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“Paradise found” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Ratua Private Island

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Ratua Private Island
Ranked #2 of 11 Hotels in Luganville
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Paradise found”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 April 2014 via mobile

We had an amazing 7 nights at this beautiful island .Everything about this place is perfect so peaceful and we highly recommend a stay here you will want to return ASAP . The service was impeccable the staff and manager couldn't do more for you . I really felt like a princess . The food was so healthy and tasty and excellent value .We will be back September this year can't wait .

  • Stayed April 2014
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Wilcox2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bong S, General Manager at Ratua Private Island, responded to this review, 29 May 2014
Dear Wilcox2,

Thank you for a perfect review! We are all excited to see you again. See you soon!

Sincerely,

Bong Sarmiento
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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300 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (82)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Madrid
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 April 2014

We stayed in Ratua for 12 nights and did not want to leave such a beautiful and relaxing place. The bungalows are rustic and very charming although if you are after air-conditioning, glass windows and complete quietness you are in the wrong place. Occassionally we heard the chickens making some noise in the early morning hours but we felt this enhanced our experience with many other animals being around (horses, cows, sheep, goats, small pigsty with local pigs) on the island. Great place to wind down and enjoy the space and privacy in beautiful garden, coconut trees, manicured path to bungalows settings.
The staff were very friendly and always willing to accomodate our needs. We did have a few issues as the service was sometimes a bit slow and things were forgotten. Island pace I guess. However, when we did point this out to Bong, the manager, he and his team more than made up for this so to ensure we were going to have a terrific time and again the staff is very friendly and attempting to meet our needs with a big warm smile on their faces!
We spent the majority of the time kayaking, swimming, snorkelling, and relaxing/enjoying ourselves. The spa treatment in the overwater bungalow is another must do experience. We engaged in three different excursions, swimming with horses, visiting Malo blue hole as well as doing the millenium cave adventure and all of those are memorable experiences which we can highly recommend.
Lastly to the food. A highlight was the barbeque lunches on the sand of the beach and twice eating as many lobster as you wanted was fantastic and the food is fresh and very tasty. The intimate dinner setting under a roof overlooking water (not daily) was another highlight. A small critic was the breakfast as there was to me quite a lot of sweets in comparison to fruits and healthier options. The variety could have been a bit more extensive but having said that you won`t leave hungry or having to indulge in sweets and we enjoyed a very nice daily omelette.
Thanks Bong and the team (especially Claude, Jackie, and Patricia) for providing us such a wonderful stay!

Helen and Fritz

Room Tip: We stayed in the Bear bungalow and enjoyed great privacy there
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Georg V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bong S, General Manager at Ratua Private Island, responded to this review, 29 May 2014
Dear Helen and Fritz,

It was truly a pleasure to have you here in Ratua. We are pleased to see your review and recollected the days when you were here.

We are very happy that you have enjoyed your stay in this little island paradise and that you have made wonderful memories worthy of remembrance.

I do hope that you re-visit us once more. It would be great to welcome friends.

Sincerely,

Bong Sarmiento
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Level Contributor
16 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 April 2014

It has taken me 7 months to write this review, as I am torn between letting others know about it and giving the praise and feedback that the island and staff so clearly deserve.
We traveled as a group of three, myself, husband and 9 year old son. At first I worried about choosing a luxury place to stay with my son as I know that people save up so hard to have a well deserved break and sometimes kids can be an unwanted distraction. Not once did I get that feeling from anyone. The staff looked after him beautifully - he still talks about Marianne.
We stayed in buffalo, and my son wanted to read his book out on the balcony, so he went back to the room while we stayed at the yacht club and lounged about. I came back later and said we were getting a spa, and he said he had already been down there to feed the fish. I knew nothing about this, but he explained that Marianne had come to check/clean the room while he was there and took him with some food scraps to feed the fish off the spa jetty! I was surprised he felt comfortable enough to go with someone on his own, he replied that it was ok as he had danced with her the night before and the Kava and band night!
There is no glitz, no glamour, no hustle or bustle. I did not use my wallet the whole time I was there. We had meals all included and paid for drinks at the end.
The rooms are rustic and beautiful. The are clean and dry. Yes it does get a little hot, but we left the windows and doors open at all times. You sleep under mosquito nets. We bought mozzie coils with us on the trip and would have 3-4 burning at night. You are supplied with coils but I think it was only one or two. My so reacts badly to bites that's why we had the overkill on coils!
Take reef shoes. The beaches are coral beaches and can be rough on city feet. We were happy to just snorkel all day every day. You don't even have to dry off for lunch as it is on the sand under a huge tree.
The blue hole excursion is a must do - however check that you are paddling with the tide. We weren't and I felt like I was on some sort of 'Biggest Loser' challenge! My husband and son still laugh at me for that attempt.
We flew in from port Vila to santo. I would skip Port Vila altogether now and just go direct to Santo. After leaving Ratua, we had a 6 hour stop over in Port Vila and I was just so disheartened. It was a nice place, but it all just paled in comparison to Ratua. To think my original travel agent tried to get us to go to the big resorts in Vila. With the speed boats, jet skis etc.. Just because they thought my sone would be bored with 'no activities'. Ratua had plenty of activities. He is on an island and can get lost. There is only ever a max of 30 or so guests at a time, so everyone knew everyone - without knowing everything about you tho.
He saw turtles in the wild not a zoo or aquarium. He saw lion fish, sea snakes, coral,of all types, pipe fish, cone shells, giant land snails, geckos that would shower with him, horses that swam. He saw bioluminescence at night in our private beach! He saw cultural activities, he made new friends. He had NO tv. He tried new foods, new experiences and was spoiled rotten like we were.
Bong and all Ratua staff - we think of you often and can't wait to return, especially now with the volcanic flights. You guys changed our outlook in life and holidaying forever. Thanks you so much xx

