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“Needs an injection of funds to reach its full potential”

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Bokissa Private Island Resort
Ranked #6 of 16 Hotels in Espiritu Santo
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 31 August 2017

Website and photos sure sell this location. We arrived in the midst of a fair amount of tension and unrest between management and staff and it reflected in our Bokissa experience. Don't get me wrong we enjoyed our 6 night stay:- the isolated location, the snorkelling, the coral, the beachfront location of the fare, relaxing under the huge shade trees, the limited number of guests, some of the meals, the couple massage, the helpfulness and friendliness of staff and making new friends but when the negatives affect your creature comforts the positives get outweighed.
The fare was old and run down. Housekeeping ensured cleanliness but the walls and floors were marked and stained, ensuite fixtures are well used and in need of modernising. The queen bed was firm and pillows thin. The aircon whilst we went knowing of its time restrictions, both it and the ceiling fan are excessively noisy so unless you have earplugs you want get any sleep if on during the night. Supplied bath linen was also well used, thin and in need of replacing. The fare could also benefit with fumigating as cockroaches were active at night.
The Continental Breakfast was disappointing, only two sort of fruit choices were the norm, some days only one, and on two days there was no fruit at all, one of the 3 cereal choices ran out (muesli) and was not restocked, fruit juice was limited to processed OJ and pineapple, only white bread supplied for toast. Lunch and evening meals were generous portions, well presented and tasty but their enjoyment was overshadowed by the large number of rats that were scampering around the dining and service area. Don't expect an abundance of "seafood", other than the one meal of lobster (which was sumptuous), the seafood is a single option of local fish served each night, in a different way (mornay, crumbed, whole, battered etc). No prawns, or large variety of seafood choices as marketed, and no theme nights. Make sure you bring some snacks/nibbles/biscuits as there is nothing supplied to have with a cuppa or if you get peckish between the 12md lunch service and 7pm evening meal.
We were unable to get Panadol or bandaids when we needed them, the bar ran out of Coke, Orange Juice and a number of spirits (limited the "cocktail" choices), so there could be a huge improvement in stock management processes. There were only 5 - 6 other couples on the island so it was not due to excess demand that supply was exhausted.

  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank di1605
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Susan G, Manager at Bokissa Private Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 1 September 2017

Firstly I would like to apologise that the negative issues you raised were outweighed by the positives and affected your stay at Bokissa island resort. It is unfortunate that you chose not to raise any of your concerns with us at the time of your stay so we did not have the opportunity to remedy any problems.
As far as the fares are concerned- we agree they are in need of modernising and are liaising with the shareholders to come up with a plan to do so. Likewise upgrading all the linen, furnishings and fixtures such as the air con units/ceiling fans.
It is a pity you didn't mention the cockroaches as we do have bombs we can use if they become a problem. We are having an extremely dry season which has resulted in the bush rats coming out in search of food and water. The rat bait has been unavailable for some time, but we have now been able to purchase more to get them under control. The rats do become a problem on occasion due to the nature of the island with the lush tropical rain forest.
We do have supply issues at times with both food and beverages- muesli has simply been unavailable for weeks and I spent several hours on one trip to town scouring every local shop and managed to purchase the last 2 packets. The town frequently runs out of items, even staples such as eggs and onions and we do our best to work around this. There are items we are able to stock up on and others we can't. Wholemeal flour for example has been out of stock for months and we do not stock up on it due to the problem with weevils.
I do not understand your comment regarding the seafood- we have very fresh fish on the menu for lunch as well as dinner (as you say cooked in a wide variety of ways), also lobster and calamari. Our emphasis is on local fish and as prawns are not locally caught we don't serve them as often. I understand that the web site could be misleading regarding the seafood and also theme nights and afternoon tea and I will endeavour to have this changed. It does stipulate on the web site that if you like between meal snacks to bring your own- we do have local cassava/kumala chips for sale as well as peanuts, imported chips and chocolate bars- these are available both at the bar and in the fare minibars.
Panadol, bandaids and a large stock of medical supplies are available free of charge both for our staff and guests. I have no recollection of a guest inquiring for either.
Supply for our bar has been an issue in the past few months- the Tusker shop were not available to supply us with Tusker for several weeks, leading us to arrange to have some sent up from Port Vila on an island trader. They also have been out of stock for most of our house wines and also spirits. Very frustrating and embarrassing for us. We have ordered stocks from elsewhere when available- often at greatly increased cost to us, simply to try and keep constant supplies for our guests. It is one of the difficulties we are faced with living in "paradise" and on a remote island. The costs for us to go to town are high so we have to limit shopping trips and unfortunately we are unable to keep high levels of expensive goods in stock.

