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Our Resort Report

OUR Thoughts on Ratua Island Resort & Spa, Ratua Island, Santo
One of the many delights of being in the business of specialising in travel to the Pacific Islands lies in the great diversity of the products we find.  All over The Pacific, people with vision and passion for the local people and the unique Pacific environment they live in are constantly developing stunning new and unique holiday destinations and properties, (usually in conjunction with local landowners), to share with visitors. Our job is to find, inspect and then offer their facility to you in a holiday package, so that you can share their dream.

Recently, Our Specialists inspected such a place, a small and very unique property on an island off Santo in Vanuatu – Ratua Island, which is excitingly different and, as one of Our Specialists reported “Sooo Cool”.

What makes Ratua Island Resort & Spa different and unique starts with the philosophy of the place. To quote Ratua:
“Ratua Island Resort & Spa is the founder and primary contributor of the Ratua Foundation. All resort profits are donated to the Ratua Foundation towards the education and well-being of tomorrow’s generations. Guests are welcome to participate, prior/during and after their stay, in the Ratua Foundation via private donations or gift offerings. Small offerings can be donated in person to a school of choice and larger offerings are encouraged to be left with the Foundation to be later strategically distributed throughout the year.”

That means all profits from the property go straight to the local schools and in a country like Vanuatu that is a great help for the locals. 

Then there is the property itself.  Ratua Island lies around 25/30 minutes by fast boat from Santo’s main town – Luganville, (en route to Ratua the boat passes close to Aore Island). Ratua Island is a beautiful island, big enough to host a light-aircraft airstrip on the side furthest away from the accommodation, but small enough that you can wander right around it in an hour or so.  There are several features that make Ratua Island Resort so different.  Every building is either constructed of 200-year-old Indonesian teak along traditional Indonesian lines for timber buildings, or is a Marquee incorporating quality Safari Tent characteristics. You may wonder how that works on an island in Vanuatu – we say, “it’s different, but it works perfectly well”. Ratua Island is often referred to as rating 5 Stars.  However, the property managers self-rate their property at 4 to 4½ Star. 

Next, the 16 accommodation units are located on the western side of the island. Villas are grouped in 3 separate “villages” on either side of the central facility which is known as The Yacht Club.  From the villas furthest away from The Yacht Club on the south-westernmost point of the island. It might take 7-10 minutes to slowly mander your way through the garden pathway to get to the central Yacht Club – this walk is a relaxing delight as you thread your way through the tropical gardens.

The magnificent overwater Coral Reef Spa is accessed via an overwater board-walk pier off the beach and the traditional-style Nakamal (meeting place) Lounge overlooks the water from its position on the south coast.

The Yacht Club is the centre of the property and what a magnificent facility it is.  The arrival/departure jetty lands guests at the Jetty House and office in the middle of a perfect beach.  The Yacht Club area comprises separate Lounge, Restaurant and Cocktail Bar buildings which all linked by the Central Deck which is open in front to the expansive Beach Deck. There are breath-taking beach, sea and island views from every part of the Yacht Club’s lounge, cocktail bar, (complimentary Wifi hotspot here for those wishing to stay connected) restaurant and deck. Between the Beach Deck and the jetty there is a sheltered area which is set up for beach BBQ lunches, and what good lunches they are too – plenty of food choices in a wonderful beach setting. A little further back there is a Media (Games) Room and off to the right a little jewel of a facility – a mini cinema, complete with popcorn machine.  It’s a great spot to watch recent release DVDs and entertain the kids, especially on the odd wet days. The Horse Ranch, the organic kitchen garden and the staff "Nivat Village" in the centre of the island completes the picture.

Horse riding is a feature of Ratua Island Resort – ride around the island or swim with the horses – that’s a great experience.  Ratua Island Resort provides mountain bikes (excellent for teens) for guests to use as well as light fishing adventures with local boat captains, canoes, jogging & trekking as well as a games room, billiard table & library.

All meals are a mandatory inclusion at Ratua, there is a subtle French influence – just love those pastries.  Meals included are breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as a bar snack menu and sunset canapes. Having the meals included is a great idea as there are very limited options to dine elsewhere.

