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“A slice of heaven”

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Aquana Beach Resort
Ranked #9 of 47 Hotels in Port Vila
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 8 October 2012

We enjoyed 10 days at Aquana in September with an 8 year old and a 5 year old. Greeted on arrival with a shell necklace, the best tropical fruit smoothie you are likely to taste and a guided tour, we knew we were on to a good thing. Bungalows are modern, clean, well maintained and equipped with most “modcons” (bring a hairdryer if you want one to hand as not provided in rooms - yet). Our beach front “home away from home” was perfect for keeping an eye as the kids wandered.

There is much to like about Aquana but the staff and owners would have to be top of the list. We had a 6 star “service with a smile” experience from everyone from housekeeping to restaurant and reception staff. Nothing was too much trouble. Chatting with Hugo had to be one of the highlights of any day. The restaurant food is as good as it gets –often homemade, fresh & good quality and cooked with care. The seafood was beautiful, beef equally so. Delicious! Good Tanna coffee too. Don’t pass up a hot dish at breakfast (included in your room rate).

The nannies at Aquana are worth their weight in gold. Who needs “kids club”?
These special ladies are on hand from early morning til late evening to watch out for and play with the kids. We watched them cradle babies, amuse toddlers, play with preschoolers/school-age kids and hang out with teenagers. Thank you to Priscilla, Florah, Vicky, Nalini and Yazna for making our kids feel special and for teaching them how to weave many interesting things from coconut leaves.

If total relaxation is what you are after you, you can’t beat Aquana. We dragged ourselves away to go on 4 of the tours organised by the resort – village/coconut, Eton Beach/Blue Lagoon, Port Villa/Cascades and Outrigger/snorkelling and can recommend booking tours through Aquana. You will be well looked after, never rushed and well fed. Special thanks to Deliana and Patrick for a memorable Cascades outing and to Suli, Deli, Priscilla and Florah for an equally wonderful Eton Beach trip.

Evening entertainment provided at Aquana included marshmallow toasting, fire dancers, trivia night and string band. Not to mention the Lazy Sunday brunch and chill out live music. All were very enjoyable and an unexpected bonus.

As luck would have it, we needed to seek medical attention while in Vanuatu. The Aquana staff ensured that we received probably the medical care available on Etafe (which, by the way, compared very favourably to home).

As relaxing holidays go, our stay at Aquana was one of our best and most definitely a 5 star experience. Our kids were very sad to leave and we had to promise to go back to Aquana again soon (one of the easier promises we’ve had to make!). An extra special mention goes to Rex who made the holiday all the more memorable for our dog-loving kids. A huge “TankYu Tu Mas” to Hugo, Birgit, Marcel, Fabienne and all the wonderful staff for happy memories of our first, of hopefully many, stays at Aquana.

Room Tip: Beachfront rooms for uninterrupted views although most bungalows have water views
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  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with family
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4  Thank Ainemhaire25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 5 October 2012

We have just returned from 12 days in Vanuatu and spent 10 days at Aquana Beach Resort. My family of four, boys aged 9 and 12, had a wonderful and relaxing holiday. Aquana lived up to all the hype that I read on Trip Advisor before leaving. Staff and management were terrific. The Ni Van staff were very happy and friendly and a pleasure to be with. My boys really enjoyed interacting with the Ni Van staff when they went snorkeling or for a bush walk with them. It is the incidental interaction that was the most pleasant. We did three tours and would recommend them all, The Eton Beach, Village walk and Outrigger canoe. The village walk was especially enlightening and provided our family with a good insight into the lives of Ni Van people. I would recommend Aquana to anyone, especially families with young children.

Room Tip: All the bungalows are good but would opt for a front row if I had to choose. We stayed in a number o...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank klbc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 September 2012

We loved our 5 days at Aquana. The combination of sunshine, comfort, good food and friendly service was just what was needed after a dreary NZ winter.

