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“A little touch of paradise”

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The Havannah, Vanuatu
Ranked #3 of 47 Hotels in Port Vila
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 28 November 2013

Having never been to Vanuatu before, I was stunned by the beauty of the environment. The Havannah sits in a quiet bay about 25 mins from Port Vila and has the most beautiful coloured water you could imagine. We stayed in a Lagoon room for 4 nights and waterfront for 1. Both were gorgeous but well worth upgrading to waterfront if you can.
Fantastic staff and the food was always great, our only problem was that we had to leave.

Room Tip: Waterfront Villa is worth the extra cash if you can afford it.
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank Jo M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Havannah-GM, General Manager at The Havannah, Vanuatu, responded to this reviewResponded 1 December 2013

Dear Jo M
Thank you for your review of the Havannah, it is much appreciated. I am glad you had a lovely time and enjoyed the break away. As we are not too far, I hope we will have the pleasure of seeing you back soon at the Havannah.
Kind regards
Frederick

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337 - 343 of 573 reviews

Reviewed 25 November 2013

My partner and I visited The Havannah for 5 nights in November, and were blown away by the resort's tranquility, beauty and intimacy. Unfortunately, as the below sections suggest, The Havannah has a long way to go before being worth the price tag.

CHECK-IN - 8/10
Upon arrival, much to my surprise, we were guided past the small reception desk and sat in a beautiful lounge overlooking the water in front of the resort. The welcome mocktail was refreshing, as was the cold face towel which was gently fragranced by the most beautiful of essential oils. The stress we felt due to a few departure problems in Sydney and a confusing hotel transfer experience at Vila Airport almost instantly melted away as the resort's General Manager (Frederick) gave us a run down of his property. He brought us up to speed on a few things to look out for (stone fish, good places to snorkel, the nightly sunset cruise etc), mentioning that the resort staff would do our best to ensure our stay achieved exactly what we wanted - which in our case was relaxation. Frederick gave us a grand tour or the resort (which is fairly small), then showed us to our Villa. The Villa's plunge pool was near empty due to a recent maintenance issue, however Fredrick organised staff to resolve that issue quite quickly.

The Havannah's check-in process is refined and offers a first class welcome to the beautiful resort. Our plunge pool issue seemed like a 'one off' mistake - these things happen.

THE SERVICE - 6/10
Everyone has heard the term 'island time', and most expect slower service on a South Pacific holiday. I am surprised to report that food and beverage service was fairly efficient, certainly more so than the countless Fijian holidays I have enjoyed in the past. We only encountered an 'island time' wait for food or drink on a hand full of occasions, with most ordered items being delivered to our villa or table in perfect time.

One negative certainly worth noting was the attitude of some staff in the resort's one and only restaurant. On a few occasions, we found the staff abrasive to the point of insult. My partner and I are remarkably polite individuals, so the attitude we encountered was definitely not a retort of any kind.

FOOD - 7/10
The food served during lunch and dinner was pretty good. Most dishes were delicious, fresh, and well plated. The only dish I had which was truly subpar was the duck, which was completely overlooked and the skin like eating rubber. It is worth noting that I ordered Oysters on many occasion and were told that the kitchen had none.

Breakfast was acceptable, though most servings of toast were stale and servings of poached eggs served were overlooked. The coffee was excellent on the first four days of our stay, which for us was a huge deal - we don't like starting my day with bad coffee. Unfortunately the last few mornings' coffee were far too hot or burnt. On one occasion, the restaurant was unable to accommodate our request for Orange Juice with breakfast, but that isn't all bad because the juice wasn't fresh - it was from a box. I was also denied my choice of corn and potato fritters on one occasion.

I was disappointed to find that the lunch menu available through The Havannah's web site is entirely different to that offered by the restaurant staff. Thankfully, the Menu offered was significantly better, with far more decent options than dinner! We enjoyed lunch by our plunge pool most days - which was lovely.

In conclusion, despite the food bring of an acceptable quality, it became a little tiresome eating at the one restaurant every day. Be prepared to leave the resort for some diversity in food options, especially if you're staying for more than a few days.

SPA - 8/10
My partner and I enjoyed a 90 minute treatment, and it was excellent. The Spa Villa was well appointed, though not as gorgeous as a number of the Spas I have visited in other countries. The treatment was well executed and more than reasonably priced.

