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“Mixed island feelings”

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Hideaway Island Resort
Ranked #12 of 47 Hotels in Port Vila
Certificate of Excellence
Sydney, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Mixed island feelings”
Reviewed 1 March 2009

Recently stayed two nights on Hideaway and is definitely a place to go if you are mad for diving or snorkelling. However, I think I would recommend to friends to take a day trip or for one night only.

The pluses:
Lots of fish, reef so close to the island, very relaxing, lovely staff, great cocktails and brilliant food (fish curry & grilled poulet fish was fantastic). Thursday night is the Melanesian feast and that was great fun.

Minuses:
Accommodation was a bit grim and had trouble sleeping due to humidity. We tried to upgrade from twin share to bungalow but they were booked solid but the twin shares had small slatted windows and tin roofs, so got hot and stayed hot. Once you have snorkelled and swum not a lot else to do.

I definitely think this island is for the keen divers and snorkellers and maybe not so great as a base. Found the accommodation just a bit primitive for me and have realised I am not a shared toilet kind of gal.

To be fair, it is what it is and I probably should have considered that a bit more before I booked the twin share. Still for $20 more a night we stayed in a beautiful resort in Port Vila with breakfast included (Sunset Bungalows) so don't really think it's great value comparatively.

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Beckert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (155)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Australia
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 February 2009

We stayed in a 1 bedroom bungalow at the Hideaway Island resort for 2 nights. The island is so beautiful! You only have to swim a metre or two from the coral shore to see amazing marine life! So many fish species and coral. It really beats the great barrier reef tours!

The bungalows are comfortable for the price tag- I think we paid around A$150 as it was wet season. No air con, just a cealing fan. It was hot, but not too uncomfortable to sleep in. There is a little lounge for you to sit in and most bungalows open up to a waterfront view. You have to walk a minute or two to reception to be able to swin, it's not at your door. But it's one minute away! You should expect to bring the insect repellent and you'll see a few qecko's, but nothing too bad. You get what you pay for. I'm guessing Irriki Island will be more luxurious, but it's double the price and right in the heart of the city!

The food is nice, but the prices are pretty much the same as in Australia. Don't expect to eat cheap in Vanuatu. It is a tourist town! Unless you go to the local market. Right at the back of the market, there are make shift kitchens and you can buy a curry and rice for about $4! The fruits are amazing too! So sweet!

All in all, we loved staying at this island just for the snorkelling. It really was fantastic. It was pretty quite and probably a 15 minute ferry and bus away from the heart of port vila. The resort needs a makeover as it's getting a little old, but i guess it's not too bad and the cost is pretty good! We stayed at Poppy's for the rest of the time. That was pretty nice too- closer to the city centre (which is a main street).

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Adi_09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Darwin
1 review
Reviewed 9 February 2009

Hideaway Island Resort is the best stay on Efate in Vanuatu. It offers some of the most sensational coral reef snorkelling in Vanuatu just 50m from your island bungalow!

Friendly staff good times good people, the local village of Mele is just a 24/7 Ferry ride away!

For those who like to get away from the big smoke (like Port Villa) this is a lush tropical island oasis with all your needs met in one.

Cheers David

  • Liked — CLose to snorkelling -fantastic friendly staff
  • Disliked — Some mosquitos
  • Stayed January 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Aviddd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 7 February 2009

