On the ‘high-end tropical island resort must-have’ list, Eratap Beach Resort ticks all the boxes. With over fifteen awards under their belts, owners Tony and Louisa Pittar can pride themselves on the fact that they have done a very good job.
Tony first came to Vanuatu back in June 2005 with a clear purpose in mind. He had a dream and a vision, to build a first class resort in the Pacific, and after much searching, he found the right location for his venture. Vanuatu was not his first ‘port of call’; he searched far and wide across Pacific waters. One fortunate day, whilst looking at some satellite images, he discovered Eratap peninsula in Efate, Vanuatu.
It seemed the perfect location for a high-class resort. What were the chances, he thought, that the land would be available? Further enquires ensued and much to his surprise, the land was for sale. He immediately flew over from Sydney to have a better look and not long after, he had bought his dream piece of paradise. In January 2006, the family sold up in Australia and came to settle in Vanuatu.
Construction started in July 2006 and eighteen months later, in December 2007, Eratap Beach Resort opened its doors to the public. “Building was a challenging process,” explains Tony. “Back then, there was a shortage of materials and expertise. We had 90 workers onsite and for the last six months, we were building seven days a week.” After the resort opened its doors, they continued to expand until December last year when Tony finally felt that the resort had been completed, not a detail left forgotten on that fastidious ‘must-have’ list.
A chartered accountant and working in investment banking, back in Sydney, it was a Monday-to-Friday suit and tie life in the high offices of Sydney’s CBD. Tired of the outfit and the stress and wanting a freer environment for their children, the family has never looked back. “We wanted our children to grow up in an environment that was closer to nature, where they could be free to play and run. We are all salt-water people, we love the ocean and have treasured the opportunities that the island has brought us,” Tony says.
A man who seems not to leave a stone unturned, it is clear that Tony has put a lot of thought into this project. The resort has a total of 12 villas of one, two and three bedrooms, all absolutely beachfront. The design has been thought out to give each villa complete privacy.
The honeymoon villas feature private plunge pools but if you are not on your honeymoon, don’t worry, because there are also one and two bedroom villas with their own, very romantic plunge pools. Eratap Beach Resort displays elegance and a highly aesthetic and refined taste all around.
From the pieces chosen to furnish each villa, to the crafted high-pitch roofs, built out of local hardwood with every join covered by hand-woven palm leaf, it is attention to detail that has afford it international prestige. All mod cons are there to please – spacious villas with king-size beds, air-con, satellite TV, wireless internet, Ipod docks, baths, French doors opening to private decks with sun-loungers, and just about everything else one could ever need or want. The resort’s facilities follow the same principle, to provide for every whim of a South Pacific holiday.
The spa sits in an open-air pavilion right on the lagoon, with the only noises being the songs of birds and the rustling of trees. Two boats sit waiting, drivers at the ready, to take the resort’s guests, whenever they feel like it, for a snorkelling trip or to spend the day on the private island available for the exclusive use of guests. Other equipment to make the most of the balmy Pacific Ocean are kayaks, surfboards, paddleboards, snorkelling gear and bicycles. All equipment is free of charge for guests, including the dedicated boats.
In a place such as Eratap Beach Resort, the restaurant of course, could not be forgotten and it is ready to make a statement as much as the rest of the resort. Elegant, beautifully appointed, peaceful and classy without being pretentious, it has a range of dining options, on the beach, the terrace, or the veranda to satisfy every dining whim.
Keeping things ‘local’ and making their own products is part of Eratap’s philosophy as they try to import as little as possible and use fresh local foods instead. This includes homemade bread as well as homemade fresh pasta, curries, sauces and pickles.
After all this, no wonder that in less than seven years, Eratap has been the recipient of more of a dozen awards, including the prestigious 2013 World Luxury Hotel Awards ‘Best Luxury Coastal Resort – Australasia & Oceania’, a finalist in the 2013 Conde Nast Awards ‘Most Excellent Eco Resort’ and 3rd in the ‘Top 25 Small Hotels in South Pacific’, 2014 TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards. “One of the most rewarding experiences for us has been to work with local people. Their wonderful sense of humour and happiness is contagious. We could not have succeeded if it wasn’t for our excellent staff.” Tony, chairman of the VHRA (Vanuatu Hotels and Resorts Association) during 2011 and 2012 and currently on the executive committee, also sees Eratap Beach Resort’s success as an achievement for the Vanuatu tourism industry overall. “Winning international recognition shows that Vanuatu can compete with more mature tourism destinations such as Fiji and that Vanuatu offers as high quality if not more, in terms of everything.”
Another star in Vanuatu’s bright skies, a country of plenty.