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“Best self-sufficient family resort ever”

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Island Magic Resort
Ranked #18 of 47 Hotels in Port Vila
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 30 May 2011

We stayed at Island Magic for a week and it was brilliant. We had my 3 step-sons aged 9,10 and 12 and it was our first major trip away. I am not good at being away from the strucuture of my home and we also have food allergies in the family so having a fully functioning, pleasant kitchen to manage our meals in made the stay so much better. The bungalows are homey, very clean and have ensuites in each bedroom which was fantastic for parental privacy. The managers were lovely and helped us with transportation to the places we wanted to go, which was cost saving and time efficient. The resort staff were friendly and cut up coconuts for the kids and took us on tours of the village and generally helped us whenever we needed it. There is a small pool and a communal bbq area to enjoy with others and the snorkelling right off the jetty is some of the best we've seen. A great place for the kids to get confident.. I couldn't fault this resort as it fulfilled all of our needs. There is no restaurant on site but the next resort down (10 min walk) has a nice one with good service and food. I struggled to sleep sometimes due to noise of the wind, waves and some storms plus the outside security lighting was a bit bright for me but after a few nights I got used to it and you can't change Moher Nature!! I highly recommedn this resort for families wanting a home for their holiday and to self manage a lot of their meals. It saved us a great deal of money and made life pleasant for all.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank Jules88_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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132 - 138 of 170 reviews

Reviewed 25 May 2011

LOCATION: I do agree with kab00ki’s review of this resort. Its location is off the beaten track. If you choose to stay here, you are quite depended upon using a taxi. It is difficult to get transportation to the city centre in the evening. Getting back to the resort is also a hassle late at night. The manager, Jane, can arrange transportation to and from the airport using the Melanesian Tours.
HOTEL: Big and well furnished huts. I had a two-bedroom, two-bathroom hut with an open kitchen, living room and balcony facing the ocean. One of the bedrooms has clearly not been used for a while and the undersides of the pillows are moldy, sticky and humid.
CONCLUSION: Nice resort. The manager is friendly and capable, so is her husband. There is no restaurant at this resort. Hence if you do not mind do you own cooking while in Vanutu this is a place for you. There is a restaurant at the nearby resort, which is a five minute walk away. Walking there in evening with a hand-winding torch is an adventure in itself and please beware of the dogs. If you prefer to dine out, I would recommend staying closer to Port Vila, such as the Iririki Island Resort where a small, free ferry runs on a regular interval and the ride takes less than five minutes.

  • Stayed: November 2010
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Thank HKasyouare
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
shorttricks, Manager at Island Magic Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 31 May 2011

Unfortunately HKasyouare and kab00ki seemed to be unaware of the location of Island Magic Resort prior to booking. I do apologise to them for any misunderstandings as to facilities and location of our beautiful resort.
As stated on our web site we are 15 minutes by car or bus from Port Vila town and 10 minutes from the international airport. We take an exit off the main Island rd to travel 2 kms along a coral road that parallels the shores of Mele Bay. Stunning ocean views on your left and glorious mountain views on the right. Then you arrive at 18 fully appointed units, 90 metres of ocean front all wrapped up in beautiful landscaped gardens, pathways and green undulating lawns.
Again I apologise to HKasyouare and kab00ki for not making it easier to understand exactly what Island Magic Resort offers. We will look at our website and our other advertising mediums and endeavour to make it plainer for our potential visitors.
However the current website and wholesalers we use (within their limitations) do state our distance from town and airport and do describe us as fully self contained apartments with no restaurant on site offered. We have tried to make this as clear as possible. In addition we have described local eating places with the compendium in the apartments giving more details. We might not have all the facilities a large multinational resort has but we do have the following –
Wireless internet access, 5 Aus TV channels, jetty, petanque court, 2 BBQs, swimming pool, BYO bar, and fridge, oceanfront deck and jetty, snorkelling equip, book exchange, free dvds, free pushbikes, tour bookings, transport arrangements, airport pickups, babysitting, small shop for essential supplies 24 hr security, guest car-parking and friendly and helpful staff.
We arrange shopping trips for our guests and all the apartments have everything in them from washing machines to gladwrap and alfoil.
We are set up as a resort for our guests to enjoy our beautiful environment, to relax at their own speed, and to appreciate our stunning surroundings. 2009 and 2010 saw Island Magic Resort win best self contained accommodation in Vanuatu. Surely this speaks for itself.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 May 2011

