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“truly a hidden gem”

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Oyster Island Resort
Certificate of Excellence
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
50 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“truly a hidden gem”
Reviewed November 8, 2010

My husband and I have just returned from spending 5 nights at Oyster Island and cannot praise it, or the staff, enough.

As stated in other reviews, access to the island is via a tin boat named “Better Boat”, which does have a slight leak and requires bucketing out, but this just added to the whole experience. At no time did we ever feel that the boat was a safety issue. After the very short boat ride to the island, we were welcomed with a tropical drink and our bags were taken to our room.

We stayed in a Bamboo Bungalow which was spacious and airy. The room contained a small bar fridge for us to use, and bathroom cupboard was stocked up with mosquito coils (which we only had to use on 2 occasions). The hot water worked well (compared to our previous stay in Port Villa 3 years ago – where the hot water was very sporadic), and the lighting provided was good enough to enable reading at night. As with all the bungalows, the view from our room was over water, and hearing the water lap at the edge of the bungalow was extremely relaxing.

Breakfast each day consisted of delicious freshly baked bread with jam/peanut butter/butter, along with a plate of fresh fruit and freshly brewed tea/coffee. Whilst this may not be the normal continental breakfast that most of us have become used to, it was extremely tasty and very filling and was made that much better when consumed watching turtles swimming in the water.

I have to compliment the chef at Oyster Island as he truly did an amazing job with meals. Not only did the food taste fantastic, but the way it was presented was comparable to some of the finer restaurants in Brisbane. My favourite meal was definitely the coconut prawns, followed by the flourless chocolate cake. Both the lunch and dinner menu had a variety of meals, and was not focused on steak as commented in a previous review. Having said that, beef production is one of Vanuatu’s major industry, so it is not surprising that steak is on almost every menu where ever you visit.

We met Grant (owner) and Greg (manager) the day after we arrived. Greg was extremely knowledgeable and helpful, and arranged any activity we wished to do – ie horse riding, hiring a jeep, the Riri River Blue Hole tour. Not only did he arrange activities on the main land, but he also took us snorkelling around Oyster Island and stepped me through a try dive, which resulted in an amazing first time dive. Both the coral and fish seen either snorkelling or diving, are extremely colourful and in my opinion, outshone the area of the Great Barrier Reef where reputable snorkel/dive tours are taken.

As mentioned in another review – don’t forget your reef shoes! We basically wore ours the whole time whilst in Santo as you don’t know when you might just stumble across a lovely bit of water to swim/snorkel in.

Blue Hole - We did both the Riri River Blue hole tour and also kayaked by ourselves to the Matevulu Blue hole (it takes about 45 minutes paddle to get to the Matevulu Blue hole). Both holes were amazing, however our favourite was definitely the Riri River as the blue there was more stunning.

Lope Lope Adventure Lodge – This lodge is a 5 – 10 minute drive from Oyster Island, and Greg arranged for us to go horse riding there. Megan personally collected us and dropped us back to Oyster Island after the horse ride. Being an avid horse lover & rider, I was most impressed with the care taken of these horses. They are in excellent condition and you are matched to a horse according to your level of experience. Lope Lope has a range of activities available, and they are currently still in the process of building accommodation for guests. Having said that, they do have a functioning bar and restaurant which has a spectacular view across the sea.

Although we only spent 5 nights at Oyster Island, it felt a lot longer as it was so peaceful there. We were sad to leave there, but left feeling we had made some great friends. We would definitely recommend Oyster Island to anyone visiting Santo and have it on our list to return to.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank jenny_traveller76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (116)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed November 1, 2010

Can't praise this place enough. It is very laid back, and you do just have to go with the flow, but everything comes together beautifully. Rooms are clean and well-appointed (upgrade to a room with an open-air bathroom) the restaurant turns out great meals and delicious fresh-baked bread every day, and the team there are always ready to pitch in to make your stay amazing. The focus is always on what you want.

And you'll be amazed at what they can do. We'll never forget it, because Oyster Island Resort organised our wedding, and it was perfect. We had the most low-stress, low-fuss wedding imaginable, but with everything we wanted covered - go diving in the morning, then have a quick shower and into a frock for a wedding on the beach, with some photos and a cake. Thanks guys.

Very pleased to have our special day at such a special place. And for it all to be made so easy for us. Staying here is like staying with mates. If your mates lived on a paradise island....

