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Reviewed 19 July 2010

My partner and i stayed here for a week in February. It was a good central location and across from Iririki Resort - the little ferry stopped at the Grand so it was pretty convenient if you wanted to go over to the island for a visit. The hotel was nice and had a fantastic view from the balcony - a great place to drink some wine and watch the sun go down. The bed was the most comfortable bed I think i have ever slept in!

The staff were friendly although most worked on fiji time - on the only night we wanted room service, we had to waited 1.5 hours for room service and when it finally arrived, the meals were cold but we were too hungry to bother sending them back. We didn't utilise the tour desk as we weren't sure how quickly our needs could be met and quite often the desk wasn't manned when we wanted to make an enquiry.

A continental breakfast was included and was fine - it was very basic but did the job. I had read previous reviews of the hotel on the Trip Advisor website and there were a few comments about the stench of cigarette smoke in the hotel, but you could only smell it when you walked into the foyer and not on any of the accommodation floors. The smell hit you when you first walked in to the foyer as the Casino entrance is right beside the reception desk.

The small casino was a lot of fun and the croupiers were pretty nice - one in particular was a lot of fun so we went back to his table a few times over the course of the week that we were there.

The pool overlooked the ocean and was another great spot to laze in the sun, read a book or just lean back and watch the boats sail by.

The hotel is in a good location and is only a short walk into the main area of town as well as some lovely restaurants being right beside the hotel. We also hired a car from across the road and spent a day doing a driving trip around the island.

If we go back to Vanuatu and want to stay on Efate, we will most likely stay at the Grand again.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank dc_globetrotters
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 July 2010

The great last minute rates on Wotif and its central, waterfront location attracted us to the Grand Hotel. The cheap rates did not include breakfast and we did not want to use the restaurant or other facilities, except maybe the pool (which we didn't end up using because of the weather). We would not have stayed here at full price, so the review is based around that fact.

We booked 2 standard rooms and expected to be on the lowest level, but we were luckily put on the 3rd floor. I don't know if they have smoking/non-smoking rooms, but we requested non-smoking rooms and that's what we were given. The rooms had views of the harbour, Iririki, the docks, the town and beyond. In clear weather the sunsets would be spectacular, but we had to make do with a rainbow.

The bed was so comfy and cozy and soft, soft, soft. Soft doonah, pillows and mattress. I felt like I was sleeping on a cloud, but not saggy at all. The shower, which is separate to the bath, has plenty of hot water and good water pressure. The bathroom is set up so you can have a window to the sleeping area with views to outside or close the privacy screen if you are feeling modest. The A/C was working just fine, so was the fridge. There were very welcome tea and coffee making facilities and toiletries. The rooms are cleaned and towels replaced daily. We were not charged for anything we didn’t use, which is always wonderful at checkout.

We took the free ferry to Iririki (it comes right to the pool area of the Grand) and had a look around the island. You can swim or snorkel there for free if you are staying at the Grand Hotel, so we took this opportunity to have a peak.

There were a few things about the hotel that might have bothered us if we were paying full price. But we don't get bothered easily and we weren't expecting 5 star. Vanuatu simply doesn't have 5 star standards. The TV didn't have a good signal, but we didn't want to watch it anyway. The shower flooded the bathroom a bit, so we went downstairs ourselves and picked up some extra towels. The staff happily obliged and also gave extra pool towels. The only thing I really didn’t like was the cigarette smell in the lobby, but as with the restaurant, you can sit outside if you choose to eat or drink there.

Overall, the hotel was in the position we wanted, has great water front views, we felt a little bit spoilt and we slept so well. We found the service to be good and the staff were very helpful when we needed them.

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank kerryandjake
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 June 2010

Stayed here for 4 nights - booked through wotif at what i thought was a good rate if the hotel had lived up to it's expectation and advertising. In need of a refrb - rooms were just OK altho aircon did not work. Cleanliness was very poor with tea cups in the room stained and cracked, floor tiles dirty and shower mouldy. TV did not work, and when it got fixed picture was poor.

Restaurant was poor and service was non-existent. breakfast particularly poor with the staff in soiled uniforms and a very couldn't care less attitude. Food quality poor. Dinner not fit to eat. The chef came into the restaurant and looked like a tramp that had been dragged in off the street - if I had seen him before I ordered the food I would have walked out - disgusting. Water leaking constantly from the ceiling onto the restaurant floor for days.

Nothing about this hotel would make me stay there again - it was very disappointing and at the price I would have expected better. Probelm is they have a monopoly as the only "decent" hotel (laughing) in the town. At about AU$300 per room per night you would expect a reasonably good 4 star hotel. This would not rate 2 stars.

