The only real dampener was the rain - and well, it was the tail end of the wet season so what else can you expect. Very soothing going to sleep with the sound of rain though.
You can't help but compare places that are 'same same but different', so I apologise a little (but not in total) for my other travel location comparisons.
Firstly, the PEOPLE - beautiful! Warm and often shy smiles, but always welcoming. I felt the locals were much more genuine than my one budget-oriented visit to Fiji, infinitely more friendly than our trip to the Maldives (understandable as a female in a Muslim area), and without any of the financial undercurrent of the Indonesians (and I exclude the Balinese from that grouping). SERVICE is definitely under the island-time heading though, so don't get stressed if you have to ask for your drink twice, and your water to be refilled three times. The housekeepers / maintenance people were working double-time while we were there, in order to keep the wet sand etc out of everything.
The RESORT itself was larger than initially imagined. I'd since learnt from Fiji & the Maldives that postcards are just that, and the reality is always far more rustic and rusty! Which is fine when you know and expect that. So the sands aren't white, nothing is ever as luxe as it is made out to be. There's a bar, a pool, deck chairs, a view, lovely people and a relaxing island-time feel. There's a tiny little souvenir shop, a few games and some leftover holiday books, and of course an assortment of activities to plan (taking place outside of the resort). There was a real sense of calm and quietness whilst we were there. Quite a demographic mix of guests, predominantly Australian as you would expect, from older couples in their 50s ("nearly deads") to young couples in their 20s ("newly weds") as mentioned previously. Whilst there are no children under 15 permitted (yay!) it's obviously not a young ragers destination as a result.
The GARDEN ROOM was delightful - clean and well presented, it was larger than our Bali accommodation and nicer than our Maldives one. I think the mosquito net was more for decoration as it was functionally inadequate. Luckily - especially as I am exceptionally tasty to bitey bugs - there were no mossies. Unlike the Maldives we also had hot water - bonus - and there was better water pressure than Bali. We were in a Garden Faré, but could still hear the surf rolling in. Unlike other reviews we heard no road noise and barking dogs only once, briefly, from our leafy location, but nothing that kept us awake. There's a small bar fridge, and indoor lounge chair, two balcony chairs and table, and a bench/day bed that could get made up into a single bed. Everything worked that was supposed to at least! The fan kept the air moving, and the temperature was just right (even with all the rain), but there was a blanket in case you got a little chilled at 3am. I'm sure the ocean-front fares and the villas towards the village are more luxurious, but we were happy enough where we were. We did have to build a little moat wall to keep out the flooding water due to the incessant rain while we were there.
The SURF report for those surfers hoping for a bonus to their trip. For our brief stay the surf was a welcome surprise with a left and a right 100m straight out the front, with the left a far more consistent break, and head high for our trip, with a fun little wall. Watch out for the pin cushion at the end. Whilst it wont make a stop on world tour, it's well worth the paddle out. There's other breaks to the right of the resort, in front of the local village, for the less experienced surfers, with a mix of lefts and rights. Consider taking an older giveaway board to give to the local kids at the end of your stay.
The DAY SPA is a seriously an overinflated title for Faré 24 with two massage beds squished into a standard room. That said, the one-hour Tropical Massage for 6000vt (~AU$56) was better than the Maldives (especially at US$120)! Nothing like our beloved Thai AU$5 or Balinese AU$8 panel-beatings though, and not as good as home, but worth trying out.
The FOOD was better than I'd thought it would be in many ways - definitely well above our rustic budget Fiji trip (though I'm sure a better resort would have better food naturally), which I expected as a comparison. The à la carte menu provided enough variety (although the local poulet fish is obviously a favourite!) and everything was quite simple but very tasty. The Saturday Seafood Buffet night had plenty of variety but was deemed reasonably 'average' by my aficionado partner. For a short stay (and due to the rain) we were happy to eat in, but for longer stays you'd definitely want to venture out.
PRICES for food and drinks were on a par with Australia - which made it all a bit more expensive than we'd hoped. Dinner entrées averaged 1900vt, and mains were around 2300 - 2900vt. Wine ~ 750; beer 600-700vt; cocktails 1200vt; basic spirits 800vt. In my head I tended to just drop the two end zeros for an instant easy conversion. We exchanged AU$ at the Vanuatu airport for a pretty good exchange of 9000vt for AU$1. Putting everything on the resort tab makes it feel all 'free and easy' but I did get a serious shock at the final tally, especially as we'd skipped two lunches and breakfast was included in our room package. Something to do with the bar tab methinks?!
