Hotel Wi-Fi Review: Westin Denarau Island Resort and Spa, Fiji Part 1

Although Fijians say that most of the activities are in Suva, Nadi, Fiji boasts the excellent Sheraton, Radisson Blu and Westin Denarau Island Resort, all of which are a stone's throw away from Port Denaurau. Fiji is an accessible location for New Zealanders and Australians so it's no surprise that most of the tourists, plus itinerant Americans, can be found relaxing and enjoying themselves in these upscale accommodations.

Westin Denarau has a nightly Fijian dance and show by the pool.

SPG hit a home run having a Sheraton and Westin next to each other as both hotels complement each other in terms of facilities and restaurants. During my stay at Westin, I had the impression that Westin was the more family-friendly of the two with many Australians allowing their pint-sized charges to run around the hotel and generally enjoy the open yard, swimming pool and facilities. Unlike some locations such as parts of Thailand, you can walk along the coastline without fear from reprisals from hotels that "own" the beachfront.

There are two ways to get Internet access in Westin. One is via an access code you purchase and another is by logging in via your room number. Your room number will enable complementary Internet access for one device (mobile or laptop). The same goes for the access code, which is limited by a specific time frame (kind of like a DHCP start time and start end session).  If you want to have Wi-Fi Internet access for two devices, a message will be displayed showing the price for 2 wireless devices or 3 wireless devices. It's pricey even by Asian standards but visitors should understand that hotels are struggling to control mobile device Wi-Fi abuse. Plus, Fiji isn't exactly a first-world country and leasing network lines isn't cheap for any company or site in the islands.

The Wi-Fi network at Westin uses a very common type of MAC address authentication to prevent a second or third device from connecting to their network. I had encountered the same network scheme in a hotel in Kuala Lumpur, so it was easy enough to figure out how MAC address spoofing can get you online. Moreover, as mentioned previously, Sheraton is just next door so you can actually connect to the Wi-Fi network of Sheraton if you had a buddy who had a hotel room there and needed extra bandwidth.

There is one human-sized Fijian chessboard on the grounds and a table with oversized Fijian-style chess pieces in the lounge.

The Wi-Fi access point harware is rebooted regularly roughly around 10 pm and a new IP address is assigned to your recognized mobile device every day. This means that you can actually connect to a Windows Phone one day and then log off and then connect with a Debian laptop the next. Renew or refresh your device's IP address/browser settings if you don't want to wait til the next day but want to switch connections from say an iPhone to an Android tablet.

Note: I accidentally acquired access to the Internet for two devices without performing any mobile-device related steps. While waiting for a vacant room from 8 to 10 am, I asked for Internet access from the front desk. The front desk gave me an access code which was valid for four days. She didn't disable the access code even after I had checked in my room, allowing me to use the access code for my Lumia 925 and the complementary room Wi-Fi access for my ASUS MemoPad HD7.


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