There is a Pool!
We arrived at the resort later than expected due to plane delays but were welcomed with a refreshing cold drink on arrival. Hideaway is only 15 min from the airport and a 5 min boat ride. The staff were very helpful at showing us to our Beachfront Bungalows.
Thanks Stella, Lili, Sue and all the rest of the staff.
The Bungalows were larger than expected and had plenty of room for myself and 4 teenagers (18,17,15,13). There is a safe in the room and all have views of the water. The bathroom has plenty of room which was great as I had my 3 daughters with me.
We were able to walk from the veranda, where the hammock hangs, down to the water directly to snorkel whenever we wanted. The snorkelling equipment was free to guests. Clean beach towels when required and daily service to our room. The cleaners really did a thorough job including folding up clothes left lying around. The kids thought this was so cute.
There are also alternate accommodation options available. Dorm rooms with 2 bunks in each and shared facilities. Twin rooms that are in the lodge that also have shared facilities.
The Resort offers a Tv with DVD player, some board games and 1 computer with internet connection in a common room. The kids used the games.
*There is a Pool now right next to the reception area. (see photo) this is perfect for a refreshing swim at the end of the day without your snorkelling gear on.
This pool is for guests use only so when day trippers come to the island this comes in handy if the beach chairs are all taken up.
Altogether we were a party of 9 occupying 2 bungalows. My friend and her 3 boys really enjoyed their stay as well.
*I went for 4 scuba dives and my 4 kids did the discover scuba. They loved it.
Bathtub diving with some of the best and biggest clown fish I have ever seen.
The dive shop was more than helpful with all our diving needs.
Thanks Thomas, Mel, Donald, Kevin, Henry and Joka.
*The restaurant food was really nice and being served directly on the beach gives you a real tropical feel. Those curries were the best. Or maybe the coconut prawns were. Hmm The kids loved the burgers and chips mainly of course.
If something wasn’t on the menu at dinner and you asked nicely they might give you something from the lunch menu. Oh my kids really loved the pancakes for breakfast.
Melanesian night is on Thursday nights definitely Worth the Vatu. We danced around a fire.
Thanks Jo, Nick, Nancy, Charity, Lulu, Alice and the rest of the kitchen staff and Chef.
*Wildlife on the island amused the kids during the day and night. Hermit crabs the size of tennis balls down to baby 2 millimetres. The Geckos were all sizes and very friendly.
*When you want to go into town the staff will organize a bus to meet you and if you ask your driver he might be able to pick you up when you finished shopping. It will cost around 300VT per head. Ask for Lolo or Moses as they were very good to us.
*Shopping in Port Vila for food is confusing but the supermarket in the petrol station nearest the Resort is better than main one in town.
*The markets are in 2 places now. The Produce one is on Saturdays and finish at 2.
The trinket market is open every day they do hair brading for 1000VT and have lots of sarongs and jewellery.
Toilets. Please expect to pay for the privilege and paper.40VT (They are clean)
There is a coffee shop, pizza place and fresh juice at one end of the markets.
*Must see Cascade waterfalls. To get there you can walk from Hideaway which will take around 40min one way or catch a bus. These falls are amazing and will cost around 1500VT ($20AUD) per adult and 750Vt per child. Take water bottle and maybe a snack as you will be gone for a few hours.

To Sum up Hideaway.
I’m going back with or without kids.
No phone(yes there is reception but the kids don’t need to know that).
No TV
Quiet, relaxing or active and entertaining. Your choice.
Dont forget to post an underwaterpost card from the underwater post office.

  • Liked — The serenity, Views and the people.
  • Disliked — Slow flushing toilet
  • Stayed January 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank Travelling_Kazz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 3 February 2009

We were interested to read a recent review of Hideaway Island, especially with reference to Bungalow 1A and suspect that perhaps the reviewers experience may have been heavily influenced by the unfortunate inclement weather experienced during their holiday. We enjoyed a week including Christmas and New Year on Hideaway and it was our 4th visit to the resort – on all occasions, we have stayed in Bungalow 1A which has been at our specific request! It is admittedly one of the older, more “rustic” bungalows on the island & whilst not everything is perfect (the sliding door to the patio could do with some renovations), many improvements have been made since our last stay & it is in a very quiet, private location with its own direct stairway access to the beach. It is spacious and clean (no mozzies, fleas or ants when we’ve been there) with a lovely view across the water to the mainland. Bungalow 1A nearly always receives a gentle breeze (lovely for hammock snoozes) but more importantly for the warmer months, doesn’t face towards the setting sun, so is in a much cooler location than the bungalows which do.
The Ni-Van staff of Hideaway Island are just delightful and with Stella at the helm, are unquestionably one of the key reasons why we return. The warmth and friendliness of the nearby Mele villagers and especially the children is also wonderful and we strongly recommend a stroll along Mele Bay or perhaps take the official Village Walk so you can meet some of them during your stay. The food on the island is good – Bruce and his team provide generally simple fare but always delicious and delivered by the Ni-Van staff with a lovely smile & a chat – dinner under the stars is always memorable and the fish curries are excellent!
It was a lovely surprise to discover the new swimming pool this year – the snorkelling was so good off the beach, we didn’t use the pool very often but it’s great to know that there is now an alternative place to cool-off should the ocean conditions not be ideal. And last but not least, it is always lovely to reaquaint ourselves with Miss Heidi, the Pussycat Queen of Hideaway Island. A lovely gentle little creature, she is as tolerant of day-trippers as long-stay visitors to “her” island.
We’ve been so lucky to travel extensively throughout the Pacific and feel that Hideaway Island offers a relaxed whilst rustic option for travellers who are “over” the impersonal, generic-style hotels and resorts which have been established in some Pacific destinations and also in parts of Vanuatu. A stay on Hideaway Island provides a “real” Vanuatu island experience, wonderful snorkelling and a lovely escape from the “rat-race” and we would highly recommend it to any experienced travellers who arrive with an open mind and a free spirit.

  • Stayed December 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
70 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 January 2009

My fiance and I stayed in Twin Share room #1 for 9 nights in January 2009. Our room was one of the cheaper options; I believe there was also private bungalows available.

The room itself was basic and small but clean. Our twin share room did not have a shower or toilet, as we knew perfectly well when we booked, but happily we did have a basin with a rack for items and a mirror. There was a bar fridge, kettle and continually replenished tea, coffee, sugar and milk supplies. Although the overhead light is dim, there is a strong light above the bed for reading.

The bed itself was average and wire could be felt through the mattress. The whole bed collapsed on us twice because in one corner it is held up by bricks! I am sure this is a temporary issue only.

