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“When is a resort not a resort?” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Island Magic Resort

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Island Magic Resort
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Devils Point Road | Mele Bay, Port Vila, Efate 11111, Vanuatu   |  
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Ranked #8 of 43 hotels in Port Vila
Sydney - Australia
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“When is a resort not a resort?”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2012 via mobile

Stayed here for 4 nights with my wife and two small kids. The bungalows are nice and well equiped, and perfectly good for our family, although ours was showing some wear. I think it should really be called 'Island Magic Serviced Apartments' because it's not really a resort, at least as I know it.
The good - the bungalows are good; the common BBQ area is good; the hosts are excellent; the jetty/bar area looks pretty good; if the weather was good (wasn't for us..) the reef right out the front looks great for snorkeling.
The average - it doesn't have any restaurant/food/bar options. Quite a way (20 minute drive) from Port Vila. That might also be a good thing...
If you're looking for a beside the pool, being bought drinks while someone cooks you a feast type of joint, this is not your place. if you want a self contained, quiet place (perfect for multiple groups of friends/family) then this is a terrific option.

Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (17)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Canberra, Australia
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2012

Stayed in 2br oceanfront bungalow. Very comfortable with each br having own ensuite. Own covered patio area with tables and chairs. Share BBQ in undercover area with table and chairs came in handy for 2 nights dinner. Snorkelling out front good when water calm, else hard to get in and out of water using ladder at warf. Plenty of colourful fish. Booked direct with IM and got special 6 night rate. They also organised transfers @ $A84 return for 3 people - you may be able to get cheaper, but it was peace of mind for us. About 15 min out of town, but quiet and relatively easy to get to with bus, especially with the new Mele Bay express running from the Summit to PV (better still that IM is town side of Benjour for good bus traffic). Just need to be organised with supplies as no shops close by (t/f from hotel detoured to large supermarket near airport for extra $A15). Managers friendly and helpful. Jane even took us to the Beach Bar the 1st night we arrived as she was heading there too. She also shared some of her fresh bananas and paw paw for a delicious fruit salad. Transport to / from during day easy with buses. At night, easy to get to from other locations, but getting from IM at night need some planning to organise bus for pickup as there may not be one driving past as often. But with some planning ahead, this should be easy to overcome. Having driven past other locations in PV itself and along some of the lagoons, Mele Bay (and IM) perfect location as ocean front with good snorkelling and swimming, close to Summit Gardens, Tanna Coffee, Beach Bar and Hideaway and easy to get to. Don't stay anywhere else.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2012

Island magic resort

Best mid priced resort in Vanuatu. Anne and David are incredibly helpful - don't be shy to ask. Anne kept on checking that our tour drivers were arriving etc. They make all the difference to your stay.The resort is quiet, private and secure. Maintenance is top-notch with all request promptly attended to. The bungalows are spacious with a full sized kitchen -

Eating: Although there are great restaurants in Port Vila, a shopping trip to the local food market and Bon Marche food market makes a simple meal or fruit platter a welcome relief and is great for the budget. Benjor Beach Club (about a 10 minute walk) food is okay for a once off visit -a good experience is the entrée platter for two.
The resort has some basic supplies if you run short. Anne and David use the feedback from the guests to recommend tours and places to see.

Travel: Getting to and from the resort to Port Vila and other attractions was a snip - here’s how
Anne will usually call Saki (a bus driver) who has fair rates but always confirm before you get on the bus. This is one of the drawbacks about staying 20 minutes put of town but easily surmounted as follows:
Tip - buy the cheapest sim card for your phone (About $10 Aus) and keep Saki’s number (5398686) on you. Sometimes he is not available and Silo (5487757) is another one who will give you a fair deal - tell them you read about it on tripadvisor that they'll treat you fairly. Its about 400 vt into town and the same for a return. Hideaway Rseort pickup point is 150-200 one way - some drivers will try and charge you 300 vt but politely say no unless it is late at night. At night Saki and Silo may charge you a 100 vt more but absolutely worth it when you need a lift home after a late night out. Also don’t be disconcerted if they pickup locals on the way or stop for fuel, you are on a bus not a taxi. Taxi prices are exorbitant. . They both speak good English and are keen to establish repeat custom with specific resorts.
Mela All day Express : Comes by every hour-about $10 an all day ticket and it does the Summit Gardens, Tanna coffee, Cascades, Hideaway island ferry and Port Vila - a good deal as you don't have to renegotiate fares. It travels between anchor inn and the summit. Get Anne to check whether it is running and its start and end times.
The two bicycles are great - you can quickly cycle over to Tanna coffee for a good cuppa in the morning. Good hot chocolates too if you are not a coffee lover.

