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Reviewed 14 August 2011

Me and my boyfriend just got back from a 2 week holiday. 10 nights out of the 2 weeks were supposed to be spent at the Grand Hotel & Casino Port Vila, however our experience at this accommodation and Port Vila in general was not very impressive. Therefore 3 days into our stay we ended up leaving Vanuatu a whole week earlier.
We have been to many other hotels before and have never been this disappointed. I also used to work in the travel industry and have had the opportunity to inspect and stay at many different hotels before but have never seen such a rundown property. We are also not the complaining type, however we both felt it was very necessary to actually get on the net and write a review this time in order to save other people’s precious annual leave and money.
I really thought I had researched this place properly before we booked it, however everything I had read about this place on their website and other websites turned out to be completely false advertising.
One of the main reasons we decided to book this hotel was because we wanted accommodation with a gym, as we both like to maintain some fitness, and on the hotels website they claimed to have a fully equipped gym with an array of cardio equipment, free weights and a stretching and sit-up area etc. On our first day we asked at reception where the gym was and the man at the desk directed us there. We walked through a small hall way with a leaky roof as there were holes everywhere, there was dirty wet towels all over the floor and all that was in this tiny little smelly room was 2 cable multi gyms and 1 cross trainer which were all broken and looked like they hadn’t been functioning for months. All the cables on the multi gyms were snapped and were completely unusable. We were very disappointed and also wondered why the man at the front desk had not told us about the broken gym equipment when we asked him where the gym was. We went back to the front desk later to ask about the gym and it was a different man at this stage and he advised us that the gym was indeed unusable and had been for a while...also that the hotels plans were to get rid of the gym entirely in the near future. So the hotel staff and management are 100% aware of this situation, however they continue to advertise this as a feature at their resort. The man at the front desk advised us we could go across to Irriki and use the gym over there as we were guests at the Grand Hotel & Casino we were allowed to use all facilities at Irriki also. However, the gym over there was just as bad...everything was falling to pieces, pedals falling off bikes and cables on the multi gyms snapped or about to snap. At this stage we were both quite frustrated and decided to go for a swim in the pool there but could not even get in as there was no heating at all...it was freezing and would not have been enjoyable at all.
We went back across to our accommodation and noticed that the pool was also freezing there so we couldn’t even swim at our own hotel. We also noticed a bit later on that there was a sign by the pool advising that it was temporarily unavailable, so even if we wanted to we would not have been able to go for a swim.
This hotel is very run down and not at all a 4 star! Everything is falling to bits, there is holes in the walls, the carpet is very dirty and stained, the staff are very slow, lazy and are not very willing to help and it is very unhygienic and smells really bad in many areas of the hotel, especially in the lifts where we found ourselves having to hold our breath every time. The breakfast is very limited and consists of only some cereals, tinned fruits, bread and pastries which were actually mouldy. You also have to pay $5AUD per egg if you want eggs cooked for you. Our room constantly smelt of cigarette smoke as it travelled through the vents, our TV remote didn’t work, the toilet and the fridge made loud rumbling sounds which kept us awake all night, there was no fan in the bathroom so everything was constantly damp, I nearly stepped on a piece of glass in the shower, the staff woke us up at 8:30am asking to clean our room even though we had not even got out of bed yet so our room didn’t get cleaned and we were left with wet towels.
When we first advised the staff at the front desk that we were not happy with the hotel they did not seemed concerned at all. They didn’t offer us anything to try and fix the problem. We then asked if we checked out early if we would get any money back but they advised us that because we booked through a travel agent there was nothing they could do to assist us. We were so shocked that they didn’t even care in the slightest that we were considering checking out a week early; as most hotels would do everything they could to keep their guests happy. At that point we’d had enough and decided to change our flights to leave asap. Although we were walking out on 7 nights accommodation and had to pay a fee to change our flights we knew it was the better option as there was no way we were going to enjoy another week at that hotel, especially since everything at the hotel and all of Port Vila was super expensive.
We also got no signs of concern when we actually checked out on the third day of our stay. The lady at the desk just checked us out as normal and did not ask one question about why we were leaving so early.
My boyfriend and I were so happy to get out of the Grand Hotel & Casino and Port Vila and went and enjoyed the rest of our holiday on the Goldcoast.
Vanuatu is way overpriced, very rundown and does not look anything like the pretty pictures in the travel brochures... and I really do not recommend it at all! We were just thankful it was not our honeymoon.....

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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4  Thank BelindaJ24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HotelGMVanuatu, General Manager at Grand Hotel And Casino, responded to this reviewResponded 31 August 2011

I am surprised that the guests did not contact me directly to voice their concerns while they were staying at the hotel. I am always available for this very reason. The Gym has been closed due to water damage (as shown in the Guests picture) we do not advertise the gym on our website due to this.

We have no control over the temperature of the water in the Pool and certainly have no intention of heating it. It is necessary for safety reasons to close the pool from time to time for cleaning and maintenance, this work is done as quickly as possible and most guests understand this.

I do not feel it is necessary to comment on the quality of our breakfasts as a subsequent guests endorsement of the quality and variety says it all.

The genuine matters raised in this review have been passed to the respective department heads for immediate action. My team and I are sorry that the reviewer did not enjoy their stay at the Grand Hotel but we are glad that the remander of their stay on the Gold Coast was to their satisfaction.

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Reviewed 10 August 2011

We just recently came back from 10 days in Port Vila, it has not changed in the 10 years we were last there, this time we stayed at the Grand Hotel, nice hotel, very central with balconies over looking the harbour and the Iririki Resort, you could also catch the ferry over to the Iririki and had use of there facilities, breakfast was ok, but pity you had to pay extra to have eggs. The french rstaurant which is right next door to the Grand was very nice and also the Anchor Inn Hotel was nice for a meal. A day out on the Coongoola yacht was great and also Mele cascades .

