Review: Sheraton Deva Spa & Golf Resort New Caledonia | Australian Frequent Flyer
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Review: Sheraton Deva Spa & Golf Resort New Caledonia

big_RED

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Jul 5, 2015
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We stayed for 5 nights from 28/12/19 – 02/01/20 at the Sheraton Deva Spa & Golf Resort so it was just after Christmas, and over the NYE period.

I’d done a lot of research into this resort and the vast majority of reviews online were extremely positive, with an average of 4.5 across all the major travel sites. I booked 2 x Bungalow King rooms for myself and my wife, and a mate and his wife.


GENERAL HOTEL OVERVIEW:
  • 1 x large restaurant ‘The Reef' where breakfast and dinners/buffets are served which had a nice setting
  • 1 x bar 'Creek Bar' near the pool that is open all day that serves the pool + anyone in the hotel daily – lots to be discussed about this bar!
  • 1 x beach side restaurant 'Sand Beach Grill’ open only for lunch which by far the hero of the resort
  • You could rent bikes from the lobby for use around the hotel only
  • Spa and gym on site (gym open 24/7 and free, Spa costs $$ for entry)
  • Relatively large pool + jacuzzi + lounge chairs and umbrellas
  • The resort is extremely peaceful and I felt well laid out

POSITIVE EXPERIENCES:
  • Over email and face to face, the guest concierge was very helpful and friendly with assisting in all my questions regarding activites we could do, and what was on over the NYE period
  • Staff across the whole resort were extremely friendly
  • Sand Beach Grill had A+ service and the food was A+ as well (pity it is only open for lunch)
  • The Bungalow King rooms we booked were extremely spacious with large bathrooms and a large deck area so we had plenty of space
  • Typical Sheraton heavenly bed and pillows which were up to expectations
  • Received a massage at the Spa and it was very good
  • The gym is small but wasn’t busy and had all the basic hotel gym equipment which was fine
  • Buffet dinner at the Reef Restaurant had a large variety of dishes
  • Even though I’d only spoken to a few front desk staff members, they all greeted me by my name which was really nice of them to remember considering the hotel was busy during this period

NEGATIVE EXPERIENCES:
  • The attentiveness and speed of service at the Reef Restaurant (buffet dinner) and Creek bar (for all poolside drinks and food, and general food/drinks throughout the day) was unfortunately abysmal
  • We waited typically 30-45 minutes for drinks to arrive after ordering them at the pool
  • Receiving 1 x bottle of wine as a separate poolside order took 40 minutes to arrive
  • We ordered drinks every night after dinner at the Creek bar and on the first night, 45mins after we ordered the waitress came over and asked us to confirm our 4 x drinks again which then came 15 minutes later
  • Wait staff seemed to literally look at us with our hand up asking for service, and then would wait 2 more times for us to ask them for service before coming over (I made the joke one night that they were in the middle of a Solitaire game on the EFTPOS machine hence them not coming over when they first saw our hands up)
  • It could have been the language barrier, however we had 2 activities booked incorrectly with the guest concierge. I made sure to be very specific in emails to help with any translation issues, and would also triple confirm the bookings to make sure it had been booked correctly however;
    • Booking a snorkel trip to the reef ended up being a glass bottom boat that didn’t allow for swimming. The concierge said she had booked that as no snorkelling was available on the day we asked for, but didn’t mention this when booking (not to mention when we met the boat driver his colleague was taking others out at the same time for the snorkelling version of the trip...)
    • We booked a restaurant and driver through concierge to pick us up from a restaurant in Noumea and drive us the 2.5hrs back to the hotel after the dinner, however that morning when in Noumea we were able to book ourselves at a better restaurant, so I found wifi and emailed concierge asking her to cancel the original restaurant booking, and update the driver that we’d be at another restaurant down the street. Concierge came back saying she had noted everything I asked and would update things. I replied with thanks and re-confirmed the driver pick-up location change to triple confirm things... anyway come 9pm when we were to meet the driver there was no car in sight at our new restaurant. 5mins later my mate runs the 15 mins to the original restaurant where the driver is, who hadn’t been told about the change at all....
  • At the buffet we literally had to walk around and find staff to clear our dirty plates so we could go back and order more. Often they’d say they’d come over to clean the plates but would wait 10 minutes to do so...
  • We spent the vast majority of our time in the Sheraton resort – we knew it’d be an expensive trip, but given the prices we had to pay for all food and drink, ($24 for a basic cocktail and $15 for spirits, high $40’s for a fish fillet etc) the speed of service, the incorrect orders received, and the general delay in receiving all orders really disappointed us