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Reviewed 28 August 2017 via mobile

Great family holiday in an amazing and well-preserved tropical paradise!

Many positives to call out, including the location, facilities, management & staff, snorkeling & diving, accommodations and food. All were great for us.

We were made to feel very welcome, with management and staff flexible around our needs or preferences. Not so much about luxury, but for sure there is a genuine interest to make sure you are happy and enjoying your bokissa island experience.

If you're a diver then it's hard to go past bokissa. You have access to the big ticket sites around Santo and as well you can dive the local wreck the Henry Bonneaud, that I visited twice because it was so good!

If you're a family (even with young kids like ours) with a mildly adventurous spirit, I can highly recommend bokissa.


Stayed: July 2017, travelled with family
2  Thank C M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Susan G, Manager at Bokissa Private Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 1 September 2017

Thank you for your review and we all enjoyed having your family become part of the "Bokissa family" for a short time. We are not about luxury but hopefully we make up for that in other ways.
We hope you will venture our way again and maybe your girls will experience the delights of diving in Santo next visit

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Reviewed 17 July 2017 via mobile

Spent week at Bokissa, fare are spaced out nicely along the foreshore and clean and comfortable, but bit dated. Food was very good, the local fish is absolutely delicious and served quite often in many different ways. Breakfast is basic and if you want eggs and bacon, will cost you extra.

Snorkelling from the shore is good ,but better snorkelling is from the northern point of the island back towards the jetty.

The island is well maintained with large pool to relax in, while having a few cocktails in the sun lounges dotted around the pool and decking area. Rainforest walk is a must do, there are two walks you can do, one through the middle or around the edge of the island, make sure you wear good shoes as can be quite uneven on the tracks.
The only thing missing is few single kayaks and stand up paddle boards. (There is double kayaks on the island).
Overall, we great relaxing time, meeting some wonderful people and staff were friendly and helpful, definitely will be back to enjoy the isolation and peace of this island..

Stayed: March 2017, travelled as a couple
2  Thank Frank M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Susan G, Manager at Bokissa Private Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 13 August 2017

Thank you so much for your review of Bokissa island. It certainly gives prospective guests a great overview of what to expect when they come here. You seemed to achieve a wonderful balance between relaxing and the more strenuous activities we have to offer. I love that you can do as little or as much as you like at Bokissa and we love to watch our guests unwind. We certainly hope that we can add you to our growing list of returnees. Thanks again for staying with us.

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Reviewed 17 July 2017

We booked this trip so I could dive on the famous USS Coolidge and million dollar point.
And whilst my wife does not scuba she loved the snorkelling that was to be had on the island. I did too
The food was great and varied , the dive guides were experienced but lay back which I liked.
I bought my own gear except tanks and weights.

It is not cheap as land based resorts and has limited accommodation , so it feels like a 5 star location.

The kayaks need to be checked before use as we found seat straps broken.

Many guests told us that they came there every year or quite often.
We are the type who prefer new destinations , but I would definitely go again.

Room Tip: watch out for the dugongs in the morning and evening
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  • Stayed: August 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
2  Thank Martin L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Susan G, Manager at Bokissa Private Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 13 August 2017

Thank you for your review. We are very proud of our dive masters and receive great feedback from guests regarding their abilities as dive masters and how they also make the experience "fun" in their own personal ways. They really are an asset to the resort as are our chefs.
You are correct about our returnee guests- some months they make up half of our total guest numbers. I credit the staff for much of this as many of them have been with Bokissa for 15 or more years and guests often leave feeling they are part of the "Bokissa family". We've had 3 generations of returnee guests at times.
We have taken on board your comments regarding the kayaks and are working on upgrading these and other aspects of the resort which require attention.













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Reviewed 11 July 2017

Excellent snorkelling off the beach, friendly staff, great food, huge swimming pool, very comfortable beds, spacious ensuite. There were several interesting rain forest walks and a very large library! Wonderful place to chill out!

Room Tip: All are detached bungalows facing the beach
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  • Stayed: May 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank Elizabeth J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Susan G, Manager at Bokissa Private Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 1 September 2017

Thank you for your review Liz and we are very pleased you enjoyed the wonderful assets of Bokissa. We hope you join our growing list of returnee guests

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Reviewed 6 May 2017

My wife and I, being keen snorkelers, search for holiday destinations where the coral is not only good but easily accessible. We’ve encountered a few places where “right off the beach” should have been appended with “after a 10-minute swim”. Bokissa is genuinely right off the beach, and the reef (well maintained by the resort) teems with marine life. We couldn’t have asked for anything better. Diving, I’m told, is excellent.