DRINKS - 5/10
Although all wine we enjoyed was beautiful, all cocktails ordered were subpar. Having enjoyed my fair share of cocktails on beaches around the world, I can note without doubt that those enjoyed at the Havannah were by far the worst. Ingredients were missing or added in incorrect quantity. Key tropical drinks were blatantly missing from the menu, with my beloved Mojito nowhere to be seen. The Margaritas were some kind of frozen slush, which I may have enjoyed on my 18th birthday, but not on an expensive romantic getaway. I was extremely disappointed.

It is definitely worth complimenting the resort's wine list. Not having access to a huge amount of reasonably priced French wine back home, and having tried all listed Australian wines more than a few times back home, we enjoyed our fair share of French wines during the trip. They were all excellent, with the corked reds obviously being stored properly behind the scenes.

The resort was out of Lime for the first half of our stay, meaning no gin and tonic. I have never been to a tropical resort that has run out of lime, how strange.

Just for the hell of it, I decided to taste the lemon garnish that was affixed to the side of my cocktail glass on our second day. It tasted like washing detergent and didn't look freshly cut, which was the case with all cocktail garnishes observed throughout our stay. I strong believe the garnish used for cocktails is recycled, being washed between uses. Yikes.

STAFF - 6/10
All staff were pleasant, though one staff member took it upon themselves (in an unprompted manner) to tell us they was getting paid only 157 Vatu per hour. This made my partner and I feel a little uncomfortable, as in the same conversation as this was offered, we ordered a 3,300 Vatu bottle of French wine. Upon reflection, my partner and I suspect the wait staff member's comments were intended to generate tips.

As mentioned above, the attitude of most staff is fine, though a couple are extremely abrasive. Rudeness kills my relaxation, what a shame.

COST - 4/10
Bring your wallet - Food and Beverage at the Havannah will cost a pretty penny. Are the food and beverage offered worth the money? No. In my mind, if you want to charge Western prices for drinks, they should meet Western quality. Our 5 nights' F&B came in at around AU$1700. I strongly suspect a number of charges were missing from our final bill.

SECURITY - 7/10
On one occasion throughout our stay, found myself our the front of our villa, using the flashlight on my mobile phone for a period of no more than 1 minute. 20 seconds after entering the Villa, I opened the door to two of the most scary Polynesian security staff I have ever seen. They were checking to ensure everything was okay after seeing my flashlight. I was amazed at their response time and immediately felt safe beyond compare. Even if a gang of man-eating super sharks had crawled out of the ocean to kill us in our sleep, these security guys would have beat them back into the ocean, blind folded and without waking us up.

The lock on our Villa's front door broke twice during our stay, resulting in our having to leave the villa unlocked.

COCKROACHES - 0/100,000,000
This is, by far, the dampener. Our villa, number 15, suffered what can only be described as a cockroach infestation. Throughout our stay, we found ourselves killing no less than 17 huge cockroaches, in addition to countless smaller cockroaches. They all seemed to be coming from underneath the wooden deck floor in the bathroom. We also found ourselves catching some huge spiders and releasing them back into the wild - resulting in a visit from the above mentioned security staff.

ENTERTAINMENT / FACILITIES - 4/10
There is no in-room entertainment. There is a library of mostly counterfeit DVDs at reception, however descent titles are sparse and we found ourselves getting half through one movie, only to find that the disc was damaged and we couldn't want any more.

The beanbag chairs outside the restaurant offer an awesome spot to unwind. A beautiful (pre-dinner) bottle of wine and game of chess fast became our favourite way of welcoming the night sky.

Each night, the resort lights a bonfire on the beach. My partner and I lay in some sun chairs next to the blaze on our second last night, enjoying the stars and a bottle of wine. This is the memory I will always recount when explaining our trip to The Havannah, though it would have been better without the local village kids constantly shining a green laser pointer in our faces. Additionally, it would have been nice if the restaurant waitstaff hadn't looked at us strangely when asked if there was more wood for the fire.

Having enjoyed much bigger plunge pools at other resorts, I wasn't initially sure if I would be satisfied with the small private patch of water in front of our Villa. My partner and I spent a fair bit of time in that patch of water, it was a more than adequate place to soak our loins. Unfortunately the water started to turn yellow towards the end of our stay, likely because the water is fresh, untreated, and received a huge amount of leaves from the trees above in front of our Villa.

IN CONCLUSION - 5/10: Ambivalent.
A beautiful resort with unusually efficient Island service and level of intimacy. Staff will call you by first name, which feels good considering the money spent to stay in a villa that wouldn't be 5 star in any other country. Prepared to feel like you're one of very few guests staying at the resort, even if it's operating at 100% capacity.

