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“The best experience and my dream wedding came true”

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Ratua Island Resort & Spa
Ranked #2 of 9 Hotels in Luganville
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 19, 2012 via mobile

Thank you so much everyone at ratua you made our wedding day so special. From our arrival till the day we left everything was never too much to ask for. Sandra and her team as well as Oliver were all amazing. We had over 30 guests arrive for our wedding and they managed to control them as well as their own guests on the island. The only hiccup we had was our wedding coordinator who was hopeless, she was not employed by ratua though ratua picked up on all the pieces where she lacked, they were all very professional.

Ratua made not only me and my staying guests feel welcome but my day guests feel welcome too.

We cannot wait to all come back the best family holiday ever!

  • Stayed: November 2012
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4  Thank lgui3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandra E, General Manager at Ratua Island Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded January 25, 2013

Dear Linda,

Thank you for this very nice review!

We felt really blessed that you chose Ratua to get married, and we are very glad to know that we managed to make your day so special...

We cannot wait to welcome you for "the best family vacations ever"! :)



Kind regards,

Sandra & your Ratua Team

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214 - 220 of 330 reviews

Reviewed November 16, 2012

Awesome place, unique, extremely beautiful, very friendly staff, best value for money we have had at any island. Would definitely recommend to anyone! Very private, only 12 huts on the island, great snorkelling, fishing and water sports available. Go and enjoy!

  • Stayed: October 2012
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Thank john813
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandra E, General Manager at Ratua Island Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded January 25, 2013

Dear John,

Thank you very much for letting us know your impressions about your stay in Ratua! We feel very pleased that you enjoyed the beauty of the location as well as the whole concept;

We hope that you will come back someday to enjoy the few snorkelling spots you might have not discovered yet...


Kind regards,


Sandra & your Ratua Team

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Reviewed October 20, 2012

My daughter and I spent a week in paradise - perfect . We felt totally relaxed - food largely from the island , soothed to sleep by the ocean. There was plenty to do or nothing. Its not for everyone - but it was magic for us.

Room Tip: don't go if you want marble and tile excellence , or the pool side cocktail buzz - stay in port...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank doccarro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandra E, General Manager at Ratua Island Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded January 28, 2013

Thanks a lot for sharing your experience, Doccarro!

We are really delighted to know that the magic operated for you and your daughter, and that Ratua & its concept managed to win your heart...

We hope to see you coming back here in Ratua someday!


Kind regards,

Sandra & your Ratua team

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Reviewed October 18, 2012

I loved this place! For me the sense of isolation combined with enough mod-cons to make life more than comfortable were just perfect. My villa, Monkey, faced onto a very private beach and lagoon full of beautiful coral and fish. I barely knew I had neighbours for the first few days. All of the staff were very attentive, special thanks to Groucette, Bernadette, & Jonathon, knew their stuff and always greeted me with a beaming smile, nothing was too much trouble. I found the food superb, especially the pastries and deserts, and an ample selections of wines from France Australia and NZ to accompany each meal. Ratua is a place where you can fill your days with activities (on the island or on Santo) or if you desire take a nap after breakfast, I did both. The rustic nature of the accommodation on Ratua may not be to everyone's taste but for me it was ideal. I will be returning.
One piece of advice would be to take the "meal deal" option when booking, it saves $100 pp roughly for a week stay.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank nerle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandra E, General Manager at Ratua Island Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded February 6, 2013

Dear Nerle,

Thank you very much for taking some time to give us your impressions about your stay here with us. We are really pleased to hear that you enjoyed your vacations in Ratua, and more precisely the tranquility, the accomodation and the food.

Thank you for the precious advice you are sharing with everybody: our meal plan offer can indeed be an interesting option to consider and can help you saving money (depending on your needs, of course!)...

We hope to see you on our island again someday...

Kind regards,


Sandra & your Ratua team.

