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Review of Aore Island Resort

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Aore Island Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Aore Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 22, 2008

We too had read the recent reveiws but as we were travelling with our 2 year old daughter and as I would be having relaxing days mostly with her, we needed to make sure that my stay was a wonderful as my husband's...who's only requirement was that it was near the diving! We have both travelled extensively and found the resort to be quite delightful. One has to remember that this is Santo, Vanuatu. It doesn't sell itself as a Marriott and I would never have expected it to be. Our room was quite away from the main entertainment area but was quite roomy. Had everything that we "needed" - bathroom, loads of towels & extra pillows, mozzie nets, mozzie products (fly spray & mozzie coils), tea & coffee, a fridge, and fan. We had a delightful view from our Seaview Balcony and sure, it would have been nice to have a banana lounge to read on, what was there suited us just fine. There was a cute little beach infront of our room with loads of shells, coral & hermit crabs to delight our daughter. The resort is currently doing a soft refirb to some of the rooms but there was never loads of noise, the NiVans are so considerate. The food was quite divine and I LOVED seeing baked beans on toast on the children's menu. The staff are all NiVans who are more than happy to help with any request (including climing up a tree to obtain a coconut for our 2 year old, cutting it's lid off, making the bottom flat and popping in a straw - Thank you Tensley!) but were also always aware of our needs (fixing up the table that we liked, moving the high chair to where it should be, putting out mozzie coils, getting more "lemontybutter", etc). The pool is a bit ordinary but most of the day, it was just the little one & I as the other guests were either diving, relaxing or having great adventures! The Management were very happy to talk to all guests & be apart of our holidays. We also discussed the not so positive reviews with them. I am delighted to finally post our opinions. The gardens are beautiful. The location is beautiful, and we will return... one of these days!

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled with family
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1  Thank TracenDavenRose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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325 - 331 of 341 reviews

Reviewed May 19, 2008

Aore Resort, Aore Island ,Santo, Vanuatu
April 2008
A Trip Advisor Member, Queensland, Australia
Some friends and I, have just returned from a recent diving visit to Santo and the Aore Resort. I must say that prior to visiting, that I had researched the location quite extensively and was very pleasantly surprised to find that the Aore Resort was nothing like it had been reported on in the few years proceeding our visit.
Certainly it wasn't a five star Resort, but it was everthing that it had been advertised as and more.

I must say that I have travelled quite frequently and found the owners and their staff to be the most helpful, courteous, gracious and possibly the happiest that I have seen in quite a few years. It was certainly infectious.

Now to give away a great secert. Oh! what a delight we found in the resorts cuisine. The chefs at the resort served up what we can only describe as fantastic delights. As anyone who is a diver will know, when you have finished diving for the day it is normal to have a rather large appetite. The resort chefs really new how to end the day for their guests.

At the end of the day we had a wonderful time which was never quite long enough, and we definitely will return.

  • Stayed: April 2008, traveled with friends
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2  Thank scubaagator
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 27, 2008

I really wish I had read the review before booking our stay at Aore. We had spent a wonderful 7 days on Vila with friends, and this was meant to be the romantic part of the holiday with my husband enjoying a dive each morning (which he did, very much) and I enjoying a comfortable and relaxing environment. Mmmm well that was the plan.

We had decided to spend a bit more and booked a deluxe bungalow. What a joke, the owners have no idea of what deluxe is. The room is large but barely comfortable. One pillow per person (as the bungalow can take 4 and we were two we had 2 pillows each) The ceiling fan straddles the dividing wall between the one bedroom and the other room (can’t be called a sitting area as there are no comfortable seats) so is barely any use at all. I had to lie on the floor to get some relief. And I live in a hot climate myself.

The pool is small, old, murky and had exactly 5 beach loungers around it. This was not really a problem as the pool was full of children and not a pleasant space to relax around at all.

But we had booked a seafront bungalow and it’s had a nice view of the sea and main island, however the chairs on the balcony were not comfortable to kick back and read a book. Come on think about your clients comfort a bit and put in comfy loungers, some cushions, a hammock, something, anything………….?

I agree with previous reviewers that the owners do not care. In fact I doubt they bother to read these reviews and if they do, they do not act on them. I spoke to the manager and mentioned that far from being the deluxe bungalow as per our voucher we were in accommodation that I really felt was sub-standard for the price. Her comment was that as from next year 2008 they had changed the name. This did not help us much and they certainly made no effort to compensate us in any way or form. When I commented that I thought the promotional material was very misleading she replied that they TRY and not be TOO misleading. Here is a novel idea; how about not being misleading at all.

The place is a style free zone. Rather then draw inspiration from the wonderful colours of the sea they have “decorated” the rooms in a murky yellow and brown palette. The furniture is extremely basic and there was not a single thoughtful touch. The bathroom is very basic. An indication of the level of care and thought they have shown – there is not a single light fitting in the place. All the lights are plastic bulb –holders and naked bulbs. There is a shop which is dusty, dingy and used as a store room.

