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“"It's All in the Extras"”

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Aquana Beach Resort
Ranked #9 of 47 Hotels in Port Vila
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 31, 2012

Staying at Aquana was like being invited into a large family home, where the hosts were delighted that you were staying and any request was attended to immediately with a minimum of fuss. From the informative welcome, the spotless modern accommodation, the fabulous meals and menu, the attentive cheerful staff, the on-hand babysitters, the quiet scenic location, the extra special performances (Sunday serenades, Firedancers, Melanesian feast and dancing), the immaculate detailed account-keeping, the organization of tours/activities to the owners who take time each evening to spend time to mingle and chat with guests, and to actually come to bid you farewell as you leave, Aquana ticked all the boxes for us. We stayed for 7 nights having had 7 nights the previous week at another popular resort. So glad that we finished our holiday on an Aquana high! The plan is for the resort to be kept relatively small and guest focused, and I can foresee that there shall be long waiting lists in future years as word spreads about this little piece of Paradise. To all at Aquana, our sincere thanks.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Chris H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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261 - 267 of 307 reviews

Reviewed August 30, 2012

We have just gotten back from a fantastic 9 night stay at Aquana and can say that all the reviews about this place are true.
We were a little worried that somewhere so new and relatively distant from town might become a bit boring. Let me say all our fears were allayed within a couple of hours of arriving. From the tropical fruit smoothie, cold refresher towel and shell necklace on arrival, the staff ALL went out of their way to make our stay as easy, trouble free, tasty, and relaxing as possible. "Nothing's a problem at Aquana" became a bit of a saying with us because literally.....nothing is a problem.
The 3 and 5 year old girls were constantly entertained by the FANTASTIC nannies/babysitters who appeared, as if by magic, as soon as the kids left the bungalow or finished their breakfast, lunch or dinner and wanted down. This made dining for mum and dad (and the other diners) much more enjoyable as we could sit any enjoy our food and drinks free from nagging children.
Marcel and his team in the kitchen cook the best food we have had at any resort and having eaten there for 9 breakfasts, 9 dinners and a bunch of lunches we tried most things on the menu without a dud. The wife is gluten free and the extra mile the staff went to for her made her feel very special and delivered food that was just fantastic. Basically anything we wanted to eat, we could have. I spoke to Marcel about Coconut Crab and after I found a live one in the market, Marcel cooked it up for us as part of the Melanesian feast which is the regular Friday night activity.
The rooms are very nice and comfortable. Two bedrooms makes a massive difference when sharing with children as they had their own room. Comfortable beds, nice couches and air con made things very comfortable and only been two years old it is all still very nice. We spent a lot of time in the evenings just sitting outside on the patio which was 'the place to be'.
We did a few activities and could have been as busy or as lazy as we liked. We visited the Mele Cascades and Eton Beach (unfortunately the blue lagoon was closed due to a family engagement) after organising a private driver of one of the local buses. Worked out very reasonable as we shared with another family from the resort on both occasions. Also did a bit of fishing, took the kayaks around the island a couple of times, did some snorkelling, swam in the pool 2-4 times a day, drank to many of Will's 'special' cocktails, (Thanks for the recipe Will) and generally had a fantastic time.
I could keep going but most things have already been said in these reviews. Aquana is number 1 for a reason. Just go there.

Many thanks to everyone for our wonderful stay. Dean, Sheralyn, Milla and Asha.

Room Tip: Front rooms were great for watching children but our one (#12) was on second row (cheaper) and still...
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Dean E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 28, 2012

Aquana would be one of the best places i have ever stayed! The staff are so friendly and nothing is ever a problem.The rooms were clean and tidy with air conditioning which was great on those hot days that us kiwis aren't used to!

The food was great and had a large selection which is good as we were staying there for 6 days. The chief even came and said to us that if we wanted anything else he would make it specially.

Aquana was only opened late last year so is brand new. I thought they may still be having a few teething problems but not at all, we never had a problem. Its situated about 20 minutes out of town in a secluded lagoon so is really quiet. There were a couple of family's there with young kids which wasn't a problem at all as Aquana have nanny's which keep the kids entertained while the parents relax. They provide a free shuttle that goes to town which goes at 10am in the morning then comes back at 4.30pm which lets you spend the whole day exploring.

When we had to leave to come back home it felt like we were leaving family. Pretty much every staff member that we met there were there to say goodbye. Overall i cant say a bad thing about this resort. It caters for everyone and you wont be disappointing!

