The Holiday Inn Vanuatu is quite easy to find from the airport if you’re using a hire car, and there is ample free parking. The lobby is quite striking and I was very warmly greeted by several members of staff.
My bags were taken very promptly and I was offered a cold towel and a welcome drink. Check-in was efficient and friendly, and I was upgraded to a lagoon view room without asking.
In my room there was a plate of assorted fresh fruit and two fresh coconut drinks, amusingly presented in an actual ceramic tea cup.
Throughout my stay, service was very good and very friendly. I was able to leave my suitcase at the hotel while I went to Tanna Island and the incredible Mount Yasur volcano for a couple of days.
Holiday Inn Vanuatu is on a very pretty lagoon with very clear, shallow water on a small beach. There are beach huts and hammocks, watersports with kayaks, windsurfers and sailboats.
There are tennis courts and beach volleyball courts.
The lagoon is full of very colourful starfish. I assumed they must be dangerous given the bright colours and I certainly didn’t want to touch them.
Some Japanese children had no such qualms and were happily collecting starfish from across the lagoon and making a big pile.
I’m not so sure that the starfish enjoyed their game.
There are two pools. The main pool is really quite large and surrounded with loungers, and there is a cafe serving excellent cocktails and average snack food like sandwiches, burgers and pizza.
The second pool, which you can see in the photo above, is smaller but more private up on a terrace. Where the main pool is likely to be used by children the smaller pool is ideal for grown ups seeking a quieter place to relax.
There is also a spa offering massage, a small gym with a few cardio machines and a handful of free weights, and a golf course.
Internet speed was slow but usable throughout my stay, though only in public areas.
Rooms and facilities
The rooms are quite spacious and clean, and in good condition, but not particularly new or stylish.
They have air conditioning and a decent shower, but there’s nothing particularly special. The good news is there’s nothing at all wrong with them, and you will be spending most of your time out of the room anyway.
I didn’t get to see inside the overwater villas but they have access to the same lagoon as the rest of the resort and are on the right side to get the best view of the sunset.
If you do want to see the sunset you can simply walk over the bridge across the lagoon at the back of the resort.
As well as the pool bar for ice cream, cocktails and pizza, there is a lobby bar serving food throughout the day.
Breakfast and dinner are served in the verandah restaurant with views of the lagoon. During my stay, dinner was a set menu which was good value and there was live entertainment from a local band.
Sit in the wrong place and that live entertainment can be very loud…
As well as live entertainment in the restaurant during dinner there is a daily kids club and there were various activities advertised.
During low season things were fairly quiet, but in busier times the hotel has frequent live performances of local customs, music, and dances.
Points, perks, and loyalty
Holiday Inn is part of the IHG loyalty scheme and redeeming points here is good value.
I booked a resort view room with points and was given an upgrade to a lagoon view, although I was travelling in the low season so there was plenty of space.
I received welcome drinks and a complimentary cocktail, and bottled water in my room each day.
You can convert Vanuatu Vatu (VUV) here.
Prices of course vary according to season, but even at the cheaper low-season rates booking on points offers good value.
Looking at some examples for more expensive nights in August brings up some interesting choices.
The two cheapest room types are the garden view and the resort view.
The resort view rooms are nicer and about 20% more expensive, but both cost the same 15,000 points.
A resort view room is around 22000VUV for advance purchase or 24000VUV for a refundable rate.
A lagoon view room, not bookable on points, goes for around 26000VUV, while the overwater villas are around 37000VUV per night.
Breakfast is not included in those rates and is 3100 VUV if you want it.
These prices convert approximately as follows:
Resort view £158
Lagoon view £170
Overwater villa £243
It’s a little cheaper in the low season.
The points cost of 15000 IHG points, whatever the cash rates, is a good deal. My standard minimum valuation for an IHG point is 0.4p, although it is often possible to get substantially higher value than this.
0.4p should be a minimum redemption level.
Looking at the resort view room for £159 on a flexible rate, this gives a points value of just over 1p per IHG point.
PS, I always compare points values to the flexible rate because a points booking is refundable and this can be a significant advantage. If your plans change, you don’t lose out.
If cash rates drop nearer to your travel dates you can take advantage of it. If bonus points deals come along then you can rebook.
You can also book with a mixture of points and cash. There are two ways people look at the value of this. One is to consider the value of the points you are spending to save a portion of the cash rate.
The other is to consider what you are effectively spending to buy points. For example in the bottom row you could say you are spending 9115 VUV to keep 10000 points in your account, so you’re paying 0.91 VUV or about 0.6p per point.
This table shows these calculations in VUV compare to the cash rate of 24000VUV.
|Points used||Cash used||Value of points used||Cost of points bought|
|15000||0||1.6 VUV per point||NA|
|10000||6231||1.78 VUV per point||1.25 VUV per point|
|5000||9115||2.98 VUV per point||0.91 VUV per point|
You can see here that using 5000 points to save 14885 VUV gives a points value of just under 3 VUV per point, or almost 2p. This looks like a great deal, but it is ignoring the 9115 VUV you’ve spent.
Yes, after that 9115, your points are each clearing 2.98 VUV off the remaining bill, but you can’t ignore that 9115 VUV.
If your goal is to minimise cash spent, then use 15000 points. If your goal is to maximise the value of the points you use, then you have to consider that you’re effectively paying 0.6p per point to keep hold of those points.
The question then is whether you will get more than 0.6p of value for those points using them elsewhere. Often, yes, you can do a lot better than that, but it depends on your plans.
The best deal at Holiday Inn Vanuatu
There’s a little quirk in the pricing at Holiday Inn Vanuatu. They often offer a rate which includes 3000 bonus points and breakfast. Importantly this is a fully refundable rate.
For the same resort view room we just looked at on points, the “3000 bonus points and breakfast” rate is about 27000 VUV.
If you were going to have breakfast at 3100 VUV anyway, then by comparison to the normal refundable rate of 24000 VUV this bonus rate is very slightly cheaper and gets you 3000 points, worth at least £12.
The same is true for lagoon view rooms and the overwater villas.
Telephone: +678 0 040
Address: Tassiriki Park, Port Vila, Vanuatu
The Holiday Inn Vanuatu is fairly close to the main shopping and dining areas in Port Vila, but you will need to take a taxi or a hire car to get to any of them, especially after dark.
It’s about 5 or 6 minutes (3km) to the waterfront area where the markets are, and about 15 minutes (7km) to the airport.
With a beautiful lagoon and two great pools, Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu is a good choice for a short stay in Port Vila, and a great deal on points.
Best Vanuatu tours
There is a tourist desk at the Holiday Inn Vanuatu where you can arrange tours and activities. Port Vila is a popular stop for cruise ships, and Vanuatu is a very popular destination for Australians and New Zealanders during school holidays.
If you want to be sure of getting space on tours and excursions, especially if you’re travelling in high season, then we advise booking ahead. Viator and Get Your Guide have plenty of options – our favourites below.
There is also the opportunity to visit Mount Yasur, which really must be booked well in advance. The best tour options are shown below, or see our guide to visiting Mount Yasur.
Best books and guides
The best and most comprehensive guide book for Vanuatu is the Lonely Planet Guide to Vanuatu and New Caledonia.
A better value option is the multi-country Lonely Planet South Pacific guide.