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS AND THOUGHTS:

The 4 of us staying at the Sheraton Dev Spa all had an extremely varied stay. There were some great aspects of the hotel and we had a very relaxing holiday. However the service at the two main restaurants was just horrendous. We didn’t know if it was our high expectations based on living in Australia but we didn’t believe this to be the case .

Two of the staff at the Creek pool bar had told us they’d been in the job for 2 days so we wondered if that was the case for the majority of staff at this bar due to the Christmas period and hence they didn’t know how to provide good service as they were brand new to the job?

I don’t think we’d come back here purely due to the service and the extensive waiting times. 10-15 minutes would be expected to wait for drinks at the pool or when in the bar/restaurants if busy (however we did hear some other Australians talking about how they asked for refunds after waiting 10mins for their drinks while at the bar...), but when an order is a bottle of wine that just needs ice in a bucket and glasses - to then wait 40 minutes was comical.

The resort itself was extremely nice. A great location (about a 2hr drive from the international airport), the rooms were great, staff were very friendly, 1 x restaurant was delicious and right on the beach, but as you’ve probably gauged, the main pool and dinner restaurant was sub-par and really let the whole resort down which highly likely means I wouldn’t recommend this resort to anyone who asked.
 

Daver6

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Thanks for this report. It's a resort I'd considered previously and by the sounds of your experience glad I didn't stay here. It's quite unfortunate when places with good food and facilities are let down by service, especially when prices are on the higher side.
 

LadyC

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Thanks for posting. I had been planning a visit to New Caledonia but have been reading plenty of reviews with experiences like yours that have made me reconsider!
 

esseeeayeenn

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I am a very frequent traveller to New Caledonia and I have to confirm that the service there is mostly awful.
They just don't have a service culture.
And I speak French fluently so there is no language barrier in my case.
Personally I would not stay at Deva, although my local friends do go there for the occasional weekend.
The best parts of New Caledonia are the smaller islands.
Île des Pins is the most famous, followed by Ouvea.
Lifou is also beautiful, while Maré is less well known and less developed.
There is a chain of hotels owned by local Melanesian people (Kanaks) which are quite good.
They have hotels on each island and also at places on Grand Terre ("the mainland") such as Hienghene.
I would recommend staying in these although the Méridien on Île des Pins is also excellent.
If anyone else is considering a trip to New Caledonia you are welcome to message me and I would be happy to help with recommendations.
I could also help with communications in French.
 
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big_RED

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I would be happy to help with recommendations.
I could also help with communications in French.
I do think some local advice is a very good idea if you are going to NC for where to stay and eat.

As I said, we had a very relaxing time, but there were just too many slip ups that frustrated us during our holiday. Some of those I think could definitely have been mitigated if we'd spoken French.

The poor service is a hard one to improve on if it's not something they see as a current issue, however you'd think from customer reviews they'd realise something needs to be done.
 

Scarlett

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My family and I stayed and found similar. But also had a hire car so we were driving out to look around and eating out of the resort. The one dinner at the resort restaurant yielded similar results to the OP.
One of my main reasons for staying there was to play the attached golf course and whilst it was nice, I preferred the main course in Noumea: Tina Golf Club.
I'm not sure how the economics of the resort stack up being located well out of Noumea. It will be interesting to see how they go with increasing levels of maintenance as the resort ages.
 
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