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“Best place we have stayed...minus a few little things.” 4 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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Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 9 Hotels in Luganville
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Mullumbimby, Australia
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Best place we have stayed...minus a few little things.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

WOW! What a stunning island paradise!!! Not only is the island itself seriously unspoilt & beautiful but the unique style of accommodation is a real highlight. We found all the staff here to be super friendly, ESPECIALLY CLAUDE, what a great guy with a lot of knowledge & a big heart. The only criticism of the staff would be that that sometimes she we asked about basic things like where would they like us to sit for dinner or what is in a certain cocktail or how much a skin care product was at the spa, they quiet often look blank. This was not really a problem for us but some people may find this off-putting for a high end retreat. THE FOOD IS PLENTIFUL & TO DIE FOR!!! We did the meal plan & found that great as we didn't have to think of anything, we just relaxed & ate. We started off our stay with a 30 minute boat trip from the main land, the scenery was beautiful & we really enjoyed it. We started off our stay in "Tallene" in the fish village, which was great as we are a family of 2 adults & 2 kids (10 & 15), there was plenty of room & we were in close proximity to everything. Our little hut had all we needed for a comfortable stay & we absolutely loved looking at the unique buildings & gorgeous artefacts & treasures collected from around the world, this was a highlight! The negative thing about the fish village accom is that it's not very private, as all huts open out onto a communal courtyard/garden area & considering doors & windows don't shut that well, if you are looking for a quiet & private place, maybe go with another village hut. The other issue is the heat inside the huts. The weather was not crazy hot but my husband barely slept for the 3 nights we were there. There is a ceiling fan over the beds but unfortunately as there are no insect screens you need to have your mozzie net on which blocks the fan completely. I WOULD NOT STAY HERE OVER SUMMER! A big bonus was having the extra communal building in the fish village is a great place to sit with a drink or cuppa or do some fishing. If you find yourself there before 8am & after 4pm you may see one of the local turtles pop its head up. Unfortunately a very rude, inconsiderate large family group that were staying at the same time as us put a big dampener on our stay. We have kids & have had toddlers but these guys didn't seem to care about their unruly kids spoiling everyone else's break, in fact they seemed to like to interact with them at full volume, making the place like a pre school! As I said, we are parents ourselves, but there is no way we would bring small kids to a place like this, it's not really appropriate unless they are able to be a little bit respectful of other guests. We were not the only people who noticed it & several other guests complained. This group was moved into the 2 other huts in the fish village & their kids would run up & down our verandah at 6:30am yelling & screaming, this was the last straw! We had spent 10 days on Efate doing aid work after the cyclone & had saved really hard to be able to relax after all our work & stay at a beautiful place like Ratua. We went & spoke to BONG, the manager & he moved us to "Tiger" house for our last night. WOW, WOW, WOW! We wish we had been in Tiger all along. It is spacious, private, quiet & has private beach & area to snorkel in. We found Bong to be super friendly, understanding & helpful & we really enjoyed chatting to him. I would thoroughly recommend the day spa, crabbing & swimming with the horses, just fantastic! This place will not be everyone's "cup of tea". It is paradise, but it is different & quirky & perhaps not the type of luxury you could expect for the price. We loved it, right up our ally, we will be back for sure!!!

Room Tip: Loved TIGER hut
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  • Stayed April 2015, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bong S, General Manager at Ratua Private Island, responded to this review, 1 week ago
Dear Danielle,

Thank you for your long and detailed review. I also wish to thank you and your family for your charity work in Vanuatu. Please know that the Ni-Vanuatu appreciates all your effort and generosity. On behalf of of the locals - THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

As for your visit here in this little island paradise, I am very much delighted that you find this place most beautiful. As for the flaws in our service, I truly apologize for this. I shall conduct further training in the next few dayst to address this service failure. I do apolgize for the behaviour of other families with kids.

Above all, I am very happy that you are coming back. It would be our great pleasure to welcome you and your family again. Tiger it is!

Warm regards to your family.