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank JECMj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 August 2011

Just had a week at the Grand Hotel and absolutely loved it - the view from each balcony, especially the sunsets, no money could ever pay for. Our rooms were very well appointed, very clean, perfect for a holiday when the majority of the time you are not in your room other than to sleep. The staff aim to please and are quick to smile and offer warm words of welcome. One has to remember, you are not in a hotel in the heart of Sydney or New York, the staff are constantly being trained and are doing their absolute best. We loved sitting out on the terrace having breakfast, continental breakfast is complimentary and if you fancy something cooked it costs all of around AUD$6.00! Very cheap in my opinion. I will definitely go back and would definitely stay at the Grand Hotel again - only two or three weeks next time!! Location, location, location, says it all. Annette, Melbourne

Room Tip: The panoramic rooms are quite large and offer magnificent 360 degree views, standard rooms are very well appointed and also have great views
  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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4  Thank AnnetteMonty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 August 2011

We have previously stayed in Vanuatu and we found out about the Grand during a dinner experience. Since I am frequently traveling, my work brought me back to Vanuatu and Port Vila.
This time I chose to stay at the Grand and I liked it AGAIN! Last time, I came with my wife only to have dinner and the staff in the restaurant actually remembered me by my name, which was very impressive. I did not have much expectations also because my last stay in the other hotel wasn't that great.
I am not sure what other guests were commenting about so negatively. Yes there are few things, which could work better, if I would compare the hotels in Vanuatu with the ones in Australia or New Zealand. However, I know that I am not staying in a hotel in Sydney or Melbourne but in a very good 4 star hotel in a developing country and for that reason, I must say thumbs up for the Grand. I did stay in a panorama suite, which gives you 180 degree views over the bay and harbour. It was clean, adequately equipped, had flatscreen TV, minibar, ironing board, spacious closet and a bathroom with shower and EXTRA bathtub. In any other 4 star hotel (also in Oz and NZ) you can expect a bathtub with a shower curtain, that glues on to you in the morning or at best a small divider. The fact that the hotel is central is a great plus. Breakfast and dinner were again excellent. They recently changed the menu and included sushi, bbq pork and tuna to their starters. The main courses are amazing. I cannot remember when I last had a tuna steak cooked to my liking. I tried an italien white wine recommended by the waitress and was very impressed by it as I am actually used to the australien wines. I can't remember the name though.

I enjoyed my stay at the Grand and after reading some of those comments here, I have to say that most of those, I did not realize during my stay. There was no cigarette smoke in the lobby from the casino and the staff are attentive, polite and service oriented.
I did not experience any rude staff as written here before at all. This is not a family vacation hotel but certainly an escape pod for couples and business poeple. The panorama suites are awesome.
I have one recommendation to any future guest of any hotel in Vanuatu. Do not expect anything high, you will be much more pleased with the outcome and enjoy the whole package instead of looking after the small things and it is the same as everywhere in the world, if you take care of the staff, they will take care of you.

Room Tip: Every room has a balcony. The panorama suites are spacious with an extra seating corner. The bed is spacious. Ask for an upgrade!
  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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1  Thank 7_seas_traveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 July 2011

Although touted as one of the "Premier" Hotels in Port Vila, the Grand is sadly a little lacking in most areas.

Pros:
Ideally located for those with business in or around Port Vila, as it is right in the heart of town, with easy walking access to all amenities including restaurants, shops, markets and all businesses in Port Vila itself.

The rear of the hotel also serves as the direct access point across to Iririki Island resort, with a free shuttle ferry that goes every 10 minutes, so you can take the opportunity to go over there for a quick swim or spend a day lazing on the beach, snorkelling, sialing catamarans etc.

The Grand itself has a lovely pool and deck area, and staff are friendly and helpful. There is also the casino in the building if you are that way inclined, and a small bar / club on the top floor open at various times.

Cons:
The hotel is in need of a good going over. Just things our small group experienced throughout our week long stay were:
- Toilets not actually attached to the wall, so after a few uses they shifted and water leaked onto the bathroom floor (from the taps, NOT direct out of the toilet bowl).
- Shower pressure very lacking
- Rooms present nicely and have nice beds, but power points not working in places.
Overall just seems like it needs a bit of TLC to get it up to scratch.

We were only there for Breakfasts in the restaurant, and found this to be lacking in variety of food. A couple of cereals, tea / coffee, some toast, a couple of fruits each day and some pastries. The option of a hot buffett would add lots of cudos in my book, but sadly the only hot food other than ordering directly off a menu was a chef avqilqble to cook an omelette that was grossly over priced.

So there you have it .... a good place for a short business trip, but you want to be out of the hotel as much as possible for any dining and touristy type activities.

Room Tip: Ask for a room on one of the upper floors ... magnificent views of Port and Iririki Island
  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled on business
    • Value
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Thank Grimaz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HotelGMVanuatu, General Manager at Grand Hotel And Casino, responded to this reviewResponded 7 August 2011

Thank you for your comments and feedback, which I value. I will take up the maintenance matters with our team and have them rectified. Your comments regarding the helpfulness and friendliness of the staff will be passed on to them.

I need to respond to the coment regarding the breakfast. There are always 7 different cereals, 7 to 8 different types of fruit both fresh and canned and no less than 7 types of pastries on offer each day, sliced meats and cheese as well as the normal breakfast items. A full cooked breakfast, omeletes, eggs etc are available for a reasonable price.

If you would like to discuss you stay with me further I would be more than happy to hear from you, gm@grandvanuatu.com

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