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“Going for twice as long next time”

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Ratua Private Island
Ranked #2 of 10 Hotels in Luganville
Certificate of Excellence
Brisbane, Australia
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Going for twice as long next time”
Reviewed April 3, 2013

My husband and I took our three kids (11, 9 and 6) to Ratua in December 2012. We knew little about the resort or Vanuatu, but we like snorkelling, lazing on beaches and eating nice food prepared by someone else. Our daughter is nuts about horses. We're from Brisbane so the ease of getting to Santo was also a big plus. The fact that there is no air conditioning, swimming pool or kids' club was part of the appeal. When the kids were small we stayed in some great Fiji resorts (including the famous Jean-Michel Costeau resort) But now the kids can swim and read, we prefer a more low-key holiday and Ratua was perfect. My husband spent three years on the north coast of PNG and never expected to experience better snorkelling but says Ratua was better. If we saw one turtle we saw 100. The kids loved having the run of the island and we always felt they were safe - such freedom for them to take themselves to breakfast and meet us on the beach. The rustic nature of the walkways and villas mighn't suit everyone, but we loved them. It was hot at night, but it's the tropics - we were happily tired, well fed and had no trouble sleeping. On the advice of another guest we took a day trip to Champagne Beach and had a brilliant time. Our kids spent hours playing with local kids and the picnic lunch packed by the people at Ratua was delicious. We spent the one rainy afternoon we had in the little cinema watching 'Ratatouille'. The staff bought Jim and I gin and tonics and the kids had lemonade and popcorn. I can't think of a better way to spend a rainy afternoon! As some of the commenters below have said, Ratua isn't for everyone - and we're glad! We'd love to keep it as our family secret getaway. Our 5 day holiday last year wasn't enough - we're booked for 10 days at the end of the year!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank KateH386
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandra E, General Manager at Ratua Private Island, responded to this review, April 6, 2013
Dear Kate,

Thank you so much for your nice feedback, and for taking the time to share your impressions about Ratua. The direct link Brisbane / Santo is indeed a huge "plus", and we are glad it made things easier for you.

We are very happy that you enjoyed Ratua's concept and philosophy, and also that the reefs and snorkeling spots have no secrets for you...

The Champagne Beach excursion is a very good one, and a pic-nic on the beach is always a very nice experience! Did you seize the opportunity to visit Port-Olry (very nice fisherman village, with an incredible beach and view over the neighbouring islands, North of Champagne Beach) as well?

We are very glad to welcome you, your husband and your kids again end of the year, for then days this time!

See you then!


Kind regards,

Sandra Esposito & your Ratua Team.
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316 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (87)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Sydney, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
52 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed April 1, 2013

Service - great attentive service from most staff. We were greeted by the manager, who gave us a tour of the resort and then took us to our room. However, we were surprised by the low level of knowledge about food and beverages from the waitresses. It took a long time for them to get the answers to simple questions (e.g. do you have tomato sauce?).

Value - we got a good deal for low season but are aware that it is usually much more expensive.

Sleep quality - comfortable beds, quiet rooms.

Cleanliness - good.

Location - an hour's boat ride from main island of Espiritu Santo. Very secluded and private island so it is perfect for romantic getaways. A bit too secluded for a group of young people as there's nothing nearby to explore.

Rooms - unique concept. Very "earthy" feel with strange decor (a lot of cow hide). The villas had beautiful views of your very own private beach.

Food and beverages - the only place to eat is at the resort's restaurant. For dinner that night, we could order from the 'snack menu' or from their island buffet. Neither options were good. The prices are on par with other restaurants on Espiritu Santo, however, the quality and portion of the meals were poor. We had to wait 1 hour for burger and chips, which were small and had minimal flavour. The complimentary breakfast was average - do not order coffee, it is not good.

Entertainment - adequate daytime/before dinner activities. Minimal dinner/night activities - there is a games room with chess and a slanted pool table. No TV.

Overall impression - a private getaway that's perfect for those who want ultimate relaxation, lazing by the beach, sipping cocktails at sunset etc... Ideal for couples but for a group of friends, there may not be enough entertainment and you may feel quite isolated. Beware that there are a lot of mosquitoes and although this is unavoidable on Espiritu Santo itself, the mosquitoes left much bigger marks - use tropical strength insect repellant.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank SydSider11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandra E, General Manager at Ratua Private Island, responded to this review, April 15, 2013
Dear guests,

First of all, thanks a lot for sharing your impressions with us. We are happy to know that you enjoyed the friendliness of most of the staff, the comfort and cleanliness of the rooms and their quiet atmosphere.

Concerning the service of the restaurant: we will for sure pass the message to the waitresses, as improving the quality of the service is always an essential concern to us. We indeed have had a few young waitresses on-training in March: we thank you for your understanding and for your patience, and apologize for the prejudice it might have caused you. We already started a few additional training for some of them, as we really want to make sure that this point improves.

Concerning the prices, we would like to rectify: you have indeed had a very exceptional and last minute price (a Master Villa for the price of a Single Villa). Our regular "good deal" is available from the 10th of January to the 20th of December (that is to say 344 days a year), and our high-season price (Christmas period) beeing indeed slightly higher (+3%). Please also keep in mind that we are a 100% non-profit, and that all of our benefits go to the Ratua Foundation.