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank DiveObsessed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level Contributor
29 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed October 18, 2010

We stayed for 2 nights at Oyster island having stayed at Aore island immediately before and on a previous trip. The resort is accessed by a hitting a gas can on the mainland which summons the boatman in his dinghy. The dinghy leaks badly and your feet get wet so shoes must be removed if worn. We booked a deluxe bamboo bungalow for the adults and a basic frangipani room for the teens. The ratings take into account both rooms. The deluxe room was pretty good and good value. The bathroom is open to the weather which is interesting and has direct outside acces to the water although the area immediately in front of the bungalows is mangrove you can swim there if you wish. A few littles things-only one bedside table and no reading lamps although I understand this is being addressed. Also strangely the bar fridge has no drinks in it unless you ask for them from the bar which was a considerable distance from our room- I can only assume that there is a security reason for this absence as the temptation of the minibar is usually a bit of a money spinner! The kids room was set up with twin beds for them and it was a tight fit but at half the price of the deluxe room you can not expect too much. Unless you are on a tight budget its probably worth upgrading to a better room (at least for the adults) as these are very basic and small. We had a problem in that there was no working light in the bathroom in the kids room and this was not resolved while we were there.
Generally the atmosphere is very casual and laid back. While this reflects in slow service, (even in island time) it also means fairly low prices compared to other places around Santo. The staff are not as on the ball as compared to Aore, especially when management is not there, such as at breakfast. They obviously need training and more supervision but I think the managers are aware of this. The place is very popular with yachties and they frequent the bar/restaurant for the free wireless internet. The restaurant menu is pretty limited and you might get bored with the offering after a few days, especially if you dont eat steak. The steak eaters however said they were among the best steaks they had and for once not overdone (common in Vanuatu). The inclusive breakfast is only toast, coffee and a small plate of fresh fruit. The bread is good but it would be nice to see juice and maybe some variety.

The island itself has some beaches on the other side which you can walk to and there are picnic tables set up so you can take lunch. The map provided is of limited value but the path is reasonably well marked out. Thre is no one else on the island other than the resort (and a few cows). They have kayaks for hire and the divemaster and manager are very helpful and friendly with suggested activities.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Rinnia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed October 8, 2010

We were amazed at how unspoit this corner of the world is. Oyster island is beautiful with 7 beaches to choose from. There is quite a bit to do - kayaking to a blue hole, floating down a river, visiting a custom village. Altenatively you could just snooze in your hammock while the lagoon laps at your feet. Snorkelling was great and almost no nasties anywhere - no sharks, jellyfish, crocs, poisonous spiders or snakes; even no mosquitos!
The staff are friendly and helpful. Service can be a bit slow sometimes but that means tha the food is cooked to order and is very fresh - a bit more variety on the menu for lunch would be nice.
The "resort" is very laidback - with a sense of being on vanuatu time and as long as you are prepared to go with the flow you will be happy. You are a long way from anywhere and therefore expectations need to be tempered accordingly.
We had some minor grumbles such as being woken at five in the morning by the owner's enthusiastic puppy who came to say hallo. There was also an issue about a mattress which was changed over with no consultation and replaced with one that didn't fit the bed. However, this was sorted out by the manager.
The children (9 & 11) had a marvelous time - it is a very safe place and they were able to explore by themselves and be independent. They were very unimpressed by the flash 5 star resort we stayed in overnight on our return to Port Vila, much prefering the adventures we had experienced during our time on Oyster Island

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank mastersfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed September 27, 2010

I just returned home from Oyster Island and absolutely loved it. I travelled with my Husband and two Boys. We stayed in a Deluxe Bamboo Bungalow which was quite roomy and had plenty of space for our Queen bed and a set of bunks for the boys.
We stayed for 7 nights and found that this wasnt long enough to explore all the things that Oyster has to offer.

We arrived around 7pm in the dark, so we were in suspence until morning what it all looked like. But on arrival we were given a fruit smoothy that was delicious, once the paperwork was underway, a quick trip down a darkend path to our Bungalow, hearing the water underneath was welcoming and sounded relaxing. After a quick unpack we headed straight to the restaurant for dinner, we arrived on a very busy night and in the middle of dinner, but that did not stop the terrific welcome we felt, after and hour there we already felt relaxed.

