Stayed for 5 nights in January.
The philosophy of Ratua was lovely, and good on them for putting so much back into the local community.
The visiting entertainers were fantastic.
The Island is in a very beautiful location.
The horse riding was awesome.
However, would have to say myself and my family didn't enjoy staying there. The resort was marketed as eco luxury. Eco yes. Luxury? I don’t think so.
On arrival we were greeted and given our welcome drinks (very rushed) was whisked away in an electric car to our room near the end of a long path (about a 10 minute brisk walk).
The accommodation is all wood and very dark. We settled in and I jumped in the shower (a wooden room with a hole in floor) and was plunged into total darkness, got ready in the dark and headed to restaurant along dark winding path. Met other guests who advised us about regular power outages. Management said they were doing everything they could. If management knew about power cuts they should have warned us on our quick check in. Or even let us know before we arrived that only one out of the three generators for the Island was working.
My daughter became really scared at night, as there were large cracks in the wooden walls near her bed. You are unable to lock doors and there are no windows. There is a net over your bed and a fan above that, because of the net there is no airflow, fan kept turning off anyway and power was out for most of night. It was so hot on the first night didn’t really sleep at all (didn’t get any better) and felt like my kids were miles away, in the other pavilion. We saw a snake in a tree not far from our villa, which didn’t make it any better. Don't mind snakes but not when you can't be sure if they're sharing your room. And it's so dark you couldn't see it anyway. Another guest was taken to the mainland when she reacted to the mosquito’s and many guests warned us don’t fall asleep if your not covered in mosquito repellent in your room, or under the net.
I headed to the reception the next day in the hope that someone in management would alleviate my concerns, whilst I stood in the office area instead of coming out to see me management closed the door instead.
Not all the staff, but felt many had a care factor of zero, and unlike other destinations we have visited were quite unfriendly. Didn't feel like staff cared, some staff members I spoke to didn't speak very highly of the working conditions, low pay and long hours. Owners possibly need to reconnect with what is going on because as a guest this was not very comforting. A lot of workers are separated from their families and get to see their sometimes very young families once a week. This makes you feel sad and also wonder about how harmonious this is with the local tribal communities.
I wanted to check out after first night but my husband thought we should stay and try and make the most of the situation. We continued to have power cuts daily, day and night till we left so there were many times with no fan or lights.
One evening we played pool and walked out of games room about 10pm, the place was deserted and dark, the walk back is dark, and you have to avoid the broken floorboards.
The food was ordinary and expensive. My husband and son spent the last day quite unwell from what we think was the steak, that was raw in the middle. Or could have been the big piece of goat my son brought back to the table but was put off by the hairs still attached to the goat.
A canoe trip to the blue holes was part of our package. Resort staff took us to Molo and left at their drop off. We luckily managed to find blue holes and joked with the other couple about whether the guides would come back and find us. There was just no communication… our drivers eventually found us later in the afternoon and brought us back to resort. The guides spoke amongst themselves but not to us.
When our plane home was delayed we met an expat local who took a few of us into Deco Stop Lodge in Santo, which was so clean with great food and great coffee, just what we needed after being at Ratua. After discussing with other tourists where we had stayed, established that others had done the same canoe tour with guides and barbecue so managed to laugh about it later.
I couldn’t wait to leave.
Ratua was worst place I've ever stayed and definitely not 4.5 star (a day trip maybe). Being from UK have been to a lot of places around the Europe, Asia, and South Pacific from Fiji too as remote as Cook Islands and Aitutaki.
Ratua was closing for a month a few days after we left for maintenance, maybe that’s why all the staff seemed to be over the place. The villas may be 200 yrs. old and rustic but as with any old buildings these ones needed to be renovated. The staff need some training to bring Ratua up to anything like even 3 stars.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dear W. & C.,
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Firstly, please be assured that we are really sorry that you did not enjoy your 5 nights stay here at Ratua. Nevertheless, we are very surprised from this comment, as we never suspected a second that you were not satisfied from your vacations and “could not wait to leave”. We are indeed here to make sure that our guests are having a nice time and no doubt that we would have tried to do our very best to settle your problems, had we known about your displeasure. It seems indeed very bizarre to us that, our office being open from early in the morning until the end of the afternoon, a member of the management team being always present at the Yacht Club during the dinner, and the phone number of the management (reachable 24H) being in all the books we provide you in your room, you could not manage to find a moment to tell us your disappointment and let us the chance to find a solution for some of your problems (for example, by providing you a small extra fan or by moving you to another house, where you would have felt closer to your children, if Dragon did not suit you). The comfort of our guests is our absolute priority but it is impossible for us to figure out the deepest thought of all of our guests.
In addition, we remind you that Ratua is an ECOLODGE (and is marketed so), as you say it yourself in your email. This is consequently normal to us that most of the materials are 100% natural (wood f.e.), that the villas are very open to the beautiful natural surroundings, and it is our main aim that any living being finds its own place here. Besides, please take note of the fact that none of the animals here are dangerous to humans. We are very sorry that you did not manage to get comfortable here.
We are also very surprised that you saw none of the 26 windows (10 in the 1st Bedroom, 7 in the 2nd Bedroom, and 9 in the Bathroom) present at the Dragon House.
Concerning the power outages, we reiterate our deepest excuses, thing that we kept doing during your stay. Same thing as concerns the food and the service, we take good note of your feedback. We thank you for raising this issue: this allows us to improve ourselves and make sure that such an unpleasant situation does not occur twice.
Then, regarding your Malo Blue Hole misfortune, please once again accept our sincere apologize for the troubles, because this should never happen. We have already taken measures to make sure that such a negligence will not reoccur in the future.
Your accusation concerning the staff is very serious and is flirting with defamation. Are you sure you are in position to judge with discernment the staff living and working conditions within only 5 nights? Please, kindly keep in mind that Ratua is a 100% non-profit organization, and that we are all very happy and proud to contribute, at our own scale, to the development of the local communities. Please be informed - without going further into details - that we are housed, fed, boarded, paid way beyond the average salary of Vanuatu, and that we work no more than the daily legal hours. Thank you very much anyway to feel concerned towards our well-being, and to be so sensitive to our condition.
We are nevertheless very glad that your stay at Deco Stop Lodge went fine, and that the place matched better with your expectations.
Thank you very much for staying with us and for the detailed feedback.
Kind regards to you and your family,
Sandra E. & your Ratua Team
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.