Located in the Mamanuca Islands, the Sheraton Tokoriki is set on Tokoriki Island, home to two resorts. The island has its own reef with many diving and snorkelling sites. Boat transfers arrive into a sweep of white sand beach where guests roll up their pants or hitch up their skirts and step barefoot into the languid sea. They are greeted with a drink, a shell necklace and the traditional Bula welcome song belted out with gusto by the Fijian staff.
Set on 14 hectares in the southwestern corner of the northernmost island in the Mamanuca archipelago, this barefoot island resort reopened in February 2017 following a $16 million refurbishment after Cyclone Winston. There are 101 guestrooms and suites, including 30 adults-only "Tokoriki Retreats" with private decks, plunge baths and ocean views. There's also a thatched, four-room spa, gym and Flying Fish restaurant designed by Australian chef and tv personality Peter Kuruvita. Fronting the beach, meanwhile is an inviting infinity pool surrounded by timber decking, covered day beds and sun lounges. The elevated resort looks across the Coral Sea to Tavua and Yanuya islands. You can even see Monriki Island, where the Tom Hanks blockbuster Castaway was filmed.
We stay in a 40-square-metre beachfront room and the vista of palm trees, white sand beach and aquamarine sea is heavenly. The room is one of four clustered at the family end of the resort with two beachfront rooms and two behind us (ocean breeze rooms). The downside to this configuration is noise. The upside is if you're travelling as a group or as a family, the rooms interconnect. The rooms are contemporary, with spacious bathrooms, rain forest shower heads and dual vanity, Sheraton Sweet Sleeper king-size beds (or king singles), and, in the case of sea-facing rooms, timber decks metres from the lapping waves. There are a couple of billy goat tracks leading down to the beach, meaning you can roll out of bed and literally be floating in the dreamy water within minutes of waking.
Meals here are a highlight at both the second Fijian outpost of Kuravita's Flying Fish restaurant, and The Reef, a new and laidback beachfront eatery. Both restaurants are headed up by talented Italian chef Adriano Avino and food and beverage manager Chetan Shroff, an enthusiastic foodie of Indian heritage. A couple of my favourite dishes include the battered fish cooked in a black pepper and curry leaf sauce, and the shared tandoori platter. The butternut pumpkin curry with brinjal roti is incredible.
Given you are confined to an island, there's surprisingly lots to do. Grab fins and snorkel and explore the house reef, paddleboard or book your kids into kids' club (older children may not find it stimulating enough) while you have a relaxing massage. There's a daily schedule of resort activities, or just float in the teal coloured sea. The resort charges $55 a day a room for non-motorised water equipment. We walk up the hill behind the resort looping back and ending up at the helipad to watch a blazing sunset melt into the ocean. Next time I'll follow the lead of fellow guests who bring a bottle of wine with them.
This is an excellent island resort with terrific food, a beautiful beach, contemporary rooms and a gorgeous spa. A combined stay at sister property Sheraton Fiji Resort works well, with seamless transfers to the marina for the trip out to the island.
An island breeze room is priced from $210 a night plus tax twin share. South Sea transfers cost $99 one way for adults; $50 for children. It's a one to two-hour transfer from Denarau Marina. Leave plenty of time if transferring back to the mainland for international flights as schedules can change and sometimes run late. Phone + 679 666 7707; see sheraton.com/tokoriki
A toss-up between the incredible food, and the cerulean coloured sea.
Lack of insulation between rooms means you can hear other guests. The food is excellent but pricey so purchase a meal plan in advance.
The writer was a guest of Starwood Hotels and Resorts.