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!

Let's Travel - - DESTINATION VANAUTU - By Gayle Dick­son

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.

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