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“Kid Heaven at Aquana Beach Resort” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Aquana Beach Resort

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Aquana Beach Resort
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   PO Box 238, Port Vila, Efate, Vanuatu   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 46 Hotels in Port Vila
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Kid Heaven at Aquana Beach Resort”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2013

We have just returned after spending a heavenly 7 nights at Aquana with our boys aged 10 and 12. It was the perfect destination for a family with children and one of the most relaxing holidays I've had.

First I have to comment on the amazing nannies or 'youth workers' as my boys prefer to call them. My kids are older and do not need to be 'looked after' but the nannies were amazing for facilitating activities and keeping them happy and engaged. They are independent boys but they loved having someone on stand-by to suggest a game of volley-ball, a kayaking trip, snorkelling, a ball game in the pool, some weaving or a game of cards or board-game.

All the other guests had kids who were friendly and lovely. It was a small enough resort for the kids to get to know each other and make friends. The boys loved being able to wander around and play games with the other kids. There was so much to do. And when all the kids were exhausted at the end of the day they would lie on the trampoline in the dark and chat to each other, tell jokes, etc. They ranged in age from 4-13 but they all got on well.

I love the fact that Aquana is such an intimate family resort. The culture of the place clearly comes from Fabienne and Marcel who are such kind, decent, friendly, welcoming people. Nothing is too much trouble and they go out of their way to make your holiday special. They recruit wonderful staff and train them well and clearly treat them very well as everyone who works there is exceptional.

This creates a positive, optimistic and relaxed holiday atmosphere. All the guests are happy and sociable which makes for a lovely environment. We enjoyed chatting with familiar faces over breakfast and dinner. Everyone who stayed there was friendly and unpretentious. There are some more private tables and private pool chairs - so you could easily keep to yourself if you wanted to - but it is not really that kind of place.

Marcel is a FANTASTIC CHEF. My husband said that the beef was the best he has tasted in any restaurant in the world. He tried it 3 different ways during the course of the week. I loved the fish curry, the fish in banana leaf and the garlic prawns. The garden salad with smoked salmon was great for days when I needed something very light. The kids loved the fresh fruit in the mornings and the fruit fondue for dessert. Our 12 y.o. loved the pizza! One of our boys is gluten intolerant and there was lots of choice for him on the menu. We enjoyed a few lovely lunches at other venues and one evening meal at Eratap resort but Marcel's kitchen was by far the best in Vanuatu. We were delighted to experience the great variety of fresh and often organic fruit and vegetables that is produced by the fertile soil in Vanuatu. The portions were very generous and we sometimes shared dishes. Marcel's delicious amuse-bouches got each meal off to a lovely start!

The entertainment was excellent. We weren't expecting it so it was a lovely surprise. The fire dancers were exceptional, there was a lovely local band, we enjoyed a trivia night and the kids enjoyed roasting marshmallows on the fire. We were touched by the generosity of the resort when they gave away so may free massage vouchers on the trivia night.

Which leads to the massage - it was excellent!

The rooms were spotlessly clean and were cleaned every day. The level of hygiene was exceptional.

The rooms had comfortable beds, air-conditioning and fans. The decor was were simple but perfectly comfortable. It would have been nice to have a little more shelf space in the bedrooms and in the bathroom - but having said that we managed fine with the shelves that were available and the lounge room was spacious. With so much going on outside we really only spent time in our rooms to sleep and shower. We had a lovely veranda with a view over the water.

The location was beautiful. It is close enough to Port Villa to have easy access to the attractions - yet far enough away to be quiet and secluded. We never heard a sound at night. No noisy nightclubs or drunk tourists. It was very peaceful. The resort is set on the edge of a bay and the land around it has been cleared of mangroves. We had a tranquil view over the bay to a lush green island. I enjoyed reading my book lying on a sun lounge at the water's edge looking out at the island. The water is incredibly clean and unpolluted. There is some silt in the bay area but 300m away you will find perfect crystal clear water for snorkelling. The gardens around the resort and still being developed but there were lots of trees for shade and enough shrubs in front of bungalow to provide privacy.

