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Aquana Beach Resort
Ranked #8 of 47 Hotels in Port Vila
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 2, 2014

Our family of 4 [with children 3 and 5] stayed for 5 nights in January this year. Everything met our expectations for the price we paid. Like some, we didn't go there expecting the 'Hilton' so like others we were not disappointed in the clean, tidy and comfortable accommodation that was on offer. The owners and staff were nothing but kind, friendly and accommodating. Its a relaxing environment where you can chose to do nothing or do many things. Our children fell in love with the lovely Nannies and were upset when we had to leave. They kindly entertained them for us so that we too could have a break and relax, or simply eat dinner in peace!

Everything we needed was on site and with children our age, we did not opt to do any tours but chose to stay by the resort and swim, kayak, relax and explore the local surrounds. We loved the sheltered bay that Aquana is set in and it gave us some stunning sun sets while there.

I have been to many South Pacific Islands before and would have no hesitation in recommending Vanuatu or Aquana to anyone I know. The only thing I would say is to be prepared to put on a kilo or two!! That's only because the food is so divine you can't help but indulge in the wonderful menu each lunch time and evening. There is much to choose from but some dishes you will taste and will want again. Breakfast was suitable and catered for those wanted a cooked selection such as bacon and eggs, corn fritters or pancakes, through to your basic cereals, toasts and many fruits. If you needed any menu item altered or changed, you just had to ask and they would do it. No request was too hard for the kind staff to make sure you got what you wanted and enjoyed your meal.

As for Vanuatu in general, we probably wouldn't chose to travel again in January as the humidity was very high at times, and the rain did amend our plans at times. It didn't dampen our stay though and we think its a fantastic place and we would love to go again when our children are older so we can comfortably explore the island and what it has to offer some more.

Aquana, we truly appreciated your kind hospitality and wish we were there sipping cocktails and having a wonderful chat with you all right now!

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
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Thank Yeos4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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179 - 185 of 310 reviews

Reviewed February 1, 2014

The best thing about the Aquana is the service you get staying there. For me, it was worth it for that alone. Everyone was so friendly and helpful.

We wanted to do all these activities (abesailing, ziplining, scuba, cruises, blue lagoon, dune buggies, etc.) The staff booked everything for us, and booked taxies so we didn't even have to think.

The food was great. I particularly recommend the chicken curry and the seafood tower.

It's sort of wild in terms of the setting — which I liked.

In terms of minor issues:
1) The shower did not stay at any sort of consistent temperature and veered from hot to cold. It was uncomfortable and you had to wait for it to heat up or cool down, going in only for brief dips.
2) There were ants in our bathroom — constantly, but that wasn't a big deal.
3) It's kind of far away from town where many points of interest are located – this was kind of a plus and a minus. It's a plus because it's quiet. It's a minus because it takes a while to get around. I hope they eventually collaborate with neighboring resorts to improve the road as this would greatly increase the speed at which you could go and do things.
4) I was not the biggest fan of the couches in the bungalows — specifically their color, but that wasn't a big deal.
5) The bungalows were sort of boxy. If I remember correctly they had aluminum roofs and stucco walls. Sort of unremarkable. I have to wonder if there is a way to make them look better. Also not a big deal.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank willwister
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 1, 2014

By the rating I gave to this place, you can tell I really didn't like it and I won't spend too much time going on about all the problems. Just trust me on this: this place is not worth your time and money.

I am a very experienced traveler, having been to literally all south Pacific Nations and this was by far the worse place I've ever stayed. You might be thinking that I'm probably a bit crazy, as like you, I read great reviews on TripAdvisor about Aquana. That's why I decided to go in the first place and stray there for a few days. But after my visit, I strongly feel that this hotel should not be regarded as one of the best in Efate. If anything, it;s one of the worst, considering what it costs.

It starts by the fact that this is not a resort. It is not even a hotel. It is more like a lodge or motel (without the self contained facilities of a motel). If you have ever stayed in a proper resort, just by looking at the picture, you can easily see that this is by no means a resort or even a proper hotel (particularly giving their price range).

