75 acres of tropical gardens on the shores of a crystal lagoon.......and a golf course too? Not quite what I pictured to find on the island of Vanuatu.
This resort was highly recommended by our friend from New Caledonia (a golf addict, of course) and offered all the amenities a golf resort has: catamarans, kayaks, ping pong, croquet, pool bar.......etc.....etc......
We took advantage of all the wonderful sports activities the resort had to offer.......and even their Thai massage on the beach!
I've stayed at all-inclusive resorts before and I'll have to say that the service at this particular one was a bit disappointing.
You pay an extra $75 per person per day for the all-inclusive package and later come to find out that a lot of the amenties are not included.
While dining with a "Frenchman," it is compulsory to have wine at every meal! ;-) Our glasses of wine we ordered with our lunch didn't arrive until dinner!!! They were fully staffed, it seems, but the service was quite slow.
Other than that, we were satisfied with the facilities, but I would not recommend paying for the all-inclusive.
Our last six nights in Vanuatu were spent at Mangoes Resort. The bungalows are fantastic and a bit more upmarket than the other places we stayed.
They have two swimming pools but not much else in the way of entertainment. The restaurant is fantastic though!
The rooms really are the best part of the resort, very well kept and even have a TV and telephone! The pools are fantastic too!
We stayed our first three nights at Pango Paradise Cove Resort with 14 friends. We had a two bedroom bungalow that we shared with others. They have a great restaurant, volleyball court, snorkelling, bocce, two cute dogs and more...
The view from the meals area was great...we were sitting overlooking the ocean as we ate... :)
We stayed two nights at White Grass Ocean Resort on Tanna Island. It was a very nice place with a fantastic host, Bev. We had a cute little bungalow which doesn't have a lock on the door...we didn't need one though. It is very isolated so you will need to eat at their restaurant basically every meal...
The power is from generators so it only lasts from 6 am to 10 pm...but it doesn't matter since you will have so much to do during the day that you'll be happy to sleep early. :)
Iririki Resort is situated on it's own 69 acre island literally 3 minutes from the centre of Port Vila. A ferry operates 24 hours a day 7 days a week to ferry guests to and from the main land. I would say that Iririki is the most centrally located resort, but at the same time is secluded because you have a short boat ride to get to it! The resort has 70 bungalows and it is an adults only resort. No children under the age of 12 are permitted on the island which makes it the perfect 'romantic getaway!'
Iririki has everything you could need while staying at a resort. If you didn't want to , you wouldn't have to leave the island......and towards the end I think we spent 3 days on the island without leaving!
There is a pool overlooking the harbour which is situated right next to the bar, Bali Hai where you can also order your lunch from. The resort also has it's own health spa where you can treat yourself to a bit of pampering. Named Spa Frangipani, it is the only spa in Port Vila......and the massages are great! From the moment you arrive at the resort with welcome drinks and smiles from all the staff, and the beautiful views you won't want to leave.
The buffet breakfast spread they offered had everything you could ever want with your jus d'orange!
There are 2 main dining areas on the resort: The Lagoon Terrace Restaurants served the buffet breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Tam Tam Cafe serves an excellent a la carte dinner if you tire of the "buffet" atmosphere at the Lagoon Terrace.
We stayed at Iririki for seven nights, and it was amazing. The views, the island, the resort, I could not fault it in any way...and I've seen a lot of, dodgy and average places around Europe and Australia!
It is a stunning, kids free (!! excellent for couples!) resort- no children under 12 can stay there. Located on Iririki Island just off Port Vila. There's a free ferry accross and it takes three minutes.
We were in a harbourview bungalow, which are right next to the gardenview ones, and it was immaculate. The bungalows have everything you need, comfy bed, huge bathroom, air con, ceiling fans, TV, phone, desk, table and chairs and a lovely balcony. The staff are amazing and soo friendly. There's 130 staff! You will never be ignored. They're extremely helpful from the moment you check in (welcomed by a fruit cocktail) to the moment you check out and they load your bags on the complimentary ferry accross to Port Vila.
