Eratap Beach Resort
Eratap Beach Resort is a hidden gem! I am torn between wanting to keep this resort a secret and shouting its multitude of offerings to the world!
Situated just 20 minutes from Port Vila, the resort occupies the most seaward peninsula. Once you spot the sign, you have a 6km drive off the main island road, ensuring the ultimate in privacy and seclusion.
The owners, management and staff all have one thing in mind…providing each and every guest with a unique experience that has a limited impact on the natural environment. In so doing, they also ensure there’s a positive impact on the surrounding community. To this end, they source local produce and materials, employ the Eratap locals and they restrict guest numbers.
Eratap’s position on the peninsula protects it from the brunt trade winds. The staff boasted about the sunsets on my arrival…and believe me, they were incredible! With three private beaches, I always managed to find a solitary spot to indulge as the sun slipped slowly below the horizon, usually with a glass of something bubbly in hand.
Accommodation is in villas of seven differing configurations. Honeymooners will love the two Honeymoon Villas as they offer additional privacy. They each have a private plunge pool, lounge pavilion on the water’s edge and both indoor and outdoor showers.
I was lucky enough to lay my head in Villa 10 - the only two-bedroom villa with a private plunge pool. Extremely spacious, the clever design provides for space between the two en-suite sleeping areas with a large entry and lounge in between.
Both bedrooms were oversized and the ensuites equally large! The rear courtyard off the master bedroom featured a walled in outdoor shower. With both a walk-in shower and full size bath in the ensuite, I hardly had time to utilise all the facilities!
My bed overlooked the private plunge pool, accessed through wooden French doors. It was blissful to open the doors at all hours of the night and quite literally step out of bed and into the pool. I spent many hours taking stock of life under the thatched roof of the lounge pavilion. My neighbours were sheltered from view by fence, but I heard them dining under the pavilion long into the night. They told me the next day that room service had delivered their meal, laid on the chilled beverages, lit the candles and lanterns. They were thrilled.
Meals can be taken in the main dining area, and its really only here or at the main pool area that you’re likely to bump into other guests. The food was fabulous and the staff were incredibly hospitable. Travelling solo as a journalist can often be awkward when you’re in the company of loved-up honeymooners and couples seeking peace and solitude. The staff regularly came over to my table to chat, keeping me entertained and filling me in on the surrounding location.
During my visit, I was fortunate enough to experience their Fire Show. As with most island nations, the locals thrive on performances and they love nothing better than guests who interact and partake. I’ll blushingly admit to attempting to follow their steps and failing miserably!
But it was a great night of alfresco dining on the open verandah.
Because I had the luxury of a private pool, I didn’t spend time at the main pool, although I did notice couples ordering cocktails and chilling on the loungers between dips as I made my way to the Spa.
Aah, the Spa…set right on the lagoon, you can listen to the birds and lapping waves…if you can stay awake long enough during the sublime treatments! My ‘Heavenly Relaxation’ choice was just that… heavenly…so heavenly that I had to be nudged gently by the therapist when it was time to turn over!
As for the snorkelling… sensation al about sums it up. The drop off is literally metres from the beach. Kayaks were a popular option for guests with many seen exploring the mangroves and reefs (both inner and outer), some heading over to the nearby deserted island with a picnic lunch and enjoying a Robinson Crusoe-style experience. There are complimentary bicycles to explore the surrounding area, kayaks and SUPS to explore the waters, great walking tracks through the coastal forests, good fishing and surfing…I can’t think of anything I’d add to the list.
I can honestly say that nothing was too much trouble. I asked to go horse-riding and they laid on a visit to a nearby stable and even drove me there. I ordered room service at odd hours and it arrived promptly. I asked the chef to tweak a few things on the menu to suit my taste, and he willingly obliged.
Vanuatu should be high on your priority list if you’ve never been… and Eratap Beach Resort should be uppermost in mind when deciding on your accommodation, whether you’ve been before or not.