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Jen L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bong S, General Manager at Ratua Private Island, responded to this review, 26 April 2014
Dear Jen L,

Thank you very much for taking time in making a great review and thank you for deciding to let everyone know of your experience here in this little island paradise. Ratua is very much grateful.

After you mentioned the bioluminescence at night I went out one evening on a canoe and tried it... I was also so surprised that whenever I turn on the flashlight out in the water from the canoe, fishes would jump out of the water following the ray of light. It was indeed the most incredible night sight I have ever seen. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Again, gratitude for staying with us and cant wait to have your here again.

Sincerely,

Bong Sarmiento
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cronulla
Level Contributor
16 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 April 2014

I had never stayed in a place such as Ratua before. Definitely would have loved to stay longer than our 2 nights. It was my husband, self and 10 year old Grand-daughter (who made a friend similar in age). We swam. snorkelled, canoed, swam with the horses and there was still more to do. We stayed in the Fish Village "Porcelaine" room, magnificent location with stone bath looking out onto the water. The rooms are an unique 5 star with rustic charm built from teak and imported from Indonesia. Ratua has a special quality, you can be busy, you can relax, and your never far away from paradise. Due to it's location and accommodation style it is on the pricey side. I look forward to visiting again.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Veronica L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bong S, General Manager at Ratua Private Island, responded to this review, 26 April 2014
Dear Veronica L,

Thank you very much for your kind review. I am truly glad that you find Ratua's philosophy worthy of a re-visit. Indeed, Ratua is quite different. Ratua appeals to a select passionate few who enjoys the simplicity of nature.

It would be a pleasure to welcome you and your family again and again.

Sincerely,

Bong Sarmiento
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 April 2014

Our family first (my husband, me and 3 kids now aged 7, 11 and 13) visited Ratua 2012, for 5 days. Then last year we went for 10. You guessed it, we have already booked for longer again this year. It is a very special place for our family - it's where we're happiest. Granted, it's not for everyone and we're glad. It's hot, especially when we go, in December, and there's no air conditioning (tip: take little personal fans to use inside your mosquito nets), there's on television and each day is kind of the same - but they melt into each other in the most lovely way. The kids felt safe on the island and often took themselves off for walks to see the horses before we'd meet them for breakfast. Then we'd spend the morning on the beach - either in front of our villa or by the 'yacht club'. The snorkelling is sublime (my husband lived in PNG for 3 years and says it's as good as any he experienced up there) and the kids loved jumping of the pontoons, paddling the kayaks and stand-up paddle boards. I read an 800 page novel in a week. Lunch was generally a bbq on the beach. No shoes, a cold beer, then a nap. Late afternoon there was more swimming and maybe a horse ride. The kids would pop their head into the kitchen and ask for fish scraps for fishing and many happy hours were passed dangling lines off the jetty. Dinner was delicious and relaxed. Staying longer meant we got to know the staff and they got to know us. Some nights there was entertainment and everyone (even our almost-teenage son) danced. A real highlight was being part of the Ratua staff Christmas celebrations. We (and the one other family who was there) judged the staff talent show - a kind of 'Ratua's got talent'. It was hilarious and joyful and our kids still stalk about it. We did a couple of day trips - one to Champagne Beach and one to the Millennium Caves. Both were quite costly, but well organised and we believe worth the expense. You can't really compare Ratua to anywhere else. We've stayed all over the Pacific (PNG, a live-aboard in the Solomons, Jean Michel Costeau in Fiji) and I love swish hotels as much as the next person, but there's something about Ratua that will keep us coming back. We're already counting the days.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank KateH386
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bong S, General Manager at Ratua Private Island, responded to this review, 26 April 2014
Dear KateH386,

Thank you very much for a great review. I am truly happy that you find the philosophy of Ratua appealing to your family. Cant wait to welcome you once more and because Air Ratua is already flying it will be much easier to get here in Ratua.

Dance, dance, dance!!!

