Review: The Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa, Fiji
There are quite a pick of resorts in the Denaru Island Resort area of Fiji. The Denaru Island consists of nine separate hotels with a marina that connects Fiji to the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands. The Denaru Island is located ten kilometers from Nadi International Airport. We would end up visiting Denaru Island and staying at the Westin Denaru Island Resort prior to our departing international flight the next day.
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: The Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa, Fiji
Booking the Westin Denaru Island Resort & Spa:
With our departing Fiji Airways Business Class Nadi – Auckland flight leaving at 8:45 AM, and after a multi day stay at The Sheraton Resort and Spa, Tokoriki Island, we needed a place to stay overnight on the Fiji “mainland”. I had asked the Sheraton Tokoriki staff whether the trip could have been done in the early morning, but I didn’t get a very convincing answer. Less game for adventure these days, I opted to play it save and travel back to Nadi a day before our flight.
We could have picked an uninspiring airport hotel, but instead we opted to stay in the resort area of Denarau. There didn’t seem to be much difference between this Westin Denarau property and the nearby Sheraton Denarau. Based on trip advisor reviews, I picked the Westin Denaru Island Resort & Spa on the basis of slightly more favourable reviews.
When it came to booking the hotel, I ended up with a rate of 399 Fiji Dollars ($192 USD). There was a 6% environmental tax, a 10% hotel turnover tax and a 9% room tax which added another steep 25% to the rate. This brought the hotel room rate to 499 Fiji Dollars ($240 USD) a night. I booked in at this pre-paid rate via the hotel website direct and didn’t see the rate get any lower after our booking. As a resort hotel, it seems to be in the resort hotel price point instead of a more convenient business hotel pricing band for those seeking airport stopover stays.
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. With taxes and fees usually included in reward redemptions, don’t forget about the 25% in taxes that you’re have to pay as a extra, which is not included in the new Marriott Bonvoy program (unlike the old Starwood Preferred Guest program).
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. Being a Marriott Bonvoy Category 5 hotel, it’s pretty hard to beat a full featured beach resort at this reward level. Most of the comparable Hawaiian Resorts are in Category 6 – 8 by comparison, making this a good value proposition in some circumstances.
Getting to the Westin Denaru:
Denarau Island North, P.O. Box 9081, Nadi, Fiji
We took a motor coach transfer from the South Sea Cruises from our arrival port at Denarau Marina over to the Denaru Resort Area. The Denarau strip of resorts is a gated community which has mega resort after mega resort next to each other; very similar to Nusa Dua in Bali, Indonesia or Kaanapali, Maui, Hawaii, USA.
The resort started off life in 1975 as the Regent of Fiji as the first hotel on the Denaru Island complex. The lobby was of a nice open air design with a large water feature.
Checking into the Westin Denaru:
We were the only ones from our motor coach arriving and we had a bit of a slow check in, despite it being only 6:30 PM. There was a group of four ahead of us that was occupying most of the desk. It took about 5 minutes for another agent to arrive to give us a hand.
During check in, I asked if there were any suite upgrades available for Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum members It’s worth noting that the Westin Denaru Island Resort had proactively upgraded us from the lowest Garden Room category room to a Ocean Front Room. The agent asked if this was acceptable and I had no concerns with this. We were only staying for twelve hours total, and mostly through the night, so it didn’t make too much difference in the long run. We took the Platinum Welcome Points amenity as the SPG Platinum breakfast benefit did not start breakfast service until 6:30 AM; which was after our planned departure time.
We were put into a golf cart with our bags from the porte cochère and led over to our room in “Village 6”. Each of the groups of rooms at this property is in several clusters of separate buildings ranging from 1 – 8. On arrival at building 6, we were led up to #2630, which involved a trek to the second (top) floor with the porter carrying the luggage up a flight of stairs since there was no elevator. In addition to being on the top floor, we were also in a corner room which was an added bonus.
The Room: An Oceanfront Room
The room itself, along with the property, is quite an old property. The property was initially built in 1972 as the founding complex on Denaru Island. The room itself was showing moderate signs of wear and tear. There was nothing unbearable with the room, although I didn’t find it great value for money paid.
The room featured a king size Westin Bed, with a nice high vaulted ceiling consistent with us being on the top floor of the building. The room itself was pretty spacious, if not looking a little dated with its wood panelling tones.
The room offered a small fridge, which was promptly filled up with our leftover drinks from earlier in the trip. There were also a small set of glassware for in room coffee, tea and drinking.
Showing the age of the room a bit, there were so many switches on the bedside wall that you practically needed a pilot’s license to operate them all.
The bathroom was half in the bedroom, with the toilet and shower in a windowless dark area toward the back of the room. The double vanity sink was located immediately behind the bed, making use of the sink a little noisy for those resting in bed.
The layout of the hotel buidling offered angled rooms with views towards the water. With our beachfront room, we were situated in the end orange and pink rooms directly facing the water.
The room also featured a map of the general Denaru Island resort development. The Denaru Island resort featured many housing developments and a golf course surrounding manicured landscaping.
Elsewhere in the room, a separate SPG Platinum Amenity was provided for us. It was a Survivor Kit, containing several Pure Fiji hand creams and sun burn creams. I don’t get many additional Platinum Amenities provided over and on top of the usual offers (points, breakfast or local amenity) at the front desk so this was a nice added touch.
An Ocean Front Room with a View:
There was a nice small lanai outside that overlooked the water. I enjoyed a Fiji Bitter beer outside while MrsWT73 freshened up for dinner. It’s not often you get Fiji Water as the in house bottled water so this was a bonus.
We ended up walking back up the road to the Denaru Island Marina for dinner at the Lulu Island Restaurant. With many hotels being in proximity to the Denaru Marina, at least there were several off hotel property restaurants available.
The next morning, I was up a bit earlier than expected to get ready for our departure to Auckland. I took the early part of sunrise on the deck and were able to get some photographs of the morning light.
It is also worth noting that the beach at this resort appears to be non existent and completely man made. Based on our photographs, the beach is narrow with packed sand consistent with an artificial beach. Ultimately, we were happy we went to the outer islands for our Fiji beach resort visit.
The Bottom Line: The Westin Denaru Island Resort
Fiji is a high tax destination and there are quite a bit of taxes added onto the room rate. I would probably consider using points the next time I would stay here if I was able to offset the high 25% added on in room taxes.
The Westin Denaru Island Resort was a reasonable, if not a dated place to say. It was perfectly fine for an overnight but I’d be hesitant to stay here for a week if I was looking for a beach holiday due to the lack of a proper beach. The other added bonus was the ability to walk 7 minutes on a proper foot path back to the touristy Denerau marina to enjoy some off resort restaurants.