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Pandanus Bay Waterfront Apartments, Vanuatu

We planned on flying out of Santo early in the morning so that 50-minutes later we would be in Port Vila and all set for a day of sightseeing before heading back to Sydney the following morning.

Off again

Flying Air Vanuatu

Alas, we had a five-hour delayed flight that robbed us of any sightseeing opportunities.  However, I’m not sure how many sights we would have seen given the Island of Efate had been subjected to days of constant torrential rain and the city looked like it was drowning.

The road leading to Pandanus Bay

The road leading to Pandanus Bay

I didn’t want to stay in the heart of Port Vila because I wasn’t sure if I would end up with a room over the main road and lots of traffic noise so instead,  booked a night’s accommodation further out of town.

Entrance to Pandanus Bay Waterfront Apartments

Entrance to Pandanus Bay Waterfront Apartments

And the Pandanus Bay Waterfront Apartments turned out to be quite a bit further out of town than I was expecting.  It was about a half-hour drive from the airport and once you leave the city the tar-sealed roads change to dirt roads.  Normally, when it’s not raining, travelling at high speeds along dirt roads causes a lot of dust to fly around and so the locals put hand-made barricades in the middle of the road to cause drivers to slow down.  Whatever works!

Obstacles to slow down traffic

Obstacles to slow down traffic

Nothing looks great in a torrential downpour and your mood is never good after a five-hour wait in a non-air-conditioned airport so I was below par by the time we arrived at Pandanus Bay.

A lovely contemporary entrance

A lovely contemporary entrance

The three-bedroom apartment was on the ground floor and was in extremely good condition and very clean.  I was impressed at the size of the lounge/dining room and the complimentary bowl of tropical organic fruits was a really welcoming touch.

Complimentary fruit basket and a spacious kitchen

Complimentary fruit basket and a spacious kitchen

The kitchen was very impressive with a full-sized fridge with chilled filtered water and a very large oven.  I can imagine a family being able to stay in these apartments for a week or two very comfortably.

Spacious and modern living areas

Spacious and modern living areas

While the lounge and dining room had a very contemporary look, the master bedroom with queen-sized bed and ensuite looked comparatively dated.  What is going on with the bedspread?  The room was very spacious however someone had the idea of combining the bedroom and the ensuite and I wasn’t a fan.  It was all far too open and there are times when it is nice to hide behind a wall or a screen.  Call me prudish but I found this very exposing.  I also thought the massive spa overpowered the room.

About the bedspread...

About the bedspread…

The third bedroom had a king-single and a single bed and that’s the room the boys shared while Arabella slept in the second bedroom that had a double bed.  Both rooms were very adequate but I was feeling driven to rip the bedspreads off the beds.  Something less busy would have better suited the apartment.

Second bedroom

Second bedroom

The outdoor patio was a good-sized outdoor eating area and beyond the lawn there was a path leading to the beach with barbecue facilities.  There was a swimming pool that was more suburban-backyard looking than resort-style but I couldn’t photograph it because of the relentless wind and rain.

A wild storm sweeps in

A wild storm sweeps in

One of the best things about our stay at Pandanus Bay is that the manager, James, is a hardworking Aussie who can’t do enough to make your stay as wonderful as possible.  When James showed us into the apartment he gave us a full tour and explained how everything works.

Horrible weather obscuring a beautiful waterfront view

Horrible weather obscuring a beautiful waterfront view

We then told him we might just order in some pizzas for dinner and he told us that wouldn’t be good enough and that despite the weather, we really should go out.  He recommended the Waterfront Bar and Grill and we had a really fantastic and fun night at the restaurant.  We thought we’d have to order a taxi to take us to the restaurant but James told us that a much cheaper option would be to stand on the side of the road and a bus would come by and take us to the Waterfront.  Excellent.

An open ensuite

An open ensuite

The next morning after we had checked out and were at the airport, James suddenly appeared.  I had left my phone charger at the apartment and James had found it and rushed to the airport hoping to find me in the terminal.  I was very impressed.

An oversized spa

An oversized spa

Pandanus Bay offers very good family accommodation in a lovely waterfront position.  The apartments are affordable, very generous in size, and open onto private, outdoor entertaining areas with lovely views.  Now, about those bedspreads…

Entrance to Pandanus Bay Waterfront Apartments

Entrance to Pandanus Bay Waterfront Apartments

Verdict:  Very adequate accommodation with exceptional front-desk service.

Pandanus Bay Waterfront Apartments:  Pango Bay, Port Vila, Vanuatu

Phone: +678 26083

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  1. Oh Charlie… they looked horrible… LOL! It is so funny when the rest of the apartment look very modern… Maybe James need some help? A woman touch… was he tall? I could see myself living on a tropical Island! hehe! Liz xx

  2. The apartment looks quite nice but what is it with bedspreads? Often we will be at a hotel or cottage which is quite nice but the bedspreads are disgusting. Really old and faded. And as surveys have shown bedspreads have the worst amount of germs on them!! Eek!

  3. This reminds me of a long layover I had in Fiji that I was SO looking forward to, only to spend the entire time dashing between downpours and looking out at grey skies and grey oceans. 🙂 Glad you had great food and an awesome manager to make this better. 🙂

  4. Forget the bedspreads, who wants to poop in the bedroom?? Gimme a break!

  5. James is a legend, I love that he came after you to return the phone charger. Im with Liz, was he tall, dark, straight and handsome? I’d be more than happy to hop a plane and help out with the finer details. LOL! Ha, I kinda dig the hideousness of the doona cover, it is so out of place it makes me smile. 🙂 Even though it was rainy and miserable looking, I still want to visit. Great post, didn’t realise I was missing so much about Vanuatu.