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Reviewed October 4, 2012

We had just spent a week at Rah Paradise Bungalows in The Banks Islands, Northern Vanuatu which was excellent! We booked at Ratua for the last 2 nights of our holiday in Vanuatu expecting it to be a totally luxurious experience. We were hoping for an Eratap Beach Resort experience but quickly discovered to our great disappointment that it was nothing like Eratap.
The boat transfer was extremely rough and the driver went flat out. We’d had a few rough trips in the past week but weren’t prepared for this. Ratua can’t be blamed for trade winds & rough seas but they could have arranged a slower and safer trip and a couple of lifejackets.
Arriving at Ratua, a couple of ‘welcome’ drinks were thrust into our hands which were still shaking after the boat trip. Before we’d finished, we were rushed off to see our room by the female ‘manager in training’, leaving our half finished drinks behind.
Our accommodation was at the end of a very long, winding and uneven path; an OH&S nightmare especially for my husband who was in pain and limping due to a leg wound. The ‘manager’ commented that we’d need a torch to find our way along the dark path at night. We’d left all our torches with the people on Rah so we would have really appreciated one but she forgot to organise it so it never arrived. We could have done with a torch just to see inside the room. There was hardly enough light available to see inside your bag even during the day.
We could see that the owners had sunk a lot of money into carting these dismal buildings all the way from Indonesia but why? If you wanted to stay in Indonesian houses wouldn’t you just go to Indonesia? Have to admit I’d been laughing for years over the joke of a resort in Vanuatu featuring Indonesian buildings. Eventually my curiosity ended up taking me to Ratua but I’m not laughing now that I’ve been.
The shower was disgraceful. I’d been looking forward to a hot shower for a week and was prepared to pay more than AU$400 per night to have one. As I stood in the shower area, hoping that the bendy, wooden floor wasn’t going to collapse under me, the winds blasted through the cracks in the wall, the water flow was a mere trickle and there was no hot water (see pic). I was cold and wet and very unhappy.
We asked management to fix the shower problem. Workers came the next morning but couldn’t improve the situation. Management did not bother to check with us to see if the problem had been resolved. We had to seek them out and advise them that there was still a big problem.
The food was pathetic. Ratua had been recently featured on many Australian TV shows with journalists who were obviously not paying for their trip and who had no idea of the prices, raving on about all the fresh organic foods grown on the island and served to tourists. Unfortunately many tourists staying at Ratua are taking their first trip to Vanuatu based on what they are seeing on their TV. They don’t know about the glorious food that CAN be had in Vanuatu and they have no idea of the average price of meals in Vanuatu. I’ve had 20 trips to Vanuatu and eaten at more than a hundred venues. I know what’s acceptable and what is not.
Lunch was a BBQ that cost 4000 vatu per head; that’s about AU$44. I had 1 skewer holding 2 prawns and some squid, a chicken leg, a lettuce leaf, potato salad that came with a long black hair (which I tried to ignore), bread, noodles (see pic) and a choice of cake styled desserts. It was most certainly not worth $44.
Dinner was a choice from a limited menu. I chose curried chicken. Bad choice. This consisted of a small piece of chicken and a scoop of rice covered with a bland sauce that did not taste of curry (see pic). I’m not sure what it actually tasted of. Where was all the fresh organic produce that was apparently served with every meal? The chicken was so poor that I took a photo of it. Ratua charged 3000 vatu ($33) for one course of dinner. My husband ordered the other meal choice which was just as skimpy and bland. Understand this – 3000 vatu will buy you an impressive meal of fresh lobster, crab or Santo Beef at any other restaurant in Vanuatu! The captive tourists at Ratua do not know this, they just pay up and eat up and don’t know what they are missing out on and how much money they are being overcharged. I have eaten much better and tastier chicken dishes at the mama’s market in Vila for less than $4. Rah cost us about $35 per night for accommodation which included 3 cooked meals featuring more fresh lobster, crab, fish, chicken AND vegetables than you could eat.
Breakfast at Ratua was cold scrambled eggs which may have been powdered eggs and cold leathery bacon. There may have been a small selection of tropical fruit put out for breakfast, but all I could see were 2 empty plates with dribbles of juice on them.
Isn’t it interesting that Ratua bangs on about how much they are doing to help the locals? We talked to a lot of ni-Van staff and couldn’t find one person who actually came from the area where Ratua is situated. Ni-Van staff at Ratua are paid very minimal wages for a long day of work. Setting low pay rates for ni-Van staff at the local standard rate is a cop-out because resorts such as Ratua do not charge tourists at that same local economic rate but at the highly inflated 'western style resort' rate.
Note to management, the people of Vanuatu are called NI-VAN! Stop naming them Vanuatians in your literature; its offensive and it appears that you don’t actually know enough about Vanuatu to know even that.
Ratua’s ‘manager-in-training’appeared to be shocked when we told her we were leaving early. She and her male ‘boss’ did agree with us that the food was very ordinary and hugely overpriced when I discussed it with them and showed them my photos. I could go on and on with further criticism but it makes me angry to think about what Ratua is doing to Vanuatu tourism.
Back in Santo that night we had a chat with a man from the Board of Tourism who laughed out loud when he heard that we’d left Ratua and booked into Santo Bed & Breakfast for the night instead. He understood why we left and why we preferred Father Luke& Rona’s B & B to the expensive resort.
If you want to stay at a nice island resort somewhere in Santo, try Oyster Island. It has a fairly new manager by the name of Olly who seems competent and friendly. It’ll cost you a lot less too. Or why not try one of the outer islands? Rah Paradise Bungalows in the Banks Islands is an amazing experience and incredible value for money.
There are so many places that you can stay at in Vanuatu varying from award winning resorts such as Eratap to upmarket traditionally styled bungalows such as Amel Toro in Norsup, Malekula. You can even sleep in treehouses perched high in giant Banyan trees in Tanna. If you are coming to Vanuatu, surround yourselves with all things ‘Vanuatu’. If you want an Indonesian experience, I suggest you probably should try Indonesia.