Getting to Bokissa involves a 40-minute boat journey. It’s remote. It’s also tranquil. The resort is the only settlement on the island. Security is assured (unlike a similar place we went to once where an islander stole the in-room safe) and we never locked the door of our faré (cabin).

The faré was a disappointment on a number of counts. It was nothing like the pictures shown on the resort’s accommodation page on its website. There are no chairs, only the beds to sit on, no writing table, even though there’s space for them.

There are 13 Beachfront farés, one duplex, and one Deluxe Beachfront Spa faré (that’s the one featured on the accommodation page). To get to see the Beachfront faré’s interior, you need to go to the booking page.

Along with the resort itself, the faré felt neglected and in need of refurbishment: A patched-up hammock, a shower with a mind of its own, attachments that swivelled and dumped your toothbrushes in the sink or on the floor, and so on. The rack rate for the resort rooms suggest something better and anyone contemplating a stay should bear that in mind. (In defence of the resort, it is remote and its costs are higher than they would be on the mainland. Its website also states it’s 3.5 stars.)

While the website says that air conditioning is available, it doesn't mention that it's only between 8pm and 6am.

The food was well-cooked and presented, comprising fresh local produce, meat, and freshly caught fish. The chef has been with the resort for 20 years, and other staff were long-time employees, too. The staff were friendly and invariably helpful. Any problems reported were attended to promptly. Sue and Peter are genial hosts and leave you to your own devices – no hassling to take tours, etc.

A spacious dining hall accommodates a 12-shelf library, a bar, a pool table, dartboard, and comfortable lounge chairs. Ideal for inclement weather.

As expected in the tropics, the weather was humid, with showers on most days. This means mosquitos and flies, so pack plenty of insect repellent.

I was disappointed that the kayaks were two-person only. I prefer solo kayaking.

Despite my comments above about refurbishment, our expectations about snorkelling were well met and we enjoyed our time on the island.

Pros
• Beautiful location
• Excellent snorkelling straight off the beach
• Good fresh food, well cooked and presented
• Peaceful and private
• Secure
• Responsive management.

Cons
• Accommodation
• Limited air conditioning
• Kayaks are two-person only
• Long journey from the mainland.

  • Stayed: April 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
4  Thank Perrorist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Susan G, Manager at Bokissa Private Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 14 May 2017

Thank you for your comprehensive review of Bokissa island resort and we are glad you enjoyed your stay with us. We have taken on board your comments regarding the 2 person kayaks, the website information and our accommodation. Our snorkeling and diving are excellent and we are very proud of our wonderful staff.

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Reviewed 22 April 2017

We spent 6 days in this paradise Bokissa is everything you want in a holiday! Beach front vares set in lush tropical surrounds with rainforests to explore - just beautiful! We found the snorkelling some of the best in Vanuatu with numerous types of coloured fish and corals. Our room was neat and clean and more than adequate but was a little to warm during the day as air conditioning is only on at night,buy hey the water is right at the door. The meals were fantastic with ample portions, the lobsters were to die for ! Now the staff and managers Peter & Sue could not have been more friendly and helpful in arranging tours & activities and also were very informative about what to do on the Santo as we were staying on for another two weeks they were more like friends. Thanks guys we really enjoyed our stay and hopefully we'll be back in March 2018..... Pete & Anita

  • Stayed: March 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Peter M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Susan G, Manager at Bokissa Private Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 28 April 2017

Thank you for your wonderful review Peter and Anita. We are so glad you enjoyed your holiday at Bokissa. You were a pleasure to have here as guests and we look forward to your return. if you would like to be included in our return guest offers, just send an email to sales@bokissa.vu and we will add you to our database for some great deals
Regards Sue and Peter

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Additional Information about Bokissa Private Island Resort

Address: PO Box 261 | Bokissa Island, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu
Region: Vanuatu > Espiritu Santo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#4 Spa Hotel in Espiritu Santo
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Espiritu Santo
Price Range: $437 - $556 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Bokissa Private Island Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Bokissa Private Island Resort is a 30 minute fast boat ride from Luganville which is the main town in Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu. Bokissa is 16 absolute beachfront bungalows on a beautiful island of 175 acres of pristine beaches and tropical rainforest. Walk out of your bungalow onto the sand and into the water - straight off the beach snorkelling and just 10-20 minutes from world famous wreck and reef diving. Bokissa's tariff includes return airport transfers and all meals during your stay. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bokissa Eco Island Hotel Espiritu Santo
Bokissa Eco Island Santo
Bokissa Private Island Resort Vanuatu/Espiritu Santo

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