We spoke to other couples who were staying in the resort and they all loved it. Also found lots of other tourists who were not staying there hanging around!
The food is great at Michener's and the cocktails are the best in Port Vila that I"ve heard of.
A must for anyone going to Vanuatu! It really is as pretty as the pictures.
The resort is immaculate- with wooden floors on the receptions opening up to Michener's restaurant right on the water with incredible views accross Vila, and being surrounded by blue green water! it really is fascinating. Most packages come with breakfast which is highly recommend it. We had a very delicious buffet breakfast every morning. And it was lovely and also a great way to mingle with other guests and staff- or stay on your own table and admire the view if you wish.
The pool area and Cafe/ Bar are great. Again, great views all around. There's entertainment there every nite so you will never be bored, and the cocktails in coconut shells are a must for only $12AU.
We stayed at Le Lagon for our week in Vanuatu, in a "Lagoon View" room. The grounds and rooms are top notch. Having said that, we were a little let down by a few aspects of the service - and I was surprised by the high prices.
A local Vanuatu beer is around 500 Vatu, which is about $7 AUS. Imported beers are more. We dined in the restaurant and paid around $130 AUS each time. The restaurant food was decent, but still quite pricey by Australian standards. We chose the seafood buffet in the main dining hall one night, which was extremely disappointing. The thawed seafood in Australian supermarkets is generally better than what was offered. They don't seem to have much of a local seafood industry. The MOST IMPORTANT thing I can say is to consider the all inclusive package. We didn't take the all inclusive option and spent around $900 AUS on food and drink for the week, and we weren't being extravagant.
Perhaps it's the laid back island attitude but we found the majority of staff to be quite unattentive. We had a couple of small clothing items go missing from outside our room and it was near impossible to get anyone to do anything about it. In the end we gave up and bought replacements. The food and drink service was generally poor.
The most irritating aspect of our stay was the incessant music. The music at the pool bar started at around 9:30am and didn't stop until late at night. It was a mix of local "string bands", reggae, rap and top 40 hits. I'm probably starting to sound like a whinger but I'm just offering my honest opinion - the music was too loud; carrying through to most central areas of the resort. It's not what you want when you've planned to sit by the pool with a book for a significant portion of the trip. Even worse was when they started playing different music at the other end of the pool - which happened most afternoons. Noise pollution!
Beautiful tropical gardens, lagoon frontage (for the included sailing, snorkeling, kayaking etc), easy access to adjacent Erakor Island. Large pool with bar facilities. Golf course on the resort grounds. Two restaurants.
If you want to stay with other Europeans and Australians in total, sanitised comfort with imported beers and satellite TV, then by all means head for one of the upmarket resorts in Port Vila. But if you want a more authentic Vanuatu experience - and more importantly see your tourist dollars go in to local pockets instead of the coffers of rich multi-nationals - then book into one of the capital's many independent guesthouses.
I stayed at Luron Guesthouse, which is essentially just a normal island house in which the owner rents bedrooms. The owner is Fr Luke Dini, a well-known local figure due to being a former boxer, politician and preacher. He is spending his retirement with his modest guesthouse concern.; he also has facilities in Lugainville and the Banks and Torres islands.
His business (such as it is, he obviously doesn't make much money) was relatively new when I went there in September 2003. I paid VT2000 per night for a private room (shared bathroom) and I saw my money being put to direct use as Father Luke used it to buy improvements for the property, namely materials to build garden furniture.
There was no air con, no fan and very low wattage electricity. It's very hot, dogs bark and fight outside and a cockerel starts going off at about 2am. Sounds terrible, right? Well admittedly I had trouble getting to sleep a few times, but as it was my virgin South Pacific experience, I actually found it very exciting and authentic. It was essentially how islanders lived there and I was just sharing their experience. The fact I was paying for it didn't change the fact it was just a normal house.
As I said above, the attraction for me was that this was just a normal, local house, despite being a financial concern, and I enjoyed the experience of staying there. I got a lot more out of it than I would have done if I had stayed in a better class hotel.
