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“Magical, Natural Tropical Retreat- loved it”

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Tara Beach Bungalows
Ranked #2 of 20 Port Vila B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Maroochydore, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Magical, Natural Tropical Retreat- loved it”
Reviewed 9 July 2011

This was my second trip to Vanuatu and to Tara beach. I would recommend anyone who is looking for a tropical Pacific island holiday whom is interested in culture and appreciative of nature to stay at Tara beach. A boutique 2 star property with10 private water front bungalows overlooking Mele harbour.

Each bungalow offers a spectacular view from the bed room, to the lounge area and out door patio. Can accommodate up to six (6) people comfortably.

The bungalow I was in was open plan and equip with the basics; bar fridge and small freezer. (I found this handy for provision over the week.); kettle; and tea and coffee making facilities. Basic shower and bathroom facilities. The lounge area is spacious, in our bungalow the floor covering a hand woven mat, TV & DVD. Daily fresh tropical flowers added a lovely simple touch to freshening up the room. I found the bedding comfortable and especially loved the sound of waves washing- magical. I slept very well.

The simple non confronting service and soft and personable nature of local Vanuatu people who care for the grounds, the kitchen / restaurant, tend to cleaning the rooms are what really make the experience special and unique location it is this charm which keep me coming back to stay at Tara beach.

I would recommend this accommodation for people with families on a budget. You can utilise the k yacks and snorkel off the island. Climb beautiful trees. I hired a small 4 x 4 and drove to villages, waterfalls and secluded beaches. Staying at Tara provided a base to get to the rest of the island and other small islands for a good look around. (I came with my daughter when she was 2 years old and now she is five). The bumpy road ride in and out was novel and a highlight of staying at Tara beach for us. I felt like I was off the beaten track remote from our normal day to day life..
also
Singles, couples, adventurers, back packers or those who can see the value.

I feel like this is more of a retreat than a resort where I relaxed by reading a book in private in a beautiful setting. Spent quality time with my daughter examining flowers plants and exploring this beautiful island. I did not listen to the radio, look at a computer screen, or answer my mobile phone for 10 days and it felt good. Tara Beach Resort provided a natural environment to feel natural in.

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank azungu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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  • Service
  • Value
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (33)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Japanese first
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English first
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
72 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 June 2011

I can not recommend Tara Beach resort and we hated our stay here so much that we hired a car and went out from 8 til late for the 4 nights we stayed here. We even considered paying to stay else where but after paying AUD$185/n we really couldn’t afford it.

It is a 10-15 minute slow bumpy drive down the dirt road to Tara Beach Resort. Tara Beach Resort has lush level tropical gardens and a little beach out the front of the restaurant. There was good snorkelling there. All the bungalows a spaced apart and are built on the foreshore facing east. When we arrived at the arranged time our unit was still being cleaned so we had to wait in the restaurant. The manager was on leave so a friend of his was overseeing things. While we waited to see our accommodation he told us that the place was fully booked until yesterday when they had all left. So why wasn’t the room ready for us? I thought. He also informed us that we had no hot water but he would get someone to fix it tomorrow. We were also asked to tell him a few hours before lunch and/or dinner if we wanted to eat at the restaurant and what we wanted to eat. He told us there was a bus at either 9am or 6pm to and from Port Vila. We were annoyed but polite and had a good attitude that we’d make it work. I could live with these inconveniences. There was no reception area where we could go to ask someone to call us a taxi and with no suitable phone we would have to walk up to the main road and hail a taxi from there. He was very kind and lent us his phone so we could organise a hire car. This was another $65/d on top of the accommodation costs.


We stayed in bungalow 2 which faces east and has uninterrupted views of the beach. The furniture was tatty and the couches were cane with well worn cushions -not comfortable for lounging on. There was a TV but no reception! The sheets had a nasty brown stain on them. I used my own used beach towel for a pillow, because I felt it was cleaner. We were given four small and thin towels with mismatched bathmats and hand towels (which is not a deal breaker). The draws were ABSOLUTLY DISGUSTING. There were dead cockroaches, mouse poo and other stains in ALL the draws; from the dressers, bedside tables and the bathroom. We were kindly ‘left’ a soggy and used bar of soap in the shower but no other toiletries were um… provided! The scum and hair in the drain was just filth and made a lovely bath for my feet while I showered! NOT. There were no screens on the windows or doors so we had to suffer in the heat and not enjoy a beautiful ocean breeze. Tea coffee, sugar, milk were provided. There was no safe in the room, and we did not even receive a key so we could not even lock our room. Housekeeping made our room up once out of the four days/nights we were there.

On our first night we found a huge spider in the bathroom, right next to the toilet. So when I got up to use the toilet in the night I put on the bathroom light. Big cockroaches were all over the floor but also on our toothbrushes and in our toiletries bag. UTERLY REVOLTING.

Day one, on our way to breakfast, we were stopped by the man from unit 1. As it turns out the lady in this unit oversees the bookings for the resort. He greeted us with “are you the people complaining from unit 3?” 1. We hadn’t complained and 2. We are staying in unit 2. He then called his wife and had my husband (because I refused) talk to her for 20 minutes. We did not want this confrontation or negativity on our holiday. So they talked about the resorts infrastructure and how the lack of services affected our experience at the resort and our holiday in general. We had booked there thinking we could enjoy the gardens and lounge and swim at the beach and without having to go anywhere for food. But instead we were asked to give hours of notice for food we wanted to eat. He also informed her that we had cockroaches and a spider and she said she would have housekeeping clean our room. The housekeeper came while we were out for the day and she made the bed, she did not clean anything. W shopped for and paid for the batteries to get the hot water system working.