As others have noted, Vanuatu is not Hawaii, and Vila is not Noumea. While there are some posh big hotels and resorts around the small city, the quieter, more expansive resorts around Mele Bay bring you closer to the real Vanuatu and its wonderful people.
Attending a church conference from Australia, hosted by our new good friends of the Mele Presbyterian Church, I expected to be near something like a small town, with all the facilities that implies... in Australia. Mele is a village - one of the larger ones, sure, but for shops, services, and most entertainment, you need to go into Port Vila. The sealed road goes to Mele Village but not all the way to the resorts on the west coast of Mele Bay. Our local minibus driver, Keith, explained that while the road had been graded two weeks before, a week of solid rain had then washed much of the repairs into the sea (5-10 metres away). We spent the week skilfully negotiating potholes, puddles, ditches and local people on a road we came to know extremely well!
From the front gate of the Island Magic Resort, all that changed again. Level crushed coral paths meander through beautiful gardens (thanks Joe and team) to a series of well-appointed, comfortable bungalows facing the bay. My colleague and I shared a bungalow with two ensuite bedrooms, comfortable king size beds, and the necessary ceiling fans throughout. Kitchen, laundrette, dining and lounge rooms with TV were supplemented by the lovely verandah, perfect for breakfast. Australian managers David and Jane were always a great help with suggestions, bookings, emergency provisions, and occasionally a lift into Vila. Thanks guys!
Others have commented warmly on the facilities: suffice it to say that everything worked perfectly - hot water, electricity, the stove and washer, iron and fan. TV reception was a bit dodgy, consisting of a few regional Australian channels broadcasting 'live' (i.e. one hour behind Vanuatu time) - but Vanuatu is not there so you can watch Australian TV! Take some DVDs. To my observation, the bungalows and gardens are newer and better appointed than Benjor or Tara Beach, and definitely a step up from Hideaway Island (but Hideaway is a different sort of experience.) The only critical difference is that Island Magic has no restaurant.
Food: The nearest restaurant is about 10 minutes walk up the road at Benjor, and others are not far away. Island Magic bungalows have fully functional kitchens and all you need to cook and eat with, but you will need to get some provisions on your way in, esp. for breakfast. I suggest you email Jane before you come, to get some advice on where and how to do that. It's never easy straight off the plane; but your driver will be able to take you via an 'Au Bon Marche' supermarket. The resort also has a great BBQ area, with sauces and tools all there.
Swimming: I went for a dive off Hideaway Island, which Jane organised for me from the I.M. office. It wasn't a great day for visibility, though fun. However I saw much more sea life, for free, with my snorkel and fins straight off the jetty at I.M. I snorkelled the entire west side of Mele Bay, almost from the black sand beach in the north to near the atoll at Tara Beach resort at the south-western end, as well as the western side of Hideaway Island, and though Hideaway came close (once you get away from their dead beach and pointless underwater post office thingy), nothing beat the 100 metres or so outside Island Magic and its immediate northern neighbour. There is a vast array of live coral and every kind of fish, including two different giant clams (sorry, you have to find them yourself). Most days the water was very still, but when there's a swell or surge you need to be very careful getting back up the stainless steel ladder to the jetty. The concrete ramp is very slippery, and could be scrubbed down or water-blasted at low tide, as it would be a much safer and easier option for some people.
DO NOT MISS A TRIP TO THE CASCADES! Entrance VUV 1500 each (about $15), and stay all afternoon swimming, relaxing, climbing, chilling at the cocktail bar or cafe. Wear crocs or similar shoes you can get wet, not thongs. The rocks are not slippery, but sometimes hard on the feet. The grass can be muddy and slippery. But these waterfalls are the most magnificent playthings ever. Go on, get right under!
Transport: Sure, you can hire a car, but be prepared for island driving. They drive on the right - sometimes - depending on where the potholes and people are. On the unsealed roads, you GO SLO or risk disaster. People wave to you - be nice, wave back. Local buses are 14-seater minibuses and the fares are modest, and depend on whether the driver has come out specially for you, or has a full bus, and how far you are going, or if it's late. The ni-Vanuatu people will go out of their way to accommodate you. Talk to them, get to know them, and your visit will be made.

