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Oyster Island Resort
Reviewed September 13, 2013

We stayed in a frangipani unit for 4 nights. This is a superb little resort to get away to, with friendly staff who always want to help. The food was good, and the room was comfortable. The snorkelling around the island was unforgettable - and there are numerous activities the resort can arrange for you. I'd very happily go back here.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Dg2061
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 12, 2013

We stayed 5 nights at Oyster Island Resort in August and found it to be absolutely delightful. This is a small resort about a half hour’s drive from Luganville airport and set on its own small island amid beautifully maintained gardens. A little private ferry connects you to the mainland in minutes. We had a very comfortable deluxe bungalow with an open-air bathroom and a big balcony that extended over the water. When the tide is in it feels like you are on a boat. There’s nothing like the lapping of water to encourage a good night’s sleep! We were in Bungalow 8 and found the bed to be firm but perfectly comfortable. We certainly had no trouble sleeping. The room was well appointed including decent lighting for reading and a fridge and tea making facilities. When we ran out of something we just asked for it to be replaced and it was, cheerfully and quickly. We had two upright chairs and a hammock on the balcony - a lounge would have been a nice addition. Of course we had a few mosquitos and a resident gecko – it’s the tropics after-all. The mosquito coils provided by the resort were very effective but it’s a good idea to carry some insect repellent in the tropics. The resort has a lovely restaurant and bar with an extensive menu and some quite decent wines. We mostly found the meals to be very good but on one or two occasions we think maybe the head chef was having a day off and things went a little awry. We mainly pottered around the island, plenty of walking trails and little beaches to explore (mainly coral underfoot though so bring beach shoes). And we also enjoyed some interesting excursions to other parts of Espiritu Santo, organized seamlessly by the staff. It must be said that it is the staff that make this place. They were all very friendly and attentive to our needs from the moment we arrived. Nothing was ever too much trouble. All the staff deserve high praise for the great job they are doing, but we’d like to give Aaron and Christina a special mention. We found Oyster Island to be a beautiful, comfortable but low-key resort, a great place to unwind and enjoy the charm and hospitality of Vanuatu and its people.

Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
1  Thank Jayne R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 8, 2013

We had 10 days on Oyster Island in July 2013. It was fabulous. There was lots to do if you wanted to (the snorkelling was fab) and also lots of space and time \to do nothing but relax..
The staff we all really helpful and interested . Nothing was too much of a problem.
Would recommend highly.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Megan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 7, 2013

Review of Oyster Island Resort, Espírito Santo, Vanuatu

My husband and I took a flight from Auckland to Port Vila (3hrs) and then an internal flight (50 mins) to Santo.
Upon arriving at Santo we were met by the sound of music, happy faces and our minibus driver and driven to the ramp (about 45 mins) where the driver hit the gong alerting the staff on the beautiful island opposite to our arrival.

The pontoon barge took a couple of minutes to arrive and ferry us back to Oyster Island. We were immediately made to feel very welcome, offered a fruit cocktail and introduced to the staff. We were orientated to the island with a map pointing out the attractions: a natural swimming hole, a snorkelling area and another with a sunken WW11 aeroplane. Then we were shown to our buree. There are 11 along the water, the last 6 being their 'deluxe'. We were in no.9 which had a hammock, lounger and two cane chairs on its balcony looking over the water with the sea lapping at it during full tide.
Inside there is a queen sized bed, two bedside tables, a unit to put and hang up your clothes, a small fridge with milk inside, basic tea, coffee & sugar and kettle. The bathroom has a toilet, sink and shower with the shower open to the sky.

We stayed 10 nights at Oyster, and overall had a fantastic time. The staff are lovely, the location superb! The meals are mostly very good; there were a couple that weren't fantastic but we have learnt that you don't go to the islands for the food and comparatively this was superior to most. We had read that the prices are NZ equivalent (although not always in standard) so this wasn't a shock to us. You could have the meals delivered to your room at no extra cost too which we thought was good on the odd occasion when the hammock was too good to leave! Breakfast was included and consisted of home made fresh bread to toast, weetbix or muesli, a mixed fruit salad and luke warm coffee. You could order a better coffee for 300 vt. It was basic but adequate and if you wanted a cooked breakfast it was available (obviously at your expense).
On our anniversary we were served a complimentary meal, the staff having set up a table right by the water with candles & burners all around. it made our day very special.

