Island Magic is a property with 18 self-contained, 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom, free-standing bungalows located about 15 minutes west of Port Vila. The bungalows are in excellent condition with full kitchens (utensils supplied), laundry, mosquito screens and ceiling fans. The grounds are leafy and well-maintained.
The resort is waterfront, with a jetty jutting into Mele Bay, facing Hideaway Island. It's a rocky coastline (not a beach) but you can access the water from steps and a ladder on the jetty. During our stay the weather was inclement, so we were unable to snorkel in the water. The resort has a swimming pool but it was too cold to use during our Winter (June 2011) visit.
The bungalows are large and in top condition. There are two bedrooms (we had one with a Queen size bed and one with two single beds), each with their own bathroom. There is ample storage space in the bedrooms and in a hall between the rooms, plus a washing machine and laundry sink.
There is a large, open-plan lounge area with dining table, couches, television, island bench counter and kitchen. Each bungalow also has a deck area with a 4-seater table, which is where we ate breakfast each day. Most walls of the bungalow are glass louvers, allowing significant cross-breeze for the warmer months. (We were there in Winter and had to use blankets but still kept many windows open.)
The kitchen has a gas cooktop, microwave, refrigerator, toaster, and cupboards stocked with all cutlery, crockery and cooking utensils. The water is sourced from an acquifer and treated on-premise, so it's safe to drink. However, if you're a bit skittish you can get bottles of water from the supermarkets closer to town.
The bungalows are spaced apart, with greenery between, but they will still block your view of the water unless you're sea-side. There's lots of grass, chairs with umbrellas, a swimming pool (more for cooling off than actual swimming) and a covered BBQ/kitchen area available for guest use.
Near the jetty is an 'ocean spa' where waves can crash over the railing, offering a relatively safe place to sit in the ocean water. Our children enjoyed getting wet from the random waves.
There's not that much to do on the grounds themselves, so you'll either need to bring your own entertainment or go elsewhere. On warm days, the pool and ocean should provide a nice diversion, but they were too cold on our trip. Our children befriended Poco, one of the Ni-Vanuatu workers on the property, who happily opened coconuts for the children (he's handy with a machete!).
There's a laptop available for guests with a slow-ish Internet connection (VT 200 / AUD$2 per use). The on-site managers, Jane and David, are available to offer tourist advice and assist with any requests. However, I'd recommend researching your tourist activities before arriving in Vanuatu or while in Port Vila because there's only a limited selection of trip brochures available.
Island Magic is located on Devil's Point Road, west of Hideaway Island. You'll need to turn off the round-island sealed road and have a semi-bumpy ride to the resort. (Benjor Beach Club is just a couple of properties past Island Magic so you're not totally isolated.) The road was repaired a little while we were there, but it was still quite an experience. Our children really enjoyed getting a ride in the open back of a ute while bumping down the road.
Being "out of town" has advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that the resort grounds are quite large, you're away from the hustle and bustle of Port Vila, close to the Mele Cascades and Hideaway Island (both must-see attractions). Ask Joe, one of the Ni-Vanuatu who work on-site, for a private tour of the nearby Mele Village -- it was a very memorable part of our trip. You can also wander 10 minutes up the road to Benjor Beach Club that has a fully-appointed restaurant (which looked fairly pricey and mostly deserted while were where there).
The disadvantage to the location is that it's not so easy to pop into Port Vila. Travelling into Port Vila by bus should only cost VT400 (Approx AUD $4) per adult, but you'll need to arrange for one to come to the property. Jane and David often gave us lifts to nearby locations, such as Hideaway Island. We found a good driver who had a clean bus in good repair, who we used for a trip around Efate and would happily recommend (message me for details).
Island Magic is great for families who want to cook their own meals (much cheaper than restaurants each night!), but do be aware that it's a bit out-of-town. We split our trip between Island Magic and an island resort closer to town, which gave us the best of both worlds.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Luxury resort with self-contained apartment accommodation with ocean views, tropical gardens, guest bbq areas, swimming pool, and jetty to access spectacular snorkeling. Ideal for wedding and family groups. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Island Magic Hotel Port Vila
- Island Magic Resort Vanuatu/Port Vila