Greg was amazing, he answered all our questions and it was never a bother to organise anything we wanted to do. Grant (manager) was away, but Greg had it all under control. The rest of the staff was amazing too, Winnie was always friendly and very helpful, Nixon was the best waiter we have ever had, the boys loved him !!! Better and Casper were always on the ball when we needed to cross the bay in the boat. It was also a real bonus to have met Colin & Maryanne too, lovely people.

The walk around the island was very well marked, I had read on here that it was hard to follow, but we found our way around no problems, maybe coming from the country helped us some !!! The swimming hole was great, and the snorkeling was amazing, on one side there is this calm water and then a short walk accross the island and your on the ocean side, with waves and great coral.

The kyak to the Matevulu Blue hole is fabulous, it takes about 45 mins to paddle there, the blue colour of the water is out of this world, although I would recommend that you try and get there between 10 & 12pm, we went twice, first time around 3pm, 2nd time 11am, the colour difference is amazing, when the sun is directly above it makes the colour so much more vibrant. We also went to the Riri River Blue hole by dugout canoe, this was even better, the water leading up to it is so clear, Ive never seen water like that before in a river. This can be organised by Oyster Is. for you much cheaper than a tour company.

We organised a driver to take us to Port Olry, Lonnoc & Champagne Beach, about 6 hrs we were gone, cost about $40 AU each adult, kids half price. This way you not stuck to a tour schedule, but moved on as you pleased. We thought it was amusing that the driver drove into Lonnoc first and said "we order lunch here now and come back when its ready" Island time is a wonderful thing. So we did as he suggested then went onto Champagne Beach for a few hours, I could have spent all day there, it was the most amazing beach and water and we had it to ourselves. We then went back to Lonnoc Beach and lunch was ready as promised.

We also did a World War II history tour with Luke from Paradise Tours, which was amazing, learnt alot of history and he is a great tour driver, very knowledgeable....

Snorkeling Million Dollar Point was a highlight for us, especially my husband, we couldnt beleive all the jeeps, trucks, dozers that were under the water, left to rot.

A trip into Luganville takes about 20mins on the new sealed road, and costs about 1500vat one way for a taxi.

Sitting on the balcony of your bungalow is a perfect way to end the day watching the sun set with a Tusker in your hand. Its then time for happy hour at the bar and a chat with everyone on what they have done for the day.

The food was fantastic, very high quality, even the kids loved all the meals, and the flexibility with the menu for the kids was great, although they ate the same main meals as us most nights. Some people complained about the time taken to get their meals but we were happy chilling out.

Our Bungalow had an open roof shower, I was made aware that not all the Bungalows have these, so if your after one just ask, im sure they will accomodate you, nothing seams to be any trouble. Finding the plane wreck was a little hard, but if you have trouble just ask.

Reef shoes are a must, mozzies never bothered us, and never found any sand flies either. The Bungalows are supplied with candles and mozzie coils, and a lot of Gheko's, but they are harmless !! Breaky is simple, fruit, bread, tea & coffee, but you can order some beautiful cooked breakys. All in all the restaurant was great, no set times for meals.

I would highly recommend this resort to anyone, we cannot wait to go back are have even convinced some friends to join us next time. The kids were always amused, with Kyaking, volleyball, swimming, snorkeling, collecting hermit crabs & coconuts, fishing, all the things kids love to do. It would also be a perfect place for a romantic getaway for 2.

Thanks to everyone at Oyster Island for making our holiday relaxing and truley wonderful.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank countingdownSydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Australia
Level Contributor
42 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed September 24, 2010

We stayed at the resort in Aug 10. It was a stunning location with fabulous food and lovely staff. The kayaking to the blue hole is a definite must. The frangipani bungalow was gorgeous, with fantastic water views. The free wi-fi internet was also a bonus.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank philnsonja
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adelaide
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed September 16, 2010

The accommodation is separate bures, all facing onto the water. They are well spaced so you get plenty of privacy. You can relax on your own balcony, or spend time in the bar/restaurant area where there is free wifi. The management staff were very welcoming and helped us plan our activities. We did some snorkelling straight off the beach on the other side of the island and thought it was pretty reasonable for being so close to shore. The food was great, particularly the local beef. Would definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank PacificWanderers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Oyster Island Resort

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Oyster Island Resort 3*
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 
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Also Known As:
Oyster Island Hotel Luganville
Oyster Island Resort Vanuatu/Luganville

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