Amaz­ing places

Play­ground in the sun

Island Life - - Contents -

Aquana, play­ground in the sun.

Win­ner of Trip Ad­vi­sor’s “Trav­ellers Choice Award” for three con­sec­u­tive years and voted in the top 10 “Best Fam­ily Re­sorts in the South Pa­cific” by Aus­tralian mag­a­zine “Hol­i­days with kids”, there is no doubt that the team at Aquana knows how to take the stress out of fam­ily hol­i­days. On the beau­ti­ful Eratap penin­sula, with a stun­ning wa­ter­front lo­ca­tion, and only fif­teen min­utes from Port Vila, this bou­tique fam­ily re­sort opened in 2012, of­fer­ing fam­i­lies a place to re­lax, re­con­nect, play and have lots of fun. Far from the crowded, noise-filled ac­com­mo­da­tion hubs so of­ten as­so­ci­ated with fam­ily hol­i­days, the re­sort con­sists of only thir­teen bun­ga­lows and seren­ity is all around, even when the re­sort is full. Aquana has two one-bed­room bun­ga­lows and eleven two-bed­room bun­ga­lows, with four beach­front, six wa­ter view and one gar­den view bun­ga­low, all of them very close to the shore. The bun­ga­lows are spa­cious and mod­ern with all mod-cons. Ev­ery bun­ga­low has a sep­a­rate lounge area with a full lounge set, bar fridge, tea and cof­fee fa­cil­i­ties, satel­lite TV/DVD and movie li­brary in­clud­ing, of course, chil­dren’s movies. WIFI, phone, a pri­vate ve­randa with out­door fur­ni­ture in­clud­ing a swing­ing chair, air con, ceil­ing fans and mozzie screens in all win­dows com­plete the com­fort pic­ture. Aquana is full of won­ders in­deed but the big­gest point of dif­fer­ence could be the team of eigh­teen nan­nies (yes, thir­teen bun­ga­lows, eigh­teen nan­nies) at the ready, en­sur­ing that weary par­ents in need of a break can get time for them­selves. Aquana pro­vides a free day care nanny ser­vice while par­ents are on the premises and babysit­ting is avail­able at the very rea­son­able price of 500 vatu per hour when par­ents want to go out and ex­plore on their own. Aquana has cho­sen to cater for fam­i­lies but, with such beau­ti­ful and ro­man­tic sur­round­ings, they could just as well have catered for cou­ples on their hon­ey­moon and cer­tainly, par­ents can feel as if they are on their sec­ond hon­ey­moon while at Aquana. The re­sort’s grounds are gor­geous. Fringed by the small, spec­tac­u­lar is­lands of Eratap, the ocean is per­fectly calm

and great for ac­tiv­i­ties that both adults and chil­dren can en­joy. Take a kayak and head to­wards the out­side of the chan­nel and you will find your­self in a land­scape con­ducive to di­vine in­spi­ra­tion. Lit­tle is­lands, crowned with palms, sit on the calm, turquoise la­goon, so spec­tac­u­lar that it is im­pos­si­ble not to be taken aback by its beauty. The kayaks and pad­dle-boards are avail­able for guests to ex­plore the per­fectly calm bay and at low tide, the lo­cals walk and pad­dle their ca­noes across the reef for a spot of fish­ing. Those with small chil­dren can jump on a tra­di­tional outrigger ca­noe or mo­torised boat and be taken to the neigh­bour­ing is­lands and the la­goon for a snorkel on the outer reef, a pic­nic or a small ad­ven­ture and walk across one of the is­lands. A quana pro­vides a fun, stress­free fam­ily hol­i­day and both par­ents and pikini­nis can have a fun time, to­gether and apart. A chil­dren’s out­door play area with a slide, climb­ing toys and a huge trampoline will de­light the lit­tle ones in the fam­ily. Swing chairs on the beach, vol­ley­ball court, ta­ble ten­nis and soc­cer ta­ble will keep the big broth­ers and sis­ters amused. On a rainy day or when in need of a break from the sun, Aquana also has a chil­dren’s un­der­cover play area with chil­dren’s toys and a movie screen for the oc­ca­sional chil­dren’s movie. The swimming pool is right next to the res­tau­rant and adults can re­lax with a cock­tail while the kids play in the wa­ter. The nan­nies are on board, ready to lend a hand so that par­ents can en­joy a book, an is­land mas­sage or some R&R time on their own. When ready to ex­plore a lit­tle fur­ther, there is a nat­u­ral spring nearby and Eratap vil­lage is a short stroll away; visi­tors are wel­comed in the vil­lage and can even at­tend the vil­lage Sun­day church. When the night comes, Aquana keeps up the en­ter­tain­ment with fire show nights, Me­lane­sian cul­tural nights with cus­tom dance and mu­sic and trivia nights. White linen cov­ers the res­tau­rant ta­bles in the evenings and high-class cui­sine comes at good prices. Fresh lob­ster is avail­able daily straight from the bay and lo­cal fish­er­man sup­ply fresh fish. A full kids’ menu is avail­able and the chefs are happy to cater for the lit­tle fussy eaters. Aquana is not just for fam­i­lies - cou­ples and friends also choose to en­joy its great lo­ca­tion. A favourite hang­out for the lo­cals on Sun­days, when the French and Aus­tralian ex­pat com­mu­nity turns out in big num­bers to en­joy the live mu­sic and great seafood. The ‘co­conut seafood chow­der’ is all the rage and of course, the lob­ster is the star of the menu. Aquana wel­comes day visi­tors to en­joy a de­li­cious, leisurely lunch or din­ner, have a re­lax­ing swim or ex­plore the bay in the kayaks and stand up pad­dle boards.

Stan­dard rates start at AU$362 per night for beach­front bun­ga­lows, AU$312 for wa­ter view bun­ga­lows and AU$282 for gar­den view. Rates in­clude con­ti­nen­tal and hot break­fast and spe­cial deals for lo­cals are avail­able at cer­tain times. Email info@aquana.com.au, ph +678 5900401, www.aquana.com.au.

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