My husband, 13 yr old son and I spent 11 nights at Paradise Cove in late Sept/ early Oct. It is less expensive and 'touristy' than the big resorts, and we absolutely loved it. We loved the setting on a small beach some way out of town with some great walking trails to other deserted beaches nearby. We had a roomy 2 bedroom bungalow - great for a family - providing parental privacy. The bedrooms are larger than normal in this sort of resort, though the bathroom was small. Sizable living room with kitchen facilities, and best of all a covered outdoor patio area complete with hammock and lounge chairs and a small table. There were a couple of other boys about our son's age there and all three just took off kayaking, snorkelling, night-time hermit crabbing and getting one of the staff members to cut open coconuts for them to drink - leaving the parents pretty much to their own relaxed devices.
The resort fees included continental breakfast which you could have down at the small covered outdoor dining area by the water's edge and overlooking the bay and beach. (Great spot for breakfast watching the fish jumping, or romantic dining at night with soft background music and candles). Lunch was available if you wanted it. Dinner menus were great - everybody seemed to enjoy dining in for most of their evenings. We had a couple of meals in Port Vila, but were more than content to eat at Paradise Cove. My husband says that the fillet steak with honey-soy sauce was the best meat he'd ever eaten. Wine tends to be French, expensive and not as good as Aussie reds or kiwi whites. However we bought a couple of bottles of NZ Stoneleigh Cab Blanc at a wine shop in town and had a glass or two each evening. Buy your Tusker beer at Au Bon Marche in town for drinks on your bungalow patio - it's only 200VT there.
The resort is set back from the small beach with good snorkelling, though there is a bit of damaged coral from a big storm a few years ago and the fish need feeding to bring them around. The resort is set in a lovely garden setting, we were lucky enough to have a small view of the bay from ours. Fairly sheltered, we heard only one mozzie in the bungalow at night and by leaving the overhead fans on through the night we kept the mozzies away. Only 10 bungalows in the resort means that it is quiet and peaceful - and no TV/ DVD's or phones. Bliss. The bungalows were built by local villagers and are traditional in style - simple, rustic, but comfortable. Bathroom fine - nothing special, but plenty of hot water and good though small shower. Small downside - towels were a disappointment, thin and getting a bit worn - they need to buy some new ones!
Resort is low key - a few kayaks, snorkelling gear and bikes available for guests, a few books, games, small pool hardly used, volley ball court, fooz ball game near the dining area/ bar - a couple of well behaved resort dogs, that's about it. Staff were charming - many from the local Pango village, very gracious and service was great. They seemed like good friends by the time we left.
The distance from town was a concern before we went - a pot holed road beyond Pango village (about 10 mins drive from the village across the peninsula to the Port Vila side). But it wasn't so bad - the drivers all seem expert at dodging the pot-holes that are a fact of life in Vanuatu. And we actually enjoyed the contact we got with villagers - several times we went walking in the morning up to the village, and visited their local school one morning. The resort has it's own bus leaving for town every morning at 9.30, and one could time it right to go back with the resort bus, or simply catch a local bus back (bus trips from Port Vila to Paradise Cove cost 200VT per person, the resort bus charges this as well and you just pay the driver). Callie and Nathan, the resident managers, were never far away if you needed to make a phone call or get advice on a tour/ trip / they would happily book it for you. Very relaxed, good-natured - nothing was too much trouble.
If you're staying at Paradise Cove then e-mail the management for suggestions and take up some school gear for the local school. Also arrange to get some end of roll printing paper from the local paper for the school too, only a couple of hundred VT per roll. Take an early morning walk along the road from Paradise Cove to the village and say good morning to all the locals, their smiles make a great start to the day.
We would happily stay at Paradise Cove again. Just a great site to lay back and relax, and Port Vila is easily accessible.
ABSOLUTELY GR8!!!!!!! (My son's contribution).
- 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
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- Also Known As:
- Paradise Cove Hotel Port Vila
- Paradise Cove Port Vila
- Paradise Cove Resort Vanuatu/Port Vila