Paradise Discovered at the Sheraton Tokoriki Resort & Spa, Fiji

island in the sun 

The most spectacular sunset in the world is said to be on the island of Santorini, in the town of Oia. The problem is that this is a widely-publicised fact and the throngs of visitors crowding around steep walls of Oia Castle can make it unbearably packed. There is another option. One that is almost 17,000km away. On the Fijian island of Tokoriki in the Pacific Ocean is a helipad atop an outcrop overlooking the Sheraton Resort & Spa. Few people venture up here – more content to enjoy the resort at leisure – but the panoramic views of uninterrupted horizons here are beyond spectacular. And when the sun sets, the water and the sky glisten with a luminosity that would make Claude Monet proud.

Welcome to the Sheraton Tokoriki

In the geography of Fiji, Tokoriki is one of the islands in Mamanuca chain. A volcanic archipelago surrounded by crystal clear waters and rich reefs beneath the surface, the Mamanucas are just some 50km from the mainland of Viti Levu – making them a popular spot to appreciate the postcard-perfect paradise expected of Fiji. Popular and perfect; the reputation of the Mamanucas is such that Robert Zemeckis choose one of its islands – Monuriki – as the location to film Tom Hanks in the 2000 film Cast Away. But you don’t need to resort to speaking to a volleyball or amateurly spearfish for your dinner here, at least not at the Sheraton Resort & Spa.

Arriving by helicopter is an option, but most guests of the resort come by boat – either private or on the express ferry that leaves regularly from Port Denarau. After dropping guests off at more price-friendly resorts, the ferry pulls up to Tokoriki and a passenger boat comes to greet guests. As this transit process plays out, the scene previews the paradise that guests are about to land on – glorious palm trees, glimmering sands and charming white dwellings that house immaculate rooms. In a part of the world where wood and woody tones are more common, the simple white scheme lends this resort a more Mediterranean vibe. This colour palette continues into the 94 rooms and 7 suites themselves – which are all crisp whites accented with Aegean tones of turquoise and sapphire, while French windows frame the brilliant scenery outside.

Go out. That’s what you’re meant to do here. Wander around the resort, where staff greet you like old friends, to either laze by the pool with a cocktail or treat yourself to a blissful pampering at the Tokoriki Resort Spa. Or get wet. There are plenty of ways to do that at the resort. Jump on a jet ski. Grab a paddle board and navigate the resort’s sprawling house reef from above, or done a snorkel and fins to see what lies beneath. Get a closer look at the reef by diving – Tokoriki is a haven for scuba diving and is perfect for beginners. For a highly-trafficked area, the corals here have maintained their splendour, with clownfish darting in-and-out of anemones while electric blue wrasses zip around flailing tendrils of soft corals. But you aren’t limited to just Tokoriki itself; the resort organises regular trips out to the other islands – to visit Cast Away island Monuriki, out for a spot of fishing or a picnic on an ephemeral sandbar that disappears at high tide.

The resort is particularly popular with weddings and honeymooners

All that activity requires sustenance. And Sheraton Tokoriki is happy to provide that. A sumptuous breakfast starts the day right at The Pantry, while all-day dining at The Reef Bistro’s beachfront location always ensures a meal with an unparalleled view. Come evening, seafood takes centrestage at Waitui House Restaurant, while several times a week, the resort arranges for a cultural evening complete with buffet where traditional Fijian dishes like lovo – a method of cooking dishes by wrapping them in leaves in an underground oven – and kokoda (Fijian ceviche) are served. And if you’re lucky, there might even be a kava ceremony – a traditional Fijian rite that features a (mildly intoxicating) liquid made from the root of the kava plant.

Even mild consumption of kava – a muddy brown liquid that is an acquired taste but de rigueur on any trip to Fiji – is enough to produce a warming sedative sensation, slightly floaty and very happy. With almost no light sources obscuring the stars, the sky above the Sheraton Tokoriki becomes a canvas of constellations at night, made all the more enchanting by the kava. The best place to view this is – once again – at the resort’s helipad. With only company of the chirping insect variety under the pale moonlight, the scene can be quite unforgettable. A night may pass, a day may break and the effects of the kava may wear away, but memories created at the Sheraton Resort & Spa will last a lifetime.

Sheraton Resort & Spa

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