Room Tip: Try another resort, hotel, bungalow or treehouse
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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20  Thank ozjo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RATUA, Director of Sales at Ratua Island Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded October 14, 2012

Dear ozjo,
 
Thank you for your review. We are pleased to hear that you have enjoyed your journey to The Banks Islands. We are sorry to hear that Ratua Private Island has not met your expectations. It would appear that you had not done your research prior to booking your journey as Ratua is nothing like Eratap nor has it ever claimed to be. Eratap is one of the finest contemporary-Melanesian resort Vanuatu has to offer. Ratua on the other hand takes an entirely different approach by offering an authentic Melanesian experience with a rustic-chic ambiance. It would appear that from the start you had your expectations completely mixed up and had this not been the case, you would have welcomed the concept in different eyes.
 
Indeed no one can be blamed for the occasional strong winds however we do apologise for our boat pilot's lack of attention. It can be very challenging to navigate bad sea conditions and it would appear your pilot made an incorrect decision to speed up in order to reduce the waves' impact on the vessel.
 
Granted your didn't enjoy your stay, I'm certain your appreciated a refreshing welcome beverage offered with the best of intentions and on a complimentary basis. I'm certain you could have left this out of your review as it is extremely challenging to fault.
 
Please be reminded that anywhere in the world, whether it be an operations staff or a manager, the tag of 'in training' does invite liniency towards the occasional diviation in service or standards. It would appear that in your disappointment, you seem to be ignoring such an international etiquette.
 
We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience of not having brought you a torch. In future, we invite you to call the management immediately using your in-room phone in order to remind them of your request. Action would have followed immediately.
 
We are sorry if the in-room lighting seem insufficient for you. It certainly appears to be acceptable and in line with the concept to all previous guests.
 
Your curiosity on the choice of architecture for Ratua's accommodation is shared by many however, unlike yourself, all previous guests were delighted to see how well such a concept blends with the environment and the concept that is Ratua Private Island. The Indonesian houses compliment perfectly the local vegetation of Vanuatu.
 
We sincerely apologise for the shower situation in your room. It is very unlike our management and maintenance team to leave such issues to the next day. We will ensure that such an inconvenience not reoccur in the future.
 
Unlike yourself regretfully, TV crews do a lot of research prior to travelling to their shooting destination. They knew what to expect and thoroughly enjoyed their experience as have all previous reviewers. Please be aware that staying in an above average resort usually implies being subject to slightly above average pricing. Had you expected Port-Vila meal pricing, you expected incorrectly. Once again, the organic, self-sustaining dining concept seems to please quite the majority of our clientele. "A chicken leg, a lettuce leaf?" It's a buffet, I'm sure you could have been more generous with your servings.
 
