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“Island Time” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Ratua Private Island

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Ratua Private Island
5.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   BP 396, Luganville, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu   |  
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Stay 4 Pay 3
Ranked #4 of 8 Hotels in Luganville
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Island Time”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2012

It did not take long after arriving at Ratua to slip into island time. Whatever you wanted to do or not do, there was no pressure. The snokeling straight off the beach was fantastic, dozens and dozens of fish varieties and coral. Other activities included swimming with horses, canoeing, fishing, walking, bike riding or just reading your book listening to the water lap at the shore.

The accomadation (old Balinese teak huts) is unusual and special at the same time. If you like your holiday accomadation with air-conditioning and a marble bathroom then maybe Ratua is not for you. If you want a different island experience then maybe it is.

The food at the resort is first class and plentiful. Lunch by the ocean each day was terrific and the dinners were great.

This resort caters for both couples and families, if you do not like children consider going out of school holidays for Australia and New Zealand.
Would I go to Ratua again, yes I definitely would. Next time I would consider flying from Port Vila directly to Ratua on a chartered plane, saving some time and a little hassel. Though Air Vanuatu does a good job with flights from Sydney to Santo connecting through Port Vila with only a 1 hr wait.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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186 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (48)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Auckland
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2012

This small resort has a guest maximum of 32, so you'll never feel crowded. As the title suggests the most amazing thing about the resort are the rooms - each hut is an all wood 200-year-old building imported from Indonesia. I know we struck it lucky and got the owners' own villa, but all the rooms looked amazing. Ours had a stone bath carved out of a boulder in a separate bathhouse which let out onto a small deck by the beach. The six rooms in the "Fish Village" also had their own lounge building set right above the sea - perfect for yoga at dawn, and for a relaxing glass of wine at sundown. Free use of mountain bikes, canoes, and snorkelling equipment is a bonus, and my wife and kids went riding several times. The service always feels very personal and is not intrusive - every evening we returned to the room to find the beds turned down, the lights low, the shutters closed and a mosquito coil burning in a beautiful wrought iron holder. Despite the location (the island has an area of mangroves), we were very little bothered by mosquitoes - each of the three villages is given a liberal dose of industrial strength repellent twice a week.
Food - excellent. The BBQ lunches on the beach are particularly good - fresh beef, pork and seafood with a plethora of vegetables and salads. Dinners - a simple selection, but very well cooked and presented - usually a choice of soup or salad, fish or beef, and two desserts. The wine list isn't bad for the islands, and pretty reasonably priced.
The reef off the island is very good for snorkelling, with plenty of wildlife, including turtles and the odd shark, and you can fish off the beach too ( our neighbour caught a 6kg Trevally from the beach this afternoon). Oh - and they have WiFi in the bar area for those who really can't do without their technology.
All in all a tropical paradise. We will be returning, hopefully with the rest of the extended family.

Room Tip: The rooms in the Fish Village are slightly more secluded, and have their own communal lounge buildin...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Christchurch, New Zealand
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2012

After a week in Port Vila, our week at Ratua felt like being in a different country. After the early morning flight to Santo and a 25 minute boat ride, we arrived at Ratua at around 9.30am and were immediately welcomed, sat down and told to help ourselves to breakfast. After breakfast we were escorted to our Villa ( named Dragon ) which was an easy 5 minute walk. Our villa was huge and comfortable and we spent most of the week just lounging about in the comfy sofas on the deck, or the equally comfy loungers on our own private beach just 10 meters away. The setting is fabulous, the beach was sheltered with shady trees, and staff were out most days to clean the beach ( sweep up leaves etc ). We spent many hours each day just sitting here, watching and listening to the abundant birdlife, watching crabs scuttling across the beach, and watching the fish jumping in the crystal clear water. We had snorkelling gear, but hardly needed it as there were small pieces of coral with colourful fish only a few meters out in the water just over knee deep. We did check out the loungers and beach back at the Yacht Club ( main Bar / Restaurant area ), but this area seemed to attract dozens of pesky flies, so we were forced to retreat to our Villa. The beds in the rooms are massive, and every evening while we were at dinner, the staff closed the mosquito nets and lit the coils. There was even free insect repellent in the rooms, plus bath robes and big bottles of local shampoo and shower gel. Mozzies didn't seem to be a major issue on Ratua, but if you do the canoe trip to the Malo Blue Hole, make sure you apply plenty of repellent - they are plentiful there ! The toilets, basins and shower were all great, plenty of hot water, the only minor complaint we have is that the lighting at the basins / mirrors could be a bit brighter. The Villas have a good sized fridge with free bottled water replenished daily. It's a bit of a shame they don't supply any tea / coffee making facilities apart from the main restaurant. Ironically, their Espresso machine broke down the first day we were there, and was still not working when we left. Breakfasts were a little disappointing ( or maybe we were spoiled at the Grand Hotel ? ). The cereals consisted of Corn Flakes, Cocoa Pops and stale Nutigrain ( no muesli ). However the bread / toast was yummy, and the ladies at the Egg Station made yummy omelettes. For some reason there seemed to be a fruit shortage, with the exception of Grapefruit which was plentiful. But sadly here was no bananas and I think we only saw Pawpaw once. The evening meals were great. In general there was a choice of two main courses, one of the was usually Santo Beef Fillet or Tenderloins, both of which were tasty, tender, and generally some of the best steaks I have ever tasted. The second choice was usually chicken, but on our 5th day there we asked why we hadn't seen any seafood yet ? To their credit, there was Coconut Crab and Giant Trevally ( locally caught )on the menus the next three nights.By the 4th or 5th day we were all totally relaxed, and decided we should attempt to be a little more active, so we tried our hands at Archery ( heaps of fun ! ), and we also rode around the island on the mountain bikes ( both free ). They have around 8 modern bikes with good suspension ( which is necessary if you hit some of the large craters left by the local Coconut Crabs ). One day we walked right around the Island ( took just under an hour at a leisurely pace ), and is a great way to check out the gardens, local village, airstrip, Fish Village etc. We went across to Santo one day - we were going to do an organised tour to Champagne Beach, but Britta and Yorrick arranged a Rental Car for us which worked out around half the price of the guided tour, and we were able to visit Million Dollar Point, Champagne Beach, Lonnoc Beach and Port Orly at our own pace. Apart from management, the staff are all local Ni-Vanuatu. They are all very quiet and unobtrusive, but also helpful and always smiling. There was a "Melanesian Feast" at Ratua one night, and Kava tasting and a String band on two nights while we were there. So there is plenty to fill in your days without leaving the Island. But what we will remember most is the beautiful old teak Villa with the huge wooden deck with sofas and tables and our own beautiful private beach right on the doorstep. We have travelled to Australia, Fiji, Bali, Malaysia, Thailand, Tahiti, and Hawaii, and we reckon Ratua is as close to Paradise as we are ever likely to get ! Would love to get back here one day !