Fabienne organised for Janet to take me on a walking tour of the village beside the resort. It was beautiful and very special to be able visit with a local. Janet took me to the school and church, pointed out her own home and the home of the Village Chief and a home building a marquee for a wedding. She told me a lot about village life and it was a pleasure to spend time in her company.

The resort had lots of equipment for water sports. We forgot to pack reef shoes and we were able to borrow them. They had kayaks, an outrigger, snorkelling equipment, etc. We travelled to the localislands by outrigger on our first day and got our bearings. We went back a few more times on the kayaks and snorkelled at a different spot each time. The water is crystal clear with undamaged pristine coral and lovely fish life.

The resort gave easy access to lots of activities. We did day trips most days and had many fantastic experiences exploring the island. The reception staff booked trips/cars for us. They gave excellent advice regarding the proposed trips and packed a picnic lunch (incl gluten free sandwiches) when we were visiting venues that didn't have cafes. The entire family and loved Eton Beach and the tarzan swing at the Blue Lagoon which is close to Eton beach. We spent one day on an Eco tour to the waterfall at Montemarte (another tarzan swing for boy heaven!), the boys loved the bat cave behind one of the waterfalls there. The Eco tour was also interesting because we drove through acres of cattle farm and saw the pristine environment that produces such beautiful beef. Montmarte also has a seminary. Cascade Falls provided an exciting day of abseiling in a magnificent setting. We snorkelled at Hideaway Island - WOW! What incredible fish life! My husband had a few lovely dives at Mele Bay. The boys loved the Zip Line and we enjoyed the summit gardens, essential oil making and lovely cafe with magnificent views beside the zipline. We hired a car one day and drove around the island. The north side of the island is magnificent - so lush and green and much less developed (not that any of it is too developed). We met lovely people going through their daily existence of knocking coconuts from trees, collecting fruit and vegetables for markets, selling on road-side stalls, etc We met beautiful people who happily posed for photos. Everyone was friendly and welcoming.

Aquana provides a warm, friendly, safe, down-to-earth, relaxed, family environment with great food and fun activities in a beautiful setting. It is intimate and personal in style. We loved it and we look forward to a return trip in the future.

THANK YOU to Fabienne, Marcel, Hugo, Rita, Rose and all the lovely staff and nannies. You should all be very proud of the beautiful experience you have created at Aquana.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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177 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (60)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
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  • Japanese first
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English first
Melbourne, Australia
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2013

Well we have just got back from 7 nights at Aquana Beach Resort ( which wasnt long enough!) I travelled with my 2 children 9 and 5 and my 70 year old parents. My children and I have been to Vanuatu once before and stayed at Eratap beach resort which was fantastic. So our expectations were high returning. Wow all our expectations were met and more. Aquana is not far from Eratap but a nice distance from Port Vila. We stayed in a villa not quite on the waterfront which really wasnt a problem because you could still see the water from our front veranda. The villas are great just the right size ( you don't spend much time other than sleeping in them). They are very clean and serviced daily ( even your bed is made everyday!) A little more storage in the bathroom would have been nicer but not a real problem. Also another recommendation for management would be an outside tap near the entrance to the villa or even and outside shower. The sand seemed to always get tracked into the villas, so somewhere to just wash off would be great.
Well now to talk about the food! Marcel you are an amazing chef and we couldn't complain about anything we ate. The seafood was so fresh and delicious.The menu is huge considering the size of the kitchen. Some of the meals were huge so by the end of the stay we would share our dishes between the adults. The kids menu was great too plenty to choose from. We also enjoyed snacks beside the pool - milkshakes, smoothies and popcorn. We just loved the staff and special mention to Valerie, William, and Lily. We loved all of you and sorry have forgotten all there names.
The other amazing thing about Aquana is the Nannies. From the time we arrived our kids were swept away to play games or just play on the sand. These ladies are just lovely and would take my kids out kayaking, coconut boat making, weaving or just plain swimming in the pool. The first day my son just played in the sand and one of the nannies just sat with him and built sand castles. Not once did I worry about where my children were because I knew there would be a nanny with them. It was very sad to leave them behind.
We did a few excursions which Aquana organised one to Eton Beach and Blue Lagoon. We just loved Eton beach and could have stayed all day. One of the staff Anna came with us and set out lunch on a white table cloth and stood and waved away the flies until we had finished. I would highly recommend this trip. We also went on the outrigger to one of the islands. Here we were about to snorkel and saw beautiful fish and bright blue starfish. We just loved this trip. We also went to Mele Waterfalls which were also amazing- and total must on any trip to Port Vila.
I could write forever about Aquana I still feel like I am on a high. My kids absolutely had a ball, even my daughter said she preferred it to Eratap and I think for kids Aquana is better. For my parents first trip to Vanuatu they loved it too and will return. I planning on returning next year and for longer next time.
To finish off thank you to Hugo, Rita, Fabienne, Marcel and Rose. You guys are amazing and make the place magic. We felt like we were part of your family while staying with you. What also got me was you all came out to say goodbye when we were leaving with hugs and kisses. You are very special people and keep up the good work and hopefully see you again next year!!!

