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Reviewed June 17, 2018

Barrier Beach Resort
Big big disappointment

We spent 6 nights at this resort in January 2018 as part of our round the world trip. It was one of 28 hotels we stayed in, in 10 different countries. It is always a gamble when you book a hotel and have to pay in advance without ever seeing it, but Barrier Beach was the only hotel I felt confident would live up to my expectations because of the amazing reviews on TA. How wrong could I be!! When we arrived at the Resort my heart sank.
Firstly the accommodation
We had booked back in September Fare (room) 6 which is a garden Fare with a plunge pool. The first thing I noticed was the ridiculously small plunge pool on the deck and how dark the deck was because the vegetation around the room and deck was so dense. Then, on entering the room, I immediately smelt a nasty musty smell. The room itself was a decent size and the bathroom was ok but we both agreed that we would ask Calvin the Owner/manager if we could change rooms the next day as we arrived quite late.
Next morning Calvin was very helpful and said we could move to Vila No 5 on the beach which we agreed to, as it was much better than Fare 6. The only problem was it had no air conditioning or WIFI which we had paid for but decided that it was a compromise we were willing to take.
Vila 5 is the last room on the property before Sunrise Cabanas, another resort. The room itself needs updating. It is very similar to the type of beach bungalows I was renting 30 years ago when I was backpacking around Thailand, but at a fraction of the cost of Barrier Beach. It is quite small but does have a nice large outdoor deck and is directly on the beach. The tea/ coffee making facilities and fridge are in the bathroom next to the toilet – not ideal!! Most nights there was a sea breeze but a couple of nights it was very still, and it was so hot we could not sleep and longed for some a/c.
Even though we had paid in advance and knew there would be no refunds, we tried to move to Sunset Cabanas next door as their rooms were of a higher standard. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any rooms available.
The beach
The beach is beautiful but narrow and at times it was difficult to find anywhere that was not shaded because there are so many trees and overgrown shrubs and bushes. The same applied to our deck. The trees hung over the deck and really needed cutting back. We all need some shade but not over the entire deck.
Breakfast!
Well, we were told a continental breakfast was included and you could pay extra for additional items. Again, that’s fine but it’s all relative. Having paid £186.00 a night, I do expect good quality items to be included in the continental breakfast. To me the breakfast was appalling. Every day we were served a small plate of nicely presented fruit for 2 people to share. The amount of fruit was laughable, considering we are on an island which has wonderful fruit at very cheap prices. In addition to the fruit there were 3 canisters filled with cereals, cornflakes, a sugar coated cereal of some kind (not sure what they were) and Weetabix. Then there was some white bread, you could toast with the choice of sachets of raspberry jam, peanut butter or vegemite, and some banana bread. No decent coffee only sachets of Nescafe. Anything else was extra.
Happy Hour was from 5 to 7 which we enjoyed most days. However, we only found out on checking out that drinks are only 100 vitu (approx. 60p) cheaper in happy hour which brings them down to the normal price Sunset Cabanas charge. Also, the bar then totally closes at 7:00pm. Had we have known about the discount in happy hour, we would not have bothered.
One night we were sitting outside the bar finishing a drink when Calvin came and asked if we had a torch as he was turning ALL the lights off in the entire resort at 9pm. Well surely you don’t have to turn all the lights off? We were paying to stay in a hotel not a prison!!
We had dinner in the restaurant twice, the first time was disappointing, the second time the food was ok, but we only had a main course, no sweet, as they do not serve ‘anything’ in the restaurant after 8:30pm and we did not finish our mains until 8:30. We only found that out when I asked for a glass of water and I waited and waited and was told it was after 8:30!!! Not even a glass of water??? WOW!!
The staff at Barrier were polite enough but not very friendly. Not one of them asked our names while we were there, unlike the staff at Sunset Cabanas. We were not even staying at Sunset Cabanas but ate dinner there a couple of times and as we walked through the staff all greeted us by our names.
Would I recommend Barrier Beach – “No” and I certainly would not stay there again, there are far better options. From what we saw approx. 50% of the property is run down. What a shame.

Date of stay: January 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank travellertheworld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Barrier Beach R... V, General Manager at Barrier Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded June 17, 2018

