one of these certificates and made the stay all that more comfortable. The room itself was quite comfortable and spacious without much noise thanks to it’s duplex configuration.
Around the Property:
The Resort Pool Area:
The property itself was quite small in size for a Sheraton Resort hotel. This was both an advantage and a disadvantage. The advantages were that it was always easy to get a lounge chair and the sun decks were practically deserted for most of the time. There was also an unconfirmed rumor floating around the property that the upcoming Survivor Fiji was using this place as “sequester – ville” for those contestants voted off the show early and had to stay in place until the end of the filming of the series. I don’t follow the show so I can’t say I recognized any stars in the making.
The disadvantages were that there were limited things to do other than lie at the beach. Although there were water sports available, most of the days on our visit, the sea was too rough to kayak or snorkel. You can only make so many visits to the spa and the gym, which was tiny. This type of isolation may be your thing, but after four to five days, it had the potential to get a little irritating from my perspective.
Since the in room decks were quite small, we spent some time sun tanning at the main pool deck. There were ample places to relax here. Thanks to low occupancy, we never had any issues with locating a deck chair.
The pool itself has a nice ocean view, as does many of the areas of the deck. Although it does not have a newer infinity style pool, there were still some pretty terrific views of the ocean.
We ended up overlooking the beach and ocean from the wrap around deck that covered the main building and pool area. The views were pretty at the resort, although nearby islands were quite a ways away. This made the island views a little less engaging and more flat ocean oriented. Being in the middle of nowhere, there isn’t a lot of boat traffic to look at either.
We enjoyed several days by the pool when the weather co-operated. In a mild design flaw, there aren’t any sun tanning areas other than the grass at the villas (the villa decks are tiny), so we ended up at the main pool deck most days.
The Resort Beach at Tokoriki Island:
The beach itself was nice, although we didn’t spend much time on the beach itself. There were no lounge chairs down there so we opted for views from the deck instead. The views from the resort are looking South Westerly over some of the other nearby islands.
We were a bit unlucky with the very windy and rough weather during our visit. We were informed that it was not seasonally normal. We were lucky to have a few hours of sunny skis each day but we also had a fair amount of cloudy skies.
In terms of exploring the island and the resort, there also did not appear to be many walking trails around the island. I ran up to the helipad about three times during our visit just to get some exercise and to take photographs.
This was the sole thatched roof on the villas. I am guessing at some time after they are finished with the hurricane refurbishment, all the white roofs will be recovered.
Flying Fish Restaurant:
The food at the property was upscale but not super fancy. The dinners were a bit over the top- in that there were very few simple dishes available to order. The usual casual options of North American comfort food such as hamburgers and pizzas were totally absent at dinner time. All the dining here was high end with entrees starting at about $36 AUD. There were no pizzas or other light fare available, which were missed by us on our arrival day after an overnight flight when some comfort food would have hit the spot nicely.
The Flying Fish version was nice – we steered clear of the meats which were starting at $46 AUD for lamb two ways and stuck close to the Fijian Chicken Curry; one of the only ethnic dishes available that showcased the local food culture. I think we had cheaper food in the Maldives looking back at it. I was on the lookout for other seafood dishes, but didn’t have any on the menu that were regularly showcased.
This is what two versions of $36 AUD pasta looks like. They were both quite heavy on the tastes… Fresh tasting but also quite strong.
The SPG Platinum Breakfast was more than reasonable, and thankfully free. The Platinum Breakfast Buffet is featured below. There was no up charge for hot items, which was appreciated.
Sunsets at the Resort:
We had several days of doing nothing. With days of relaxing to keep us entertained, we had several great sunsets from our ocean front room. You can see how small the villa deck’s are from these photos; there is almost nowhere to sun bathe here unless you move to the lawn. Aside from the large lounger, the decks could use some individual loungers to dress up the place.
The Sheraton Tokoriki House Reef:
I brought my snorkling equipment and tested out the reef. I found the house reef to be quite mossy. The corals themselves were in reasonable, but not excellent condition. The fish themselves were a bit “hunt and seek”; there weren’t that many of them from where I was. It wasn’t a plentiful experience. I did see some angel fish, some similar to angel fish (not quite sure what they were) and some eels.
The seas were also quite rough on our visit. It wasn’t worth me going out again so I’d mark this as an added bonus and not a destination to visit for snorkeling itself. We didn’t take the snorkling trip offered by the property so I can’t comment on the other reefs in the area.
On the day of our departure, the resort was nice enough to extend us a late check out until 4 PM so that we could have our room until the afternoon boat back to the mainland. We enjoyed the last of the room, including a glass of wine on our patio savouring the last of the views.
Our tender was prepared and we set off to catch the catamaran for the South Sea Cruises. We had a guitar song send off with the traditional Fijian departure song.
We had a much larger boat this time around for the transfer back. We didn’t get the helicopter transfer which we saw from the neighbouring Tokoriki resort that shared the island with the Sheraton.
It was straight back to the Denarau Port where we boarded an included transfer bus over to the Westin Denarau Island Resort. The Denarau Port Marina was actually a much nicer place than I had originally anticipated as it had a number of waterfront restaurants for tourists.
The Bottom Line: The Sheraton Tokoriki
The Sheraton Tokoriki was a great place to visit for a few days. The ability to use a Suite Night Award to upgrade into the nicest possible room was the best feature of this property. The property was isolated, which was both a good and bad thing. The isolation did not make it feel super exclusive like properties in the Maldives, as the lodging arrangements were duplexes and during the course of the stay, you’d see other guests on a regular basis. The food was “just okay” and priced a bit dear; probably because everything needs to be shipped in. Ultimately, the property was nice but it just didn’t wow me they way that I had expected. Having said that, I would easily return as a repeat guest if I was in the area for a few days.