There are some excellent off-resort sightseeing options and Ratua Island Resort staff happily organise these for you.  Don’t miss the Malo Island Blue Hole day trip.  Divers can dive the famous President Coolidge wreck, adventurers can do the Millennium Cave or the Mount Hope River Adventures, or hire an authentic WW11 Jeep and cruise the sights of Espirito Santo to Champagne Beach and so on.

Ratua Island Resort is for relaxing.  There is no TV in the villas.  Just kick back, enjoy the scenery, the wonderfully friendly staff and the natural surroundings.  Get to know the turtles that swim hereabouts, swim the horses, enjoy the special evenings put on at Ratua.  Most of all enjoy the companionship of the other guests as everyone meets and mingles over cocktails in the evenings to swap stories and compare daily activities and experiences.

Included in the Tariff at Ratua Island Resort & Spa:
 Welcome Drink
 Access to Games Room & Library
Access to Cinema
Complimentary Wifi at Yacht Club
All Non-motorised and un-guided watersports activities
Use of Mountain Bikes
 Government Tourist Levy

Minimum Stay Requirement
Ratua Island Resort & Spa has a minimum 2-night stay policy. We reckon you should aim to spend longer if your schedule allows.

What Ratua Island Resort & Spa Say About Themselves:
“Surrounded by 146 acres of tropical gardens and sandy beaches, Ratua Island Resort & Spa offers attentive service, private accommodation, an over-water day spa, yacht club and superb dining. If you are looking for perfection, you may have just found it.

Ratua Island Resort & Spa offers a unique and authentic eco-lodge experience. Ratua Island Resort is limited to 16 Villas and Marquees to preserve natural surroundings. Situated along the island’s shore to ensure perfect privacy and breathtaking views from a private terrace and decking. The Yacht Club is the island’s social hub, and includes the restaurant, bar, lounge and game room.

Time to think, space to breathe. Ratua. Kick off your shoes, enjoy the environment as nature always intended. This is barefoot luxury at its best. Personalised service and a commitment to sustainability makes Ratua a truly memorable tropical island getaway unique in the Pacific”.

Note on The Ratua Foundation
“At the heart of Ratua Island Resort & Spa is the Ratua Foundation which come in aid to the primary education of the children of the surrounding communities all year round. The New Ratua Owners are passionate to develop and expand on the well-established Ratua Foundation by projects funded proportionally by the proceeds of the Ratua Island Resort & Spa. A voluntary donation of Vt 2,000 Vatu is automatically applied to each guest bill to go towards this noble cause. Guests are advised upon sighting of their final bill and invited to remove this donation should they so wish to do so. We also welcome any school bag stationary collateral or personal hygiene items such as tooth brushes and tooth pastes to be collected and gifted to the foundation community box in the resort reception. We thank you in advance for your support and generosity. Formal receipts for gifted donations are available from Ratua Management.”

Bullet Weekly Entertainment Schedule
Legends of Kava – story-telling and ceremony at sunset. 
Held in the traditional Nakamal with fire pit and Kava tasting.
Sunset Water Dance Display
The Famous Water Music Group from the Banks Islands, a 30-minute performance.
Local Spice Cuisine Dining.
Island Night
Canapes and Kava at the Yacht Club.
Ratua Foundation updates and announcements with cocktails.
The Ratua String Band pre-dinner entertainment.
Island-style buffet with local specialities.
The Bamboo Band
Pre-dinner performance and entertainment.
Beach BBQ
With Spit Roast and Island Buffet
Local entertainment on the beach from lunch to mid-afternoon

