NOT EVEN WATER FROM THE HEAVENS could dampen our fabulous family holiday at the Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu (Port Vila).
You can plan for many eventualities when booking a holiday; unfortunately the elements do not always fall in line and produce the goods. Our arrival in Vanuatu might have been greeted with a downpour; the locals chorusing “…it’s unusual for this time of the year”. However nothing could stop our fun.
Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu is located on the shores of serene Erakor Lagoon, just a 5 minute transfer into the capital of Port Vila and a 15 minute drive from the International Airport.
Why did you visit this property?
The Husband had a Conference and we tagged along.
Was the property easy to book?
In this instance the conference organiser booked on our behalf.
Was the transfer from the airport seamless?
Greeted by the sweet harmony of local musicians as we exited customs, we were then whisked through the paperwork, adorned with shell necklaces and escorted to the mini bus. Basic clean transport, informative host pointed out landmarks en route.
Upon arrival at the Resort we were met from our vehicle by smiling doormen and escorted to an open air foyer; soaring ceilings, comfortable timber furniture and a distinct Pacific flavoured décor immediately transported us to Holiday Land.
How was Check-In handled?
We have a family holiday rule; I handle the check in, investigate our allocated room, then summons the rest of the troops to choose their bed. Nine times out of ten I ask for a room change. I am not a difficult customer; on the contrary I am easily pleased with great service and a comfortable bed (The Holiday Inn Vanuatu provided both in spades). I simply believe if there is a better room option available why not ask for it. In this instance our 1st room was too far from the kid’s swimming pool, meaning back and forth to the room for me at least 100 times a day. Not relaxing. Our alternate room had glimpses of the kid’s pool from my vantage spot on the terrace.
How may we help you (service and staff)?
Spot on. All requests handled with gracious customer service. This continued throughout the resort for the duration of our stay.
Ta da – how was the room?
We stayed in interconnecting rooms, ground floor, lagoon side. With twin and king bedding configuration it was perfect for our family of four. The rooms are large enough to accommodate an additional rollaway bed, enquire on booking. Overwater bungalows, suites and garden view rooms are also available.
The daily housekeeping service was timely, very clean and polished.
Welcome – anyone saying this?
A lovely fruit basket and bottle of wine with accompanying note from the Director of Sales and Marketing.
Sleep – bliss or blah?
Bliss, I took photos of the mattress to see if I could attempt to replicate the comfort at home. Two pillow types (down), denoted by the embroidered ‘soft’ or ‘firm’ on the pillow slip.
Unpacking – is there room for everything?
Plenty of hanging space in the wardrobe (although I did need to call housekeeping for more hangers), some cabinets with drawers available for the overflow.
WI/FI – techie bright stuff.
TV (I do try and hide the remote from the boys on holidays), free WIFI as IHG Rewards Club Members (worth investigating a sign up before you go, we also used this card at the Hotel Inter.Continental Fiji for dining credits).
Made to feel at home (robes, bottled water, tea/coffee).
No bottled water (local tap water is safe to drink, although the kids and husband preferred to drink purchased bottled water from the supermarket in town). Robes, tea/coffee facilities and a good sized bar fridge.
Keeping it clean – bliss or blah (amenities, decent hair dryer)?
Bathroom tastefully appointed and compact, shower over bath. High powered hair dryer (I didn’t use it but gave it a good blast to check, I always travel with my own because I cannot stand being caught with those on the wall jobs). All the usual amenities, including toothbrush/toothpaste which made a nice touch. The Youngest wanted me to mention you also get a comb in a bag, he likes his grooming!
KIDS EAT FREE when accompanied by a paying adult.
Veranda Restaurant – Breakfast and Dinner. Overlooks the lagoon. Decent breakfast Buffet, all the standard hot and cold fare (welcome extra was the fresh juice bar). Dinner Al la Carte or Buffet. Plenty to choose from, the kids loved the ‘serve yourself’ ice cream cart desert option.
Pool Bar – Lunch and Dinner – situated next to the main pool, overlooking the beach. Wood fired pizzas, grills, cocktails and all day coffees and ice creams.
Lobby – cocktail hour and live music in the evening.
Action – what activities were on offer?
The beach is level and the bay shallow, making it perfect for families with children of all ages to enjoy the water sports. Sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, beach soccer.
Basketball courts, jumping castle (inflatable) during school holidays, tennis.
2 swimming pools. 9 hole Golf Course.
Plenty of board games and a small library.
Daily bush walks or coconut shelling classes – essentially no shortage of activities – the boys did not sit still for a minute.
Blissfully we are beyond this stage, however a friend stayed at the Resort a week after us and was thrilled with the service. Ages 3-12 years are catered for and individual babysitters can easily be booked.
A massage to you…
The Namele Spa offers basic massages and treatments.
Luxe Lowdown – would I stay at this property again?
Nothing to fault, for a relaxing family holiday resort it ticks all the boxes.
The catamarans get booked out early and not many guests seem to adhere to the 1 hour hire policy, if your family is keen to enjoy this activity chase down to the Beach Activity Hut straight after breakfast.
Bring Reef shoes, great for beach combing, walking on the rocks, beach soccer…
Namele Spa has daily ‘specials ‘so keep an eye out for these. During our visit we enjoyed two massages for the price of one. Ask for the treatment room away from the Spa reception area, otherwise too noisy. Good firm basic massage.
There is a guest laundry with washer/dryer. Almost the best part of our holiday – with the rain the kid’s entire wardrobe was wet in a day, this facility saved me.
FIND OUT MORE
Have a look at the Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu website so you can discover more.
DISCOVER THE DESTINATION
Browse the Vanuatu Tourism Office site.
** observations my own – we travelled under our own steam – (all expenses covered by The Urban Husband) – thank you xxx