Sincerely,

Bong Sarmiento
Generala Manager
Ratua Private Island
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197 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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 (51)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
New South Wales, Australia
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Ratua Private Island is amazing! My husband and I loved every minute of our holiday. The staff were very welcoming, attentive, happy and friendly, the food was delicious, and the accommodation was just beautiful. We celebrated our anniversary here, and the staff just made our day so special and memorable. Ratua is so unique, that we can't quite find enough words to describe how special it is. We think it's a place that one just has to experience first hand to fully understand and appreciate what it has to offer. If you decide to venture here, it will not disappoint.
We can not wait to return with our family so they can experience this gem.
Kyley & Shaun

Stayed March 2015, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bong S, General Manager at Ratua Private Island, responded to this review, 1 week ago
Dear Kyley and Shaun,

Thank you very much for your visit and for such a lovely review. I am truly glad that you find your stay here most memorable, it gives us much pride to host your anniversary. I am also happy that you find the concept and philosophy of Ratua to your liking. Indeed it is difficult to explain and it is best to experience it.

Again, thank you and I look forward to welcoming your family and friends soon!

Warm regards,
Bong Sarmiento
General Manager
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Brisbane, Australia
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Ratua private island is situated to the north of Port Villa, off Santos. It is a small relaxed resort that is carefully managed to create a very perfect paradise. Thongs are the usual. My family, including 3 children 18yrs to 13yrs, has just returned from one of the best holidays ever. There was no damage suffered from the recent cyclone Pam except reduced guests. All facilities were available. There was scuba diving - (world quality), horse riding (including swimming with horses- amazing), canyoning sublime, canoeing, paddle boarding and swimming swimming swimming in crystal clear water and we did them all. Of course, and relaxing which includes their amazing spa hovering over the water. So there is plenty for everyone. The food was fresh and delicious (I gather from earlier posts, it has improved). The staff a very friendly and provide wonderful personal service. All this and it has still retained the very cultural flavour of Vanuatu. (Just a note, the bugs may be bad at times so take aeroguard but we had no problem. Beds are a little hard but I'm a bit of a softy.) Take me back!

Room Tip: ask for a room closer to or futher away from the Yatch club depending on how private you want to be...
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  • Stayed April 2015, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bong S, General Manager at Ratua Private Island, responded to this review, 1 week ago
Dear Margot,

On behalf of your Ratua family, I wish to extend my sincere gratitude for pursuing your holidays here in Ratua Private Island even with the horrific news after cyclone Pam. Thank you also for flying with Air Ratua from Port Vila direct to Ratua. Espiritu Santo, Ratua, and many other islands were greatly unaffected of TC Pam and are much eager to welcome tourists to help recover the economy of Vanuatu. Your recent visit meant so much to us.

I am truly glad that you had a fantastic time here in this little magical island. Hope you kept many photos to remind you of Ratua and that it would keep you coming back. I do apologize for some insects, I will make it a point to fumigate the guest houses more often. As for the beds, I shall look into that.

Again, thank you for your recent stay and your detailed review - much appreciated. Please do send our warm regards to Chris, Sam, Alex and Elliot.

Regards,
Bong Sarmiento
General Manager
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Auckland Region, New Zealand
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

What an unbelievable holiday! Just got back, the area has no damage following the cyclone so you would have rocks in your head not to go there. This is a magic place, awesome for families or couples (or anyone really).
A perfect setting, full of character with tranquil style - hard to describe except to say it's way better than any photos show.

  • Stayed April 2015, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Bong S, General Manager at Ratua Private Island, responded to this review, 1 week ago
Dear Caroline,

Ratua is grateful for your visit and that you opted to come despite some negative news saying that Vanuatu is not ready to receive tourist after cyclone Pam. Yes, Espiritu Santo and Ratua Island (among the many islands of Vanuatu that were greatly unaffected by TC Pam) eagerly await tourists to come and discover its pristine beaches and fascinating culture.

Again, your Ratua family thanks you for your recent visit and we hope to have you again here in this little island paradise. Please do send our warm regards to Tim and Chester.