Vanuatu's tourism sector has certainly evolved across the last decade, and if The Havannah is anything to go by, the next decade is going to really put Vanuatu on the map as a premier destination. Still, at this point in time, greater luxury can be found in other countries also quite geographically close to Australia.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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5  Thank Ben B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Havannah-GM, General Manager at The Havannah, Vanuatu, responded to this reviewResponded 26 November 2013

Dear Ben
Thank you for this thorough review of the Havannah. As you had mentioned to me some of the issues you experienced prior to your departure, I had already addressed them.

In answer and clarification of some of your other points, which you did not mention at the time, I have followed your point form format.

Food: we do not serve oysters as we can only obtain frozen oysters which I refuse to serve. There are no oysters on the menu. Orange juice is only available in carton as the oranges that grow in Vanuatu are too bitter to make juice out of, however we have a daily fresh juice which may be grapefruit, watermelon or pawpaw.
I am having an issue with the web page as I was able to incorporate the menu but I am unable to change it. The web company is looking at it and hopefully can have it resolved soon.

Drinks: I will follow up with the bartenders with regards to recipes. As far lime is concerned, again we are on an island and supply is far from being consistent. We do our best to buy produce from the local and the produce sometime is not available. We were out of lime only for one day!
You are assuming that we recycle our cocktail garnishes which I guarantee we do not.

Staff: both the staff who serve you in the restaurant and the staff who serve you in your villa telling you about her wages have been spoken to on the day of your departure. All staff have been notify that chasing tips is not acceptable and their job will be on the line if this occur again.

Cost: Everything on an island is expensive! Whilst we endeavour to buy a lot of local produces, we still have to buy imported goods and produces which with airfreight cost twice as much as in Australia.

Cockroaches: As advised, and as soon you told me, I had the villa fumigated. We are in a tropical area and with the incoming wet season, these unwelcome creatures tend not to read the DND sign. We treat our resort twice yearly and to date had not had a big issue. In any case, it has been attended to.

Entertainment: We can only purchase from the supermarkets, counterfeit DVD as it is the norm here.
I will organize to have a little stock of additional wood hidden on the beach.

I will also make sure that all staff receives a copy of your feedback, so they can all improve. We would like to think that we can be perfect, and I am sure they will learn from it.

Kind regards
Frederick

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Reviewed 24 November 2013

We could not have chosen anywhere better to stay for our honeymoon. The staff, the location, the villa, the food... everything was spectacular. We were greeted by Bruce, one of the loveliest staff members at The Havannah, were taken to the restaurant while our bags were taken to our room, were given a drink before Frederick, the owner of The Havannah, came and introduced himself personally and gave advice on where to go and what to do. The next few days were truly relaxing, we snorkelled, we swam, we relaxed, went sight seeing and enjoyed a gorgeous couples massage in the spa... it was amazing. Every morning and every evening we were greeted with a smile by the staff and were treated like royalty. I would recommend The Havannah to anyone who is looking for a relaxing time away.

Thank you Frederick and Victoria for having us at your beautiful resort. What you are doing is spectacular, we can't wait to return <3

Room Tip: We stayed in Villa 17 which was the beach villa on the very end. We didn't hear anything from an...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank MelFairclough
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Havannah-GM, General Manager at The Havannah, Vanuatu, responded to this reviewResponded 25 November 2013

Dear Mel
Thank you for this brilliant review of the Havannah, however I need to correct you on one thing, I am the General Manager of the resort, and not the owner, I wish I was! In any case, I am very happy that you both had a great honeymoon and that our staff took great care of you. We are not that far from SA, so I hope it will not be too long before you return to the Havannah. Until then, take care!
Kind regards to you and G.
Frederick

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Reviewed 19 November 2013

Great location with million dollar views, ideal for couples on romantic get away in tropical paradise, The weather was ideal, (some rain) but seems to rain less on this side of the island compared to Port Villa. The highlights for me the location, staff, the water activities snorkeling in crystal clear water just off the beach, out rigger canoes kayaks, all the locals are very friendly and helpful.
Thanks to Philimon and Moro who were excellent, the complementary boat trip to isolated beach on near by island for snorkeling and picnic very memorable, sunset cruise a must do . Our outrigger adventure with Moro a memorable high light.
All the reception staff , chef and restaurant staff gardeners and room staff top class.
i read some reviews that gave an average rating, complaining that the orders were slow to be written down, please ignore these ( some people cant be pleased )
The managers Frederick and Victoria have made improved things so only go with recent reviews and helping with plans for even more luxurious villas to be built.
Special thanks to the gardeners who had great pride in their work and the grounds were beautiful, Noel ( gardener) after working all day , offered to walk us down to his local village in his own time, he happy to show us around and give us an in-site into village life. It was a privilege to see this family and fellow villagers , their sustainable lifestyle were people work hard, fish, grow crops and are so happy . This really shows what is important in life.
Very memorable stay.