Sincerely,

Bong Sarmiento
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vanuatu
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 April 2014

I had my very intimate wedding at Ratua recently and could not be happier. The island itself is gorgeous, with turtles spotted frequently. All of our villas had private beaches, the food was fresh and delicious, as were the cocktails. The staff were friendly and attentive. We flew in with Air Taxi Vanuatu, landing on the island's little airstrip. What a way to arrive, I couldn't help wondering if Mr Roarke, in his white suit, and Tattoo would be there to greet us after landing. The wedding went perfectly.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank captainvanuatu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bong S, General Manager at Ratua Private Island, responded to this review, 26 April 2014
Dear captainvanuatu,

It was of great pleasure to host your intimate wedding. We are very happy that you had great fun and that the wedding came out perfectly.

Hopefully on your next visit, Mr. Roarke will be in his white suit with some fresh fruit cocktail when you arrive in our little airstrip.

Congratulations and hope to see you very soon.

Sincerely,

Bong Sarmiento
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisbane
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 April 2014 via mobile

My family and I, parents with two adult children, stayed at the resort for seven nights last November. It's taken me so long to write this review as I had to keep reminding myself of certain things. Firstly, you cannot deny that it's a glorious location. Your accommodation in the old timber huts is quite surreal. You get your own little beach out the front and can hire snorkelling gear, etc to use whilst there. This is an Eco lodge. There is no air conditioning and the ceiling fans provide minimal air flow. We had to ask for additional stand alone fans but they were only 2 on the island. The unbearable heat is no fault of the resort, obviously, but extra fans would have been an idea. The bathroom is still all wooden and open and very very damp/dark. The food was fantastic. Fresh and delicious. The staff were lovely and helped us try to make our stay more comfortable. Everything comes at a price though. The wine was terrible and terribly expensive. Drinks were all very expensive, even a juice. Not many activities to do. Very much make your own fun. We did go swimming with horses and that was a particular highlight. Your travel off the island is a dingy, so don't let the word "cruise" fool you. It takes a half hour to get anywhere and costs you about $50 so don't plan on getting off the island too often. I would recommend a 3 night stay, no more. And for god's sake go in their wintertime or you'll be melting before you hit the Tarmac.

To finish, I didn't mean this review to be a complete cop out. We just anticipated a lot more for a lot less. 7 nights was too long and the activities were all very lay-about. Great staff, great food, great location. Never again. Eco-lodge is not 5 star.

Stayed November 2013, travelled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank Prue T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bong S, General Manager at Ratua Private Island, responded to this review, 22 April 2014
Dear Prue T,

Firstly, allow me to thank you for staying with us last November. Thank you also for pointing out the things you enjoyed here in the island.

However, please allow me to justify some things.

Ratua could not be compared with luxury resorts labeled with stars having all the comforts a guest could ever dream of. Ratua is simply different. It offers an experience that will bring its guests closer to nature. It offers a chance to re-live life to the utmost simplicity. It offers the opportunity to enjoy the company of your beloveds. It offers friendship - In fact in my 11 months in Ratua, I have witnessed a number of neighbors who lived few houses/buildings apart and did not know each other until they met in Ratua.

We feel that incorporating modern comforts and modern entertainments in Ratua would only defeat its purpose and its philosophy. Our whole life have been subjected to lavish comforts which is why somehow we miss the true beauty of simplicity. Season change is part of nature. When its hot and humid, a swim normally cools us off. When its a bit cold, bonfire keeps us warm.

With respect to our prices. As much as we want, we try to make Ratua self-sustaining, however, it is simply not possible. In order to give our guests a good selection of food and beverage, we have to source out ingredients from other islands for our daily preparations. The logistics of bringing goods in the island is a tough challenge with respect to pricing. As we all know, fuel prices mainly dictates the prices of all commodities. For Ratua Private Island to operate 24/7 whereby allowing its guest the necessary comforts, fuel is essential. Some countries have cheap fuel, unfortunately for Vanuatu, more so for Ratua being secluded, fuel is not cheap.

As for the lack of activities, I beg to differ. Although Ratua may not have the modern entertainments that you might expect from a starred luxury resort, mother nature has its own special ways of entertaining guests of Ratua... you just have to go out and experience it.

Thank you for acknowledging our staff, food and location. I still wish that you will come to re-visit this little island paradise notwithstanding the expense, who knows Ratua just might bring you a magical moment.

Sincerely,

Bong Sarmiento
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ratua Private Island

Property: Ratua Private Island
Address: BP 396, Luganville, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu
Region: Vanuatu > Espiritu Santo > Luganville
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Luganville
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Luganville
#2 Romantic Hotel in Luganville
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:5 star — Ratua Private Island 5*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ratua Island is a wild, magical place with authentic people who offer a simple and warm reception in a naturally beautiful environment. There are 13 individual 200-year-old Indonesian villas that have been specially reconstructed on sites offering stunning views with a private deck or beach. Located in the Vanuatu Archipelago, off the South East tip of Espiritu Santo, Ratua is only a 30-minute motorboat journey from the mainland on our own private motor launch. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ratua Private Island Hotel Luganville
Ratua Private Island Vanuatu/Luganville

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