There is a garden which includes a banana tree, from which you can help yourself. The price of the room includes a fresh breakfast of bread, eggs, fruit etc prepared by Father Luke or his children which you eat outside in the dazzling morning sunshine.
The rooms are basic but comfortable (if you can stand the heat). You can have a private room or stay in the main room which has four or five beds (I can't remember exactly). Father Luke sleeps in there too. There is a shared bathroom with a flushing Western-style toilet and a cold shower. Trust me, this is actually a good thing! Tap water is safe to drink.
Father Luke himself took it as a personal responsibility to not only be my host but my friend too. We had many long and interesting conversations about all manner of things. He is a charming old gent who bent over backwards to make me comfortable, so much so that at times I felt quite humbled. On my day of arrival, I arrived at his guesthouse at 1am due to being on a late flight. As my stay with him was pre-arranged, he had stayed up for me, then talked with me until about 2am before going to bed, then getting up as normal the next day at 4am! I was also surprised when he said it was a "true honour" that a "rich Western man" such as myself had chosen to stay with him!
Above and beyond all the above, Luron Guesthouse also happens to be the cheapest accommodation in Port Vila.
Breaka's is a beautiful sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of Port Vila Town Centre. From the moment you walk into the lobby, you know you're in a special place. Your first glimpse of the resort is of the infinity pool overlooking the crisp blue waters of the South Pacific. You get a choice of a garden or beachfront fare, which is decorated in the traditional island style. There are no windows (only fly-screens with shutters), so you wake up to the beautiful sound of the waves crashing on the sand each morning. Breakfast is included in your resort fee, and it is excellent!
Bask in the infinity pool, snorkel the reef right outside your door, read a book on the beach, or lounge the day away in your fare. You really get a sense that nothing else matters at Breaka's. Trust me...you won't want to leave!
Breaka's is blissfully child-free!
Erakor Resort is highly recommended! Great for total relaxation!
Stylish yet casual situated on a 16 acres island!
We stayed at the Erakor resort.It provides a small paradise where you can relax and indulge on all that the resort has to offer.
Erakor resort, is a small island only 2-3 min ride on a small ferry from Port Villa.
The ferry operates 24 hours a day, courtesy of the resort
The accommodation in the resort consists of bungalows that can accommodate couples and families.
Each bungalow is nested amongst coconut trees
All of them are only a couple of footsteps from the water. The beautiful Polynesian decor in the rooms marries with modern facilities. You just have to open the bedroom doors and there is the beautiful warm water of the Pacific at your feet.
A stroll around the island takes 20 minutes. The walk takes you amongst native trees and plants and exotic flowers, through to the open chapel where a lot of couples chose to get married.
Then you come face to face with the tempting Erakor Resort Spa facilities. The choices of massages and skin treatments are endless and the only problem one is faced with …is which treatment to have first!
The path will take you to the resorts restaurant.
Roxy's Restaurant on the island provides a decadent menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner……..not to mention the mouth watering seafood!!
Dining on the Restaurants verandah over the water, with views of port villa is an experience in it self.
The island has a small beach, with umbrellas and sun beds. Guests have access to free non motorized sports. There is a Volley ball court near by and a few hummocks swaying over the water.
But reading a book in the Pacific sun , with a the occasional dip in the warm water is the best sport of all.
The two friendly island dogs- Duke and Roxy-will often keep you company on the beach. Roxy spends much of her day chasing fish in the shallow waters where Duke greats the guests at the jetty.
Neptune the cat may visit you in your Bungalow, and take a nap on your verandah.
The staff on the island are friendly, courteous and very professional.
The Polynesian- style reception offers a billiard table, internet access, TV, and a public phone.
But I am sure once on the island the last thing on your mind will be the TV and internet!!
The sea, the atmosphere and the people will capture you!!!...I promise.
For visitors with kids:
It has a volley ball court and has a billiard table , a TV at the reception area only, and you can borrow board games. Baby-sitting is 2500 Vat / 3 hours I think. BUT …NO KIDS club!...and no pool…..so the Le Meridien may be more entertaining for the kids…..but you can catch the free ferry to Erakor( only 2-5 min ride) and spend a bit of time on the island beach. You can do the same with Iririki resort but they do not allow kids under 12 there. A couple stayed at Erakor and then a few days in Iririki and they said Erakor was much better.
