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“Great Time on Santo”

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Coral Quays Fish & Dive Resort
Ranked #11 of 15 Hotels in Espiritu Santo
Certificate of Excellence
Thames, New Zealand
1 review
“Great Time on Santo”
Reviewed 31 August 2012

This was our second trip to Vanuatu and we decided to include Santo in our itinerary. On our last visit we stayed at a 5 star resort and a 3 star. We found the 5 star flash enough but quite impersonal and lacking in other ways so this time we decided to just stay with middle of the road. Coral Quays ticked all the boxes in terms of our requirements. The room was very comfortable, so was the bed and we had plenty of hot water! The staff were very friendly and attentive but not in your face and nothing was too much trouble. The food was great and we never had a bad dining experience (I highly recommend the the Fillet Mignon!) Phil and Charmaine were awesome hosts and good fun too.
The diving experience was great too and Michael the Divemaster was a mine of information. We dived on 2 really amazing reefs and as I'm not the most confident of divers I can say that I always felt safe and in good hands. All in all it was a very comfortable place to base ourselves for the many activities that are available on Santo.
What you have to realise here is that things work on Vanuatu time. There isn't the big city down the road to cater for your every need. It's just a lovely step back in time. A chance to escape the rat race and contemplate the importance of just being. We met a range of very cool people at CQR and we had an awesome time. We'll be back!

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Leanne I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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136 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (33)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Napier, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
Level 5 Contributor
80 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 August 2012

No neither do I but that is what was served to us on a sunset platter! The accompanying biscuits were pliable too. We had a waterfront room which would be better described as a roadside room. The road is between the hotel and the rather dingy waterfront. The soft bed was not very comfortable and the shower very old fashioned with a plastic/ nylon curtain that wrapped itself round you as you showered. There was an overall tired look to the hotel and the pool was out of action as they were digging up the area around it.
In fairness the only staff member who served us the whole time we were there tried hard and was pleasant.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Heather B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
North Shore, Auckland, New Zealand
2 reviews
Reviewed 27 August 2012

We spent 10 days at the Coral Quays resort. It was a great base for all the things we wanted to do while we stayed on Santo. The staff are very friendly and helpful. The food is excellent. The owners are great people and very helpful...full of good advice and they have the wellbeing of their guests to the forefront. The dive experiences they provide are outstanding and their dive master is very good at what he does and a top bloke as well. This isn't a 5 star resort (so don't have 5 star expectations), but it is a very comfortable and relaxing place to stay and has everything you could ever need. They'll even pack a lunch for you at a very reasonable price if you go out on day trips. Would I stay here again? Definitely!

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Paul M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 July 2012

We stayed at Coral Quays for a week in June (2 adults, 3 kids). We didn't do any diving and it was clear to us this is really the main focus of the resort's activities so our experiences need to be seen in that light. From what we could tell the divemaster (Michael) seemed like a nice guy other guests seemed happy with their diving experiences.

I would say the resort is OK to use as a base for day trips elsewhere in Santo or to use for diving excursions but if you spend your whole time there with kids you would get bored pretty quickly as there isn't that much else to do. The resort has a close relationship with Paradise Tours who are good for day trips to the various tourist attractions. It is certainly not walking distance to Luganville, you need to get a taxi (300 - 500 Vt).

The hostess Charmaine was friendly and helpful and the other staff were lovely. I didn't really get to talk to the other owner Phil altough he did at least say hi a couple of times which is probably all I expected from some of the other recent reviews - I don't think he is a natural extrovert.

After the recent reviews where guests indicated they had been robbed we were VERY careful to lock all our valuables in our suitcase and didn't have a problem (no one else did to our knowledge).

The gardens of the resort are lush and attractive.The rooms are basic but reasonably comfortable, ceiling fans were not too noisy and housekeeping was good. We had to take 2 rooms but what was strange was the inconsistency between them. We had a continuous hot water system and our girls had a hot water service that lasted about 1 min before going cold so they gave up and came to our room for showers. On the flip side they had a generous sized fridge while ours was microscopic.

The pool is OK alhough there are only 2 lounges and there is free Wi Fi but not a lot for kids to do in the evening. Feeding the fish off the end of the pier is fun and there are hermit crabs on the beach that are quite cute, The beach isn't really good for swimming (too many coral pieces) and while there are lots of fish and some coral off the end the water is very murky most of the time so snorkelling there can be very frustrating.

The food at Coral Quays appears to have been a controversial topic in other reviews. I would say that the quality of the food was generally OK to quite good (only the spaghetti bolagnese was poor) prices are Australian restuarant equivalent (which are pretty expensive versus other options in Luganville) and the serves are average in size - not overally generous. Continental breakfast was included and was sufficient unless you have a burning need for a cooked buffet (it's just not that sort of resort), nice having banana and paw paw jam.

We quickly realised it was going to cost a lot if we ate both dinner and lunch at CQR but we were kind of stuck for dinner as having 5 of us we would have needed to get 2 separate taxis (they can only take 4) into Luganville. That didn't sound like a relaxing option so I opted to go into Luganville myself and buy rolls, fillings and snacks store them in the fridge to make lunches. Most of the time we opted to take the lunch with us on our half day outings anyway so we didn't need to have lunch at the resort.