The room was more than adequate however at $200+ a night we think the furniture could do with upgrading. The hammock was coming away at the seams, the lounger needed a thicker swab and the mattress should be of better comfort. Also, perhaps the tea/coffee facilities could be upgraded and replaced when they ran out.

It is also a shame that the use of kayaks to paddle around the island or visit the blue hole close by (amazing!) are charged for. We could understand that policy for day visitors but for guests?!

Do not be put off though: these are minor issues and we had a great stay.
As mentioned the blue hole 45 mins by kayak is not to be missed, the opportunity of finding your own private beach on the island, wandering past the cows grazing on your way to a snorkelling spot, lazing in the hammock listening to the tide, watching the fish leap in and out of the water is unforgettable.

We took two day trips during our stay, utilising a taxi driver (with a van) we had meet in town: Andrew from. He gave us excellent discounts from what was advertised elsewhere and was an interesting and friendly host.

The Millennium Cave:
Wow!! What an experience! An hours jungle walk followed by a half hour slipping and sliding our way through the pitch black cave up to our waist in water with small hand torches to shine on the swallows and bats, followed be some rock hopping, followed by canyoning, floating through water on blow up rings and then a climb out via ropes and ladders! Oh, and then an hours walk out through the jungle :-)
The guides were one to one and although there was a slight language barrier there was good communication which at times was essential! I am quite sure I could not have done it without their assistance. They were always conscientious as to your safety, and even in their bare feet able to walk backwards holding your hand, pointing out where to place your foot/hand etc Not sure I would go so far as to call it dangerous but it certainly wouldn't get past health and safety at home!
It was an exhilarating day and muscles were called into use that hadn't been in a while meaning a very quiet hammock day the following day.

Champagne Beach
Beautiful. Sand like talcompowder. Transparent blue water. A sunny day and a Turtle!!
We had taken snorkelling gear and were so glad we did. Around the edges there are some great corals and sealife: blue starfish and many other fish species but right in the centre there it was: a sea turtle, graceful and spectacular. We must have followed it for 15 mins before it decided to return to the deeper waters.
A truly tranquil spot.


Would we recommend Oyster Island? In a heartbeat. Yes it has a few comfort factors that in our opinion need to be addressed but overall a wonderful relaxing holiday in a wondrous spot with friendly and helpful staff.

Room Tip: We enjoyed the privacy of room 9. We tried for room 11 but it was booked already, possibly the most...
  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank bynny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2013

My husband and I have just returned from a week in this fabulous location.Our over the water room (Bungalow 7) complete with hammock was exactly as I expected it to be, adequate and serviced daily by happy housegirls. Lovely piping hot showers with high pressure. We had the odd Gekko come to visit but given the territory, that was to be expected and actually part of the charm. Continental breakfast was fine and there is an option for cooked breakfast at reasonable charge. Evening meals were delicious with quite an extensive menu, probably the best beef steak we have had, pizza's were huge (medium did both of us), the Island Night was great with a very lively local band, fabulous buffet (huge compliments to the Chef) and dancing on the deck. We hired a kayak for a day and took a trip to the Blue Hole (a must) and kayaked around the island. I believed the kayaks were complimentary for guests but on checking the website I was wrong (perhaps they should be)? The beach sunbeds are tired and uncomfortable however on the day I spent lounging there I used two lounger cushions as I had the beach to myself! Beach towels are provided. The resort is beautiful with immaculately kept gardens, is also tranquil and peaceful with lovely walks through bush to the pristine beaches around the island. Snorkelling is a must here and we swam and snorkelled in the warm waters every day. The staff are absolutely lovely happy people, big shout out to Aaron and Christina, nothing is too much trouble for any of them, they all want you to have a wonderful holiday on their little piece of paradise which is exactly what we did for a week, thank you Oyster Island Guys!

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Sue D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2013

A totally relaxing oasis and wonderful location. Small and personal. Rooms were all clean and well looked after but basic.

Activities are expensive, and actually we found the food expensive. It would be great if they offered a half board option so you weren't worrying about the cost of dinner. Rates include a buffet breakfast but it is so super basic - weetabix, porridge oats and white toast. To have hot food was quite a bit more expensive.