Night two was no better; in fact I saw cockroaches on our suitcase on the bed of the spare room as well as in the bathroom. I swear, I could hear my husband swatting at his face as he slept and dread to think of what was there. It’s alright though, he doesn’t remember-he was asleep. lol

In the morning on day two we talked to the man next door about the cockroaches and he said he would spray the room to kill the cockroaches. We left for the day and evening hoping to find a clean unit on our return. We arrived back to dead cockroaches all over the floor but worse, he had sprayed the unit and not aired it so the unit was a hothouse which smelt of bug spray and gave my lungs that “chemical feeling”. Mmm The hot water system had been fixed.

So on day three we had the lady from unit 1 look at our unit, to see the dead cockroaches, grubby sheets, used soap and dirty draws and told her how her husband had sprayed but not aired the unit but also that housekeeping obviously had not cleaned our unit. She said she would have housekeeping come and clean. BUT surprise surprise when we arrived at the resort the unit was as we left it. FILTHY. I would have preferred camping to this. I dry wrench every time I think of being there and feel upset and disappointed in the services or lack there of provided to us by Tara Beach Resort.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank ClaireBare
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney
Level Contributor
76 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 November 2010

You could only discover this Vanuatu gem by accident just as we did. If you want a luxury resort; don't visit Tara Beach Resort. If you want to discover the magic of a beautiful South Pacific Island Resort, complete with outstandingly friendly and helpful staff and diving almost from your front door on coral reefs packed with tropical fish......then don't come to Tara Resort....!!!!! I've got to have rocks in my head writing this review. I want this place all to myself. Please stay away. It's a horrible place and don't look at the photos I've posted.

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
5 Thank DrewboySydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 October 2010

The staff at tara beach are very friendly and eager to help especially Christine. All the bungalows are 5 steps away from the coral beaches and reefs. Kayak out to the coral cay or just snorkel off the jetty (kayaks, life jackets and snorkel gear are available). Lulu will come and sing you songs while you eat your meals. The food isn't of a very high standard and a bit over priced so we recommend you ask John D, the bus driver to drop you in town to eat out.

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Esciipi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Adelaide
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 6 September 2010

The location is superb!! Private, simple and relaxing.

The bungalows are simple well set out with great privacy and unbeatable views. There were some issues with the plumbing, hot water and electricity but nothing major normal Vanuatu style! Even through it’s probably not required locks on the doors would be comforting when leaving things in the room during the day.

The food was basic and pretty average quality. This would have been fine if priced accordingly however given what it was it we found it extremely over priced. We ended up getting takeaway and basic supplies from Pt Villa or ate at Benjor Beach Club.

We found some of the staff a little hard to judge and at times were a bit uncomfortable to deal with but that said there were no problems. Transport in and out of town was a bit hit and miss on the resort bus but if you work on Vanuatu time its all good.

The jetty and reef directly out the front is great with plenty of sea life and excellent snorkeling and kayaking. Probably the best around Pt Villa.

We traveled with another couple who had 2 kids aged 2&4 and we would NOT recommend this location for these aged kids.

With your own car and some basic food supplies this is the best place near Pt Villa to stay! Without this some people may struggle to enjoy their stay.

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MattandPeita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 August 2010

This was our third stop in Vanuatu and we were really disappointed. Despite prearranging transfers, the resort forgot to pick us up. Seven days of no hot water, shoddy furniture that fell apart when you put something on it, faulty electrics resulting in us getting zapped every time we touched something electrical, curtains falling off the rails, doors that wouldn't open.... the list goes on. We were prepared for the grotty linen and crockery from previous reviews, but not the cockroaches. Staff were friendly, however there was no one around most of the time, the room wasn't always done and whenever we asked to get hot water fixed we got lots of nods but very little action. The grounds however were immaculate - we were only able to snorkel twice in a week because of the winds, where as other places are a lot more sheltered. Lots of colourful fish, however the coral is badly damaged in places.
As a family, it works out to be expensive if you use the resort transfers to and from town.
Overall, we were prepared for a bit of 'rustic' - but there are some basics that need to be sorted out for this resort to live up to the descriptions on its website.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Edtravel76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 10 August 2010

We loved Tara Beach! We used it as a base to come back to between visits to other islands. The bungalows are perched right on the edge of the ocean so the crashing waves lull you back to sleep if you wake in the night. The snorkeling and kyacking is right at your door step, and free.
The weather wasn't great, but that didn't matter as the staff couldn't have been warmer, kinder or more accomodating.
The rooms were clean and in spite of not having keys I felt completely safe all the time here and on other islands in Vanuatu.
There were little things like the hot water, that didn't work as we would expect in a western country....but then (very hapily) we were not in a western country.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Relaxedynamos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Tara Beach Bungalows

Property: Tara Beach Bungalows
Address: Devil's Point Road | Mele Bay, Port Vila, Efate, Vanuatu
Region: Vanuatu > Efate > Port Vila
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 20 B&Bs / Inns in Port Vila
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Tara Beach Bungalows 3*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tara Beach is absolute beach front situated on 12 lush acres fronting picturesque Mele Bay, Efate, Vanuatu. With crystal clear, safe waters at your doorstep, we are the perfect spot for snorkeling, kayaking, swimming and getting away from it all for a while. We also have a chilled out open air bar / cafe known as the Beach Hut that is also open to day visitors and locals. Located about 15 mins from town & 10 mins to the airport, we provide free airport transfers for guests. All bungalows have tea and coffee making facilities and a fridge, with ocean views a few metres from your door included as standard. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tara Beach Bungalows Hotel Port Vila
Tara Beach Hotel
Tara Beach Port Vila
Tara Beach Bungalows Vanuatu/Port Vila

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