The staff were sweet and kind but I think you would have to go a long way in Vanuatu not to find somebody with a ready smile. I must be honest the food was good (not that I ever had breakfast) Dinner better then lunch.

The highlight of our stay on Santo? Had to be horse riding with Megan. A lovely, friendly Kiwi lady she loves showing you her plantation from the back of one of her calm and gentle horses.

My advice – the main reason for visiting Santo remains the diving. You might as well save some money and stay at one of the cheaper lodges, the room cannot be much more basic, the noise cannot be worse (children all over the place at Aore) and what you save you can use on a splurge somewhere more worthwhile in Vanuatu – but definitely go to Vanuatu!

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank givemeanisland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 27, 2007

I feel compelled to write a review about our recent visit to Aore Resort. Prior to visiting I'd read some recent reviews on this site and have to admit I was a bit apprehensive about what to expect since several authors have had less than glowing remarks.

How wonderful it was to be pleasantly surprised and even blown away by such a fantastic place. The owners, staff, food, local tour agencies, accommodation, setting, and overall experience was phenomenal. People were so friendly and helpful. We had a magical time on Santo and it was all too short. We definitely hope to return!

  • Stayed: October 2007, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank rovingirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 7, 2007

Aore resort is located on Aore Island, a 15 minute boat ride across the channel from the town of Luganville. The location is very beautiful, set on a lovely beach - great for swimming and snorkelling. And if you believe the blurb, there is only a small number of bungalows, and as such should offer a relatively private and peaceful tropical resort experience.
What a shame that the management has not taken advantage of the isolation that the separation by water would normally offer.
Every day from 11.00 am to 4.00 pm the resort is inundated by "day trippers" (read English backpackers) from the mainland, who gain access to the resort on board the Aore Resort's own ferry. The day trippers are not charged for the crossing, and once on the resort are allowed to roam at will, occupying all of the lounges and chairs at the pool, setting up on the beach and generally being a pain in the butt - day after day after day.
So much for your peaceful stay in the boutique resort !!

My wife and I were at Aore on our honeymoon. It was our second trip to Aore, having had a very enjoyable stay in 2005. We encountered the odd day tripper at that time, but as the numbers were small the impact was negligible.
Not any more! Word has got around the backpacking community that the resort is a soft touch, has a nice pool, good snorkelling, and it's FREE (for them).
Complaints to the management were met with a sympathetic frown and a "what can we do?" response - not very helpful.

I do not blame the daytrippers - they are presented with a free ride, a no obligation stay in a nice location, and no rules. Why not enjoy the facilities the other people have paid for?

So, before you book, it pays to understand the hierarchy at Aore.
First is "the yachties" that park offshore and pay for the moorings. These are the Aore visiting royalty, and as such never lack for attention from the Aussie management.
Second are the Aussie ex-pats who own properties on the island, adjoining the resort. These guys provide the ongoing sense of civilised community vital to management. They treat the resort as their local watering hole, and will always get the best waterfront tables.
Third is daytrippers - the untouchable freeloaders who spend almost no money, but who ruin the resort for the paying customers.
Last is the actual paying customer who has travelled long distances and paid a lot of money to be a guest in the bungalows.

Please note, it's not all bad news.
The location is terrific.
The resort is relaxed and comfortable.
The ni Vanuatu staff are fantastic - extremely friendly and helpful guys and girls, who will do anything for you.

The only thing lacking is a focus on the paying guests.

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled as a couple
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11  Thank Jackson20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 23, 2006

Aore Prison is a more apt name for this 'resort'. I wish we had read the previous review before booking our very expensive, terrible holiday to Santo.
Firstly, there is nothing to do on Aore. The pool was dirty, the bungalows were barely furnished, mosquito havens, and as mentioned, the Australian owners were less than helpful. Aore is a good 15-20 minute ferry ride to the mainland, and the boat only goes across 2-3 times a day. If those times don't suit you, then the owners delight in ripping you off for a 'charter taxi', making it too expensive to leave the place.
The power went out while we were there, and we were scolded by the owners for asking when it would come back on again.
Our saving grace was the dive operator who was able to pick us up from the prison. We ended up leaving Aore two days earlier than planned. Next time we're heading to Bokissa, which apparently is stunning.

  • Stayed: August 2006, traveled with friends
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14  Thank Splash2710
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 12, 2017 via mobile
Google Translation

Stayed: November 2017
Thank Voyagela
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Aore Island Resort

Address: Aore Road | Espiritu Santo, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu
Location: Vanuatu > Espiritu Santo > Aore Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Aore Island
Price Range: $155 - $211 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Aore Island Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Aore Island Resort is a stunning Pacific Island retreat with an authentic and welcoming culture nestled in a unique natural paradise. Experience the raw luxury of our private boutique bungalows and indulge in an impeccably fresh beachfront dining experience overlooking the crystal clear waters of Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Aore Island Hotel Espiritu Santo
Aore Resort Santo
Aore Hotel Santo

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