Deco Stop, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

When we were staying at Barrier Beach House the manager recommended we visit Deco Stop Lodge.  He said, ‘You must at least get there for lunch because it has one of the best views in Santo’.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have time for a visit.

A traditional entrance

A traditional entrance

But then we did.

Lodge accommodation

Lodge accommodation

We checked into the airport for our 50-minute flight to Port Vila and there was a slight situ in that there wasn’t a plane at the airport.  We were told the plane was on its way from Noumea and would arrive in about an hour.

A very tranquil entrance

A very tranquil entrance

Despite the sign telling us not to leave the airport, we thought finding somewhere we could enjoy lunch would be therapeutic.  Now was our opportunity to visit Deco Stop.  Along with a couple of other passengers, we ran out of the terminal and into a bus.

Sign at the check-in counter

Sign at the check-in counter

The ride to Deco Stop Lodge took less than 10-minutes.  The lodge is situated on a hilltop with expansive views of Luganville.  It looks out to the picturesque Canal du Segond and directly below is the town of Santo that is just 5-minutes away.  Deco Stop is a boutique resort offering budget accommodation in motel-style rooms with continental breakfast included.

The Lodge

The Lodge

Ben and Kim are the hosts and were there to greet us and show us into the restaurant.  They are all smiles, very relaxed, welcoming and friendly.  We had previously been told the restaurant is popular with ex-pat locals and sure enough, we saw Megan from Santo Horse Adventures who confirmed she is very much a regular.

Wooden carvings - I liked the pigs!

Wooden carvings – I liked the pigs!

The resort is rustic with a lot of traditional Vanuatu features.  The restaurant is undercover and leads to the swimming pool that’s surrounded in timber decking.  The view, even on a cloudy day, is very special.  Sitting down at a table and taking in the view, immediately had us feeling relaxed and unfrazzled.

The restaurant

The restaurant

The lunch menu has no surprises but the choices are adequate for a quick lunch.  Except it wasn’t quick.  The food took an extremely long time to emerge from the kitchen which was making us anxious as we didn’t want the plane to start taxiing the runway without us.  However, it is fairly standard on Santo to expect a fair wait between ordering and seeing anything at all, emerge from the kitchen.

Pool overlooking the view

Pool overlooking the view

Alfie was being difficult and couldn’t be encouraged to order anything other than a ‘mocktail’.  He chose the Deco Favourite with banana, coconut cream and tropical juice.  I thought it was beautifully presented with the pineapple and frangipani flower garnish but Alfie hated it.  Had about two sips and declared it undrinkable.  There was nothing wrong with it and it was a very refreshing drink.

Deco's Favourite:  Banana, coconut cream, tropical juice:  650 vt

Deco’s Favourite: Banana, coconut cream, tropical juice: 650 vt ($9.00)

Drew was trying hard to do his ‘light diet’ thing and ordered a salad roll with egg.  At a cost of around $10.00 it was generous with the fillings and a perfectly fine light lunch.

Fresh Salad Roll with Egg:  700 vt

Fresh Salad Roll with Egg: 700 vt ($10.00)

Our friend, Lou, ordered the salt and pepper calamari.  While she did enjoy the calamari she found it quite oily and there was a little pool of oil on her plate.

Salt & Pepper Calamari with Salad and Chips:  1,500 vt

Salt & Pepper Calamari with Salad and Chips: 1,500 vt ($18.00)

The others all ordered burgers where you can order extra goodies like egg and bacon.  Archie ordered his burger with all extras.  The burgers are generous in size, have lots of fillings and are a great way to satisfy the appetites of young adults.

Deco Hamburger with caramalised onion, cheese, salad and bacon:  1,350 vt

Deco Hamburger with caramalised onion, cheese, salad and bacon: 1,350 vt ($16.00)

I ordered the Thai Beef Salad with crispy noodles.  It was definitely a beef salad but there was nothing Thai about it.  I couldn’t taste any of those traditional Thai flavours like hot, salty, sour and sweet nor were there any Thai herbs like Thai basil, coriander and mint.  However, if you remove the word ‘Thai’ from this dish, it was a really lovely beef salad that because it’s not too filling, is perfect on a lunchtime menu.  The salad was crispy and crunchy and the famous Santo beef, very tender.  I think I ordered the best meal.