Your Accommodation Options
The whole experience at Ratua Island Resort rates very highly for people seeking a laid-back property with full eco-tourism credentials, a wonderful location and great facilities.  As is the case throughout Vanuatu, service can never be described as ‘slick’ and the further you venture out from Port Vila, the more the pace of life slows down. Go with the slower pace of life and you will have a special holiday experience. Likewise, for the accommodation at Ratua Island Resort; it’s probably best described as ‘Rustic Chic’ You will get to stay in a villa built of 200-year-old solid teak timber – walls, roofs, floors and furniture or a deluxe Safari-Tent-style Beachfront Marquee).  There is no air-conditioning, and neither is it needed.  The ceilings are high, there is flow-through ventilation and ceiling fans.  The four-poster beds are superbly comfortable, and every villa comes complete with a decent-sized bar fridge and bottled water. The bathroom of each villa is in a separate building beside the bedroom/lounge (or a courtyard bathroom in the case of the Grand Beachfront Marquees) and is joined by a short hallway (sometimes referred to as a ‘causeway’).  There is a nice big covered deck/veranda on each villa – there is even a veranda on most of the bathrooms too! Each villa is a little different in its furnishings (apart from the bed), some have big solid, comfy lounge chairs, others have a rattan look and we’ve even seen one with a rocking chair on the veranda. Each villa has a name rather than a number.
Fish Village
Fish Village is a separate private enclave but still located within 25 metres of the resort’s main buildings.  Fish Village is unique in that it contains just three 2 Bedroom Villas which cater for children year-round.  The remainder of the resort caters for children aged 13 years and over year-round, except that during Australasian school holidays, children of all ages are accepted throughout he resort.

Room Categories 
(In ascending order of tariff)
Bullet Deluxe Beachfront Villas:
A big 45m2 open-plan room with a four-poster bed, big living area and a big veranda. Set in lush tropical gardens with lovely beach and garden views. There is an en suite bathroom linked to the villa via a private walkway. The minimum age for guests in this accommodation type is 13 years (except during school holiday dates.
Maximum Occupancy: 2 guests.
Existing Bedding: 1 King Bed
Additional Bedding: No additional bedding accommodated.

Bullet Deluxe Fish Village 2-Bedroom Family Villas:
Big and beautiful at 75m2.  These villas comprise two buildings connected by decks.  The main building comprises an open-plan space which includes the lounge and a Queen Bed, and the other building is set up with 2 Single Beds. There is 1 bathroom and plenty of space for a family.
Maximum Occupancy: 4 guests (adults or adults and children).
Existing Bedding: 2 King Beds or 1 King Bed and 2 Single Beds.
Additional Bedding: A complimentary cot for a baby may be added subject to availability.

Bullet The Grand Fish Village 2-Bedroom Villa:
This villa comprises 3 rooms in two buildings connected by decks.  The main building comprises a separate lounge and bedroom and the second building joined by paths and “causeway” a second bedroom.  There is 1 bathroom.
Maximum Occupancy: 5 guests (adults or adults and children).
Existing Bedding: 2 King Beds or 1 King Bed and 3 Single Beds.
Additional Bedding: One Single Bed may be added to villas with 2 King Beds on request. A complimentary cot for a baby may be added subject to availability.

Bullet The 
Deluxe Beachfront 2-Bedroom Family Marquee:
Located on the coast near The Point.  The location is a stunner, furthest away from the island’s central facility, capturing the cooling breezes and facing a beautiful white-sand beach. The Safari-tent inspires Family Marquee is a great accommodation option for a family with teenage children or for 2 couples sharing, as long as one of the couples don't mind sleeping in single beds. Offering all the features of luxury glamping with all the comforts of a normal Ratua Villa as well, such as parquet wooden floors, 2 wonderful open-air bathrooms, a mini-bar, large bar fridge, veranda sun beds, telephone, safe etc. The Deluxe Beachfront 2-Bedroom Marquee is naturally cooled by the high, ventilated tent-like roof and the sea breezes. Both rooms are open plan with loads of space at 35m2 each.  One room has a King Bed at one end and the other room has 2 Single Beds.  In both cases the beds can be completely insect-proofed by a built-in screen which encases the sleeping area. 
Maximum Occupancy: 4 guests
Existing Bedding: 1 King Bed and 2 Single Beds
Additional Bedding:  No additional bedding accommodated.

Bullet Grand Beachfront Villas:
Consisting of 3 large rooms connected via a private walkway, this villa (120m2) includes a large lounge room, one large shared bathroom and a veranda giving guests access to lush grounds, a beautiful swimming beach and spectacular ocean views. The minimum age for guests in this accommodation type is 13 years, except during Australasian school holiday dates when children of all ages are accommodated.
Maximum Occupancy: 5 guests (adults or adults and children).
Existing Bedding: 2 King Beds or 1 King Bed and 3 Single Beds.
Additional Bedding: One Single Bed may be added to villas with 2 King Beds on request. A complimentary cot for a baby may be added subject to availability.