Must do’ at the resort: feed the fish with bread at the bottom of the jetty at dusk - they are voracious and in a short while the big ones come out after the tiddlers. If weather permits apparently the snorkelling is unsurpassed here.
Tipping: Apparently you don’t but we occasionally left something if the service was really good.

Must do's outside the resort

No. 1.The Summit Gardens - a stunning surprise where you get to experience the verdant beauty of Vanuatu with unsurpassed views of the island. The guides are local and knowledgeable and are able to answer a million questions. This only opened a couple of months ago and the P&O cruisers have not yet made it their no.1 destination. So enjoy the peace and tranquillity while it lasts. Also they have the best wood fired clay oven baked pizza on the island - so be sure to stop at their cafe. Also the small outlet to the side of the cafe has the least clichéd souvenirs like crèmes and oils which are made on site - most of it exported to New Zealand so you probably get it a bit cheaper. I must mentions the friendly cafe staff who work hard with a smile to create a great experience. Our 14 year old did not want to go to a garden and we were a bit reluctant but she really loved it and ended up taking loads of photographs. Take the Mela express as it comes by the summit every hour-about $10 an all day ticket and it does the Tanna coffee, Cascades, Hideaway island and port Vila - a good deal as you don't have to renegotiate fares.

No 2. Native Round Island Tour - this local outfit offer a great experience with a passionate guide and good driver in a clean minivan. If you are lucky then it will only be your group. They are reliable and this is not a cobbled together tour that every bus driver will offer you. Included is a refreshing fruit plattter for morning tea and a tasty lunch at a ‘fair dinkum” village restaurant complete with island string band. Tea and biscuits for afternoon tea after your swim in Havana bay- bring a cossie and snorkel gear if you have some. The highlight for me was holding a large non poisonous spider and some fierce warriors welcoming us at the village. Get them to stop at roadside stalls and don’t be scared to try the fried spring rolls - these are freshly cooked, cheap and yummy. Ni-vans love showing you their island and you can ask as many questions as you want. What I really liked about them is that everything is prepaid and they share half of their fee with the locals. The result is that the villages are delighted to see you and you don't feel as if you are imposing.
Top tip- Do the tour at the beginning of your trip as it will orient you to the island and local culture. Unfortunately they do not have a website but email (nativetours@hotmail.com) them or call them (5450253) and book it for the first full day you are there.
You’ll learn how no-vans believe and practice community. Everything is shared with you neighbour and a hard fence around your house means you ate a 'greedy man'. They are also an incredibly happy people and smile a lot - living from their hearts, so don't forget to smile as you negotiate a bus fare or ask the price of things.

No. 3 Tanna volcano tour. We did this with air taxi tours and thought they arranged a well organized tour with Evergreen lodge on the Tanna. We never got to see the volcano fireworks in all it's glory as it was covered by cloud and throwing the odd rock over our way but as we treated the whole tour as an adventure this was no big deal. Highlights were the incredible rich soil on the side of the road, the very bumpy tide at the back of a Landover, getting stuck on the way back and watch the various tour drivers helping each other get unstuck from the mud. The food at Evergreen lodge is surprisingly good and included in the package - great pots of tea(extra) and great rooms. We will definitely visit again. Also the small aircraft ride there and back was wonderful and the views of the islands was great. Not so fun was the hooning of the tour drivers racing each other on the ash plains. Stopping and viewing the volcano from dirt side was great. You appreciate nature when the volcano rumbles under your feet - a experience universal studios can't replicate. Tip - take a small collapsible umbrellas and light rain gear - also go closer to the steam vents near the car park and feel the heat!

No 4. Day tripping to hideaway island - we did not do any tours but just hired scuba gear 1000 pp. and well worth it. The underwater post office is fun but be brave and explore the edges of the reef just 3 meters beyond the most outer lying pontoon this is where most of the good stuff lies. Most people explore only 5 meters off shore and don't realize this nice stuff lies a bit further out. Don't go beyond the reef drop off and of course swimming within your capability. I did not see any life guards. Not so hot was there lunch time service- it took over an hour to arrive as they serve a long queue of divers who have pre-ordered. Choose your lunch time wisely.

No. 5. Mele Cascades - we were there when the P&O hordes were in so it was a little busy. Fortunately the beauty makes it worth it. It lived upto its hype.

Good places too eat.
Chantilly's in port Vila - great views plus try their osso bucco with gnocchi - divine.

L'houstalet - French cuisine at good prices. Most dishes under 2000 vt and a local favorite . Unpretentious

The fresh food market:- Vanuatu farmers use no pesticides so everything grown locally is organic in rich volcanic ash. Looks quite rural and prices are marked so don’t bargain. Try the nut treat that looks like bugs on a stick - I think this is the nangae nu. Also the wild raspberries if you can find them. The bunches of raw peanuts was also a first time for us and when we removed the nuts (in their shells) from their stems made a useful snack for those 'munchy' times at the beach. We tried a variety of fruits (unwashed) at the market and not one of us suffered for it - but don’t recommend it. A big hit was the tiny bananas which are so sweet. Also their avocados are sweet and leave you for the first time appreciating that it is a fruit rather than what we are used to in Australia.