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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Thank TaupoInflite
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 28, 2012

My boyfriend and I just spent 4 blissful days at Aquana and didn't want to leave! I didn't understand how anyplace could have so many 5-star reviews, but now that I've been there, it's obvious. At Aquana, they strive to give you the experience you want, not just sell you their product.

From the second we arrived the staff was attentive but not pushy, helpful, and dying to help us. Here is an example: The phone is our room was broken. When I told reception, they gave me a cellphone to bring to my room so I could still order room service. When the cell reception was poor, a staff member walked over to our room to take our room service order. And that wasn't so they could make a buck off the room service fee, the room service is free.

The rooms were pristinely clean with comfy couches, good TVs, a good bed, and large glass doors on one side for the view. The ocean front rooms have the best views, but the bungalows are staggered so all the rooms have at least some view.

As a couple, I wondered if the place would be to overrun with noisy children to be romantic, but that wasn't a problem at all. There was plenty of space, and room service is always available if you want privacy. With the restaurant open all day, we tended to eat at different times from the families, so we still had a romantic restaurant experience.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank backtrace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 24, 2012

Thanks to Tripadvisor, we found out about Aquana Beach Resort while in the planning stages of the holiday. We were looking at many different destinations, and an island holiday wasn't really top of the list due to previous trips having average food, basic accommodation and hit-and-miss service. After reading all of the reviews about the resort, I was smitten and fully set my heart on staying there. Aquana Beach certainly has none of the afore-mentioned (and common) problems, in fact it is the complete opposite.

We travelled to Vanuatu with our 3 preschool girls from New Zealand. As soon as we arrived, we were greeted like long lost friends with seashell necklaces and a fruit cocktail, and shown around the resort by the owner, Birgit. Our room was spotless, spacious and modern, with extremely comfy beds and a view of the lagoon. It was cleaned to perfection every single day by a troop of smiley, friendly ladies who were quite happy to come back later if one of the kids was having a nap or it wasn't convenient for us.

Our main concern about being "stuck" at a resort was that the food would be below par, especially with young kids. My husband is also a chef and we have become incredibly hard to please over the years! Having said that, the food that Marcel served us every day was exceptional - the freshly caught Yellowfin Tuna Sashimi was fantastic, as were the Surf & Turf Shashlicks and the Pepper Steak. The kids would have been more than happy to eat the Spaghetti Bolognese or Carbonara every day, and the portions were massive - we generally ordered 2 portions to feed all 3 girls. But we often ordered them something from the adults mains to share as well, the good thing with this being that you get a free side so you could get veggies or a salad for them to share as well.

The weather wasn't the greatest while we were there but that was fine - it forced us to chill out and the kids enjoyed a couple of DVD days with another couple of kids that they met. When the sun came out, the Aquana team were happy to help organise trips to Eton Beach, Turtle Bay, Mele Cascades - whatever you wanted to do was no problem. They even arranged for one of the child minders to come along with us, so that we had an extra pair of hands. There was no charge for this, which I was completely blown away by.

The free child minding service during the day was great - Nalini and Yasna (apologies if I have spelt their names wrong!) were amazing - they followed our girls around relentlessly, from beach to pool to toys to beach again. It took a little bit of getting used to, to learn that we could leave our kids alone, but it didn't take long and Andy and I both felt that our kids were in safe hands at all times, which left us to chill, read books and generally not worry about the girls for once! When our youngest decided to play a game of running as close to the pool edge as possible, we could see that Nalini was getting a little bit nervous about it but she calmly picked her up and whisked her off to another part of the resort, out of danger!

I was a little disappointed with the quality of the snorkelling straight from the beach - it's all man-made and the resort was actually all mangrove swamp a couple of years ago, so the silt hasn't settled yet making the visibility in the water a bit rubbish. However, take advantage of the free kayaks (I would recommend taking 2 x single kayaks as opposed to the double one which is a bloody nightmare to control!) and just around the corner from the lagoon, there are secluded islands with amazing snorkelling, beautiful starfish and my husband swears he saw a turtle!

The only other suggestion would be to have more than 1 bin in the rooms - having 3 kids, one still in nappies, we created a lot of rubbish and the small bin in the loo was overflowing every day.

Other than that - fantastic. Amazing staff, from the office girls to the wait staff to the child minders to the cleaners - all of you were brilliant and made us feel so welcome all of the time. Great food - keep up the good work Marcel! We look forward to seeing you all again some time and thank you for making our first family holiday so memorable, from Zoe, Leah, Marley, Abi & Andy!