Thai Beef Salad with crispy noodles:  1,350 vt

Thai Beef Salad with crispy noodles: 1,350 vt  ($16.00)

We didn’t think we had time for dessert so we quickly paid the bill and raced to the airport.  In typical Santo-style, the plane still had not arrived and we had another few hours of waiting in the terminal before we were finally on our way to Port Vila.

Seating on the deck near the pool

Seating on the deck near the pool

Deco Stop is centrally located and provides budget accommodation in a picturesque setting.  If you don’t choose to stay at the resort, the restaurant is well worth a visit because it’s a very relaxing atmosphere and the view needs to be experienced.

Restaurant Bar

Restaurant Bar

Verdict:  Adequate food in a very special setting.

Additional accommodation

Additional accommodation

Deco Stop:  Luganville, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

Ph:  +678 36175

Canal du Segond

Canal du Segond

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  1. Love the sorta English-like sign. I have a collection of photos of signs like this with my tours around Asia. They are a hoot and found some of the most amusing ones in Japan.

  2. Alfies mocktail sounds delicious, will have to try that combo. 🙂
    And I really like the outdoor restaurant/bar. Totally screams holiday.
    Was it difficult to find foods that the locals eat? Or is this just the style food they serve in Vanuatu? I always think seafood and salads when I think the South Pacific. Guess Im wrong in that.
    Your holiday blogs are awesome, totally makes me want to revisit.

  3. I still am not sure what the sign was trying to say… ;o)

  4. I’m always perplexed at why people in such unique situations don’t give it their best — it’s such a shame that a prime location serves mediocre food. It’s the same with our restaurants on the lake, either crappy burger joints or just plain bad pub or Greek food. Such a shame.
    I’m glad you didn’t miss your flight.

  5. I would go here in a heartbeat for the setting. As you say, relaxing.

  6. Alfie is so much like our son Brandon who is now going to be 23 in July. It always cracks me up when I see his skinny self and when you talk about him being difficult when it comes to food. I lived that for years! And even now, he’s still picky about food and while he’s filled out, he’s still tall and skinny. Drew’s sandwich looked yummy!

  7. Probably the best “airport” food I’ve ever seen! Sorry about the flight delay, but glad you got to eat there — it looks like a fun place.

  8. The view is absolutely spectacular Charlie.
    Have a beautiful day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  9. O’
    how fun to live vicariously thru you adventures!! xx

  10. What does blong you mean? I could figure out the rest of it.

    That’s a really snappy position to have a restaurant in. What a great view. Even if the food was only average, it’s better than sitting in an airport for ages.

  11. I wouldn’t mind settling down in one of those chairs around the pool with a good book! I might skip the calamari and go for the chips instead.

  12. G’day I LOVED Vanuatu Charlie and glad in a region where the people are the happiest on earth you can find something positive and glad are enjoying; love to see your adventures through your eyes! Cheers! Joanne

  13. You really should get a commision from the islanders tourism commision Charlie, you make every place look and sound so special. Difficult little boys are exactly like difficult big boys aren’t they – my BigJ doesn’t like being inconvenienced when he’s tired and hungry either 🙂 xo

  14. Sometimes the names can be misleading….why do they have to put a prefix at all….beef salad can be sold as beef salad lol! Some places are worth the visit just for the experience. But running out of the airport like that sounds adventurous, and I’m glad you made it back in time.

  15. This looks like such a nice place! A special setting, indeed!

  16. Another great travel post, Charlie, you really do go to some exotic places! Love the salt and pepper squid!

  17. Flight delays are so painful aren’t they? Ah well at least you got some lunch and a nice view:)

  18. How clever of you Charlie to make a get-away! I’ll take expansive views over a terminal lounge any day!…Alfie’s deco banana drink does look and sound a bit like banana cream pie in a glass…Despite the delays in transportation and food, looks like you truly made the best of your day and trip =) Carpe diem!

  19. You had such a wonderful vacation and have given me such lovely impressions of Vanuatu, so that now as I hear about devastating cyclonic winds that have battered the South Pacific. I’m concerned about the beautiful places and the wonderful people you met along the way. I’ll keep my ears to the news!

  20. So sorry to hear that Vanatu was hit so devastatingly by the cyclone.

  21. That looks amazing!!

  22. What great excellent views! I would gladly have joined you, dear Charlie! 🙂
    Waw even!

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