Sincerely,
Bong Sarmiento
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2015 via mobile

Ratua is almost unexplainable in terms of its beauty. I have never seen such beautiful marine life so close to a resort beach. We frolicked with turtles once (and sometimes twice) per day right out front of the Fish Village (our villa was in this section). We swam with horses in the sea. We ate lobster and fresh salads. We had some amazing adventures both on and off (Santo Day Tour) the island. I guess its hard to sum it up. Personally I think Bong, Aileen and their staff are a big part of this place. They are simply amazing. If I owned a resort I would have to poach them to work for me. They are Ratua. They live and breath it. They remembered every guest by name. We travelled with our 9 yr old daughter and 12 year old niece. The girls ate whenever they wanted and were well catered for. Most of the time we felt like we had the whole resort to ourselves. My husband and I were worried as there is no resort pool. But the kids never asked once as we had the most amazing lagoon right out front. No waves, no rips and no wind! Accomodation is rustic luxury. Unique. I must admit I had to wear my sunglasses when we left as all the staff sung our goodbye song on the wharf. Ratua, you have stolen my heart......

  • Stayed March 2015
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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.
Bong S, General Manager at Ratua Private Island, responded to this review, 1 week ago
Dear Simone,

Thank you for a lovely review of Ratua. I am truly happy that you had a superb holiday in this little island paradise and that your Ratua family has given you much memories to treasure. We certainly hope to welcome you again and maybe next time see the resident "dugong".

Please do send our warm regards to Richard, Rose and Charlie.

Sincerely,
Bong Sarmiento
General Manager
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New Zealand
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2015

My husband and I stayed 4 nights at Ratu and it was not enough. This property is something very different and we loved it. The wooden Balanise style house were great, and having a lovely private area going down to the sea was wonderful. The staff and managers were all very friendly and helpful and the food was really good, I would suggest doing the meal plan as this worked out very well. The island has its own runway so you can actually fly from Vila if you wanted to, or do a half an hour boat trip from Santo. Activities included bike riding, horse riding, fishing and trips to Santo, or just relaxing and enjoying the peace and quiet, there was enough to do. I had one of the best spa treatments I have every had. We will definately be trying to go back as we really enjoyed ourselves. Thank you to everyone at Ratua Private Island. Karen and Mike

  • Stayed November 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bong S, General Manager at Ratua Private Island, responded to this review, January 28, 2015
Dear Karen and Mike,

Thank you very much for you recent stay with us. I am very pleased to know that we have looked after you so well. I am glad that you find the concept and philosophy of Ratua to your liking. The serenity in Ratua does take you to a different magical world they often call "paradise".

I shall look forward to welcoming you again.

Warm regards,

Bong Sarmiento
General Manager
Ratua Private Island
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2015

This place is sublime and worth every cent! Bong and Ilene run the place like a big home and nothing is a problem. The food (you must take the meal plan) the place, the people all make for a wonderful time in a unique, gorgeous island setting. My wife and I have travelled a lot and have plenty of places to compre this to and this comes out tops on all scores. It's luxury but not over the top and instead offers a balance between comfort and casual which is what we loved. It's authentic, friendly and kids are welcome (we have two teenagers who loved it). The buildings are all antique timber cottages from Java and sit along the water in clusters with varying degrees of indulgence from privates beaches, to spa's and the rest. A superb spa facility, horse riding, superb coral straight off the beach, turtles, dugongs all make this place heaven on earth. Even its position on the island make it almost windless and calm while everyone else is in the wind! To top it all off, the place gives ALL its profits back to the community so it's even a "feel good" spend. We had friends go there before us and rave about this place and I have to endorse their sentiments and do the same. This is just the best place on earth and with only a 2.5hour flight from Brisbane, it's a very easy call to make. Thanks Bong and Ilene, you guys are the best. Shaun, Julie, Josie and Eddie Lockyer

Room Tip: They are all good rooms but you can request one with its own beach if you need! We stayd in Fish Vil...
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  • Stayed December 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Bong S, General Manager at Ratua Private Island, responded to this review, January 14, 2015
Hi Shaun, Julie, Josie and Eddie,

Great title, great review, I can't thank you enough!

..... come visit us again and we will have great fun!

All the best to you and your family! See you again soon!

Sincerely,

Bong Sarmiento
General Manager
Ratua Private island
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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:
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Luganville
#2 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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