The bungalows are clean and modern, but would you rate a hotel 5 stars just because it's clean? Isn't this the bare minimum you expect from a hotel that charges $300 a night?

Location, although potentially great, in fact is horrible. The lagoon in from of the hotel is useless for snorkeling or swimming as it is very murky and at low tide it is too shallow. Kayaks are in very bad shape and not great to enjoy a paddle around. If you get a chance to check out other hotels on the island like Eratap and Havana, you will quickly figure out what Aquana claims to be but isn't.

I was told that the hotel has been built on a mangrove. The environmental impact of this is huge and can be seen on either side of the hotel. Plus, the pontoons are artificial and just look cheap and fake.

Food is far from great. Everything comes out quite greasy and they force you to eat coconut oil as it is the only oil they use. They claim it's for health benefits, but it;s clearly an economical choice for them. What if I were allergic to coconut? Breakfast is very basic, with limited amounts and variety, very cheap crockery and slow service. It's the kind of breakfast you would expect to have in a very basic and inexpensive bed & breakfast

The main building, dining area and pool is a pure joke for a place that calls itself a resort. This was an old house where the owners probably lived and simply adapted it to become a hotel. All public areas are made for small children as my pictures illustrate. Not a resort, even though they called themselves such.

There is a huge generator by the entrance (which looks like a junkyard on a good day, but still a junkyard) next to a container which is on 24/7. It not only very noisy, disturbing even when inside the bungalows, but also burns diesel which sometimes blows towards the bungalow and is far from pleasant. Why hasn't anyone mentioned this beats me!

General staff, although initially friendly, are untrained and unprofessional.

In summary, the rooms are clean and modern but every detail in the hotel is disappointing. They are too close together and made with very cheap/thin walls so you can hear everything outside and from other rooms. For what they claim to be and what they deliver, they fail miserably at this task. If you can get a rate of no more than $80 per night, don't even bother with this place. You will be disappointed.

Your money will be wisely invested elsewhere.

Eratap Resort, Mangoes Resort and Havana Resort are the places to go.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with family
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15  Thank GlobalTravelDude
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aquanfam, Owner at Aquana Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded March 5, 2014

Dear GlobalTravelDude, we apologise if you and your mother's experience at our family resort was not up to your expectations. We pride ourselves on our repeat business which makes up the majority of our guests. While much of your review is inaccurate, we accept your right to use TripAdvisor as a way to express your disgruntlement, however we encourage all of our guests to raise any issues with us directly and promptly in our attempt to address the situation. We wish you and your mother all the best for future travels, remembering perhaps a five star child free resort may better suit you and your mother's needs.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 26, 2014

I stayed for 8 days with my family in one of their bungalows.

For the price, the room is OK but the facilities are extremely basic, without any style.

Swimming pool is too close to the eating area (I would not call it a restaurant).

Breakfast is quite limited in the selection of fruits in spite of being surrounded by fruit trees.

There were only 4 lounge chairs by the sea, two of those were broken, to accommodate all guests!

You see cheap furniture, toys, tables all over the place.

From my room I could hear a generator running non-stop as a previous reviewer mentioned.

You cannot snorkel outside of the place. You are instructed to take a kayak to the nearby island. But there is only one good Kayak in the whole place. The one we got was sinking and we were forced to return to shore... frustrated and without any place to seat we had to return to the bungalow.

If you are used to a proper Resort, don't bother with this place. You will be absolutely frustrated and since you are forced to pay in advance, you will be stuck in this place for the whole stay.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
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8  Thank Lichenz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aquanfam, Owner at Aquana Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded March 5, 2014

Dear Lichenz, we are sorry that your experience with us did not live up to you and your son's expectations. None of my staff were aware of the issues mentioned in your review. We regret that you or your son didn't approach us during your stay in an attempt to allay your problems so that we could deliver both of you a holiday we pride ourselves on. Our resort thrives on personal attention to all our guests, however, while this may not be to you or your son's liking, it is exactly why we consistently accommodate return guests who embrace our service and style. Again, we wish the both of you well for your future travels.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 18, 2014