It is very disappointing to hear that you did not enjoy your time with us, we are sorry that we did not meet your expectations. With all our guests when they book they get to choose the room they wish as we list each one individually, when you spoke to me that you were not happy with the room we did offer to move you to make you more comfortable as our Garden Fares are exactly that, set in tropical jungle gardens..
As you booked through Expedia, they charge the accommodation in advance, this is a policy of theirs.
To clarify a couple of other items you mentioned, the Restaurant does not close at 8.30, when each of our guests check in we let them know that our Chef's prepare everything fresh and therefore our last orders for main course is 8.30pm. The restaurant closes at 10pm and we would never close before anyone has finished their meals totally. The night you were sitting on the deck, we were ready to close the restaurant and I offered to leave the deck lights on for you to turn off when were finished at your leisure. Also with the Lounge Bar, it does close at 7.00pm however we also have the restaurant bar that is open till 10.00pm, our happy hour prices for cocktails actually are 200vt cheaper than normal prices and 100vt off our 550vt beers, nearly a 20% discount. We will definitely look at the way our breakfast is served as all guests are also offered a plunger of fresh Tanna Coffee with Breakfast however this seems not to have been explained to you, I offer my apologies regarding this. I am also sorry you did not like our Nabangora Trees that line the beach, the Resort has been built around these ancient trees and it is a feature that sets us apart from any bare white sand beach. Again, we never like to hear that any of our guests leave disappointed and I sincerely wish you had spoken to us while you were here as we are more than happy to do everything within our power to ensure that our guests leave with memories of a great stay. Kind regards Calvin.

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Reviewed June 9, 2018

We stayed at Barrier for the last 6 nights of our honeymoon and it was the perfect way to end a lovely stay in Vanuatu. For us, this was an expensive stay (we are used to the prices of S.E Asia), but for what we paid we had exceptional service, a beautiful beach-front room with the waves literally lapping at the base of our bungalow and true peace and quiet.

Calvin manages the place with a close eye and it shows - the staff are extremely well trained, friendly and efficient and the resort itself is immaculate. Calvin was a great source of information on getting around and he recommended a fantastic driver (Tusty) who we used regularly to get into town and back.

The resort is approx 15mins out of Luganville and on a quiet stretch of coastline. We took out the stand-up paddleboards on one day and the water was like glass. The only disappointment of our stay was that we didn't get to see the dugongs....we'll have to come back again.

Thank you for a perfect end to our honeymoon. We had a thoroughly enjoyable stay.

Larissa and Calum

Date of stay: April 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Larissa T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Barrier Beach R... V, General Manager at Barrier Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded June 17, 2018

Thank you Larissa and Calum for your great feedback and we are all so glad you enjoyed your stay with us. I will pass on your comments to all of the BBR staff, they will be delighted to hear your words about them. All the best from all of us at Barrier Beach.

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Reviewed June 4, 2018

An enjoyable holiday at a great resort. Calvin and the resort staff go to a lot of trouble to ensure all the guests have a memorable holiday. We had planned to do some activities but it was just too tempting to stay at the resort and relax, kayak, swim and snorkel. We had Fare 1, right on the beach, and it was a good choice. I fully recommend Barrier Beach Resort and hope to go back soon.

Date of stay: May 2018
Thank dg19812018
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Barrier Beach R... V, General Manager at Barrier Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded June 6, 2018

It is awesome to hear that you had a great time here at Barrier Beach Resort, it is a special location that is hard to drag yourself away from. We would all love to see you again sometime. All the very best from all of us here at BBR.

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Reviewed May 27, 2018

This resort is a sensational boutique adults only resort set amongst lush gardens on an absoute stunning beach frontage. Calvin the owner/host welcomed us on arrival and showed us the facilities - from there everything just fell into a relaxed sereneness.

There are about six Beachfront Fares (louvered huts with thatched roofs), as well as a few other styles of accommodation that are spacious and well equipped with magnificent views. Our Fare (#3) was quiet, private, and equipped with comfortable bed, table and chairs and private, direct beach access. The bathroom held a generous shower, separate toilet and basin. There was adequate storage. The overhead fans quietly whirred and airconditioning was available (which wasn't necessary given the cool sea breezes). Tea/coffee making facilities completed the room. There were two small outdoor decks, one privately enclosed, the other at the front where you can soak up "The View!"

The resort offered an indoor/outdoor casual seafront sitting/lounge area where you can meet other guests at happy hour, play a few board games or just relax with a good book and of course enjoy the view with a good wine, beer or something else of your choice from the range on offer.

Again, the perfect azure waters are on display in the dining area. Chefs, Lucy and Dory were superb in accommodating their menu to cater to my food allergies. Also staff, Tony, Catherine, Flavia and the delightful barperson we personally nicked-named "Cookie" were amazing. The staff had the happy knack of being unobtrustive while still around when you wanted them - all were gracious and friendly.

Calvin was the perfect host, and never let us down when we needed a taxi, a tour guide, a four wheel drive trip, fishing details, general information, wine, a chat - Calvin was there (and everywhere). We can't thank him enough.

Other facilities on offer included, snorkling (gear) - a must to do on the various reefs in the bay, and kayaking also a necessity to enjoy. From our wanderings around the bay, Barrier Beach Resort appeared to be the only resort structured right across the waterfront itself.