Room Tip: Talk nicely to Jane!
  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled on business
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2  Thank RevPez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 April 2011

if you are after accommodation that is off the beaten track and looking for some seclusion then this is the place for you. You will need to grab some groceries on your way in as there is nothing in terms of facilities at the resort - it is very self contained. The resort can organise transfers from the airport and they can drop into the supermarket on the way. We were not aware of just how secluded it was here and so was not prepared for the stop at the supermarket. There is a resort 10 minutes walk up the road that has a restaurant, which while a little expensive was a delicious meal. There is a great reef off the end of the jetty which was where we spent a lot of time and the cascade waterfalls is walking distance away (20-30 min stroll). The people running the resort are very friendly and do all they can to accommodate you. The apartment is clean but I think the one we stayed in had not been used in a while so there was a very stale smell to everything. Generally, the resort was not what I was expecting, and if I was to stay in vanuatu again I would stay out on one of the islands - maybe iririki or erakor. One thing being out here is we have had the chance to see the real vanuatu as the bus driver took a few detours through the local villages and around the town etc

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank kab00ki
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2011

Had a wonderful time at the resort, a special mention to Joe (the gardener and unofficial PR man)and his "cousin" Keith who was our main bus driver..the resort has the best snorkeling.... far better than Hideaway Island, the only downfall is the distance from town, a hire care is the only answer if you dont like waiting for buses etc.. the food up the road at the War Horse Saloon was great as was the meal at Benjors.. Jane and David were always there to help and I would definitely recommend.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled with family
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Thank melefan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 March 2011

As a couple visiting Vanuatu with the purpose of moving there, we spoke to lots of people with questions and details we thought we needed to know. David and Jane, the managers at the resort , were always ready to answer any questions we had and we found them very helpful. The resort is very well run by them with spotless rooms, linen changed every four days, and the bungalows are very well supplied with everything you could possibly want even down to a supply of clothes washing powder. It is a 20 minute drive into Port Vila therefore a hire car is recommended.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled on business
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Thank Jow64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 January 2011

Our family of 4 which included 2 kids (10-13) recently spent over a week at this resort. Located about 10k out town, it is sited with views of Port Vila and south out its heads.

The resort is a self catered set-up (supermarket is 7-10 min drive). The bungalows are comfortable and well equipped. There are several common areas which have BBQ's and one with fridge/kitchen. There are numerous places to relax and enjoy the vista but the attraction that had our kids energised to get out bed and eager to get back from site-seeing was the coral and marine life at the end of the jetty. Having dived many spots, i can advise the novice - it's not bad.

Getting to the resort takes about 5min from the airport and is about 10min from the "city." Mini-buses do go past the door and taxis can be booked but we'd recommend hiring a car. If you do, make sure you are clear in your booking of what you want because our 1st car was bordering on defective, our 2nd was great.

Avid users of TripAdvisor and basing many of our decisions on the reviews of others, we felt it beneficial to point out that Vanuatu is not Hawaii. It is basic in infrastructure, slightly remote and lacking in a lot of choice but this said it is akin to an unpolished gem for those seeking less veneer and more substance. The people make this place - their smiles, their greetings and the willingness to help. the negative reviews we read prior to booking concerned us but luckily we focused on the positives - we think the former may have been influenced by people with expectations that are beyond what should be expected of vanuatu.

Island Magic is a terrifc little gem that we will go back to.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled with family
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3  Thank tharts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Island Magic Resort

Address: Devils Point Road | Mele Bay, Port Vila, Efate, Vanuatu
Phone Number:
Region: Vanuatu > Efate > Port Vila
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#9 Family Hotel in Port Vila
#11 Luxury Hotel in Port Vila
#17 Romantic Hotel in Port Vila
Price Range: $133 - $294 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Island Magic Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Luxury resort with self-contained apartment accommodation with ocean views, tropical gardens, guest bbq areas, swimming pool, and jetty to access spectacular snorkeling. Ideal for wedding and family groups. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Island Magic Hotel Port Vila
Island Magic Resort Vanuatu/Port Vila

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