To rectify what you wrote, Ratua is only 35 minutes far from Luganville. Many customers ask us to have a transfer to Luganville once during their stay, just to go out or to see something different, and we always organize it with great pleasure. Yyou should have asked us, we would have been glad to organize it for you. Your opinion matters to us, and it is our job to make you feel good: have we known you felt secluded, we would for sure have offered you options to go out. We are welcoming many groups / or young people here, and the majority of them seems more than happy with their stay: it just depends on the expectations you are having towards your vacations, and also on the information you got before coming here: the calm atmosphere is indeed a key of our concept, and we never pretended to offer our guest a crazy nightlife.

You might also have missed a couple of details about the activities when you say that there is nothing nearby to explore here: as you say it, we have a games rooms with a chess board, a pool table, board games and we also have a small boutique-cinema. There are also many free-access canoes and stand up paddle boards if you want to explore the nearby islands of the beautiful waters around Ratua. You also had free access to our snorkeling equipment if you wanted to discover the beautiful reefs around the place. In addition to that, we would have been very glad to organize one of our numerous activities for you, nearby Ratua or in Santo. As an example of what we could have scheduled for you: a Malo Blue Hole adventure, the Aoré crosscountry, a fishing game, the discover of the Matevulu Blue Hole, the Champagne Beach tour or the visit of Port Olry. For the most sporty, we also propose more "physical activities", such as the Millenium Cave Tour, fantastic dives at Million Dollar Point or at the famous SS President Coolidge wreck, etc. We are very surprised you did not find any interest in any of these activities. Nevertheless, a one-night stay might be a little short to judge the activities offered. Besides, having no TV is part of the whole concept, as eco-lodges avoid high-consumption equipments. It is definitely part of our identity.

Concerning the food, there is indeed only one restaurant on the Island. Please be ensured that we always choose the best quality products: most of them are organic and locally produced. Concerning the quantities, you should have been more generous with yourself with the traditional island buffet. Nevertheless, we will pass the message to our kitchen team concerning the snacks portions (however, thank you to keep in mind that snacks are, as you might understand it thanks to their name, only light meals). Nevertheless, we take good note of what you are saying regarding the coffee and will do our very best to improve on this point.

Concerning the mosquitoes, please be assured that we are doing our very best to fight them: each bed is equipped with a mosquito net, we provide insect repellent in each villa, and we have a very strong mosquito treatment twice a week in each villa...

We thank you for sharing your feedback with us.

Kind regards,

Sandra Esposito and your Ratua Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
52 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed March 17, 2013

The people were lovely, the food was very good (apart from the beef,organic but tough, & shame about the flies but this is the tropics!), the rooms were unusual (ill-fitting old timbers, very dark, but quaint), no service or coffee equipment in the rooms was frustrating, room housekeeping was haphazard, the weather was hot & humid with no relief anywhere as no aircon on the island, but on the whole it was a relaxing & enjoyable visit. The staff there were exceptionally helpful & friendly.

Room Tip: Near to the yacht club, as otherwise there are long walks to eat or drink, & the paths are an a...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank john a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandra E, General Manager at Ratua Private Island, responded to this review, April 5, 2013
Dear John & Benjamin,

Thank you for your feedback and for sharing your impressions about your stay in Ratua with us. We are glad that you enjoyed the people, the food and the quiet atmosphere here.

We apologize concerning the lack of coffee/tea equipment in the rooms, but we indeed have very strict requirements for ecological purposes, especially on very energy-consuming equipments such as electric kettles or air-conditioning systems. Our philosophy is to preserve our precious environment as far as possible, and as an eco-lodge we cannot deny this very strong commitment to the environment, this is part of our identity.

Nevertheless, your remark helped us, and since that, we have set up a complimentary free-access station, where you will be able to find tea, coffee, and hot chocolate 24/7 at the Yacht Club.

Concerning the housekeeping which you did not find satisfying, we passed the message to them and thank you sincerely for the feedback: that is how we will manage to improve ourselves.

Thank you again for staying with us and for your constructive feedback,


Warm regards,

Sandra Esposito & your Ratua Team
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bendigo
Level 5 Contributor
74 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed March 14, 2013 via mobile

We stayed here for 3 nights on our honeymoon. This place feels so secluded I almost felt the need to talk to Wilson!! There were 14 people staying on the island at the time and we only ever saw anyone at meal times. The scenery and serenity is absolutely divine and I love the fact that you can either do lots of things (cycling, swimming, kayaking, horse riding, fishing, etc) or nothing, which is pretty much what we did. We sat on the day bed in front of our hut for many hours a day just looking out to sea, it really was the most relaxing experience we've ever had. The food package is great value (for Vanuatu) and the food was lovely. The service was friendly and although we didn't miss having a tv, we were pretty excited that the place had free wifi.
The only thing that bothered me (and its only because I'm a wimp) was how dark everything is at night. You definitely need a torch to walk back to your room after dinner. We stayed in 'pig' which was a 10 minute walk each way (in pitch black darkness) from dinner. They can drive you in a golf buggy though if you want. The turn down service each night is nice, preparing our bed with the mozzie net and mozzie candles and shutting all the windows but it gets really hot and stuffy in the huts and the fan doesn't do much as the mozzie netting is too thick for the air to get through. You could open everything up again to let the air in but i was worried about bugs and boogie men (like i said, im a wimp) so we really didn't sleep well for 3 nights. However despite that, I'd highly recommend the resort, its a once in a lifetime type experience that you won't regret and it was a highlight of our trip.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank addicted2travel78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandra E, General Manager at Ratua Private Island, responded to this review, March 23, 2013
Dear enthusiastic guest,