We recently stayed at Aquana - 2 adults and 3 children under 10 years old - and had a great holiday, perhaps one of the best we have had as a family. Like some of the previous reviewers we have travelled and lived fairly extensively around the world and I can safely say that our rating of '5' is both in perspective and independent.
The owners were very helpful and friendly, the staff genuinely nice and while the hotel itself is modest in size it is in a fantastic natural setting with everything we needed for an enjoyable 10 day break. We used the outrigger to snorkel on the local reef (probably a 15 minute trip), we kayaked to the deserted island in front of the hotel, used the lovely nannies to keep an eye on the kids while we relaxed by the pool and had some of the nicest mojitos we've ever drunk.
I have saved my review of the food until last because it deserves pride of place. Both my wife and I had some sublime dishes while we there and Marcel is very helpful in going off menu when required. Aquana rightly deserves its reputation for excellent cooking.
If you are looking for something glamorous and '5 star' then there are other resorts nearby as previous reviewers have mentioned (for twice the price) but you will be doing exactly the same things as you would at Aquana and maybe missing out on the lovely atmosphere and customer focus that the owners and staff bring there.

Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
4  Thank BobBDehli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 11, 2014

Great resort. Excellent bungalows. You really find yourself waking up feeling like your in paradise.
We were worried the kids would bother us as we are a young couple but the nanny services this resort has is outstanding and the children around felt none existent.

The breakfast was included in the room rate and tasted great but I believe the restaurant really let this resort down. We were eating on an outdoor table and It started raining and as my partner and I ran undercover to avoid getting drenched our drinks spilt. The restaurant offered to bring us new ones but then at the end still charged us 380 vatu each! (Roughly $5 Australian dollars each can) we think this is poor customer service.
Also we found ourselves waiting anywhere between 30-60 minutes for our meals to arrive which we're very over priced on top.

But the staff at this resort were the best I'd ever seen, and the ladies at the reception were constantly willing to help. they even provided us with a free mobile phone to call if we needed anything throughout the day when we weren't at the resort. And the free use of canoes, reef shoes, life jackets and snorkels were great.

Location is pretty far out of town but they have a free shuttle service at 10am and pick up at 2pm or you can rent a quad bike and come and go as you please like we did :)

Would recommend to all

Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
1  Thank Tiffanyf1994
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2014

Two adults and teenage daughter stayed at Aquana for 7 nights over Christmas. It was one of the most relaxing and amazing places we have ever stayed! The resort has a fabulous atmosphere and the views from our waterfont bungalows were incredible (great sunset shots!). The resort allows you to do lots (via tours or trips into town) or very little. We had a second week in Vila so we only ventured out a few times (recommend the lagoon, Eton beach and a trip into the local village).

The bungalows are a good size and are clean, comfortable and have all your need. They are not overly luxurious but such rooms would not be in keeping with the feel of the resort. The views from the rooms are incredible.

Highlights:

Staff - the staff are incredible (friendly, helpful, accommodating, welcoming). We didn't use the Nannies with a teenager but if I had little kids, this place would be perfect.

Food - the best we have ever had (amazing steaks and seafood). And lots of options (we didn't run out of choices even though we ate there most meals for a week). Thanks Marcel!

Activities - the organised shows (fire dancers, cultural group) are wonderful but it is easy to make your own fun too. We especially enjoyed kayaking, snorkeling, trips on outrigger canoe, stand-up paddle boarding. We kayaked to a deserted island with a white sandy beach and spent the morning snorkeling and relaxing. Very special day! And great fun and challenging for teens.

Location - away from the bustle of Vila with a very peaceful and relaxing feel. Didn't have to walk very far for food and happy hour, but also lots of spots to have time on your own and to take some great photos.

Happy hour drinks - relaxing drinks every afternoon watching the sun set - unbeatable!

This was the most relaxing and wonderful Christmas we have ever had! Thanks Aquana!

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Rebecca M
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
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Port Vila
Price Range: $205 - $307 (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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