We stayed at the Holiday Inn Resort from 2nd - 9th July, 2012. This resort totally exceeded our expectations! It is clean, modern and very comfortable indeed!
We were met at the airport with the wonderful sounds of the band and the smiling faces of our transfer company staff. We were given shell necklaces and goodie bags for the kids (which included adorable little woven crowns) and bottles of cold water. Our huge pile of luggage (we were travelling in a group of 6 adults and 3 children under the age of 3!!!) was loaded into the bus trailer with ease by the very friendly driver as we jumped into the bus. On the bus ride in we were given a short run down on Port Vila (such as where to change money etc) and were also given paperwork to complete in order to make check-in a smoother process, which seemed to work well.
We arrived at the hotel about 15 minutes later and again were greeted with many smiling faces and a man in traditional dress blowing a shell. Check-in was a fairly quick and simple process, but the staff seemed a bit overwhelmed with all our luggage and in the end we ended up carrying most of our luggage up to our rooms ourselves (hard to do when you're carrying 3 small children!) There is no lifts in the hotel, so I understand that trolleys can't be used to help transport luggage, but perhaps something else could be thought of?
Because it was school holidays and the resort was fully booked, we did not receive our "free room upgrade" which was supposed to be included in our holiday package. So we ended up with a resort view room. This did not worry us too much as the rooms are fantastic and the outlook onto the lawns lovely, however the balcony is tiny and has no seats. I understand the lagoonview rooms on the other side of the hall have bigger balconies with chairs and great views over the lagoon, so we will make sure we opt for this next time! As already mentioned, there are no lifts in the resort so if you have small children or not so fit consider booking a room on level of reception. Our room was up the end of our wing so mostly quiet except for the rather annoying banging of the room doors.
Our room was spacious and tastefully decorated. We had a king bed which was so very comfy, so much so that we wanted to take it home with us! :) There was also a choice of soft and firm pillows and the linen was of good quality. We were provided with a portacot for our 21 month old son. This was the cleanest hotel portacot we had ever seen and had the comfiest mattress. There is a lot of storage space and a large built in cupboard with an in-room safe which was easy to use. Iron, ironing board, large TV, good air con, small fridge, kettle, tea/coffee supplies are just some of the in-room inclusions. The bathroom was also fitted out well, water pressure and temperature excellent and toiletries supplied of good standard. The rooms were spotlessly cleaned each day, we cannot fault the room servicing!
The reosrt grounds are immaculate. There are 2 pools to choose from, the terrace pool more so aims at adults, whilst the lagoon pool aims at catering for families with an excellent kids pool. Our only complaint about the pool was that the water temperature was a little too cool for our liking and our son refused to get in after the first day. In saying that, the water temperature of the lagoon was much warmer, but just wasn't safe to take small child in there. Although he did enjoy paddling on the edge of the lagoon and exploring the water for beautiful starfish. We enjoyed taking the catamarans and kayaks out onto the lagoon.
There are several options for eating. The buffet breakfast was included in our package and was one of the best we have seen! So much variety!!!! The hot food was excellent and they even have an omelette station and a juicer for making your own juice concoctions from the lovely array of fresh fruits. We nearly had to roll out pf breakfast each morning! :) We mostly catered for ourselves at lunch. There is a french bakery half way into town, we bought breadsticks from here and bought some staples from a supermarket and made our own sandwiches. At dinner time, you can choose to eat at the lobby bar, pool bar or verandah restaurant (which has a different themed buffet every night or you can choose from a large A-La-Carte menu). The lobby and pool bars serve up typical bistro style food such as club/steak sandwiches, pizzas, noodles, fish and chips etc. The price of this food averaged around AUD$15-$20 and was of pretty good quality. We ate at the verandah restaurant twice, 1 buffet and 1 night off the menu. Both were excellent quality! The buffet was about AUD$38 p/p which we thought was reasonable and included soup, bread rolls, salds, hot dishes, desserts and a sundae bar. The menu prices averaged around AUD$25-$35 main meals. Drinks at the resort were quite expensive, but there are 2 happy hours, pool bar from 4-6pm and lobby bar from 8-9pm. Cocktails were a bot hit and miss depending on who made them. Maybe need more training of all bar staff to ensure consistancy. Children eat free when adults order. Kids menu offers a good variety and food of good quality(we did receive raw fish one night however, but this was very quickly rectified!!)
There was a jumping castle set up during our stay, which our kids played on for hours!!! This just shows the lengths the resort goes to to cater for children. The kids club and staff were amazing and our son thoroughly enjoyed the play ground. The kids club caters for children 3-12 years but you can arrange baby-sitting easily and was very cheap at about $12/hr!! The kids all looked so happy when we were there! :)
I understand they are in the process of upgrading the spa facilities. It is currently set next to the kids club, which is noisy at times. My sister and I both had massages. My sister's experience was better than mine. My therapist was friendly, but needs more training on massage technique. She also had a cold and constantly sniffed or blew her nose throughout, which was not the most relaxing experience.
And now to our favourite thing about the resort - the staff!!!! They are warm, genuine, happy people who appear to really care about you and nothing is too much trouble! The Aussie managers are very present and lovely to talk to. Our son was absolutely doted on by each and every staff member.
Our only other critique of the hotel is to watch your room charges. On several occasions we were charged full price drinks at happy hour (when they are meant to be 50% off) and on check-out there were several discrepencies on our bills. We suggest you look over every bill carefully before signing, keep a daily tally and ask for a daily bill check in order to make it easier to find discrepencies. It took a long time on our last day to go through the bill with reception staff, also it is not an itemised bill, and when we asked for receipts for some of the charges to check we had signed for these purchases, the staff couldn't even produce half the receipts!!!
Vanuatu is a wonderful place and the Holiday Inn is an amazing place to stay, we cannot wait to return soon!!! Tankyu tumas!!
- 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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- Also Known As:
- Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu Hotel Port Vila
- Port Vila Le Meridien
- Le Meridien Vanuatu
- Le Meridian Vanuatu
- Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu Port Vila