Room Tip: All of the rooms are awesome - you won't be disappointed...
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank kaitime78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2012

I have chosen to stay at Aquana Beach Resort here in Vanuatu asking to myself if I could find some weakness point on this structure given the full unanimous top ranking by many reviewers of Trip Advisor.
I am normally a bit severe on my rating and also Aquana, a new hotel built in a secluded lagoon 20 minutes far from Port Vila, is not really still 100% perfect.
But I have to say that is very difficult to find a similar level of attention, customer care and passion by the owners searching to address your stay at the best.
The location seems a set of a film. An enchanted lagoon and a white sand beach, with shallow water. A joy for the eyes. It is not the place for snorkeling or swimming but you can reach in few
minutes by local boat or canoe the open water with fantastic corals gardens.
Rooms are small suites, very wide. They are very comfortable and pleasant but enough simple, not luxurious but fully equipped.
There is also a medium size swimming pool close to the restaurant.
The restaurant offers a good a la carte menu and a wide flexibility for any requests coming from the guests. Quality of the dishes is really at an high standard. As italian I have tried a typical italian pasta dish. It was cooked in a particularly spiced way, not fully resembling the italian taste but becoming something equally good.
But what is mostly fantastic here is the relaxed atmosphere and the smile of the very well educated local employees. This is one of the greatest demonstration of the engagement of the swiss owner. They have created a real example of how to manage a structure beyond some structural limitations and not having the ranking of a 5 star hotel
And they are personally in any moment available to satisfy any your needs concerning excursions on the island, boat trip or anything else.
You cannot avoid to appreciate this resort and you will not forget the smile of Aquana staff.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank lionitaly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 15, 2012

Just returned form a 7 day trip to Vanuatu with my little sister. We saw the great reviews on here and decided to pick Aquana to stay. Everything we hoped for came true... the staff are just amazing and made it really feel like home! The accommodation was modern/roomy/spotless! First arriving at the resort i thought "why is everyone so nice" i thought there must have been a catch... but soon my sinical attitude was replaced by smiles and we were so relaxed. The happiness of all the staff is infectious! The owners are super friendly too!
I would reccommend aquana to anyone as you are out of town and completley away from all the hustle and bussle of Port Vila. The food is amazing! we dined at Benjor and the Beach House and they were both more expensie than aquana, however aquana was much better.. every meal we had was amazing!
We didnt pre book our tours, Aquana did this all for us, they took great care of us and made sure we had the best time and had everything we needed, NOTHING was too much trouble.
We stayed at benjor for two nights and to compare.... Aquana had free DVD's benjor didnt, Aquana had free babysitting, benjor didnt, Aquana had AMAZING gormet breakfast selections, benjor just had toast and cereal, Aquana had free use of water equipement, benjor didnt. The only thing is that Aquana is off a dirt road which is just full of pot holes and it takes forever to get to... really bumpy ride.. be prepared!! It was terrible but is WELL WORTH THE DRIVE! if i go back to vanuatu im going to aquana! Really cannot compare it to anywhere else! There is so much more i could mention, just little things the staff did to make our stay, but you will have to go to experince for yourself!

Room Tip: The resort is brand new, they are still building so all rooms a crisp modern and clean!
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Ashleigh A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Aquana Beach Resort

Address: Eratap Road, Port Vila, Efate, Vanuatu
Location: Vanuatu > Efate > Port Vila
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in Port Vila
#6 Romantic Hotel in Port Vila
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Port Vila
Price Range: $182 - $318 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Aquana Beach Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Opened in 2012, Aquana Beach Resort has become Vanuatu's leading three and a half star family friendly boutique Resort and this has largely been due to the unique childcare approach it has developed and the quality of the food from it's very popular casual dining restaurant. Located 25 minutes from the International Airport and only 15 minutes from the town centre, Aquana is situated in a large lagoon surrounded by groups of deserted islands and pristine reefs. Aquana has a 150 meter long man-made beach great for children to be able to play free from danger and for adults to relax on and soak up the sun. Aquana consists of 16 bungalows all located within 30 meters of the lagoon front and a hot a la carte and a continental breakfast are both included in the room rate and the resorts idyllic surroundings provides the perfect location for weddings and functions. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Aquana Beach Resort Vanuatu/Port Vila

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