Usually when we travel staying in a big resort is the last thing on our minds. We want to be in the middle of the action and plan to spend much of our time out exploring. However, for our honeymoon we wanted to try something different, so we headed to the Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu to stay at the amazing Iririki Island Resort for six nights.
Other than the odd jaunt over to Port Vila most of our time was spent in and around the resort. It had enough to see and do to prevent us getting bored.
On our arrival at Iririki Island, they presented us with a free juice in the lobby as we filled in the required paperwork. It was a nice touch. Not quite as nice was being sent off to our small hut with a bad map in the dark. We wouldn’t have found our place if one of the staff hadn’t seen us looking lost and given us a lift on his golf buggy (the preferred mode of transport on Iririki).
Our chalet, or fala in the local tongue, was simple but comfortable. We had a nice big bed, couch, large TV and a great balcony. It was located on a small hill overlooking trees and other falas, the harbour and Port Vila. It was nice and quiet and the tree canopy screened out most of the rest of the resort. There are also other room options such as over the water chalets.
On our first morning, after enjoying breakfast (the usual sort of western style-buffet) we toured the resort by foot. There wasn’t much to it – a lap of the island only took 15 minutes. On one side of the tear shaped island were the luxury suites and apartments stretching down towards the tip. Near the tip is a huge, three tiered, multi sectioned swimming pool, apparently the largest in the Pacific, complete with bar and small restaurant.
We saw all the facilities: the small artificial beach, the snorkelling cove, the four eateries and of course that giant pool. We’d try them all during the course of our week long stay. There are also many other things such as jet ski hire, beach volleyball and bicycles.
Our days would usually start with us being lazy, getting up just in time for breakfast. Sometimes we would head over to Port Vila, but we’d usually be back in the afternoon for a rest. Later in the afternoon we’d sit on the balcony, with maybe me doing some study. Several of the days we would eat lunch over in Port Vila but dinner, with one exception would be within the resort.
On the days we didn’t go across to Port Villa we tried a different activity. One day we sat by the huge pool for a couple of hours swimming, enjoying the sun, lunch and drinks. Very nice.
Another day, for some exercise, we borrowed a kayak from the water sports centre (where they had small sailboats as well) and rowed around the island. It took more than half an hour to get round the small but long island. We were given the workout we were after by having to row into the strong wind on one side.
A couple of days later J borrowed a kayak by himself and rowed over to a nearby island for a look. There was a small, poor village with not much to see.
When we wanted to go to Port Vila it was incredibly easy. There was a boat running back and forth 24 hours a day, and it only took a few minutes.
The highlight of the resort (unsurprisingly for us) was the dining. In short, it was fantastic.
Early in the evening we’d start with a Tusker (the local beer) or some wine in our room or we would go down to the Bali Hai bar for a Tusker or a cocktail.
On our first night the main fine dining restaurant was holding a Melanesian Feast buffet. There were some interesting options, including poulet fish and several different types of yams. It was all delicious… for maybe the first two plates.
We also tried dining at the casual dining restaurant, Watermark. We had some great meals there. Although the menu wasn’t that large the dishes were great, with decent sized servings. The range of options was wide as well with western and Asian dishes. Prices were about the same as you’d pay back in Australia – around $20 to $25 for most mains.
Our favourite had to be the awesome organic steaks. They were fantastically cooked, on a bed of awesome mashed potato and came with some great sauces. We had some fantastic duck spring roles as well.
On our last night we decided to splurge and booked a table for the fine dining restaurant, Michener’s. We started off with some Lobster bisque, which was stunning, and a great smoked salmon salad. We were struggling to fit in an anti-pasto platter, but then nothing could top the bisque. We then had some more fantastic steaks for the main. I somehow found room for dessert, a chocolate cake that was so so.
Disappointing end aside, the meal was fantastic, well worth splashing out for. The prices and the wine list were good value. The only downer was the service. It was long time between courses, water top ups and wine pours. It didn’t ruin the meal, but it turned a perfect meal into just a very good one.
We had a fabulous time on Iririki Island Resort. It is a fabulous place for a honeymoon or to just come to relax. It has a convenient location just a few minutes boat ride to the centre of Port Vila, so it is very easy to explore this city while getting away from it all in a few minutes back on Iririki Island.
Our only real complaint is the service. It was not a big problem, but there were many little things. For example, bad service in a restaurant or rooms being cleaned at odd times. Our welcome package that should have been there at the start actually needed two days and a few phone calls before it finally showed up.
However service was the only real blemish on the Iririki Island Resort. Everything else was just right. Those same people who could have provided better service were also incredibly friendly, helpful and always smiling. We certainly enjoyed our week there and were very sad when it came time to check out and leave. It wasn’t an exciting place to be, but it was a relaxed one. This is exactly what we wanted.
We would love to go back one day and take our kids as well. We are sure they would love it just as much as us, and there is even a kids club.
Read more about our Vanuatu honeymoon and things to do in Port Vila.
Click here to read more about this resort and see the latest prices.
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