ACTIVITIES - we were only here for the Easter break, and coupled with the constant deluge and our desire to just chill out, and as my partner's second time here, we didn't take advantage of activities on offer. My partner surfed, we checked the rock pools at low tide, walked to the point past the village, swam in the pool, hung out by the bar, read in the hammocks, got a massage each etc. As certified divers we didn't need to do the intro pool session, but nor did we do any dive trips available. Assisted by the resort management, you can also do half or full-day fishing trips, bush walks, bus trips into Port Vila, and and a host of other ways to occupy your time and explore the island and the culture.
LAGOON - it was sad to see the level of coral damage in the immediate 'lagoon' area (it wasn't what I think of as a lagoon). Inevitable I guess with the frequent resort visitors - but then the locals go fossicking for crabs and octopus to use for bait, and are crunching around every low tide as well. Perhaps management could take on some eco-tourism and create some concrete paths to encourage rock-pool tourist walks to help some chance of coral rejuvenation? There are numerous sea cucumbers, some blue sea-stars, lots of little fish and crabs, sea grass, and even a tiny banded sea snake looking for tidbits in the coral.
LANGUAGE - I was a little sad though, that I had brushed up my rudimentary school French, only to find that English was well spoken and all that was required! Certainly not the usual tourist lament!
LOCAL FAUNA - There are three local cats (not on the menu!). Snowy (as we christened the all-black one) trolled the dinner tables on occasion, looking for handouts. Sooty (the all-white one, as per standard Aussie humour) would quite happily venture into our faré, and onto our laps when we sat outside reading, while the rain pelted down. Don't think he picked us as cat lovers in particular, just taking advantage of friendly humans. The third one, black & white so I'll call him (Michael) Jackson, we never saw but others had him hanging around their farés. If you don't like cats (or are scared about catching something) I'm not sure you'd be impressed.
WET SEASON - we were there in early April, the last month of the designated wet season. I would advise taking one of those string washing lines, easy to dry clothes, an umbrella or raincoat.
OVERALL, the rain did put a dampener on the trip (pun intended) and meant the horse-riding and helicopter trip and a few other activities were not going to happen - but obviously that isn't the resort's fault! Whilst it was a nice getaway, I was glad to come home and dry out (I was running out of clothes!). I felt the prices of the food and drinks were quite high and our final bill for two and three-quarter days was around $750 which shocked me, when you consider we didn't have breakfast costs, nor two lunches, but do throw in a massage each. The end bill isn't itemised per se, so I wonder if we got stung with extras along the way? It was a lovely getaway, and if you want a relaxing no-stress time-out it would be perfect. We wouldn't go back there, mostly from a "been there, done that" perspective and because we usually jam-pack our trips so this was something unusual for us. Would we recommend it? Read the reviews and make your own opinion, I guess. Lovely, nice etc, but worth the price? Hmm...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled amidst swaying palms fringed on it's own private beach, Breakas Beach Resort is an intimate 3.5 Star tropical resort in a 5 star location for adults only welcoming guests over the age of 15 years. Enhanced by individual garden & beachfront Fares (Bungalows), Breakas Beach Resort is the ultimate relaxed "feet in the sand" beach holiday. Slip into a world of tranquility. The Resort features a stunning 22 metre infinity pool which falls into the horizon of the Pacific Ocean. The natural beauty of a private cove on the Pango peninsular provides an unrivalled backdrop in Port Vila. Fares (Bungalows) are scattered along the shoreline and throughout manicured tropical gardens ensuring privacy, intimacy and seclusion. With spectacular views to Port Vila's best surfing beach break, the restaurant provides a unique setting for a unique dining experience. The executive chef has created one of the finest menus using fresh, local produce, seafoods and world class Santo beef and we are famous for our beachside dining with stars above and sand underfoot.... It does not get much better than this. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Breakas Beach Resort Vanuatu Hotel Port Vila
- Breakas Beach Resort Vanuatu Port Vila