The unit was super clean and spacious. Certainly not top end luxury but plenty of space and light, optional air conditioning, and a patio to sit out on. We found the setting very easy on the eye. The pool is great for a cool-off. The man-made beach is perfectly swimmable too, but as others have said snorkelling is better further out via kayak or Outrigger trip.

DIning was a treat every time - usually outdoors. The food Marcel and his staff produce is delicious and consistently so. Not too expensive either.

For us this was a perfect place to stay, as our prime purpose was to relax, read, swim and eat! We much preferred this to a bigger less personal resort. We were not bothered by the many children staying, who were generally happy and busy - so well cared for by the gentle Aquana nannies. But if you're not keen on children it might not be the best choice for you.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank TLTrish
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 September 2012

Aquana Beach Resort would have to be one of the most welcoming places I have ever had the pleasure to stay in. My husband, Daughter, her partner and 4 month old son had the delight of staying at Aquana for 5 days (and we wish it had been much longer) as part of our 3rd trip to Vanuatu. Before we arrived the ease at which all our arrangements were made via email contributed to the enjoyment of our stay.

It is the people (and animals) that create the atmosphere at Aquana. They are always willing to stop and have a chat, to get you that little something extra or to arrange a trip for you. The nannies are some of the most gentle natured young women I have had the pleasure to meet and we never had any reservations about handing over our grandson to them.

The food is amazing - Marcel is a master of using beautiful fresh local produce and was happy to accommodate even our request for a special birthday seafood platter.
My daughter has a number of special dietary requirements and nothing was too much trouble for Marcel, he simply discussed her requirements and then we didnt have to worry again. A beautiful meal was presented to her no matter what time of the day.

The bungalows are comfortable (if you are looking for flashy all mod cons then they possibly wont suit you).You can see that the gardens are only young, as is the resort but given time they too will have the same lush tropical look of some of the more established resorts.

One of the reasons for our trip to Vanuatu this time was to find a venue for our daughters wedding next year. Initially we had planned t go to one of the larger resorts but very quickly realised that the atmosphere at Aquana was exactly what we were looking for.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank IndyCanberra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 September 2012

There were many great things about Aquana Beach resort however I can't give it 5 stars.

We went to Aquana Beach Resort back in July but have only got round to doing a review now, feel 3 out of 5 stars is too low, but I feel that Aquana is worth 3.5 stars but you can't seem to give 1/2 stars.

My biggest problems with the resort was the outlook and the villa's themselves. The setting or where the beach is isn't beautiful, or even pretty. As a previous reviewer said it was where former mangroves stood and they have sort of dumped a whole lot of sand and tried to form a beach of sorts. AS soon as you Kayak away from the property you get a feel for how pretty the area is especially near the luxury hotel around the corner, which gets some waves too.

The villa's felt really standardised and the lounges had the most unattractive green couches. It would have been great to have a bit more of a Vanuatu feel to the villa's instead they just felt like they had been furnished on the cheap. I understand that the villa's needed to be built strong enough to withstand the unpredictable rainy season however they just lacked imagination.

However there were many positives, the food was fantastic and I would go back just for the Sashami alone, though most of the dishes were superb, probably needed a few more choices. The beef in Vanuatu is superb, it's all grass fed and I do hope it remains that way.

The staff try so hard to please you, and the owners are very much hands on and available to help, answer questions and make suggestions. The nanny's provided by the resort during day time are a god send.

Aquana is away from Port Vila however I would strongly suggest you to hire a car for the day, it is easy to navigate around the island and is fun. I never realised that the island would be so quiet with pristine beaches and beautiful jungles.

This island has not been commercialised (yet) and is great to go and explore.

Room Tip: Take Snacks for your kids and remember the water has been treated.
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  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank deewhyres
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 September 2012

We have been to Vanuatu before having kids and have done all the sightseeing.
This time around it was about having a relaxing break with 1.5 and 3,5 year old and a 6 months pregnant wife :)

Vanuatu came on sale with Air NZ and after booking the flights I went straight on to trip advisor to look for the best hotel options.
At the time Aquana was ranked second best, but the top ranked resort was adults only, so the choice was really simple.