Thank you for sharing your impressions about your Honeymoon in Ratua... :)

We are really delighted you enjoyed the calm and the serenity of the place and we hope you also enjoyed the amazing beauty of the beach at "Pig"! Doing nothing in Ratua is indeed a very relaxing experience...

We sincerely hope to see you here again someday,

Thank you again for your visit!

Warm regards,


Sandra Esposito & your Ratua Team
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1 review
Reviewed March 7, 2013 via mobile

My partner and I stayed at ratua for 6 nights and it was absolutely amazing. When we arrived we were warmly greeted by the manager and taken to our room (dog). The room was secluded with our own private beach. We loved being able to sleep with the doors open and wake up looking out at the water.
The BBQ lunch everyday was amazing as was the meal at dinner time. The bartender Jon made us feel more than welcome as did all the staff. Could not think of a better location and atmosphere to spend our holiday.

Walking from the yaht club to our room of an evening was beautiful with the lights on the stepping stones leading the way.
We both enjoyed massages in the spa over the water and spending time with one of the massage therapists looking for dugongs and the beautiful fish of the reef.

Planning our next trip back as it was the best holiday we have been.

  • Stayed August 2012
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank BonnieHutch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandra E, General Manager at Ratua Private Island, responded to this review, March 19, 2013
Dear Bonnie,

Thanks a lot for taking some time to share your impressions about your stay here!
We are very glad you enjoyed the calm of our Dog House and that you appreciated your vacations in Ratua and that the concept matched with your expectations.

We will of course pass the message to the staff: they will be very glad to know that they managed to make you feel comfortable...

We hope to see you soon: the dugong will still be here to say hi!


Warm regards,

Sandra Esposito & your Ratua Team
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Brisbane, Australia
2 reviews
Reviewed March 6, 2013

A lovely quiet escape you don't have to share with day trippers and backpackers, so your beach is all yours! Walk straight out from your beach to snorkel in the crystal clear aqua water. This is my kind of 5star, still a little rustic but each villa is individual with every luxury within reason, and without being unrealistic. Food was great too, well worth the meals package.

Room Tip: All villas are private with their own beach except fish village. You have three villas close togethe...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Rebekah H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandra E, General Manager at Ratua Private Island, responded to this review, March 19, 2013
Dear Rebekah,


Thank you very much for sharing your impressions with us!

We are delighted to know that you loved your stay at Ratua, and that your enjoyed the snorkelling spots...


We hope to see you again, someday,


Warm regards,


Sandra E. & your Ratua Team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lugano
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed February 26, 2013

I have worked for this resort, as the pilot of the owner. I got an opportunity to visit the island countless times, i lived in Port Vila but spent most weekends in Ratua.

The work put into this place is incredible and the taste of the owners who designed it is amazing, when you travel a bit around Vanuatu you will notice that most of the places offer the same things, very few think out of the box and try to bring something different.

Ratua is not only different on the Vanuatu market but it`s truly a unique place worldwide. Their concept is so simple that makes it such a different experience, it doesn`t have anything a fancy resort would, but that`s the key of their idea.

Having worked for them you realize how hard it is to run such a place, even if not far from Santo they are still isolated enough to make most tasks challenging, some of the complains and comparisons to other high end resort do not take this in consideration, I don`t think it is overpriced, try to live in Vanuatu and you will soon find out what the cost of life is compared to Fiji for example. Finding qualified and reliable personnel is extremely different in a country like Vanuatu, all the Ni-Vanuatu I worked with did their best considering their background.

Most of the staff always treated my like I was a guest, and I miss all of them!

I got fired by the owners so I have no interest in writing a good comment, but this place is really great, worth a visit if you have extra spare $, and wanna experience something different...if you are on a smaller budget and want to experience something unique visit Epi Guest House, my favorite place in Vanuatu, and I have been everywhere!

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled on business
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank alex h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandra E, General Manager at Ratua Private Island, responded to this review, March 1, 2013
Dear Alex,

Thanks a lot for your nice comment, and for taking a moment to give us your impressions about Ratua.

We are really glad that you enjoyed the concept and the philosophy of our little magical island. The place is indeed very unique, in Vanuatu as well as in the whole world, as we consider space and nature as the ultimate luxury.

We hope to see you here again, someday,

Kind regards,


Sandra Esposito & your Ratua team.
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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

Property: Ratua Private Island
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:
#1 Family Hotel in Luganville
#2 Romantic Hotel in Luganville
#2 On the Beach 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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