Staff all really lovely and smiley, however often get the orders wrong and take forever to get the order out there (even a glass of wine!).

Kids were very happy playing around the little island and hanging out with the staff. Felt very safe.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Annie L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 8, 2013

In fairness and justice to the management of this resort, I wrote to them personally and asked for an explanation as to the issues we experienced there. I gave them an adequate time for response, but nothing has come back (with the exception of an acknowledgement of my email) so given that courtesy and with the lack of response, I am posting this review today,

Strangely, in their acknowledgement of my response, the Manager mentioned that the complaints were 'new to them'. I am disappointed to read that the complaints I will list have indeed been mentioned by other guests. So indeed it would seem, nothing has been done to remedy anything.

My expectations of accommodation are mostly equal to several factors: remoteness, $$$ paid and a few other integral facets of travel. Let me make it very clear: I have been to VERY remote places than this and they were nothing short of superb and my exceptions in all cases were exceeded in the most remarkable ways....though Oyster is what I call 'slightly remote' it matched none of my expectations.

This is the email to management in it's entirety:

" We are sorry we missed you during our 10 day stay on Oyster Island. We hope that your holiday was better than our own.

We can hardly express to you our extreme disappointment with our stay there. In the 20 years of travel we have undertaken all over the world, this experience has been one of the very worst.

Before we continue,you do have some star staff on the island. These 3 people made our stay tolerable with their care, their concern and their absolute friendliness! They are to be 100% commended and we are proud to have made their acquaintance. They are the gems of your resort! Namely: Richard, Aaron and the lovely bubbly Christina.

However, this cannot be said for your On Site Manager, Gaspar. Of the raft of issues we have, having caught Gaspar 'skimming' the bills is totally intolerable.If you are unaware of what 'skimming' is, it concerns the practice of hyper-inflating the prices of minor items on bills for food and drinks etc. For example: a milkshake is say 400vt. On the bill Gaspar changed it to 1,000vt (there were 2 milkshakes changes from 400 to 1000). He was very flustered and blamed another for it even though its in his handwriting! If this happened to us, then how many times has it happened previously?? How many people actually minutely check their bills and remember prices? We noticed another couple trying to figure out that there was something wrong with their bill. We think that Gaspar's reaction to the 'errors' was very strange indeed. Our question would therefore be 'where does all this extra money go?'. 

Of course, you may not know that this is happening. We would not dare to think that you would condone this corrupt behaviour.

The other issues as follows:

1. Gaspars 'tour toutting' at breakfast was intolerable even after telling him that we are there to relax and unwind from a tough work year and we have already extensively toured Santo with previous trips. All we wanted to do is chill out, snorkel and then just be 'there'. After 5 days he got the hint. 

2. After a long day of travel, you do not need to have to guests jump into the water and push that 'ferry' off the landing at 7.30 pm at night! Your outboard motor clearly needs to be upgraded from 15 hp to at least 25hp to give it enough hp to get it maneuverable  My travel partner was the only other man on board and he jumped in to push it off. Great.

3.Your cabins do not look anything like what is on your website. All we had to sit on were 2 plastic chairs and 2 filthy little stripped cushions. Were is the deck lounge with white CLEAN cushions as is shown in the photo???

4. All islands are subject to trash being washed up on their shores. Its just that people will use the ocean as a private rubbish tip and that is beyond your control. However, what IS under your control is that as a suggestion that some of the garden staff that were sitting around and chatting most of the day, could be coerced into removing what does come in with the tides. We endured first the stench and the sight of a disposable diaper in front of our cabin and then empty containers...both of these objects turned up on the 2 day of our stay and we wondered how long they'd stay before being removed. They never were. (Refer to attached Photos)

3. Hot water. One would have to think that the gas cylinder would be checked before a 10 day stay commenced. We had no hot water for the first 2 days. On the evening of the 2 day, the a full cylinder was attached to our cabin.

4. Good lord! You'd think you could do better than a rusty tin of  moisture affected coffee granules, 3 tea bags, ant infested sugar and the tiny sipping carton of milk (that was never replaced once used) and this is your 'tea and coffee facilities' (Photo attached). We've never seen ANYTHING like it! It was hilarious in its blatant meanness. Other (more remote islands than this ie in the Solomon's) place glass containers of coffee, sugar and powdered milk in the fridge so they do not spoil, the cleaner therefore has a 'visual' for any refill etc. Its just another facet of the cheapness of this resort. 