Room Tip: Rooms by the pool have own pool ( looks great at night) but are closer together. Outer rooms behind...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank glenn caroline M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Havannah-GM, General Manager at The Havannah, Vanuatu, responded to this reviewResponded 25 November 2013

Dear glenn caroline M
Thank you so much for your review of our resort. It is always very rewarding to read about our guests experience and their interaction with our staff. I will pass on your comments to them as it is also important that they know they can and do make a difference, It was a pleasure to have you staying at the Havannah and I hope we will see you back there soon!
Kind regards
Frederick

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Reviewed 3 November 2013

Got back from Vanuatu a couple of weeks ago and we're still full of memories. This holiday was one of the best ones ever - beyond relaxing and amazing! The staff at The Havannah, as well as Frederick, the hotel manager, are wonderful and absolutely there to make your stay as great as humanly possible. Yes, things do take a bit longer than when you are not in a tropical paradise, but hey, you're in a tropical paradise, so who cares! The food is amazing, the villas not just like in the photos, but better and everything is designed so you don't have to think at all, everything magically appears in front of you (especially if you take the cruise on Saturday). We'll definitely come back and would recommend this resort to anyone.

Room Tip: Go for the poolside villa, the privacy is still there, but the pool is bigger (and it's an infin...
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Iva_Mario
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Havannah-GM, General Manager at The Havannah, Vanuatu, responded to this reviewResponded 4 November 2013

Dear Eva_Mario
Thank you so much for your kind comments and review of the Havannah, I am glad you have had a great time. The Vagabond cruise does not run every Saturday, it actually run once a week, on any given days once we have assessed the weather, but it is a great day out when we do it.
Thank you also for recommending us to your family and friends, and I hope to welcoming you back soon!
Kind regards
Frederick

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Reviewed 30 October 2013

We spent 5 days at the Havannah at the beginning of September. Everything was perfect for us, we wanted a short break where we could relax, rest and just do our own thing. The accommodation was fantastic, we had a pool lagoon villa, No 9. Food was also great, as were the staff. We highly recommend the Havannah for those wanting a relaxing kid free break.

Room Tip: Pool lagoon villas are very private, yet close to the restaurant and bar. Beautifully appointed with...
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Karen J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Havannah-GM, General Manager at The Havannah, Vanuatu, responded to this reviewResponded 31 October 2013

Dear Karen J
Thank you for your comments and for taking the time to write your review. I am very happy to read that you will return soon and for longer next time. I will pass on your thanks to our staff and we will look forward to welcoming you back soon.
Kind regards
Frederick

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Reviewed 28 October 2013

Amazing, first time over to Vanuatu and The Havannah was the perfect place to stay. Manager,Frederick and the staff were so kind and friendly. You can just relax by the pool or go snorkeling on the sail boat which is a must do. Food was fantastic. You honestly do not need to leave the resort everything is available to you. In fact we are going to go back and stay longer.
Thank you to e drone at The Havannah. Margaret and Martin Thorn

Room Tip: We stayed at the lagoon, but really any room is great
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Margaret-Mary T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Havannah-GM, General Manager at The Havannah, Vanuatu, responded to this reviewResponded 29 October 2013

Dear Margaret and Martin
I am so glad you have had a wonderful time at the Havannah and that you are planning to come back. It was great to spend some time together on the Vagabond cruise as it allows me to know my guests better. I look forward to welcoming you both back at the Havannah.
Kind regards
Frederick

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Additional Information about The Havannah, Vanuatu

Address: Samoa Point, Port Vila, Efate 1111, Vanuatu
Phone Number:
Region: Vanuatu > Efate > Port Vila
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Spa Hotel in Port Vila
#2 Romantic Hotel in Port Vila
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Port Vila
#3 Luxury Hotel in Port Vila
Price Range: £258 - £582 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — The Havannah, Vanuatu 4.5*
Number of rooms: 17
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Havannah is Vanuatu's adult only luxury retreat for couples. Located just 30 minutes drive from the International Airport the Havannah overlooks the pristine waters of Havannah Harbour on the northern side of the main island of Efate. The tranquility of the resort makes it an ideal place to unwind and rediscover yourself and each other. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Havannah Hotel Port Vila
The Havannah, Vanuatu Port Vila

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