This is a lengthy review, however there is so much to share with others who are contemplating travelling to Vanuatu and looking for appropriate accommodation. We have just returned from a 7 night stay at the Holiday Inn Resort and we had the most relaxing and at the same time busy 7 night stay. We were initially supposed to go to Fiji but due to the flooding, had to quickly change plans and fortunately Holiday Inn had available rooms for our party of 3 adults and 2 children (8&5 years). We had no time to research Vanuatu and knew very little of where we were going.
On our arrival at Port Vila airport we were greeted by Adventures in Paradise tours to be transferred to the resort. At the resort we checked in with no problems and were impressed by the newly renovated rooms. They were comfortable and were serviced daily with fresh towels. We stayed in a Garden view room.
Full buffet breakfasts were included, topped off with omelettes cooked on request. You could even juice your own fruit and I thoroughly recommend apple, pear and grape juice! We had a couple of lunches by the poolside and ate the buffet dinner 6 out of the 7 nights. Every night was a different theme so you were not getting the same food every night. Our children ate for free which was a bonus. Happy hour was also good as certain drinks were half price. The one night we went out, we tried the French restaurant L’Houstalet. Tried the flying fox. A must! Also worth trying the coconut crab if you can.
The pool was excellent. It is a large pool and there was plenty of room for kids to splash around and also to swim up and down. The resort has it’s own beach where you can kayak and catamaran around the waterways. Very relaxing and all included. Tennis court is available as well as beach volleyball, basketball and golf. They have an area for kids who suffer from electronic gaming withdrawals and it is near the restaurant so they can duck off when they have finished eating and leave you in peace! Don’t miss the Fire Dancing. This was really entertaining and you can take photos with the dancers at the end.
Being the tail end of the wet season we had a couple of mornings and afternoons of rain. It wasn’t humid but pleasantly warm. Our kids managed to swim everyday. It doesn’t tend to rain for long periods so you are not totally confined to the indoors.
Our children did not use it so can not comment. They preferred to swim every day.
All staff were friendly, approachable and lovely. Always had a smile on their faces and were always hospitable. Can not fault them.
We felt very safe in Port Vila. We got around town by taxi. Although being honked every minute for a taxi, their prices are reasonable and you could spend a whole day with the one taxi driver taking you from place to place as he waits for you at each stop. We did this twice using the resort taxi drivers. Taxi’s only take local money and not Aussie dollars.
There was a Westpac ATM at the resort, so local money could be withdrawn at any time. Keep in mind there is a 350vt (AU$3.50) fee with each withdrawal. There are plenty of ATM’s in town as well.
Places to visit
I’m sure there are plenty of places to see in and around Port Vila. We did a trip to Eton beach and snorkelled there. It was a lovely quiet beach, great for the kids. On our way back we had lunch at the Tamanu on the Beach restaurant. Pricey but reasonable food. We then visited the Turtle Farm where you can swim with the giant turtles and gentle sharks. Keep in mind that it needs to be high tide as you cannot swim with them when it is low tide. You can snorkel there as well.
On another day we visited the Cascade Waterfalls and this is well worth the trek up the mountain. Once there you can climb pretty much to right under the waterfalls. There are ropes to help you along and there are pools there where you can wade. Both of our children managed to go up with us. On the way back from Cascades, you can visit Hideaway Island where you can snorkel again. See some great hard corals and many types of fish. You need to catch a ferry to and from there which costs 1000vt/person (AU$10). If you plan on doing lots of snorkelling, best bring you own from home. You can hire them if you forget.
There is a lot of traffic in town particularly when Cruise ships are in. We were there when 2 ships where docked. There are no road rules, no speed limits and no traffic lights. You will get honked a lot by taxis and buses asking for your fare. The markets are a great treat on Mondays-Saturdays. If you like chips, try the Kasava chips. Something different.
In all, it was a very enjoyable holiday and we were pleasantly surprised. For the time we went at the beginning of April, it was not overly touristy or crowded. For a family with 2 young children there are plenty of things to do, new things to try and great places to explore without feeling unsafe. As for the Holiday Inn Resort, this is a fantastic place to stay and would thoroughly recommend it for families. Importantly, our children had a great time and we will definitely be spreading the word about Holiday Inn Resort. We would love to return in the future.
- Also Known As:
- Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu Hotel
- Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu Hotel Port Vila
- Meridien Port Vila
- Le Meridien Port Vila
- Port Vila Le Meridien
- Le Meridien Vanuatu
- Le Meridien Port Vila Resort
- Le Meridian Vanuatu
- Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu Port Vila
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Overlooking the serene waters of the Erakor Lagoon, Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu is set in vibrant natural surroundings. Meaning “the land that always existed”, Vanuatu is a holiday destination made up of 83 tropical islands located northeast of New Caledonia. Immersed in cultural richness and native splendour, the islands hold crystal blue beaches, coral reefs, hot springs, exotic rainforests, and stunning waterfalls that are some of the most beautiful in the world. The Vanuatu hotel’s Erakor Ballroom and Valea meeting space provides exceptional indoor and outdoor meeting facilities, and the accommodation resort also features a unique Namele Day Spa, two luxurious outdoor holiday swimming pools, and the newly refurbished Palms Casino. The views from the rooms include lush gardens, blue lagoons, and a golf course. The hotel boasts 5 dining areas. Breakfast, buffet and à la carte dinners are served daily. There is an extensive wine list from New Zealand, Australia and France. Get to experience the perfect Vanuatu holiday with island lifestyle at Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu. ... more less
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