Room Tip: Even if you don't get a waterfront Vila it doesnt matter you still get waterviews from the 2nd r...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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.
Charbon
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2013

We had a fantastic 5 night stay at Aquanas recently. It was a perfect chill out time after a hectic week on Tanna. The kids loved the one on one attention they had with the nannies. All of the girls were so lovely with the kids. Great food, cool shows, perfect location, fun tours and awesome staff. Great family run resort for families. Thank you Fabienne and Marcell , it was great to meet you, we hope to come back again another day.

  • Stayed September 2013, 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2013

Our family of four (2 kids aged 3 and 5) stayed at Aquana for 10 days in July. It was the most perfect family holiday we could imagine and we are already planning a return trip. I was nervous that the reviews on here sounded too good but to be true but it is absolutely all true. In fact, it is even better. Everything was wonderful (beautiful setting, lovely clean and spacious villas, great snorkelling not far out of the lagoon) but there are three key things in particular about Aquana that make it so amazing:

1. The food. Wow. I have never had better seafood. The garlic prawns in particular were outstanding. I had them every night. The beef was also amazing. In fact everything was amazing. No dodgy resort buffets here, it is all freshly cooked five star quality cuisine. And the best thing was, if you felt like something not on the menu, Marcel was more than happy to provide it. By the second day Marcel had discovered my love of seafood and so each morning he would seek me out to tell me what had come in from that morning's catch, and ask how I would like it prepared that night. He was also quite happy to alter meals for our children (incidentally, the kids chicken nuggets were the best ever according to my five year old).

2. The service. Being such a small resort, and family run, meant that the owners and staff all felt like friends. Every one of them went out of their way to please us and nothing was ever too much trouble. Marcel's willingness to go out of his way to serve us special meals and Fabienne's help organising our tours and drivers were just the beginning. Every single staff member we encountered was an absolute joy to deal with. We loved getting to know the staff, chatting to them about their lives, hearing their stories. But if you just want to be left in peace to enjoy your holiday then you can do that too. This is the only place I have ever stayed where I felt the urge to hug the staff upon my departure. They really are that wonderful.

3. Last but most certainly not least, the nannies. This is what really sets Aquana apart from other resorts. I was dubious about my daughters being wiling to be looked after by the nannies, but I needn't have worried. By the time I finished checking in on arrival, I turned around and my girls were gone. Over the next ten days we went hours at a time without seeing them, but always knowing they were safe and having an absolute ball. As opposed to a kids club with scheduled activities, the kids can do what they want when they want. The nannies will happily play with them in the pool, build sandcastles on the beach, make boats out of coconuts, go hunting for crabs, play boardgames or do colouring inside, and a million other activities. After every meal the kids would be whisked off to play as soon as they had finished eating while we had some adult time lingering over our food. And I had so much time to read I actually ran out of reading material! But the beauty is that the kids are never far away, if they need you they can always find you, thanks to the small size of the resort. But they rarely did - they loved the nannies so much. Our three year old still asks when we are going back to visit Sophie.

All in all, we couldn't have asked for a better holiday. Vanuatu is a perfect holiday destination and Aquana is the perfect resort at which to enjoy it. We can't wait to return.

