RATUA PRIVATE ISLAND RESORT . . . ‘unspoilt and yet spoiled rotten’ is the only way to describe this eco-lodge private island resort offering five-star luxury, off the South-East coast of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu.
It’s rare for me, ‘a self-confessed workaholic’, to take an evening off let alone make time for four plane trips, a car ride and a boat trip—all under threat of a looming hurricane and in torrential rain. I had discovered my destination by chance on Google only a month earlier, and I had to experience Ratua for myself.
As an interior designer, I appreciate good design, and balance and harmony between elements that have their own natural rhythm. So when I see words like ‘organic’ and ‘luxurious’ together it gets my attention, as it’s rare that they’re combined. Yet here I am on a self-contained island, in a 200 year old Balinese villa with all its original charm, but with luxurious cotton sheets and silk cushions on the bed and linen floor rugs to walk on, while watching the waves roll in on to my own private beach with a symphony of exotic birds singing seemingly just for my entertainment—total comfort and harmony.
There are 15 villas shared between three villages to accommodate island guests, and each is located on the water’s edge and divided by lush (think private) gardens and private access to your own beach. Mine also included a sun deck with two beds. The tastefully decorated villas are spacious with high-pitched roofs, ceiling fans and huge beds draped with mosquito netting.
The bathroom is a converted wooden hut with large windows in the shower alcove opening on to the garden, literally taking you outdoors with double doors opening out so you never go without a view of the ocean.
The design intention of a totally natural setting together with thoughtful room concepts with options, and topped off by luxurious and sumptuous finishes, creates total euphoria for the mind, body and soul.
The design of the yacht club, restaurant and bar manages to be open, yet intimate. Attention to detail throughout the resort is meticulous, right through to the smallest detail—from the outdoor shower as you walk on to your sundeck from your private beach, to the number of different room designs in your hut to suit any and all of your moods, the boardwalk amongst tropical edible gardens and finishes with sumptuous and generous fabrics for total body comfort.
Among just some of the island’s activities are nature walks, bike riding, swimming, snorkelling, canoeing, fishing and horse riding, including horse swimming to a nearby island. The island’s day spa is located over the water with a 360-degree view. I recommend the oversized wooden bathtub with fragrant oils at sunset to gently wash away any last remnants of stress.
Ratua’s manager Christian greets you personally when you arrive on the island, and I recommend putting yourself entirely in his hands during your stay. He has worked around the world in some of the most exclusive hotels, including those frequented by Hollywood’s ‘A’ list. He will create an unforgettable experience tailored to your tastes and mood.
The Ratua private island resort is only 18 months old, with established first-grade facilities, with 50 staff on hand to look after the island’s maximum of 34 guests. The island even has its own airport and helicopter strip, built originally for a visit by a King of an African nation.
As for me right now? I am far too busy watching the sunset and daydreaming of being stranded in paradise. It’s the kind of place it is.