  6. I am with you, not a good idea combining the bedroom and the ensuite, guess I too am a prude. Glad you had a fun night at the restaurant despite the weather, but where are the food photos?

  7. Even with the rain, it looked like a fun place to visit!

  8. Hi Charlie, looks like a great place to stay and that you were right at the water, but i too like more walls in a ensuite.

  9. What great service from James. Makes you almost forget those dreadful bedspreads.

  10. Haven’t seen bedspreads like that in quite some time. Like decades. They make for amusing pictures, though. 😉 Looks like a great place overall, however. Fun post — thanks.

  11. Nothing like an exceptinal manager of any property, they make any stay special. Too bad the weather ruined your outing, but I am glad you guys still managed to get some fun and could relax. Lovely review.

  12. Ha Charlie that’s not an en suite that’s a bedthroom

  13. Well, the ensuite is a bit odd, although I enjoy the big jacuzzi in the bedroom, just not sure about the shower…
    In spite of the rain, I am glad that you all had a good time 🙂

  14. Yes, I agree, it looks like a fun place to visit. The weather is just something we have to accept, isn’t it.

  15. All of your accommodations have been lovely even if the weather let you down.

  16. I hate the open room idea too Charlie, but it seems to be becoming quite trendy lately. I also dislike the concept of using the wardrobe as a walk-through to the ensuite that I’ve seen in a few display homes, it would be like fighting my way through a jungle to get to the bathroom 🙂
    What wonderful service you received, that’s really going above and beyond. Perhaps they have a suggestion box where you cold mention the bedspreads, unless they’re family heirlooms that belonged to his Nanna perhaps? 🙂 xo

  17. Must say Charlie, apart from the bedspreads, the apartment is fabulous! I love the clean fresh look but do agree, a private bathroom would be preferable.
    Have a wonderful day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  18. Wow, ugly bedspreads aside, it sounds like your lodgings (especially James!) were really great!! He has some definite dedication to hospitality!

  19. Wow – now that James chap knows customer service! And I must say – those are some state of the art obstacles to slow down traffic! Love the fresh fruit in the room!

  20. Oh I can’t stand bathrooms like that. I like my privacy too and yes those bedspreads – what is going on? The rest of the apartment looks fantastic though and very modern especially by Vanuatu standards.

  21. i hate flight delays! loving that rustic slow sign tho!

  22. Lol, all’s well that ends well. Just the bedspreads and it seems like a perfect option for away-from-the-city accommodation. Nice Vanuatu series!

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

  23. Hey just checking on you over in the land of OZ… are you okay? I do not know where you are located and/or where the cyclones are due to hit. Praying that everyone is safe in Australia! Batten down the hatches!

  24. Sounds like the service is brilliant there! I can’t imagine anyone dropping off a charger to the airport anywhere else!

  25. Ha ha! I would feel the exact same way about the bedspreads—Katie might understand, but the guys would never even bat an eye. Sounds like the perks outweighed the couple of cons (though that open bathroom would have driven both of us nuts!). Have a wonderful weekend. xo

  26. Extra touches of welcome fruit, over-and-beyond service and spaciousness do help to make a vacation home homey. P.s. Understand though about wanting a modicum of privacy between the ensuite and bedroom =)

  27. The apartment looked really nice but I have tot agree with you about the bedspreads … they didn’t really seem to fit and something either plain or tropical looking would have definitely worked better. Anyway it sounds like you had a fantastic holiday!

  28. If you’re prudish then I am very prudish – I would find an open en suite very hard to cope with indeed! I’m not sure who thought that was a good idea but I hope others who feel the same way see your review so they can make an informed decision 🙂 Otherwise these apartments look like a good option for self-catering, even with the bedspreads!

  29. A shame about the weather but I hope that gave you a good excuse to get comfy in that massive spa!

  30. The bathroom looked FAB!
    But I am VERY FUSSY about bedspreads.
    I always say to Mr. L “What are the bedspreads like?”


  31. What a shame about the bad weather though you stayed in a cool place! x

  32. I don’t know anyone who likes those open bathrooms. I like a bit of privacy. The apartment looks lovely despite the weather and the service was amazing. GG

  33. Bloody weather, spoiling paradise.

    Wish I was in Vanuatu, though. Have fun for me. x

  34. Looks like James’ nanna picked those bedspreads, doesn’t it?
    And I’m with you on the whole integrated ensuite thing – not loving that at all.

  35. Claudine and I are happy that after you and your family arrived late from Santo that you made time during the storm to create your comments, and on top of that you only stayed one night and yet you were so impressed. As for the bedspreads well they were purchased out of Myer. This is paradise after all.
    Thanks again, regards James & Claudine.

    • Thanks again for looking after us so well, James. You are a great host and it was so unexpected but so very kind and thoughtful of you to arrive at the airport with the phone charger. We were most grateful.

  36. Scott Coutts says:

    We stayed there almost 2 years ago (late October 2014). don’t remember the bedspreads but do remember the excellent service from James and his team. We stayed a week and absolutely loved it.
    Can thoroughly recommend Pandanus Apartments.
    You also have a small beach and shallow water out to a coral filled blue hole (apparently a crater made by dumped bombs in WWII!) which has great snorkelling opportunities.
    James certainly helped us with a lot of tips of where to go and where to eat, how to get around and the “bus” tip was invaluable!
    We will go back!

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