The 2 plus aspects of this place are the location and the Garden Cottage, but they are overwhelmed by the negatives, the primary of which is the current owner managers, Rick and Wendy. We booked in early January 2012 for a period of 15 nights in the Garden Cottage from May 4th to 19th 2012, and duly deposited 3 nights, A$450 immediately, and bought our Air Vanuatu tickets for 2 weeks holiday. The first week of which was to learn to SCUBA dive. A month prior to arrival we were informed our booking for the Garden Cottage would not be honoured due to a double booking, which we discovered later was a single older lady needing the place for a week for work. Wendy said we could have an "upgrade" to a the Lagoon Lodge at no cost to us as it was their fault. How I wish I'd cancelled and gone to Nasama Resort for the entire period, as they had opening specials in May.
On arrival Rick and Wendy insisted we pay the full amount of our accommodation prior to checking in as "people had left not paying their account" in the past. Once we checked in to the Lagoon Lodge it was obvious why they wanted prior payment, we'd have walked. The LL is pokey and run down, the shutter windows don't open, the futon lounge is falling apart, and the facilities such as table and lighting for us to study our diving theory were less than optimum. We made nary a protest but on the Sunday night the only overhead light flickered out while we prepped for the first dive test. When Rick and Wendy were summoned you'd have thought we orchestrated the entire thing and it became a major drama when it was obvious that it wasn't just a blown light bulb. The self-catering facilities are a joke and the gas operated hot water system is old and dysfunctional. Borers and termites leave so much dust, that despite our cleaning their litter from the floor before bed, you still track it back to bed using the bathroom at night. We tolerated this all week knowing that we would get into the far more modern Garden Cottage at the end of the week. When we spoke to Rick on the Friday about that move, he babbled on inanely about getting what you pay for, and said he didn't think we were actually going to be moved. Luckily Wendy later intervened, and we moved into the now vacated Garden cottage, modern with reasonable facilities, though the gas ran out after the first night and being the weekend had to use the BBQ bottle for showers and kitchen, precluding using the BBQ of course, until the big bottle was replaced Monday. Naturally that was a major drama for Rick and Wendy too, obviously we'd orchestrated this to be as inconvenient as we possibly could.Then once the BBQ was working Rick said a family in another unit wanted to use the BBQ right outside our window. We said OK, again being accommodating and friendly, despite Rick totally forgetting our names, but they cooked and walked away leaving the utensils there. Wendy came by the next morning and demanded imperiously we wash them and put them away. We then had to demand a few small items that went missing after the move - their staff moved us while we were off diving - be returned which they were.
All these small things just wore us away, there is so much more, every interaction with Rick and Wendy seemed to be tense and rude, all we wanted was the place we'd been recommended, paid for, and wanted, yet didn't complain at all about being displaced from.
The last part of the second week we had minimal interaction with either Wendy or Rick and that made our week, we just did our tourist thing and cooked our food and used the TV and nice lounge area.
In finality this place might be good for a few days max but nothing I saw in the so called Chalet (a joke surely, we did get inside it for a look) or Lagoon Lodge would indicate a longer stay could be pleasant. All the furniture inside and out is all run down and falling apart.
We would consider staying again at the Garden Cottage only, but of course that would be after Rick and Wendy have sold the property and have nothing to do with it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A truly special place for special people, with an ambience you can't buy. Six units tucked away in an exotic tropical garden. It’s like visiting a friend's house instead of being in a commercial resort. From the Waterside Chalet, to the Garden Cottage that is ideal for two couples or a family group, to the single room studios, the care to detail makes Seachange Lodge that very special place. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Seachange Lodge Vanuatu/Port Vila