Island Magic Resort is a must and we will stay again.

Room Tip: All bungalows have a great view - but the ones closest to the water have uninterrupted views.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2012

Two bedroom & two bathroom (!) bungalows with lots of space for a family (4 of us). Resort grounds are peaceful and the barbeque / pool pavillion being fully set up so all you need to bring is your food and drink is great. Good snorkelling off the dock. Friendly staff and absolutely great hosts in David & Jane who are always available to organise tours or buses, provide emergency supplies of coffee or band-aids. Highly recommended. We choose Island Magic based on the Tripadvisor ratings / comments and were not disappointed.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Australia
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2012

We had 2 weeks in Vanuatu last July as a combination birthday celebration and family getaway. The second week we stayed at island Magic and had a fantastic time.
We have travelled to Vanuatu a number of times, and the accommodation, facilities and location made this a truly memorable experience.
So much so, we have booked again to return in July this year - and looking forward to it!

Room Tip: Can pay a higher tariff for a water front villa location.
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
Brisbane, Australia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2012

The resort is set in a beautiful location. The four acres of grounds have walking paths, lights, lawns, exotic trees, swimming pool, barbeque pavillion with fridge (including supply of sources), sink and tables. These grounds are maintained daily and are a pleasure to be in. If that's not enough there is nothing bewteen these grounds and the beautiful torquoise waters of Vanuatu and a colourful reef full of amazing fish. Access via a ladder or path with rope railing. Another barbeque and deck reaches out over the water with an adjacent rock pool where one can relax while the waves roll in at high tide.

The bungalows are a treat, rattan walls, floor to ceiling louvres with security screens which we left open all night and a big deck with another table and chairs. I liked the little things, sprays of bouganvilla on all the tables when you arrive and the curtain loops made of sea shells. These units are spotlessly clean and surrounded by lush gardens.

We ended up spending most of our time in our Island Magic, with short trips to the French supermarket for French goodies and prime Santo beef or outings (we hired a car) such as up the range to Wahu restaurant, best seafood and panoramic views out to sea or exploring Port Vila and surrounds.

Highly recommended, J & V.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2012

We recently returned from a one week stay at Island Magic resort. Our family of four (kids 10 and 11) stayed in a 2 bedroom oceanview unit (#10) that was adjacent to the pool. The high ratings that this resort receives are well deserved and was a key reason for choosing this resort on our first visit to Vanuatu.

What did we like:
- Firstly and the standout were the Managers and Staff - Brian and Anne who welcomed us and were managing the first days and then Jane and David who returned for the remainder of the stay - so friendly, knowledgeable and accomodating.
- Very well maintained rooms, grounds, pool, etc.
- Spacious apartments that were well equipped and the option of a great BBQ area by the pool that we used most evenings. We normally go to larger resorts with restaurants and it made a nice change to be more self contained.
-our kids (and us) loved the pool and also the little surf pool when the tide was high
- The relaxed feeling of the resort

The resort is a little out of town but we viewed this as a positive. It's not hard or costly to make the trip (about $16 into town for the whole family and half of that for the trip back).

Mele Cascades (a highlight) and Hideaway Island (great snorkling and Island Night) are closeby and there is a 2km beach only a 5-10 minute walk away (and you often have it to yourself). There are also a couple bikes if you want to grab a coffee down the road or pick up some fresh local produce.

What could be improved
- Access to snorkling is difficult when there is surf. Although I ventured in, it was too dangerous for the kids during the week we were there (which is a shame as the snorkling was great when you were in). I managed some good scrapes getting out but it was worth it (and was ok by the end when I found what worked best). It should be noted the winds were up while visiting so may be ok otherwise.

This resort does deserve 5 stars and this can be put down to the hosts and team at Island Magic. They take pride and this shows in the state of the resort and the enjoyment of your stay.

Room Tip: If travelling with a family the oceanfront rooms near the pool are great
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Island Magic Resort

Address: Devils Point Road | Mele Bay, Port Vila, Efate 11111, Vanuatu
Phone Number:
Location: Vanuatu > Efate > Port Vila
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Luxury Hotel in Port Vila
#5 Family Hotel in Port Vila
#15 Romantic Hotel in Port Vila
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Island Magic Resort 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Luxury resort with self-contained apartment accommodation with ocean views, tropical gardens, guest bbq areas, swimming pool, and jetty to access spectacular snorkeling. Ideal for wedding and family groups. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Island Magic Hotel Port Vila
Island Magic Resort Vanuatu/Port Vila

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