5. Happy hour. Its only 'happy' if you drink beer. 500 vt down to 400vt for a Tusker. Incredibly the 'happy hour' is taken literally. We heard a barman (whose name we did not catch) tell a guess he was 2 minutes late!

6. No water for showers, toilet etc on the morning of our 4th day...the water came on again at 7.30am. Too bad if you wanted to go! LOL

7. Orders for meals: from time to time they just never arrive. After paying the exorbitant prices (ie:10 AUSD for french fries, 20 AUSD + for pasta) you have to expect that at least the meals will arrive. When we complained, the staff said it was forgotten. We'd waited an hour and then just gave up and walked off without that part of our meal. This happened not once but twice. Incredible.

8. Thursday buffet dining is remarkable. Not only for the extortionist price of 2,400 vt (nearly 30 AUSD) but one would think that a better selection than salad, over-cooked steak pieces and sausages, mince meat on top of mashed potato would be offered. Nope, no luck there.

9. Pillows need replacing. 2 of the pillows in cabin 10 are falling to pieces.

And the list goes on and on.

Overall there is a feeling that your resort is desperate need of overhauling, maintenance and repair. There is also a need for some truth in advertising your resort as your pictures of the resort are strategic part of your advertising.

Quite a few of your guests were totally amazed at they 4.5 stars you have achieved on Trip Advisor which is probably aligned to Gaspar's touting for reviews which also occurred.

What was clearly noticeable was that guests that purchased a lot of tours were treated quite differently to those that did not. Even to the fact of asking them if their hot water was ok! Their meals ALWAYS arrived before ours even though we and others had ordered 30 mins beforehand!

Your island is beautiful in places. But a dire warning to you should be that your guests come perilously close to accidents when diving for the Plane Wreck directly in the path of boats speeding through the channel. If you are going to advertise to your guests the delights of your island, then their safety in experiencing those delights are partially under your management.

This email is for your consideration and action. In emailing you before publishing this review gives you an ideal opportunity of reviewing the issues and responding accordingly. Again in fairness, some of the issues you may not know about. But in fairness to us, your guests, some of these issues are clearly under your strict control whether or not you are there in person. The buck stops with you".

That is the end of my email to management.

There are many more issues as well including rats in the roof at night, they cut down the trees around our cabin and the cabin was then infested with large yellow wasps which took a can of large fly spray to get rid off....on and on and on...

I would like to kindly suggest that some of the previous reviews are slightly skewed towards (if you read the tone) trying not to complain but deeply dissatisfied anyway.

Besides the bill skimming, the worst of it for us was touting for a good review. Money comes hard these days and people deserve honesty in their travel experience.

Honestly, do think before you go to this resort. There are other WONDERFUL places in Espiritu Santo to chose from....I know, I've been to them! :-)

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank SharonJB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OysterIsland, Owner at Oyster Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded August 22, 2013

We are disappointed that you did not have a great time at Oyster Island and we apologise for that. As with every review, we will use your comments to continually improve our resort. We have investigated your criticism of our local duty manager and as a result there is no basis to those allegations, we support all our staff 150%. Oyster Island tries very hard to make every guests time at oyster a great experience, we do not always get it right but believe me, we try.

Colin Cashmore
Owner Oyster Island

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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 Oyster Island Resort

Address: PO Box 183, Luganville, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu
Location: Vanuatu > Espiritu Santo > Luganville
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 9 Specialty Lodging in Luganville
Price Range: $83 - $155 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Oyster Island Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set on a private 25 hectare island just 2 minutes crossing from the mainland. Oyster Island Resort resides within a Marine Reserve, abundant in marine and wild life. Sandy beaches, tropical rainforest, coral reefs and war plane wrecks make for fantastic snorkelling. Bungalows line the waters edge, each with private decks or patio's, enjoying stunning views out over the calm lagoon waters. Family Vila allow room for parents and children to enjoy the large grounds and gardens and are set off the water for safety. Skilled Chefs serve the very best of local and western cuisine from our waterfront restaurant. Only 20 minutes from the airport and township. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Oyster Island Hotel Luganville
Oyster Island Resort Vanuatu/Luganville

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