We considered doing both fishing and snorkelling tours with Coral Quays but we found Santo Dive and Fishing were much better value, in fact the half day light game fishing tour at 25000 Vt also included snorkelling on another island at the end (and could take all 5 of us with a nice tropical lunch on the beach included) vs a half day fishing trip with Coral Quays at 45000 Vt, nearly double the price, no lunch and they could only take 4 out. I'm not saying the CQR fishing would not be good, just that it was rather expensive and didn't suit our family size. We caught a nice 10 kg dogtooth tuna and to Charmaine's credit she allowed it to be cooked in the CQR restuarant (at a charge) for us - $15 for the tuna meal versus $20 normally. I reserve judgement as to whether this was good value or not (my kids were just happy to say they had eaten it and Charmaine could have refused) but I mention it anyway.

Room Tip: Ask for one with a continuous hot water system
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  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
6 Thank Fiji_Novice255100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
19 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 June 2012

We had an air conditioned bungalow but didn't actually need the A/C.

Resort is clean and well appointed, staff are friendly and very helpful. Food is good and not exceedingly expensive. Pool was clean. The associated beach (across the road) was fairly mediocre - its facing the Segond Channel and has a lot of broken coral on the beach, not very interesting snorkeling.

The resort's dive tours were good, my thanks to Michael (dive instructor), Phil (manager and boat captain), and Ian (divemaster) who seemed to think the water was cold - 30m down without a wetsuit I disagreed, [would have been even better if my underwater strobe had been working properly but that is no reflection on the resort]. Hire equipment was very new and in good condition as a result. The dive boat was suitable although not sure how it would be with larger numbers, I had it almost to myself. Between-dive refreshments were tasty and refreshing. Dove on the USS Tucker, a coral reef, and the Million Dollar Point scrap heap - good visibility and lots to see.

We had the resort pretty much all to ourselves so very quite since its a little way out of town - frequent passing buses get you to and from town easily for about 150vt each however if there are 2 of you a taxi is usually just as cheap (be sure to ask the fare first as they vary). Would certainly have been happy to stay there longer.

On the down-side our stay was marred by the theft of some Australian money from my partner's wallet in our room while at breakfast. Charmaine the manageress did all she could to address the matter.

Room Tip: It seems if you travel just before the June peak you will have the place to yourselves so any room i...
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank TheOzIcedog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Christchurch, New Zealand
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 March 2012

We stayed her for 7 days. The staff were lovely and helpful, if a bit shy. The rooms are basic and clean, although in 7 days we didn't get a change of sheets and the supply of towels was strange, some days we got 2 towels, 2 facecloths - no bath mat others bath mat no hand towels. Breakfast was included in our price and it was very poor for what we paid, the dinners were average - on an island like this there should be more local fare on the menu not Asian food - if I had wanted that I would have gone to Asia. The owners - in 7 days we talked to Phil once - and there were only 3 other couples there at the same time, one of the couples had all their cameras and cash stolen out of their bungalow - Phil couldn't have cared less and didn't even let the other guests know. the pool was small, you couldn't relax around it as there was only 2 loungers the beach was small but the snorkling was good. It was completely over sold on the websites we looked at and wouldn't recommend it or go back

Room Tip: Don't go
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
8 Thank justhiskiwi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Canberra
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 March 2012

We have recently returned from 2 weeks in Vanuatu with the first week staying at the Coral Quays resort in Santo. Within 48hrs of our arrival we had all of our cameras stolen, and equipment, also cash clothing & various other items watch etc from our room.
We have insurance but thats not the point. We informed Phill the owner of the establishment & he was to say the least not really concerned about our loss. We spoke to the guides from Paradise tours the next day as they were the ones we were with the day before & had concerns that they may have had something to do with it as they had our cameras with them that day whilst we were on the Millenium Cave trip, I must point out quiet clearly here that I was wrong in my initial concerns about the guys at Paradise tours, they are outstanding & the cave trek is the best & the guys are fantastic, please do the Millenium tour with them. I spoke to Luke, the owner of Paradise Tours telling my initial concerns about the theft of our gear he was understanding & patient with us & I thank him & Daniel very much, I could not apologise enough to them.

As for Phil, the owner, well It was Luke who helped us with the police report, interpreting for us, taking us to the police station & just being soooo cool about it all. Phil just walked off & left us standing in the dark the night it happened, we didnt see him for days & when I did he waffled on about a reward he had offered for the return of our stuff, ( apparently he,s done it before then doesnt pay, which means the locals dont want to help him anymore) which of course means we wont get our stuff back.
When we left Phill didnt even have the common decency to come & see us or let us know what was going on, he apparently was more concerned whether we had paid our account or not, which we had.
I have since emailed him regarding my concerns but he seems to think he can bully me & suggested I wasnt mature enough to deal with the situation & I was expecting him to hold my hand, the guys just a selfish man. I have the email if anybody wants to see it.
I have the locals helping me even though we are now home, they know more than anybody & even though it was a local that stole our gear I have to say overall the people there are so nice we liked Santo. Coral Quays is a nice place till something goes wrong, Phill said the theft was the first, WRONG we found out it happens a lot, so he lied as well as showed his paying guests no respect nor did provide a proper duty of care. Im demanding a refund but we,ll see what happens. BE AWARE!!!!

Room Tip: no tv,s the rooms are o.k. nothing to rave on about. Dont bother with the place there,s better.
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
12 Thank Bradley B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Coral Quays Fish & Dive Resort

Property: Coral Quays Fish & Dive Resort
Address: Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu
Region: Vanuatu > Espiritu Santo
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Espiritu Santo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Coral Quays Fish & Dive Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 18
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Also Known As:
Coral Quays Fish & Dive Hotel Espiritu Santo
Coral Quays Fish And Dive Resort
Coral Quays Fish & Dive Resort Vanuatu/Espiritu Santo

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