Developments on Denarau Island, Fiji

The big hotel chains have turned Nadi's Denarau Island into a vast construction site. The 296-room Sofitel Resort currently nearing completion features an enormous conference center which can be divided into five separate rooms. The Sofitel's swimming pool must be one of the largest in the South Pacific, with a deep end for scuba diver training. White sand has been carted in to enhance the dismal beach.

Next door, the old Sheraton Royal Denarau Resort, formerly known as The Regent of Fiji, is being refurbished by the Westin chain. The nearby Sheraton Fiji Resort could also use a facelift. The food there isn't as good as it should be, and some of the staff could use hospitality retraining.

The Fiji Beach Resort, presently under construction on Denarau Island, is to be managed by the Hilton chain. The project design resembles a glassy white block, with a beach of white sand stripped from some sad location far from the eyes of tourists. In general, the rooms and decor at the Denarau resorts lack any Fijian feel, and it's rather a shame that this sort of product is what so many people want.

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