Whether you want a quiet, comfortable, relaxing picture perfect place to stay, or a base to be more adventurous in Santo, choose Barrier Beach Resort you won't want to leave, more importantly, you won't be disappointed.

Room tip: Pay the extra and secure a beachfront Fare or Unit - it's worth every cent!
Date of stay: May 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Carmel S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Barrier Beach R... V, General Manager at Barrier Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded June 6, 2018

Wow, thank you so much for your great review, everyone here does their upmost to ensure that all of our guests have a wonderful holiday and we are so pleased that you felt the same way. I will let everyone know your comments, they will all be smiling when they hear your comments. It was great to meet you both and hopefully one day we will see you back again. The best regards from all of us here at Barrier Beach.

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Reviewed May 26, 2018 via mobile

Hands down top marks for location. The water in the bay is as stunning as you see in the photos it is a magic spot. Swimming with 2 dugongs was a bucket list occasion which was awesome. Nice reef, no coral really but cool fish to look at when snorkelling is also great. We loved our Fare 1 and yes it was lovely listening to the waves lapping on the foreshore so close to our room. Dinners were yummy and we ate there every night, the staff were all beautiful and friendly as are most the locals on this island. My favourite was Tony who was adorable, loved his cheeky smile and giggle. These were the things we loved about this place. Some things that weren’t so great and brings this rating down dramatically are the following; the biggest problem was our Fare no.1 had a leak in the wall. We told the owner Calvin who said he’d check it out when the girls cleaned our room the next day. This was 3rd day into our 7 day stay. Anyway he never got back to us and it was never resolved. There is clearly an issue there. We would put down a towel to soak it up and by morning it was saturated. The girls would clean it up the next day. It was just annoying walking on this wet floor every night. Also even though breakfast has been mentioned in previous reviews as not really being up to par nothing seems to have changed. It’s a bit of a joke when looking at the fruit platter promised on booking.com to what you actually get. 4 slices of banana, 4 slices of paw paw and 8 slices of sour fruit no body eats because you see all the plates being taken back with those fruits left behind, take a hint maybe. This is for two mind you. Yoghurt was promised with breakfast which would have been wonderful, never saw it though. 3 cereals to chose from. And some bread. The toaster needs to be updated and please buy an espresso machine pretty sure you can afford it. Coffee was rubbish and when you’re paying high end money you at least expect a good coffee. My biggest gripe though was the mini bar, made Sydney prices look dirt cheap was beyond ridiculous what you’d pay for a can of peanuts when You can get the same can in town for 1/20th of the price, and because the breakfast was crappy you’d be starving by the afternoon. The whole place goes to bed at 9pm pretty much there is no entertainment here, I believe Sunrise Cabanas next door have big tvs pretty much share the same beach and is way cheaper. I also felt uncomfortable drinking a cocktail served by a waitress that probably would have to work all day for the same luxury, most of the locals are paid minimum wage here which is why so many foreigners are buying property’s and getting filthy rich on the backs of others, we won’t be coming back for this reason alone.

Date of stay: May 2018
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
1  Thank anniebabywoowoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Barrier Beach R... V, General Manager at Barrier Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded May 27, 2018

Thank you for the feedback on your stay, i must say i am still totally confused about the water on the floor near the wall in the bathroom as I mentioned to you there are no water pipes in any internal walls with all pipework running through the outside walls. Both myself and the housekeeping staff spent quite a bit of time trying to find out why it was happening to you and still cannot establish why. It is not a problem that we have had before. I apologise for the breakfast fruit portion size I have taken steps to ensure that their is more on the platter and will redo the breakfast offerings. We do offer fresh ground Tanna coffee beans in a plunger for breakfasts and our staff offer this to all guests rather that instant coffee which is available on the buffet. I totally agree with you on us being a quiet resort with no late entertainment, we have chosen not to have TV's at the resort being a quiet resort in a tropical natural setting and the Restaurant closes when our last guests have gone to bed usually by 10pm. Also, with the Minibar, each item in the Minibar is the same price as our normal bar prices and we do not make the mark-up that you have suggested, we do keep our Food & Beverage to as an affordable level as much as the prices that we have to pay. The one thing in your review that I must elaborate on is with our staff. We employ 24 staff at the resort and not 1 is paid minimum wage, we renumerate them well as we know that they are our biggest asset. Barrier Beach Resort loves Vanuatu and the Ni-Vanuatu people and are proud that we can offer permanent full time employment to each and every one of our staff and ensure that they enjoy working for us as family members as this is what we are. In a country that relies on tourism for 45% of jobs in Vanuatu, the Tourism Industry has a role to offer work and training to as many Ni-Vanuatu as we can and we are proud to say that we help our staff and their families with a steady income in an enjoyable work environment. I am sorry that you did not enjoy your stay with us and with some of your feedback we will work towards offering an improved guest experience. Regards Calvin, Barrier Beach Resort.

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