A friend of mine had gone a few months ago to the Le Meridien and he liked it….but I didn’t get any tips on the kids facilities as he has no kids!
Overall I felt the Erakor Resort was best suited to Adults.
Although we didn't stay on Erakor, we spent an increasing amount of time there as it was so peaceful. The quiet, low key and relaxed resort was probably more what we were looking for (if only we'd known!). Small, tranquil - and really gives you that isolated tropical island paradise feel.
Erakor is a small island, around 800m long and about 100m at its widest. Accomodation is in the form of bungalows, most with direct water views.
We ate at Erakor twice and the food was good, but still reasonably pricey by Australian standards (around $90 AUS per couple for a family restaurant quality 3 course meal). The service was the similar to Le Lagon, with the staff being a bit absent minded, but they were friendly, interested in a chat and took as much care as they could.
Bungalow style accomodation. Bar, games room and separate waterfront restaurant. Small range of kayaks/surfskis for guest use.
I stayed at Lagoon Beach for over 12mths due to work commitments in Vanuatu the accomodation is a 16 appartment 1st class resort - upstairs (one king bed and either two single king or a king bed in second bedroom (+sofa bed in living room downstairs)- laundry and bathroom - downstairs fully contained kitchen and living area with sat TV and DVD - each appartment has house keeping either daily short term or weekly long term - covered private outdoor patio with table and chairs. Located on Erakor Lagoon with a white sand beach enables you to swim or paddle a canoe (provided at no charge) amongst the many fish species and multitude of starfish that inhabit the lagoon. Laze by the resort salt water pool and get refreshments from the pool bar cafe/restraunt. This is a perfect logation for a quiet romantic getaway or vacation with children (during peak season a 'kids club' runs with activities and outings). Not recomended for people with ambulation difficulties due to stairs
Beautiful lagoon views - staff only too happy to help with anything you require - childrens play ground and vast grassed areas for running or games and beautiful tropical gardens - easy access to transport or tours booked through tour desk - 5mins from central town - Ni-Vanuatu manager and staff - airport transfers - walk to other resorts or casino within 5mins - Melanesian Feast nights with the Banks Island Snake dancers and local Erakor string band to dance the night away or you are welcome to try your hand at playing thier musical instruments - market trips to the busy market place where you can sample and buy beautiful tropical fruits - the fully self contained kitchen is ideal for families that are budget watching or have special dietry needs or just wish to cook thier own meals
These bungalows are a 25 minute drive from Port Vila and are very spacious with 2 bedrooms and a separate lounge. There are only 11 dotted amongst the coconut trees. A great place if you are with a group or just want a really quiet place to relax in otherwise not much happening and the beach was not that nice...a lot of coral and a lot of rain so we didn't really get to do the beachy thing. Breakfast is included in the price and they have a really nice dinner menu.
...a bit far out of the way if you want to go dining at night. The shuttle bus does the last trip at 5pm After that you have to get a taxi which is expensive cos of the distance from town.. There's still a very nice golf course there.
If you are on a tight budget, but want a holiday suitable for a mature couple who need their comforts, or a family - consider this quiet, friendly patch of self-contained villas.
You need to have your own kitchen to keep the costs down on eating out - Vanuatu is a terrific place, but food is expensive from restaurant eating to supermarket.
Vanuatu's capital Port Villa is a five minute bus ride, which you hail down outside the door. The staff will tell you how to get around efficiently. There are public phones to arrange taxi's or day trips etc.
This was our first adventure as empty-nester couple in 2006, so it was terrific to find that our accommodation was at the mouth of the Erakor Lagoon, opposite the Erakor Island Resort.
They are very generous providing non-residents free use of their five minute ferry ride over to their sandy beach, where you can get a cold drink from the bar, or go over for a meal.
The best was being able to use their kayak/canoes (which I had never done before).
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