Getting to and from Ratua Island Resort & Spa
Normal transfers. Guests are met at Santo Airport and transferred by vehicle and Resort Boat to and from Ratua Island. We will include these transfers in package arrangements as required/agreed.

Special light aircraft charter service direct between Port Vila and Ratua Island Resort by Air Ratua 5 and 7-seater aircraft as well as a helicopter service is available.  Our Specialists have full details and costs.

Note re Vanuatu Domestic Air Travel Tax
Domestic flights between Port Vila, Santo and Tanna, as well as all other islands in Vanuatu attract a domestic tax of VT200 (approximately NZ$3.00) per person per sector.  Unfortunately, this tax cannot be prepaid, so is payable direct by travellers at domestic airports in Vanuatu.

Families & Kids
Children are welcome at Ratua Island Resort year-round when staying in Fish Village Villas:
 The Grand Courtyard Villa
 Deluxe Courtyard Villas

Bullet All Kids are Welcome During School Holidays

During School Holidays in New Zealand, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, children are accommodated in all accommodation types (subject to individual room occupancy policies).
Amalgamated School Holiday Dates
for NZ, Victoria, NSW and Queensland
 - 06 to 30 April 2019
 - 01 to 21 July 2019
 - 21 September to 13 October 2019
 - 21 December 2019 to 07 February 2020
During these dates children of all ages are accepted at Ratua Island Resort & Spa.

Bullet Kids Stay Free
Children aged under 12 years stay free in The Grand Fish Village 2-Bedroom Villa and the 2 Deluxe Fish Village 2-Bedroom Villas when sharing accommodation with parents and utilising existing bedding. Baby cots are provided free of charge (subject to availability and pre-booking).

Bullet Kids Meals
Bullet Little Kids Eat Free
Children aged under 5 years eat free.
Bullet Kids aged 5 to 11 years
Children aged 5 to 11 years are charged the meal plan at 50% of adult prices. 

Bullet Exclusively For Adults
Ratua Island Resort only accepts guests aged 13 years and over in:
 Grand Beachfront Villas
 Deluxe Beachfront Villas
Except during School Holidays in New Zealand, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland when children of all ages are accommodated in all accommodation types (subject to individual room occupancy policies): See dates above under “Families and Kids”.

Check-in/Check Out
Standard check-in and check-out times:
Check In Time: 2:00pm
Check Out Time: 12 Noon
Earlier/later times are offered on a complimentary basis but are subject to availability at the time and cannot be pre-arranged.

Cancellation Policy
Bullet Cancellations made between 31 & 45 days prior to
      scheduled arrival date incur a cancellation fee equal
      to the cost of 50% of the total accommodation booked.
Bullet Cancellations made within 30 days of scheduled arrival
      date and no-shows incur a cancellation fee equal to
      100% of the accommodation booked.

Travel Insurance is recommended
OUR Specialists can advise on all aspects of travel insurance

The information on this page is correct as at 15 July 2019 and is based on our supplier contracts valid to 31 March 2020.  All information is subject to change without notice

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Resort Facilities (charges may apply)
Bullet Restaurant

Bullet Bar
Bullet Games Room with Billiard Table
Bullet Library
Bullet Mountainbiking throughout the Island
Bullet Archery
Bullet Day Spa
Bullet Boutique Shop
Bullet Ranch
Bullet Organic Garden
Bullet Airstrip
Bullet Cinema Room
Bullet Snorkelling Gear & Reef Shoes
Bullet Light Fishing off Ratua & Trolling Sessions
Bullet Canoes & Indonesian Boats
Bullet Horseriding
Bullet Volleyball & Petanque
Bullet Jogging & Trekking

Room Facilities
Bullet Bar Fridge
Bullet Ensuite Bathrooms
Bullet Bathrobes & Beachtowels
Bullet Daily housekeeping
Bullet Ceiling Fan (Not in Deluxe Family Marquee)
Bullet In-room Safe
Bullet Private Terrace
Bullet Hair dryer (on request)
Bullet Evening turndown Service