After reading a recent negative review on this property, I am moved to write this report about one of the best kept secrets of Port Vila: Paradise Cove Resort. My family and I (mum, dad + 2 teenagers) stayed here in December 2009 and right from initial email contact with the resort to the very minute we checked out we have always felt welcomed and cherished as resort guests. To this day, my children still thank me for choosing the property and constantly ask when we are going back. Suffice it is to say, for us, the place, the staff and especially the reef, was absolutely perfect.
We stayed in the front two-bedroom bungalow closest to the restaurant. It was well-appointed and clean. The view from our lounge room across the well-maintained garden over to the beach and the water is now part of my “happy thoughts” archive, how I wish we were there right now! Having lived in the tropics most of our lives, we were prepared for bugs and insects, but never encountered any during our stay. We even lit a mosquito coil each night just for the fun (and the scent – hmm, sandalwood) of it! The only “wildlife” that visited us one night was a giant hermit crab that crawled in and found its way in my son’s socks! We were so thrilled to find it - it was almost like a blessing, especially as it could also have been a juvenile coconut crab, who knows? Now, where else in Port Vila would anyone get a treat like that eh?
The beds were firm but nevertheless comfy – we all had such great sleeps while we were there, must have been all that fresh sea breeze flowing through the huge French doors which we kept open all night. Such was the privacy and serenity of the place, one can sleep peacefully with doors wide open. The small bathroom never bothered us – after all, one only needed to shower here – there was hot water available at all times (though with the heat and humidity in Vanuatu, sometimes a nice cool shower before bedtime was even more welcome!).
The best part about Paradise Cove Resort, of course, is its proximity to the reef. We just loved the idea of being able to walk down from our bungalow and straight on to a lovely fringing reef within a few metres! We were so delighted to record more than 100 fish species within the first hour of our holiday. As biologically-inclined folks, this, for us, was sheer heaven. The diversity of marine life within the relatively small area of reef was remarkable. There are very few places in the world where you can see moorish idols, surgeonfishes, butterflyfishes, triggerfishes and bannerfishes (and more!) so close to shore, but on the reef off Paradise Cove, it was so easy. As you can just imagine, we snorkeled almost every day we were there. What luxury it was to have breakfast in the beachside restaurant and contemplating which part of the reef we were going to explore that day!
Speaking of breakfast, this was my favourite time of the day, as we sat by the sea drinking freshly squeezed lime juice and tucking in fresh fruit and croissants followed by steaming hot Tanna coffee, ahh bliss! All other meals at the Paradise Cove restaurant also had that same effect on us. We had intended to try out all the wonderful eating options in Port Vila, but the food at the resort was just as scrumptious that for most of the week we ate our dinners there. Kudos to Shaun who manages the restaurant at Paradise Cove, the quality and tastiness of the dishes more than made up for the rather small menu selection. The smoked marlin carpaccio and the ginger and lime crème caramel are now part of the family’s favourite-dishes-tasted-abroad list. I can even admit now that their chicken satay was much tastier than my version!
The distance of Paradise Cove from the city centre (and the touted pothole-ridden road) did not faze us – hey, this was part of the adventure! We simply took the resort bus to town and found our own way back to Pango either by bus or by taxi. I must admit it was a lot easier when there’s 4 of us – at 300vatu per person, it was easy to persuade the driver to venture that far. Even by taxi (when it was raining), the fare was not horrendously different – 1,500 vatu altogether. We visited the city a number of times during our stay with our favourite destination being the fruit and veg market. The nicest thing about taking either the resort bus or walking down to Pango village to catch a local bus to get to town is that this provided us with a great opportunity to meet people (fellow resort guests, the niVanuatu resort staff and other locals). Every one just has a laugh at the potholes – they’re a great conversation piece!
One cannot finish a review of this place without a special mention to the staff – they are the greatest assets of this resort. We were so blown out by the friendliness, professionalism and dedication of everyone, from the managers (Barry & Marcello), assistant manager (Callie) all the way to the cleaning ladies (especially Alice), restaurant wait staff (particularly Ben and Aileen) and Brian the bus driver. By the end of our holiday, we all felt like part of a family and it was hard saying goodbye. We will not forget the green coconuts that Ben and the other guys in the restaurant would get us for that refreshing drink every afternoon, nor can we forget the warm smiles that greet us every morning from the cleaning ladies who patiently waded through our diving and snorkeling equipment to be able to clean our bungalow and put fresh flowers in the vase on the dining table.
To all those who find Paradise Cove not to their liking – please go somewhere else, this wonderful resort does not deserve people like you. This is probably one of the best places to stay in Port Vila – unpretentious, genuine and idyllic. There is a reason why it is called Paradise Cove Resort, because it is!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This private and intimate small resort is located 15 minutes from downtown Port Vila. It offers 10 self contained One and Two Bedroom villas in a well established tropical garden by the ocean. The beautiful reef offers great snorkeling and diving opportunities with an easy access from the private beach and jetty. Under an iconic traditional roof celebrating the Melanesian architecture, the restaurant serves the best fresh local ingredients prepared with a Mediterranean touch. With a relaxed atmosphere Paradise Cove Resort provides a genuine tropical island holiday. Please note that the access by boat to our private jetty is strictly limited. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Paradise Cove Hotel Port Vila
- Paradise Cove Port Vila
- Paradise Cove Resort Vanuatu/Port Vila