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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
Verdict: Very adequate accommodation with exceptional front-desk service.
Pandanus Bay Waterfront Apartments: Pango Bay, Port Vila, Vanuatu
Phone: +678 26083