Communication was awesome and all my questions were answered timely. I whish I had asked more questions and made less assumptions, as that would off reduce my check in baggage weight :)
- kids toys - only essentials, they have that covered.
- beach towels - fresh every day
- extra food for kids - not needed, unless you have special dietary requirements.

Aquana is not the cheapest place to stay and eat, but if you compare the value it looks surprisingly appealing.
- breakfast included. I am the only one in our family who is not picky about the food, but the entire family absolutely loved the selection.
- babysitting is complementary, you will be paying 400 VT per hour to a babysitter if you want to go out for dinner, but during the day it is included and the caregivers are really great. Our kids did not want to leave the place because of the relationship they have established with the ladies. Very safe, lots and lots of fun for the kids with all the playing and entertainment.
- actual unit is great, tidy, serviced daily at the time you want. Everything, including aircond, fans, TV, fridge works. Kids friendly, meaning that my kids have failed to make any damage to anything.
- food for lunch and dinner was stunning. I was happy with the standard options on the menu, but for kids we had to ask them to mix and match things, and they have actually done that. If you ask something that is not on the menu, couple of times the chef came out to talk to us on how would our kids want this to be done.
- we really enjoyed the entertainment including the trivia night, fire dancers and the local band.

- we have taken complementary shuttle to the city and yes, it is free :)
- we have taken kayaks and it takes about 20 minutes of paddling to get to the first good snorkelling site.
- we have taken a snorkelling tour. Worth it as it includes the food and they take you a bit further away than you can paddle.
- we enjoyed the village tour.

yet again, speak to the management as they are happy to tailor a lot of things for you.

minor disadvantage that is worth considering, Aquana has artificial beach and the water in the lagoon is muddy, so if you are into snorkelling, you have to get out on the reef.

Other than that many thanks to Marcel and Fabienne for our great holiday.

We will be back next year!

William, Olga, Maxwell, Maria

Room Tip: watrfront rooms are best
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  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with family
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4  Thank WilliamG-NZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 September 2012

Aquana is a new property built where mangroves once stood and feels out of place. If you look at aerial imagery, you really get a sense of how much of the environment was changed to build this resort. The resort itself feels like it could be anywhere; there are even two jetties built from trucked-in sand. The bungalows are very modern and lacking any character.

That said, Aquana is a very pleasant place to stay, though perhaps better for families than for others. There were children everywhere, being cared for by a very attentive staff. If, however, you don't have a brood of children or you want to feel like you've left Australia, you might want to look elsewhere.

The highlight of Aquana was the food. It was really, really, really good.

Aquana is a ways from Port Vila and though they will arrange rides for you, you will not get a good deal on that ride. They charge 2000 vatu per person for a ride to/from town. If you find your own ride from town, you will pay something more like 1000 vatu per person. Even a shorter ride where we picked up some of the Aquana staff on the way cost me 1500 vatu. Tour operators will not pick up from this location.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with friends
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9  Thank Susannah R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Aquana Beach Resort

Address: Eratap Road, Port Vila, Efate, Vanuatu
Region: Vanuatu > Efate > Port Vila
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in Port Vila
#6 Romantic Hotel in Port Vila
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Port Vila
Price Range: £128 - £225 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Aquana Beach Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Opened in 2012, Aquana Beach Resort has become Vanuatu's leading three and a half star family friendly boutique Resort and this has largely been due to the unique childcare approach it has developed and the quality of the food from it's very popular casual dining restaurant. Located 25 minutes from the International Airport and only 15 minutes from the town centre, Aquana is situated in a large lagoon surrounded by groups of deserted islands and pristine reefs. Aquana has a 150 meter long man-made beach great for children to be able to play free from danger and for adults to relax on and soak up the sun. Aquana consists of 16 bungalows all located within 30 meters of the lagoon front and a hot a la carte and a continental breakfast are both included in the room rate and the resorts idyllic surroundings provides the perfect location for weddings and functions. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Aquana Beach Resort Vanuatu/Port Vila

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