Room Tip: Dragon is great, but I think all Ratua rooms are great !
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2012

We were so surprised with Ratua. Stunning fales built from 200 year old handsawn wood, shutters and unique artifacts make this a place of difference. Private beaches and exceptional snorkeling make ths place great for couples. Bikes, horses, canoes, fishing and snorkeling means you can do as much or as little as you like. Food was fantastic but like our Aussie reviewer we too would say check out the meal deal, but you can have options ith this deal as in one course, two or three. Like the previous review, we too would say that coffee/tea service in rooms would be nice. Guests need to be aware that it s quite a hike between fales and restaurants for the south village accommodation so if you ave if faculty striding request fales closer. We also got saturated on the boat ride so getting on plane soaked was not great and we would suggest the owners consider a launch boat to ensure dry guests. Ensure hand luggage is water proof and computers etc are plastic wrapped. If you are a person that does like the mod cons, this is not or you. If ou want a unique island experience ith exceptional food, service and people then this is for you.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2012

One of the best holidays ever. A really different place to stay. The food was amazing, I loved the rustic rooms. We were in the fish village and it was the perfect set up for children, a great beach in front to swim, grass area to run around and great chill out room for parents to have a couple of drinks once the kids are in bed. The staff were lovely and the children loved them all- so did we, There is so much to do, even in bad weather. We went to the Malo blue hole, snorkelling, horse riding, bike riding and of course visited the day spa which is amazing. The food was unbelievable - I definitely recommend the meal plan.
In saying this, this is not the place for everyone. If you like your creature comforts like hair dryers, air conditioning, room service and pool and spa this is not the place for you.
My only suggestion for improvements would be a self service tea and coffee station and a little more information on snorkelling ie best times and spots to go out given the tide and wind direction.

If you are even considering visiting this place do not hesitate and book right now.

Room Tip: Fish village is wonderful for families with young children and big groups
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Australia
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2012

We booked to stay at Ratua for five days after reading all the reviews on this site. We expected a high standard after the reviews and usually when one does this the bar is set especially high and normally you are let down. This Island exceeded those expectations. The Island staff are amazing people and without them I think it would just be another resort, they made our holiday the most memorable ever. There are not many resorts that send the bartender out to "pick" a paw paw for a mocktail you just ordered. The trip is long but like others have said before it is worth it in the end and quickly forgotten. When we go again I would book more activities beforehand and definately get the meal package offered this saves quite alot of money and also helps out the resort on preparation. There are heaps of activities on offer so you don't miss TV at all. The eco-friendly moto is very real on Ratua and this has placed it in a class of its own. It was also a real treat NOT having signs up everywhere saying you can't walk here or don't jump off that or don't dive in shallow water or "slippery when wet" that's a classic is it not. Before we left I did read a review that said they had walked on a rotten board that broke, they didn't get hurt, but mentioned how lucky they were that nothing serious happened, if you are like this person that needs signs to state the obvious then PLEASE don't go at the moment you are able to stroll around the Island without restriction and this a simple yet fantastic aspect. Thankyou everyone on Ratua Island for the best holiday ever.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2012

This was truly an amazing experience. Like all the other reviewers fortunate to have visited this beautiful island, what more can be said. Apart from the authentic rustic environment, ideallic tropical island location, delectable food served three times a day, an array of activities to chose from if you wanted to, it was the five star personalised service that was surprising, highly appreciated and distinguishing.
Thank you Yorrick and Brtiia for making our short stay such a memorable one.

Room Tip: All rooms are fabulous. We stayed in the West village which was perfect for us. The South village...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ratua Private Island

Address: BP 396, Luganville, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu
Phone Number:
Location: Vanuatu > Espiritu Santo > Luganville
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Luganville
#3 Romantic Hotel in Luganville
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Ratua Private Island 5*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ratua Island is a wild, magical place with authentic people who offer a simple and warm reception in a naturally beautiful environment. There are 13 individual 200-year-old Indonesian villas that have been specially reconstructed on sites offering stunning views with a private deck or beach. Located in the Vanuatu Archipelago, off the South East tip of Espiritu Santo, Ratua is only a 30-minute motorboat journey from the mainland on our own private motor launch. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ratua Private Island Hotel Luganville
Ratua Private Island Vanuatu/Luganville

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