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled on business
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1  Thank bella10004
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2010

Just returned after a fantastic stay. I have been to many resorts in Vanuatu ( I used to be a travel agent and I went on famil and visited a few of the properties).
I travelled with my husband and my 10 month old. All the staff there are very friendly. They were so great to my baby :)

The good points -
Very modern Room. Great flat screen TV - everything in the room is modern.
We were on the fifth floor (room 505) and had a fantastic view of the harbour and could see Irriki Resort.
Very Very friendly Staff
I found the bed extremely comfortable (it's a little softer then a lot of hotel beds and I like this - not soggy though if you know what I mean)
The continental breakfast included was adequate
Great location if you want to be close to town
Hot water (it's surprising how many hotels i have had trouble with this)
I love the big glass window in the bathroom. I could have a bath and still watch TV!! Or still glimpse the view outside the big window.
A big plus for me as it seemed like a brand new cot for my baby!! It was also waiting in the room which was great (this doesn't often happen either)
The pool is gorgeous and my son certainly enjoyed it as well.
You can use Irriki facilities across the way.

The not so great but still nothing that bad!
The shower cubicle is growing a bit of mould. This probably is to do with the cleaning products being septic. But if it doesn't get fixed could become yuk. (The rest of the bathroom and room was spotless)
Service always friendly but can be slow (but given the location it's kind of meant to be like that. Our Room was suppose to come with a bottle of bubbly. We asked for it. We went out and come back and still not there. So hours passed but we didn't mind but we wanted a nap for our baby and put the do not disturb sign. Of course a knock on the door to deliver it which was a bit of an inconvenience as I was asleep as well! A few things happened like this but it certainly was not a big deal that was the worst of it!
Towels are limited. The hotel was not busy and I had to ask for towels as it seemed like they ran out. House keeping said they do run out and gave me extra which was really nice! Maybe they need more towels though??
Now we are silly here. We went out to have a glass of bubbly and my husband accidently closed the door to the balcony. You can not open this from the outside so we were stranded. This was our own fault (and I growled at my husband and laughed at the same time). There is a big sign on the door about this. But we use aircon at home and it's just instinct to close the door behind you. So lucky there were people in the pool as our baby was in the cot not asleep. We had to yell down to people in the pool. We laughed a lot as our own fault. But if you did this late at night this would not be good. We had to stress from the balcony that our 10 month old was inside (in the cot thank goodness but not asleep)as they were taking there time to come up and save us LOL!!

That's about it. I have seen many rooms in Vanutau and these are very modern rooms in comparison and you can't beat the view. I believe you get a view from everyroom (although I imagine it's better the higher up you get) A lot of rooms I visited at other resorts 2 yrs ago stank of mould from the humidity. These rooms still have a fresh smell and have everything you need.
2 yrs ago I also got to see the other room types (it was called the Sebel then) (my memory is a bit fuzzy of being specific) and all rooms types are very nice. We just went with the lead in room and we were not disappointed - but we were lucky to get the fifth floor!! The lead in room is of course a lot smaller but we still fitted the cot in just fine!
I definitely recommend this hotel. I will stay there again :)
I found it perfect for my husband and 10 month old!!!

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled with family
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2  Thank luvofholidays
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2010

I have stayed at this hotel when it was under the Sebel name and management. I have just spent three days there again over Easter. The rooms remain clean and tidy but in other ways the new management seems to be cutting corners - with negative results. The overwhelming stench of cigarette smoke and alcohol fumes that greets you when you enter the hotel - the product of bad ventilation from the casino part of the building - is worse than ever. If you have any sensitivity to stale cigarette smoke, this is not the hotel for you. Meanwhile the breakfast service has got even slower and more chaotic. We waited over 20 mins for two eggs benedicts that turned up cold. Meanwhile the inefficient system whereby all coffees (apart from the disgusting serve-yourself Kona coffee that has been boiling away for hours) are made in the bar in another part of the hotel, meant that when we finally received our coffee and mixed juice order, we had virtunally finished our breakfast. Moreover the size of glasses used for the fruit punch have been halved but with the price remaining the same. My complaint to the Breakfast supervisor - now Asian rather than ni-Vanuatu so presumably installed by the new management company - was met by a completely expressionless and insincere 'Sorry'. Clearly he couldn't have cared less. Ironically, in our case, the corner-cutting to cut costs was completely nullified by the fact that the whoever did up our bill left off several items. Usually I would point this out but in this instance I felt little need to do the hotel's work for it.
In short, the hotel rooms themselves are satisfactory, the location is central, and the decor is pleasant - although not particularly 'tropical' or 'island', the tacky chandeliers suggesting the Gold Coast rather than Vanuatu. But the service is not up to standard - or even to the old Sebel standards (which weren't very high themselves.) Unless you are desparate to stay somewhere with a casino, there are plenty better options in Port Vila.

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank mdbrowne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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