  • Stayed July 2013, 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 1
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London
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2013

Aquana is a great destination with excellent food and amazing service.

The location is a little out of town, probably 20-25 mins drive, but there are free shuttles to get you into town and being away from the bustle of Vila is actually very pleasant. The resort is right on the water and you can swim and kayak easily and snorkel a kayak away or you can pay for a boat to take you out.

The food is excellent if a little expensive, but you're paying for great food in an amazing location so you can't really compare it 'normal' prices. The seafood in particular is fantastic - the fish curry, lobster and surf and turf were all superb. Excellent cocktails too.

Possibly the best feature though was the service: the staff are wonderfully friendly and genuinely interested in making you feel welcome and making sure you have a great holiday.

Several people had children at the resort but we didn't really notice them. I was slightly afraid before we came that being a 'child-friendly' resort would mean it wo ill be overrun by kids but that wasn't the case.

Overall, a great experience and we'd love to come back.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2013

We have just come back from Vanuatu, experiencing a fantastic 10 nights at the Aquana Resort.
This is a very kid friendly resort, the roaming nannies were fantastic with our 2 and 6 yo. The way the resort is set up is great. You can have dinner and the nannies will take the kids to the kids corner - you can still see them, (they are not whisked away). Though if you want them to, they will take them out of sight so you can enjoy a peacefull dinner.

The bungalows a clean and serviced every day - towels changed daily!!!!! The only negative we had - there is no bath. Our 2 yo hates showers, so that caused as some issues. Though if your children are happy with showers this wont be an issue.

All staff were amazing, restaurant, bar, cleaning, reception and of course the nannies.

Reception staff are more than happy to book tours for you. They helped us get across to Tanna Island to see the active volcano - which was amazing, a must see if you have the time.

The weather was perfect, rained once, - still nice and warm..

Perfect destination for a family, relaxing holiday. If you want to kick back by the pool/beach have a cocktail and let the kids play, this is the resort for just that.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adelaide, Australia
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2013

Many thanks to all at Aquana for looking after us so well on our trip to Vanuatu. We were fortunate to spend a week there with our young daughter and left feeling very relaxed and satisfied with our stay.

Pros:
- The bungalows are very clean, serviced each day and set in well kept gardens.
- All staff were very friendly and helpful, especially the patient nannies who were very attentive and showed genuine affection to all the children present. Our daughter referred to them as 'her friends'. Service was very professional and nothing was too much trouble.
- Wonderful meals in the restaurant at breakfast, lunch and dinner. We didn't want to eat anywhere else.
- Helpful with organizing any tours around the island and offering transfers to pick us up whenever it suited us. A hotel phone was also given to us in case we wanted to return earlier. Nannies also provided on trips for those with children. Would recommend the trip to Eton beach and the Blue lagoon trip to those with kids. A delicious barbecue lunch was provided for us also.
- Entertainment for the evenings was great and got everyone involved. Our daughter loved the fire dancing show.
- Excellent canoeing around the island. We saw all kinds of sea life amongst the coral and you can find your own private beach to stop off for a while.

Cons:
- We found none!


Highly recommended. Thanks again Aquana. We hope to return soon!

Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Aquana Beach Resort

Address: PO Box 238, Port Vila, Efate, Vanuatu
Location: Vanuatu > Efate > Port Vila
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Port Vila
#3 Family Hotel in Port Vila
#4 Romantic Hotel in Port Vila
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Aquana Beach Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Opened in 2012, Aquana Beach Resort has become Vanuatu's leading three and a half star family friendly boutique Resort and this has largely been due to the unique childcare approach it has developed and the quality of the food from it's very popular casual dining restaurant. Located 25 minutes from the International Airport and only 15 minutes from the town centre, Aquana is situated in a large lagoon surrounded by groups of deserted islands and pristine reefs. Aquana has a 150 meter long man-made beach great for children to be able to play free from danger and for adults to relax on and soak up the sun. Aquana consists of 16 bungalows all located within 30 meters of the lagoon front and a hot a la carte and a continental breakfast are both included in the room rate and the resorts idyllic surroundings provides the perfect location for weddings and functions. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Aquana Beach Resort Vanuatu/Port Vila

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