There is no airconditioning, though there is a ceiling fan and a pedastal fan and the ceilings are very high. The fans were adequate for us, though some fellow guests were really suffering in the humidity with no airconditioning. Certainly if you don't think you will like being constantly wet and never dry, perhaps consider another resort as the humidity levels are high in Vanuatu.

Room #1 is square shaped and two of its sides were lined with louvre windows, with one side of louvres opening out onto the communcal balcony with a sea-view.

Other twin-share room guests were not so fortunate, having rooms between two other rooms and therefore only having one face of the room with louvres (and very little light). One guest laughingly and in good humour joked that her room was like a "cage", so perhaps ask for room #1?

While the fresh air and view were lovely, many guests chose to smoke just outside our room on the balcony which filled our room with cigarette smoke even with the louvres closed.

A trivial complaint is that there was several patches of dry blood on our top-sheet when we arrived which normally doesn't bother me but there was so much of it in some parts that it had crusted like a scab! But overall everything was lovely and clean. I'm sure if we complained the lovely staff would have changed it but we didn't bother to complain and the sheets got changed in two days anyway.

The shared bathroom is much better than you might think - nothing like a caravan park's. You actually get your whole private, lockable "room" with toilet, shower, basin and plenty of space for setting things down and drying off. The hibiscus flowers were a nice touch. Unfortunately the water is a magnet for ridiculous numbers of mosquitoes so take your insect repellent!

The staff are incredibly helpful and friendly. It would also not be fair of me to fail to mention the beautiful, inspiring and fresh food from the restaurant. Prices are around what you pay in Australia to a little bit more than what you pay in Australia ($20 - $30 AU per main meal), but this is the same as Port Vila and Vanuatu in most restaurants.

The overall demographic of the guests was really lovely; most are Australian or NZer, and all are very friendly people of all ages from 20s to 60s and families.

Please be aware that if you like to "do" things on your holiday, it may be wiser to stay in Port Vila. Hideaway is a minimum ten minute drive from town - often longer if you take the minibuses (half the price of taxis), as they drop the locals off at their individual houses down long, unsealed roads which take a very long time to drive down. The reason I say this is not just because of time though; for the two of us, the return trip to town was 1200 vatu, or around $14 AUD - not heaps but enough that you don't want to go to town 2 times a day.

There is a ferry from Hideaway Beach which takes five minutes to get to Hideaway Island. It is 24 hours and is always very quick to arrive (there is a signaller to let someone know you are there if you come home from a club etc at 3am, or if you have a late arriving flight).

The island, as other reviews have stated, has coral beach only and so it is important to take reef shoes or similar. We snorkelled 15 times on our trip including 5 at Hideaway and the snorkelling is very good though it is a little better (more diversity, more of it) at Tarra Beach up the road and better again at Paradise Cove.

The island becomes extremely over-crowded when a cruise-ship is docked, and this is about 3 to 4 times per week. The visitors stay until about 3:30pm to meet their 4:30pm curfew on the cruise ship. There are also many day-trippers from Vila so be prepared for a crowded beach during the day (we opted to snorkel in peace at around 5pm for this reason....was lovely!)

Also note that guided tours are reluctant to pick you up from Hideaway; only one out of five of ours did collect us. All in all, if you are like us and want to do lots of day trips, it will work out better to stay in Vila. If you want to soak up the sunshine and relax for a fabulous price, Hideaway is for you!

  • Liked — food, friendly staff
  • Stayed January 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank Maddy1982
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 January 2009

Im shocked to hear that they are still putting people into room 1A - this room needs to be condemned!

Granted we arrived on Hideway Island in the pouring rain, but we thought that at least we could sit in the bunglow and read books. That wasnt to be...the bungalow that we were put in (1A) and paid $250 a night for was worse than inhabitable. It was dirty, the roof was collapsing in the kitchen area, it was infested with mossies, fleas and ants...and the shower flooded.

We told reception that we were leaving and not staying the full four days, but they said that they would be able to move us after the second night and only charge for two nights. We gave them the benefit of the doubt and the bungalow that they moved us to was indeed ten times better. This saved the holiday - and the great snorkelling right off the beach...but we still have a sour taste in our mouth.

  • Liked — snorkelling off the beach
  • Disliked — Room 1A
  • Stayed May 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Brisie_on_the_move
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hideaway Island Resort

Property: Hideaway Island Resort
Address: | Hideaway Island, Port Vila, Efate, Vanuatu
Region: Vanuatu > Efate > Port Vila
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Business Hotel in Port Vila
#8 Top resorts Hotel in Port Vila
#12 Family Hotel in Port Vila
#13 Romantic Hotel in Port Vila
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Hideaway Island Resort 2.5*
Number of rooms: 44
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Also Known As:
Hideaway Island Hotel Port Vila
Hideaway Island Port Vila
Hideaway Island Resort Vanuatu/Port Vila

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