We sincerely apologise if the dinner was not to your standard. Once again you have us surprised as this is not the case with the great majority of our past guests. We have however taken this opportunity to communicate this inconvenience to our kitchen so that the standard can strictly maintained. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
 
I'm truly surprised that you didn't enjoy the breakfast. Did you miss the mountains of fresh french pastries, the yoghurts, the cereals, the freshly baked breads, the crepes, the pancakes? Powdered eggs and leathery bacon? Granted these items are highly praised, I'm sure you can come up with something better. At this stage, mam, with respect you find us in difficulty to take your review seriously in light of the fact that you are addressing every single aspect of your stay despite it's extremmely short duration of less than 24hrs.
 
You speak of knowing Ratua's involvement towards the local community yet you make no mention of the Ratua Foundation and the fact that Ratua is 100% non-profit. Not having heard of anyone from Ratua's region isn't a n achievement, the island is but 60hectares with 55 staff members. Worry not, we look well after our staff and had you spoken to them you would have heard great things. Be reminded that our staff, although being paid well above minimum wage, are fully accommodated, fed and laundered.
I don't suppose this was in your calculations before you decided to shame us on such a delicate subject.
 
Note to you madam, with respect, this review reply comes from a native of Vanuatu. Your 20 or so trips to Vanuatu do not make you an expert on the country although we sincerely appreciate your frequent visits. Please take note that the staff village is called 'Ni-Vat Village' which is a French translation of Ni-Van Village.
 
Let it be known that although you complain about your stay, you certainly had no issue with leaving the resort without settling for the 2 bottles of champagne you gladly consumed during that evening. I'm sure that these products were to your satisfaction.

Once again, thank you for your time in reviewing your brief visit. We will endeavour to address all of the valid points which you have presented, and in future invite you to be a tad diplomatic when reviewing such stays as this sort of behaviour greatly impacts on the tourism of the country.

Regards,

Yorick N
Sales & Marketing

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Reviewed October 1, 2012

WOW what a place- Ratua was remarkable the moment we were greeted by the lovely Sandra and her team, their attention to detail and want for your happiness was sensational- a big thanks to Sandra, Stefan, Olivier, Jean-Francouis, Mary-Anne and Jonathan.

It's an idyllic location a little bit of indo in the south pacific, amazing accommodation, coral reef, blue holes, food and activities the kids were sorted each day with plenty of down to earth activities, a real digital detox.

Maybe not for the traveller who likes big buffets, plasma TV and large swimming pools- but for the ones that enjoy 5 star living with a rustic twist in an idyllic private location this is for you ....

see you next year, Kylie (Minogueeee:), Louise, Rob, Greg and the wee Blonde Boys xx

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank Kylie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 30, 2012

If you are wanting the perfect island getaway then Ratua is for you. From the moment you step onto the shores of this beautiful Island paradise, you are hit with a sense of calm and tranquility. Also wonderful is the friendliness from the (mostly local) staff. We were greeted with a huge Vanuatu smile every time we saw a staff member for the duration of our stay. Nothing was ever a bother, every request met with a smile.
The cabins are amazing. They have managed to get the right balance of western comfort (great beds, fans, fridge in the room, plenty of hot water and towels) meets island charm. The cabins are made completely from teak and all are very individual. Semi attached bathrooms with great views make for a surreal sunset bath. It feels like camping in ultra comfort.
We opted for the full board and we were not disappointed with 3 course meals or full buffets on offer every lunch and dinner and a wonderful continental breakfast complete with egg station. A lot of the produce has been sourced locally and even from the islands own farm. Great seafood, good local beef and an impressive range of French and Australian wines.
The massage hut was unbelievable, perched over the water on stilts with a commanding view of the Pacific Ocean. Treatments were wonderful and very good value for money.
Activities were endless with plenty of day trips, snorkelling, fishing, diving, horse riding or you could just while the day away on the sand reading a book. The water was crystal clear and the ocean is still pristine. The Blue Hole trip to Malo is highly recommended.
This Island resort has gotten in right. I genuinely felt like I was visiting friends, no where on the Island is off limits and it really felt like the Island was yours to explore. We didn't wear shoes to dinner once and our cabin was wide open all day and night with no problems.
For those of you who don't want to see sight of your phone, shoes or laptop for a week or so, this is the perfect place for you. We have already planned another visit.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank UnholyTrinity
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ratua Island Resort & Spa

Address: Bp 396, Luganville, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu
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 Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 9 Hotels in Luganville
Price Range: $346 - $798 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Ratua Island Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 15
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 Island Resort & Spa Vanuatu/Luganville

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